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Air France or United for open jaw Wash DC-Paris-London?

Washington, D.C.
posts: 174
reviews: 15
Air France or United for open jaw Wash DC-Paris-London?

Hello, I am thinking of booking our flights from Wash. DC to Paris and then home from London for a vacation this June-July. The choices have come down to Air France or United. The prices are basically equivalent and each involves a direct, nonstop on one leg and a connecting flight on the other. Is there a substantive difference between the airlines for these routes? (I've read mixed reviews for each on this board, but not necessariy for these routes.)

The current fares are around $1,540 each r/t, which I view as crazily high (they were $1,000 two years ago), but I monitored last summer's and this summer's prices and they seem stuck at $1,500. Does anyone think I should wait? One reason I'm ready to book now is that I don't want certain flights with preferable times to fill up. Many thanks for your input.

Liverpool, UK
posts: 10,179
reviews: 24
1. Re: Air France or United for open jaw Wash DC-Paris-London?

I don't think there is a significant difference between most major carriers in economy class but I'd probably choose Air France as you would benefit from a greater level of protection under EU Regulation 261 if any of your flights were significantly delayed/cancelled.

Not likely to happen but just nice to have just in case and AF is at least on a par with United in terms of the service offered.

I don't think you can compare prices for 2013 with those of two years ago as so much has changed - a fare of $1,500 is on the high side but June/July is peak season - I personally would wait about a month to see if AF or United have a sale in January.

You might get a slightly better price and I doubt the flights will fill up in the intervening period.

Palmetto, Florida
posts: 2,264
reviews: 10
2. Re: Air France or United for open jaw Wash DC-Paris-London?

do you have a frequent flier program you want to stick with

AF may give a little more flair to on board service, but economy seats will be same same With United you have option to buy E+ seats for extra legroom.

Iwold also consider where transit city is on return. Most here do not like CDG as transit point,

Washington, D.C.
posts: 174
reviews: 15
3. Re: Air France or United for open jaw Wash DC-Paris-London?

Thx for your replies.

I do not use a frequent flier program as I have found that my preferred dates of travel or flights are typically blacked out, but I do use a cash-back Capital One card that will help defray these costs (i guess I'm was just hoping for a little bit more defraying!)

My contemplated return flight from London is in fact through CDG, which, though in the wrong direction, would still provide a shorter overall trip duration than connecting in Atlanta or Minneapolis or even JFK. There would be a two-hour layover at CDG, enough time to grab a meal. What is the issue with CDG as a connecting point, if that's what you mean?

Thanks again.

Washington, D.C.
posts: 174
reviews: 15
4. Re: Air France or United for open jaw Wash DC-Paris-London?

Actually, I should clarify, it is the contemplated AF flight that has a connection at CDG on the way back from London. In contrast, the contemplated United flight changes at JFK en route to Paris (and flies direct home from London).

Liverpool, UK
posts: 10,179
reviews: 24
5. Re: Air France or United for open jaw Wash DC-Paris-London?

"Actually, I should clarify, it is the contemplated AF flight that has a connection at CDG on the way back from London. In contrast, the contemplated United flight changes at JFK en route to Paris (and flies direct home from London)."

CDG has a bad reputation for connections so a lot could depend on how long of a layover you have between your incoming flight from London and your departing flight to Wash DC.

If it's a tight connection I'd probably consider the United option as connecting via JFK on the outbound with a direct flight back from London is a better option - there will be more JFK - LHR flights as back up if your flight to JFK is delayed.

Palmetto, Florida
posts: 2,264
reviews: 10
6. Re: Air France or United for open jaw Wash DC-Paris-London?

You can put in Search box "CDG connections" here in Air travel and in Paris Forum to see past posts. I think with 2 hours and if things are on time you will be ok.

But I have a question for you: can't you join UA Mileage Plus still and use the Capital one CC for rebate at the same time? I am not familiar with the CC. I do both a Chase MP card and have UA frequent flier account. IME I can find free flights easiest with United (compared with other domestic airlines). And you can get any flight you want, just that it may cost you more miles (25K saver versus anytime 50K roundtrip for example).

Anyway, I may wait til after new year too to buy tickets, but keep watching the bouncing fares :)

Edited: 5:08 pm, December 08, 2012
Edmonton
posts: 8,125
reviews: 14
7. Re: Air France or United for open jaw Wash DC-Paris-London?

Why not go direct with AF there and direct home with UA?

Liverpool, UK
posts: 10,179
reviews: 24
8. Re: Air France or United for open jaw Wash DC-Paris-London?

"Why not go direct with AF there and direct home with UA?"

Bcause these 2 airlines are not in any alliance and you are unlikely to be able to book this as a round trip - you could book it as 2 x one way flights but I'm guessing that would be expensive.

Edmonton
posts: 8,125
reviews: 14
9. Re: Air France or United for open jaw Wash DC-Paris-London?

I often book two one ways for my clients and it is not more expensive usually, but it can be, just depends. Worth a look anyway.

Houston, Texas
Destination Expert
for Air Travel, Business Travel
posts: 6,987
reviews: 77
10. Re: Air France or United for open jaw Wash DC-Paris-London?

"...my preferred dates of travel or flights are typically blacked out..."

Then you have fallen for the marketing fluff. Airlines don't typically black out days anymore. They stopped doing that over a decade ago. Even availability is fine, especially with elite status on United. If a seat is available, it is available for standard award rates at the most.

And yes, you can be in a credit card program and a member of a frequent flyer program.