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Can ayone say anything nice to me about longhaul on American Airlines...ppppllleeaasee??

(39 Posts)
snackattack Sun 19-Jul-09 17:01:47

We are travelling to LA in two weeks' time with our two dc's. I am ABSOLUTELY DREADING the journey as EVERY review I hear that AA are appalling, that the planes are old and tatty, the service is dreadful, the seats uncomfortable, the food inedible and so on and so on. It's got to the point that I'm seriously considering cancelling our trip!! We are travelling on a Boeing 777 and I really thought when booking that AA would have more leg room and be more comfortable than BA but I think I've made a HUGE mistake. I've even been told not to eat the food and to bring separate food for the kids and I'm such a bad flyer that I am really starting to panic. Has anyone been on this route?? Can anyone offer any more encouraging reports?
Thank you

ilovemydogandmrobama Sun 19-Jul-09 17:06:27

American were fab! I've been on most, and what I lurrrve about AA is that most of the on board staff are older women and understand what it's like travelling with a baby.

They got DD a bassinet, and didn't mind if I put it on the floor space rather than the attachment. They got her a duvet from first class and were kind enough to pass her around so I could eat my meal!

It will be OK. smile

thirtysomething Sun 19-Jul-09 17:20:07

We've flown with them twice longhaul - absolutely fine by comparison with other airlines (except on board entertainment wasn't great...) Food was a bit variable but if you're travelling with young children you need to have your own sandwiches/snacks anyway, as they don't usually bring meals at the times when your kids actually want them - mine are usually asleep by the time the evening meal is brought round!! I always go into the Boots at the airport and fill up a backpack with ready-made sandwiches, drinks and cereal bars, little packets of chopped up fruit etc.
Otherwise I'd say they are very friendly - staff always happy to help - and leg-room seems fine compared to other carriers.

goblincandoa5k Sun 19-Jul-09 17:24:17

I have never flown with them, but just remember that people generally write reviews because they are ticked off/angry, etc.

I'm sure you will have a great trip, enjoy yourselves smile

Kiwinyc Sun 19-Jul-09 17:39:41

I would choose AA over Virgin any day! Agree about the staff being older and more sympathetic if you have children (vrs Virgin's staff who are young and 'hip' and look at you like an alien if you ask where your childs meal is and why they can't serve until all the adults have been done first)

AA planes are generally spacious and seat recline good also. The 777 is a newer plane anyway. You'll be fine.

geordieminx Sun 19-Jul-09 17:44:44

Quick hijack - has anyone flown with Continental to the states?

EldonAve Sun 19-Jul-09 17:53:35

geordieminx - we flew Continental home from the US (flew Virgin out there)
Staff were unhelpful, we got crap seats despite having small kids
They keep the seat belt sign on all the time and yell at you if you dare to get up

Plane itself was okay, fairly new, entertainment was fine
Alcoholic drinks were $5 a go

geordieminx Sun 19-Jul-09 17:57:19

Great, thankfully(???) its our honeymoon flight so ds wont be with us...

It was a choice between fly direct to NYC with continental, or to Heathrow then on from there, which would take ages. sad

EldonAve Sun 19-Jul-09 18:02:25

I guess it all depends on price and convenience

runawayquickly Sun 19-Jul-09 18:03:52

Going back to AA, I agree with ILMDAMO - hosties are a bit more 'mature' and were really lovely to us. I was impressed, actually, thought legroom was good and kids loved the flight

thirtysomething Sun 19-Jul-09 18:49:27

Flown Continental once from Birmingham-Newark return - never again!!! Tiny plane (one aisle down middle, like European flights) so incredibly squashed, nightmare getting to loos as staff constantly in aisle with trolleys. Food unspeakably bad and staff rude and unhelpful. Also they changed our seat reservations on return leg for no apparent reason so I sat with both DC and DH was moved to a few rows back - I therefore got no sleep at all whereas usually we occupy one DC each and it's a bit better. they were totally unprepared to honour original seat reservations or explain why DH was moved.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 19-Jul-09 19:08:43

Sorry but have been on AA once transatlantic; never again will I do so.
Would always use a British based carrier to fly to the US; American carriers are just but one step ahead of bankruptcy and it shows in all sorts of ways service wise.

Bring a portable DVD player for the children to watch.

Generally speaking the majority airline food anyway is not always up to much (unless you're in business class where it seems more edible). I would eat ahead of boarding and not rely on the airline to supply decent children's food (if they even remember the child's meal which does not always happen. Its often served up not long before the adult meals come around).

Continental's slogan should be, "not quite the worse".

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 19-Jul-09 19:14:32

You may find the above to be of interest as well. Their seat in economy is the standard 32 inch seat pitch.

AA did take out some rows in economy at one time for more room but think this policy has now been reversed.

Catitainahatita Mon 20-Jul-09 04:22:40

I wish I had something positive to tell you, tbh. But I have to be honest and say that after many unhappy transatlantic trips with AA and Continental we have decided that we shall avoid flying via the USA and with American carriers if possible (we go Mexico-UK so the other option is via somewhere European).

It's not so much the planes nor the food (athough I would second the advice about taking plenty of your own to cater for DC being hungry at times there is no food available. I haven't noticed any real difference between planes or food. It's more about the service and attitudes. Mainly, no consideration for travelling with small children: 1) ordering bassinets and the correct seat in advance and then being place in the middle of the plane and uuable to use bassinet. 2) No advanced boarding, so you and babies/toddlers being buffeted around by the rush to board. 3) If you are delayed and have a transfer don't expect much help. Last Christmas we were delayed arriving into Atlanta; and then to get a new connection we had to queue up for two hours. By which time we missed the last plane out and had to stay overnight. For which no apology just a "discount" at a hotel airport, which was still out of our league and so we spent the night at the airport. 4) Luggage frequently lost/mishandled.

I could go on. I sincerely hope you have a better time of it. In future I would recommend BA, Air France, KLM and Lufthansa as being generally "nicer" to you even when things go a bit arse up.

Good luck with your trip. And sorry to rant. You have just hit a nerve with me.

NezLiquide Mon 20-Jul-09 05:26:05

Also had bad experiences with AA. Although staff more mature I also found them incredibly rude. I tried to take the tray of food from the hostess who basically slapped my arm away saying that the food was actually meant for the passenger sitting next to me.

My Mum also had a bad experience as they lost her luggage on transit through Newark. The staff on the helpline and at the airport were useless. When it finally turned up she found out it had been sent to Birmingham Alabama rather than being sent back to Birmingham in the UK.

BlueKangerooWonders Mon 20-Jul-09 05:35:37

Don't cancel your trip! But lower your expectations. As everyone has said, it's no fun on any american (rather than European) airline. But it's only x hours, so it will pass! We've flown all sorts of american airlines, and whilst northwest is the best (video on demand, edible if predictable food), they can all be tatty with surly staff, but then so can anyone!

Compare with a charter flight here, and plan accordingly - take plenty of snacks and entertainment with you. Having said that, they do have newer planes as well, and we've had some with american that are much nicer.

duchesse Mon 20-Jul-09 05:49:09

Have to say we have just elected to pay an extra £150 to send child 1 to LA on Air Canada rather than any of the US airlines. This is because he will travelling alone long-haul for the first time (he's just 16) and we didn't want to send him on a plane that could be diverted/ delayed/ cancelled at a moment's notice. As you're all together, this wouldn't be an issue so much for you. The comments you've had sound hyperbolic to me- I would take them with a pinch of salt.

Jammybodger Wed 22-Jul-09 22:25:27

AA are unspeakably bad, with unspeakably rude staff. Travelling with young children with so many restrictions on them is so difficult at the best of times you should do what a friend recommended disown your children for the journey. Pretend they are not yours means they can run up and down the aisle unhindered and you get a good rest.

Jammybodger Wed 22-Jul-09 22:27:05


1dilemma Wed 22-Jul-09 22:54:58

Flew them once and it was more awful than I can tell you.

No announcements
no information
no food
massive delays
the rudest stewardesses I've ever come across
(they threatened to throw ds off the plane because he once put his feet on the back of the seat in front and before anyone points out how annoying it is he was actually just sitting down, was too short to reach the seat in front when sitting and fell asleep from before take-off until landing thanks to our 6 hour delays in terminal)
some elderly American ladies around were shocked by how nasty stewardess was

final bit is caught them stealing from the passengers (I can lip read a bit and could follow what was being said)

I wouldn't fly with them again if it was free TBH

(I was visiting relative and complained on my return that she hadn't warned everyone how awful they were her response was 'everyone knows how awful they are noone flies with them!')

Enjoy your holiday

SimplyIsATalentedBuzzard Wed 22-Jul-09 23:17:55

I don't know which airline it was but a friend flew with an american based airline from the UK to America and she suffered really badly from vertigo (which feels like a bad migraine on board and vertigo the following morning) once she got there. Apparently the airline dry the air in order to take less oxygen on board and an ear infection she had years ago meant that she was susceptible to feeling ill. I think she said that her doctor has now told her which airline to fly with (I think it was BA) in order to avoid this problem.

Loshad Wed 22-Jul-09 23:27:20

check the code sharing as well though - ended up on AA once by mistake on a code share sad

oldraver Wed 22-Jul-09 23:45:19

Is this a direct flight or are you changing at Chicago ? I flew on an AA 777 and they are a lovely plane, AA were one of the first to increase the seat pitch by removing several rows of seats (believe others have followed suit). It did help that there were only 9 people in a cabin of 150 ish so have a stewardess each almost who were falling over themselves to help. Food was ok, nothing fantastic but not bad

The only problem came on the internal leg on an old crappy MD8O. It was very hot, aircon almost non existant, stroppy stewardess's, NO food at all (had a sandwich box on return leg) and virtualy refused to give out water despite almost everyone complaining the were dehydarting in the hot cabin. I had the mothe r of all migraines by the time i got off

ihatethecold Thu 23-Jul-09 19:10:39

omg this is so interesting, am going to book flights to go to Florida next yr with family and have been doing some research on internet and virgin seems to come up cheapest for a direct flight. i went on them about 7 yrs ago and thought it much better than ba, have things changed then

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 24-Jul-09 07:01:49


Virgin's service has steadily declined over the years (money has not been spent on their planes particularly the services from Gatwick and Manchester to Orlando, and it shows). Their once innovative service has been superceded by other carriers. Some of their aircrew as well are young and have bags of attitude towards the pax. VA's bags for children are practically empty as well.

Would suggest you look at both BA and Virgin's websites and compare flight costs.

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