We have 2 choices on how to get to Jamaica next June from Los Angeles. Either US Airways with a stop in Charlotte, NC or Delta with a stop in Atlanta. Which would you guys take, im leaning toward Delta because they use a bigger plane- 767, in flight entertainment, plus more flight options in case something goes wrong- and you can smoke in the Atlanta terminal. US air is a little cheaper, and I hear Charlotte is a pretty chill airport to go through.
So, whats the best option here?
I've been meaning to chime in and 'am finally getting around to it...
Most of the options have been called out with the supporting reasoning. Personally, here is what I find and recommend:
If you are traveling during the day then I believe AA thru Miami makes the most sense. You get there ~ 8:00 PM and can get a good nights sleep and are ready to go the next day.
If you are doing the red-eye then I go in this order:
If you can spend a few extra bucks, AA thru Miami with the bump to get into the first class cabin. It is a 737 so 3-3 config makes it iffy in coach. The front of the bus gives the room and comfort to sleep and be ready for the beach by ~ noon the next day. The return on Delta that leaves at 3:00 allows for breakfast and a couple hours on the beach the last day. Sucks that it is a 757 usually, 3-3 config and you get home late, still worth it to us.
If $$$ is the play then going out on Delta on the 767 is the play 2-3-2 config. The trick is then to catch the flight from ATL to MBJ that is the MD-80 for the 2-3 config. The other possibility is a 737 or 757..., doable but 3-3 config. You may be able to catch a 767 coming home as well.
US Air thru Charlotte. Airbus 321, 3-3 config. Getting in at 9:50 am is the selling point. I would recommend reading airline reviews if this is your choice.
The only time airport matters to us is coming back. Avoid Miami and its customs nightmare at all cost. ATL and Charlotte much better.
There are a lot of ways to play this. It really does come down to personal favorites...happy travels, it is more important that you get there rather than how!
great info. Just a comment about booking plane config's: i have learned that you can never trust American to have the type of plane that you see when you book. For that reason coming out of lax we try to use mile/upgrades to get first class seats. Agree about coming back through miami. DFW is easy clearing customs with about 2 hours in between flights.
I have 40 min to make a connection in DFW...I am not familiar with the airport, I am getting nervous...should I be?
I'd be extremely worried with 40 minutes regardless of the airport. I'd be psychotic over it if it was 40 minutes to get off an international flight, go through immigration, collect my checked bags, go through customs, recheck my bag, go through security, and then make it to my new gate.........now add in one teensy weensy flight delay and......well I dont even want to think about that!!
shasbro66053 - Maybe...40 mins is not a lot of time, however it is doable. Find out gate assignments as soon as available, do your research and make a plan!
Mona_and_rob - That flight has always been tempting to me as we want to be on the beach asap in the day. It is the 5.5 hours on the US Air red-eye that scares me off...
jamaicabruno - I absolutely agree about booking for a certain config. We have had equipment changes at least once per booking. Unless we book or upgrade to the first class cabin, the expectation is must be willing to accept whatever plane is at the gate
The UsAir CLT-MBJ flights are really good. Always packed but you get in quite early, especially that 9am flight. We've been on it and getting through MBJ is speedy at that time in the morning. Leaving is also packed but CLT customs isn't bad at all. In November, they had five international flights come in at once. Immigrations was a Oh Boy! moment, only time I have seen anything with that many people waiting in queue was 2006 at MBJ on a Saturday prior to the remodel. Because there were so many flights coming in, the customs people just collected the forms at the podium. Didnt screen a single bag from anyone I saw either in front or behind us (about 100). Craziest I've ever seen it and even with the volume, we felt confident enough to have only given ourselves a very short window between flights, and we made it to our gate with a good half hour to spare.
We just booked the AA flight from LAX-DFW-MBJ, made the most sense and reduced the total travel time. We get in at 2pm which isnt too bad, and we leave at 3:30 pm the next week- which is pretty good. Im might get us AA admiral club passes for the layover which should help- they have smoking sections in 2/4 of the clubs in DFW (im a smoker, and I hate walking out through security)
We spent 60 minutes in Immigration this week- at 8PM. There were over 300 people in line and THREE Immigration agents- then someone vomited and the line had to be reconfigured & turned all around
....then we spent another 30 getting through Customs
Many passengers did not make their connections. This has never happened before and hpefully was a fluke- just a warning
SS1983 - good choice. We just took Delta through ATL to MBJ in August, and while ATL was fine, the flights itself were crammed full, absurdly uncomfortable and our agent (whom we shall never use again) booked us apparently the cheapest seats which were impossible to upgrade or even change to an exit or bulkhead row. I will avoid Delta as much as possible because the seats are too dang small. My husband and I are both tall (6' and 6'5, respectively) so the flight was beyond uncomfortable from LAX.