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  1. #1

    Default tell me your experiences with airlines

    I am going to CSA this December and Im just curious what peoples expierences with different airlines have been. I have no idea which one to fly with!
    US Airways seems to have cheaper tickets, but I read bad reviews online. What do you guys fly with and why?
    Its best to wait until about 2 months before your trip to book, right?

  2. #2
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    You can have great experiences, horrific experiences, and unremarkable experiences with any airline. We generally flew Northwest (now Delta) when we lived in Detroit mainly because Detroit's airport was a NW hub. Now that we live in New York, we've flown to Jamaica on Delta, Spirit, and Air Jamaica.

    We like to fly Delta b/c we are frequent flyers and generally get upgraded to first class. However, our first criterion is a direct flight (most of our horrific experiences have involved delayed flights that caused us to miss our connection), then we look at what flight will land in MoBay the earliest.
    Pamela
    I know everything, and I'm always right (just ask my husband).

  3. #3
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    US Air was cheapest for us. I won't fly AA because they always get delayed for me. US goes through Charlotte too which has a much easier customs process than Miami or Houston or Atlanta. I would book asap because flights will go up more and more this year. Never wait till the last minute on an international flight.

  4. #4
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    We use American. The two times we have traveled on US Air (neither to Jamaica) have been disasters. Every leg of every trip delayed...they are just a mess.

    We booked Air Jamaica to Jamaica once, but never ended up flying them as they switched around our schedule and then canceled a leg of our flight, so we switched to American.

    Never had a problem with American. I know others have, perhaps we have just been lucky. The only delay we've ever had with them has been coming back to the states from Montego because there were big rainstorms...so we were delayed an hour and cut making our connection in Miami VERY close.

    For me and my husband, though we also usually find the lowest rates on American too, we would shell out a little more money just to fly them and know we don't have to deal with US Air. Our last round with them was so bad I vowed to never fly them again.

  5. #5
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    Jun 2009
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    We go to CSA in December also. I have been checking ticket prices as soon as they were available. We have used American and Delta in the past. We have no non-stops from our area,(Utah) we either fly out of Salt Lake City or Las Vegas. If at all possible we try to avoid going through Miami on the return trip. Going through customs through at the airport is a nightmare! A very long walk, crowded, and rude people. Unless the price is a lot cheaper we choose to use other airports. We usally take a "red eye" from here and get in to Montego Bay before noon. Last December we took a non-stop from Salt Lake City to Orlando on Delta. We spent a few days in Florida before taking a early morning flight from Orlando to Montego Bay on American. It was more money doing it this way, but gave us a few days to visit Florida. We are booked on Delta out of Salt Lake City for our trip to CSS in May.

  6. #6
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    We've done US Air (out of Charlotte), Northwest (out of Memphis), Delta (out of Atlanta), and American (out of Dallas). They were all fine. I think customs was fastest through Memphis. It's kind of fun to fly over Cuba, which you don't get to do coming out of Dallas. I, honestly, would go with the cheapest unless you are limited by having a miles plan on a specific airline. I think most airlines today are merely adequate. And, I think most people have an airline they outright hate (I've only ever had horrible experiences on United (but we've never flown them to Jamaica).)

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Suhrah View Post
    Its best to wait until about 2 months before your trip to book, right?
    Not necessarily. You should keep an eye on your flight dates and when you see flight times/prices you can live with, book it. You don't always get the best price by waiting.

    An example...I booked my hotel (CTI) in March 2009 for our upcoming Feb. 2010 trip. At the time I booked the hotel, the airfare was running somewhere around $600 per person. I kept checking every week to see if there were any changes. In early May, the price dropped to $347 per person so I booked it. That price was only available for a few days...since that time, it's gone back up to around $600 per person and hasn't dropped. If I had waited until 2 months prior to our trip, I would have paid almost double what I actually booked it for.

    I didn't care which airline we flew on, and I was willing to drive to DFW, if necessary, (which is what we will be doing...we normally fly out of OKC) so I was able to be flexible in that regard. The only thing I wasn't flexible on were my travel dates.

    As far as experiences with airlines, you'll get very different opinions! Some people have horrible experiences with one particular airline, while some people think it's the best!

    Air travel, in general, is challenging in this day and age...just be flexible and go with the flow!
    Pam Brown
    Norman, OK
    Couples Preferred Agency/Couples Specialist

  8. #8
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    They are all about the same except Jamaican airlines who cancel and change flights. I would go with the cheapest and remember to factor in the charge for checked baggage if it applies. American are good and do not charge for bags to Jamaica. If there are good prices out there I would book. If you wait and they are fairly well booked prices will rise.

  9. #9
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    Our flight to Jamaica on American was cancelled last June and we lost a day in Jamaica. They put us up at an airport hotel. The most frustrating part was that our flight was at Noon and they did not cancel it until about 6 pm so we sat around the airport all day. We are frequent fliers on American and this was a first so we figured that's just the way things go sometimes.

    Then our return connection from Dallas to San Francisco was canceled on our way home and we were put up in a very gross motel. There was no weather event, but there were many AA flights canceled that night and it was chaos at the airport and at the motel. It made me wonder what is going on with AA? We were lucky to get the fleabag hotel because we talked to others the next day that said they had to stay at the airport because AA ran out of contracted rooms.

    We are going to CSS in December and I think I will book Delta because I like the timing of their flights, and right now they are about $200 per person cheaper then AA.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pamela View Post
    You can have great experiences, horrific experiences, and unremarkable experiences with any airline. We generally flew Northwest (now Delta) when we lived in Detroit mainly because Detroit's airport was a NW hub. Now that we live in New York, we've flown to Jamaica on Delta, Spirit, and Air Jamaica.

    We like to fly Delta b/c we are frequent flyers and generally get upgraded to first class. However, our first criterion is a direct flight (most of our horrific experiences have involved delayed flights that caused us to miss our connection), then we look at what flight will land in MoBay the earliest.
    Agreed. We fly Delta out of MN, because it is a direct flight, never had a problem so far. (knock knock) We almost plan our vacations around non-stop flights!

  11. #11

    Default

    Our rule of thumb is we always opt for the most convenient, and more importantly non-stop flight from A to B, price be damned. In this case however, we're cashing in FF miles with AA, so that eliminated any other option. AA does not offer a non-stop flight out of LAX. Actually, I'm not sure if any other airline does either, but it's a moot point anyway, being that we're flying on their dime.
    Ron

    Reading is fundamental. It's just that for some, it's more mental than fun.

  12. #12
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    First off, if you fly out of a regional airport, your choices are somewhat limited. If you're within several hours of driving to a hub, you have more options. Don't rule out a Park'n'Fly, and don't rule out an overnight stay at an airport hotel near a hub, with an early getaway to the island on a direct flight.

    Now having said that, Pam, a TA, has offered excellent advice. Book your air when you're comfortable with the price, but don't wait too long. You can babysit the airline sites and check a couple of times every day, and you MIGHT hit the jackpot.

    For our upcoming May visit, we booked last June. I revisit my airline site a few times every week and have not been able to beat the price I've come up with, which cost me a combination of miles and cash (miles for the outbound flight, cash for the return flight).

    As another post brilliantly observed, all of the airlines today are merely adequate. Pick one... roll the dice... and hang on for the ride.
    Chris

    "In an abundance of water, the fool is thirsty..." - Bob Marley - "Rat Race"


  13. #13
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    Jun 2009
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    Hi! We flew Air Jamaica December 2008 for our first trip to CSA out of JFK. All good, no problem mon! Returning we were delayed about 2 hours, kinda annoying but atleast it was going home. December 2009 trip to CSA flew US Airways out of Philly, never again! Delays, delays, delays and some seat booking issue which might have had to do with the holidays or not but either way never again for us! For December 2010 we are hoping Continental out of Newark or Air Jamaica out of JFK.

  14. #14

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    No issues with Continental through Houston, American through Miami, or Delta through Atlanta. Trying Northwest through Memphis this year.

    Book smart flights. Don't rely on making short connections. Make sure your baggage is packed smartly and clearly identifiable.

  15. #15

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    I find this site helpful when watching prices for flights: ITA Trip Planner. It has many features that I find convenient. You can search all major airlines at once. You can search multiple airports at once. You can search a range of travel dates at once. You can sort the resulting data by price, airline, arrival time, departure time, length of flight, number of stops, etc. It has a "graphical" feature that makes the information easier to understand (at least for me). The prices they state include all taxes and such but not baggage fees. When I find a flight that I like, I go to the actual airline website to book it. It's worked out well for me. Check it out.

    http://matrix.itasoftware.com/cvg/dispatch
    Happy & Safe Travels!

    =

  16. #16
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    For our Jamaica trip last year, we flew out of LAX on AA to Miami then MBJ. On the trip home we flew US Air through Charlotte. Both ways we were delayed significantly. We got to CSS at 1:00 a.m., when we should have arrived around 9:00. This year we are trying US Air out of our local airport to Phoenix, which has a direct flight to MBJ. A little more expensive, but the timing is much better and we are hoping for a more pleasant experience. We shall see! Excited we don't have to pay for parking (our local airport is 2 minutes away) and the nonstop to MBJ will be a treat!

  17. #17

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    Going to Couples in April, our 8th return and only fly Continental now after trying the rest. Tried Delta once as it gave us an extra 1/2 day on the island but was a connecting flight. Big mistake! Flight delays from equipment problems on all flights both ways plus they lost our luggage. Filing paperwork on missing luggage alone isn't worth it. We wound up losing more time on the island than if we used another airline. So only direct flights no matter the cost from now on!! We later were told D-E-L-T-A = dont expect luggage to arrive. How true.

  18. #18
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    We usually fly USAir to Mobay, hardly ever any problems w/ USAir out of Charlotte unless it is weather. The ONLY USAir problems that we have is when you go through Philly

    AJ usually has some type of problem that causes a long delay

    Delta, many problems

  19. #19
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    Delta will change flight times more than any other airline. Sometimes by a few hours or more which has realy made it hard catching flights. I don't use them unless ita free.

  20. #20

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    Oh no after reading this post I'm really nervous!!! We just booked our flight last week through Delta. We are going Cleveland to Atlanta to MBJ! The prices have been in the low $700 and we got ours for $380 so we had to jump on it! Is it really that horrible to fly Delta?? Does your luggage never make it (just so I know what to jam in my carry on!!)? When did your luggage ever arrive, how many days after??

    I hope we have no problems bc we are going for our Honeymoon =)

  21. #21
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    stef...

    Relax. Everyone who's traveled much has a horror story to tell about a particular airline. When it happens to you, it tends to stick, and everyone LOVES to tell war stories about it.

    Barring any delays with connecting flights, your bags will be on time. Even when I do have a tight connection due to ground delays, I'm amazed at how often my bags show up on time. In hundreds of trips (literally), my bags have only been lost three times. Lucky? Maybe.

    Just be sure to carry adequate clothing (and swimsuits) for a day or two with you on your carryon bag, as well as a few essential toiletries and any prescription medications you're using.

    I think everyone's point is this... air travel never has been a fully reliable and convenient way of getting around... and it never will be, especially in the competitive cost environment the airlines are required to operate within.

    Remember that part of this very discussion is about how to get the very "cheapest" fare. Remember... the folks in first class have paid quite a bit more than those of us in coach. But they don't arrive any sooner than you do... they're just a bit more comfortable.
    Chris

    "In an abundance of water, the fool is thirsty..." - Bob Marley - "Rat Race"


  22. #22
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    Jan 2010
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    5

    Default which airlines to fly

    Along those same lines, has anyone found a particular day of the week easier to get into and out of Montego Bay? Also, I agree with everyone about flying through Charlotte rather than Philly. My husband travels a lot for business, and has a problem every time he has had to go through Philly.

  23. #23

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    Thank you to everyone who shared their stories and advice! Much appreciated!

    I do have a couple more questions that i hope someone can help me with:

    1. If it is cheaper, should i buy a one way ticket there with one airline, and then a one way ticket back with another airline?

    2. What happens if you miss your connecting flight due to delays??

    3. I originally looked into Continental Airlines because my fiance always flies with them when he visits his family, but can you believe that the tickets for ONE person are almost $2,000 round trip right now!!!!!???? and that is not first class, that is economy! All the other airlines are around $600-800 per person round trip right now for the same dates. i wonder why such a big difference???

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pamela View Post
    You can have great experiences, horrific experiences, and unremarkable experiences with any airline. We generally flew Northwest (now Delta) when we lived in Detroit mainly because Detroit's airport was a NW hub. Now that we live in New York, we've flown to Jamaica on Delta, Spirit, and Air Jamaica.

    We like to fly Delta b/c we are frequent flyers and generally get upgraded to first class. However, our first criterion is a direct flight (most of our horrific experiences have involved delayed flights that caused us to miss our connection), then we look at what flight will land in MoBay the earliest.
    Pamela--
    I feel like this is a stupid question, but by "direct flight" do you mean a flight that goes straight to Jamaica from your original airport??

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suhrah View Post
    Pamela--
    I feel like this is a stupid question, but by "direct flight" do you mean a flight that goes straight to Jamaica from your original airport??
    Yes, that's what I mean. We live in New York now and generally fly directly from JFK in New York to MBJ in MoBay without making any stops in between.
    Pamela
    I know everything, and I'm always right (just ask my husband).

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