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Which airline to Denver?

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Which airline to Denver?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Going across the Pond for Easter Very Happy

Not done any scheduled Trans Atlantic flights for a while so no recent experience.

Which carriers would you look at and which would you avoid? Any baggage/ski carriage issues to be aware of? Any airports to avoid for connections? Any issues with doing a combo of airlines i.e. within an alliance but all booked with one airline?

Ideally we would fly from Manchester to Denver. But could easily do Heathrow too.

So far BA/AA and something called American Eagle combination on a codeshare looking the best in terms of price, connection times etc.

Delta a possibility too.

Thanks for any tips.
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sarah, Sarah, American Eagle is the "internal flight" arm of American Airlines.
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holidayloverxx, thanks Smile
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I've always had good deals with KLM/Northwest in the past - if you try to route via Minneapolis, the last internal leg of the flight is quite short and the layover time long enough that you don;t have to stress to get through immigration and customs, but not too long that you are hanging around an airport for hours. Their ski baggage charges are a bit pricey though.
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sarah, BA direct from Heathrow.

Also look at Lufthansa Manchester/Frankfurt and Frankfurt/Denver direct.
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Scampi Dellahanti, Bode Swiller, thanks going to check now, think I looked before but dates changed. Also really don't want to do 3 flights, some I looked at were.
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We are flying next week to Denver, and my advice is stick to the same airline both ways. We decided to save £200 by using American Airlines instead of BA on the way back with a change at Dallas, but their policies for ski carriage are totally different.

On the way out with BA, we are putting both pairs of skis in one bag and paying for an extre 23kg of luggage for them and carrying our boots in normal luggage, and packaging a few things around the skis. American Airlines policy is different and you pay for ski and boot bag, but they won't have two pairs of skis in one bag. Therefore we are having to pay for two lots of carriage and take spare ski and boot bags with us. At least it does mean if we spend a fortune at the Columbia outlet store we will have space in our bags for it all. I am sure we might get away with two pairs of skis in one bag, but it is the sort of thing my OH would stress about so for an extre £40 its not worth it.

I think I have correctly interpreted the guidance - if I am wrong then hopefully someone will correct me before tomorrow when I book all the extra luggage Very Happy Very Happy
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sarah, you can fly Toronto (Air Transat), Chicago (BA/AA) or Philadelphia (US Airways) direct from Manchester. There are direct flights from all of those to Denver. Really no need for a two stopper.
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Anniegirl, thanks for that info, will bear it in mind.

Bode Swiller, great will check those. Drawn a blank on Lufthansa - no decent fares left and KLM was a two stopper.
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I am finding my best deal in terms of price and flight connection times etc with Air Canada all the way, no codesharing. Any thoughts on Air Canada? Via Toronto one way and Montreal the other.
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sarah, not the greatest but reasonable on the baggage. Toronto is a miserable airport to transfer in if it's busy (only if you have to take your luggage through by hand).
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Bode Swiller wrote:
Really no need for a two stopper.
No need for a one-stopper either. I flew BA direct Heathrow to Denver a couple of years ago (for a rugby thing). If I'm honest, I'm not entirely sure why anyone would do anything other than that... Just had a look at flights in February (just out of interest) and when I saw how cheap they were I almost booked some there and then! Thankfully thought better of it (and checked flights to Vancouver instead Laughing )
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skisimon, Bode Swiller was referring to flights from Manchester where you do most definitely have to make at least one stop.

Alans deep bath, Sad still you can't have everything. Times and prices reasonable. Just weighing up all the options from an afternoon's work now.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
In your position I'd go for BA if available as a direct flight. Have used Air Canada (some years ago) and they were fine. Also found Toronto and Montreal airports better than average. Don't have recent experience of Air Canada though.
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BA then AA to Eagle if going to Vail.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Where the hell does American Eagle got in there? Shocked

Don't go with AE if you can avoid it.
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sarah wrote:
skisimon, Bode Swiller was referring to flights from Manchester where you do most definitely have to make at least one stop.
Ah ha, fair enough. Apologies Bode Swiller for taking that comment out of context. Personally though, I'd still prefer an extra hour or two getting to the airport in the UK than having to change flights. But that's just me, I suppose it's very much each to their own with regards to which they would prefer to do.

snowymum, I flew with AC a few times before they merged with Canadian, and a couple of times since. The standard is not what it once was, unfortunately. I now just fly BA, unless they don't service a particular destination.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Thanks all.

abc, American Eagle flies one of the legs on one of the options on a BA codeshare. OK will avoid Shocked


Another question now re. clearing immigration and baggage reclaim. If I end up doing a one stopper flight, is it better to make my stop in the US or Canada with regard to immigration? I imagine if my stop is in the US then when I finally arrive in Denver I just walk right off no hassle? Whereas if I stop in Canada I have hassle/queues clearing Canadian immig only to then repeat the process in Denver?? I was originally told that if the stopover is in Canada you don't have to reclaim bags there but now have been told you do. Anyone know which is correct? Ideally I would have my bags checked through to final destination.

Thanks.
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skisimon wrote:
Personally though, I'd still prefer an extra hour or two getting to the airport in the UK than having to change flights.
Last time I tried to drive from Manchester to London it took about 6 hours (something to do with a container-load of Bovril). Much safer to fly down and mooch about in T5 for a bit. Whichever way you go its a one stopper. And I'd never bother with the Denver-Eagle Vail flight - Colorado Mountain Express is a better way to go IMO.
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sarah wrote:
Thanks all.

abc, American Eagle flies one of the legs on one of the options on a BA codeshare. OK will avoid Shocked


Another question now re. clearing immigration and baggage reclaim. If I end up doing a one stopper flight, is it better to make my stop in the US or Canada with regard to immigration? I imagine if my stop is in the US then when I finally arrive in Denver I just walk right off no hassle? Whereas if I stop in Canada I have hassle/queues clearing Canadian immig only to then repeat the process in Denver?? I was originally told that if the stopover is in Canada you don't have to reclaim bags there but now have been told you do. Anyone know which is correct? Ideally I would have my bags checked through to final destination.

Thanks.

Direct for outgoing and return journey.

I am sure you will find canada and america both have immigration requiremenst so you wont achieve anything. I went to denver over christams just gone and flew direct BA and tried to save a few pounds on the return by using AA from denver to heathrow via chicago. it certainly saved a few quid for each ticket but honestly not worth it. wished i had paid the extra and flew direct both ways with BA. seats are more comfortable, food is infinitely better on BA and AA only have tv screens in the aisle like the euorpean charter flights. each to their own i suppose but for my experience i wiould always fly direct but there again cost has to be considered and it depends how you balance that out yourself.

For what its worth BA's sale is due to end in the next few days and the prices will increase by several hundreds of pounds. Oh and dont forget to register with their executive club and collect the points. i travel to phoenix a few times a year and in the last 18 month i now have enough points for 2 free return flights to phx - tax is still £300 mind you.

Which resort are you going to? have you got ski pass/ hire sorted? we booked everything ourselves and also booked ski/lift pass here in the uk and saved us a fortune - let me know if you want any more info.
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pauljames, thanks. We are pretty much settled on Air Canada, they are significantly cheaper than BA direct (over £600) and you do US immigration in Canada (no need to do Canadian) on the stop outbound and then are treated as US domestic on arrival in Denver.
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sarah, that's good to know. You can always check what 'entertainment' is available on your flights with seatguru - flighstats will give you details on the aircraft being assigned to your flight.

And agree with pauljames, book your skipasses from the UK before you arrive in the states for most Colorado resprts - you will save a significant amount (I think $100 or more on our last tickets).
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Sorry to spoil the Party..

Colorado has the lowest snowpack since 2002 ! Many ski areas are praying !!!

http://denver.cbslocal.com/2012/01/09/colorado-has-lowest-new-years-snowpack-since-2002/

http://www.summitdaily.com/article/20120109/NEWS/120109817

Re. Free Ski Carriage. If you book Via Swiss. Your get free carriage on Lufthansa. they did last year.

Most American airlines charge for ski's.
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stanton, dude

she's going at Easter

A lot can change

okbye
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stanton, get off my thread Evil or Very Mad It's not as if you have a great track record with your snowfall predictions is it?

Scampi Dellahanti, Bode Swiller, thanks again.
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sarah wrote,

Quote:

pauljames, thanks. We are pretty much settled on Air Canada, they are significantly cheaper than BA direct (over £600) and you do US immigration in Canada (no need to do Canadian) on the stop outbound and then are treated as US domestic on arrival in Denver.


Really? - That wasn't my experience last time I did a trip to the US (St. Louis) via Toronto (although to be fair that was a few years back) - I certainly had to unload bags to clear Canadian immigration in Toronto (Q: How long do you plan to stay in Canada? A: about an hour), and while it's true that you can then go through the US immigration thing in Toronto airport, that's not necessarily something you want to do if you've got a fairly tight connection (although the immigration officials did try to prioritise the lineup for flights departing soon).

Then on the way back, I had again to unload baggage and clear Canadian immigration before getting my flight home.

The reason I selected those flights was the "significantly cheaper" option, although the hassle involved is also the reason I've never done it again. Transiting through a European hub is a lot less stressful.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Acacia, thanks, it's here http://www.aircanada.com/en/travelinfo/airport/yyz_intl_us.html

Yes you have to take your bags and then put them back, yes you do go through US immig and we have time to do that. At least when we get to Denver we can walk straight out without any delay there.

No option to transit through a European hub (unless I paid 3x the price) and anyway the last time I transited through Paris CDG it was hell.
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sarah wrote:
stanton, get off my thread Evil or Very Mad It's not as if you have a great track record with your snowfall predictions is it?

Scampi Dellahanti, Bode Swiller, thanks again.


I think your find my record is one of the best on this forum Very Happy
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Quote:

KLM/Northwest - Their ski baggage charges are a bit pricey though.


But there doesn't have to be any charge for skis - see below.
Quote:

On the way out with BA, we are putting both pairs of skis in one bag and paying for an extre 23kg of luggage for them and carrying our boots in normal luggage


Why??!? Shocked

Mrs B and I regularly fly with KLM and BA and (in each case):-
- take our ski boots and ski clothing in our hand luggage (while wearing our ski jackets); and
- check in 1 ski bag containing 2 pairs of skis and other bits and pieces; and
- check in 1 other bag of clothes for the trip.

As long as the check in bags weigh less than 23kg each there is no charge for luggage.

Simples! Very Happy

We are heading to Winter Park in 3 weeks and I am now slightly alarmed by the comment above from stanton, Hmmm......

Then again, as long as there is enough to ski on we'll be happy.
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Quote:

But there doesn't have to be any charge for skis - see below.
Quote:

On the way out with BA, we are putting both pairs of skis in one bag and paying for an extre 23kg of luggage for them and carrying our boots in normal luggage



Why??!?


Because I hate lugging hand luggage around with me, I would far rather pay £35 and put everything in the hold and have just my kindle, i-phone and few bits and bobs with me on the plane Very Happy .

There has been almost three foot of snow in Breckenridge over the last week, so I am not worrying too much snowHead
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Anniegirl wrote:


There has been almost three foot of snow in Breckenridge over the last week, so I am not worrying too much snowHead


Very Happy snowHead Very Happy snowHead

Thank you, flights booked and that's where we're off to.
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Anniegirl wrote:
We are flying next week to Denver, and my advice is stick to the same airline both ways. We decided to save £200 by using American Airlines instead of BA on the way back with a change at Dallas, but their policies for ski carriage are totally different.

On the way out with BA, we are putting both pairs of skis in one bag and paying for an extre 23kg of luggage for them and carrying our boots in normal luggage, and packaging a few things around the skis. American Airlines policy is different and you pay for ski and boot bag, but they won't have two pairs of skis in one bag. Therefore we are having to pay for two lots of carriage and take spare ski and boot bags with us. At least it does mean if we spend a fortune at the Columbia outlet store we will have space in our bags for it all. I am sure we might get away with two pairs of skis in one bag, but it is the sort of thing my OH would stress about so for an extre £40 its not worth it.

I think I have correctly interpreted the guidance - if I am wrong then hopefully someone will correct me before tomorrow when I book all the extra luggage Very Happy Very Happy

I'm too late to save you the baggage charges, but possibly not too late for others in the same position as you.

Your interpretation of AA's policy seems consistent with their website (although you get different wording if you look on Expedia, where we booked our tickets, or on BA's website's description of partner baggage allowances), so I called to find out. I was told that two sets of skis in one bag isn't a problem provided the size and weight limits aren't breached.

I had no problem on the way out to the USA. I hope that the return flight is just as straightforward - although I do have a second ski bag just in case.
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Jonny Jones, On the way back, use the curbside checkin - it is really fast and they didn't weigh anything. We did online check in the night before and got our boarding passes emailed to our phones, he took the number off it and gave us paper boarding passes and after that everything else was easy.

My OH skis were knackered by the end of the holiday so we just left them there, they could probably be fixed but I think he wanted an excuse to get a new pair so it seemed pointless paying to take them back home.
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I prefer Virgin, but look into the next grade up, sometimes it's not much more and they will throw in a car whether you want it or not, the leg room is better, the luggage allowance is better, the meal is better, your seat is in smaller area. The price is soon forgotten but the better experience will be remembered.

Having done the trip BA seats quite good, Virgin more leg seat quite good, Delta dont go there, United ditto. A flight to Eagle airport from Denver is a good idea if going to Vail etc. I think linked to AA or BA saves the 2 hour drive if shattered, and up to 4 if there is heavy snow and you lack long snow driving experience at night.
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When do you go? I fly to Denver on Sat 25th via Chicago on United (pretty much something everyone here has said don't do!) So looking forward to it! 2 weeks in winter park visiting friends and skiing snowHead
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Two rules when flying:

1. Always go for the direct flight unless you have no choice.

2. Never fly any U.S. based airline unless you have no choice. Some of the American carriers were good years ago. The days of Pan Am are long gone. They all suck now (except for Southwest, which is kind of goofy). Flying a U.S. airline is a human rights abuse. If you want to be treated like a human being, you need to go business or first class (and even that is no guarantee).

If any of you think I'm anti-American. I am American.
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chraya, I was quite happy flying Continental and Delta (cattle class) recently - when I hubbed and spoked through Houston and Atlanta, respectively.
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I've done a fair bit of flying in the US - I've got family there. Try to stick with as few flights as possible. The journey in the UK to an airport is preferable to a lay over / wait in another airport. BA direct to Denver from LHR is best. I once did Plymouth to Gatwick, Gatwick to Atlanta and then Atlanta to Sarasota. It was awful.
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Oh - and I flew Delta business class (apart from the Plymouth leg). It was still awful. On the way home the flight to Plymouth was cancelled as well. Awful.
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Just wanted to update this thread and say thanks for the advice given.

So we went Air Canada Heathrow to Toronto to Denver and return. We travelled on a Wednesday both ways. Absolutely great, no complaints, worked really well.

All 4 flights on time. Heathrow T3 a dream departing and arriving. No queue for check in. Outbound plane change and clearing US immig in Toronto a breeze, just got off, collected bags and went through US immigration desks really quickly and easily and then were settled into the Molson Pub for a nice meal and a pint prior to the next leg Smile

On arrival at Denver no issues at all collected bags and left.

On return flight, no check in queue at Denver, small queue for security and then we were off, baggage through checked to Heathrow. Arrived in Toronto in time for a quick evening meal before boarding the overnight flight back to Heathrow.

What I liked:

the baggage allowance - Between three of us we took 2 suitcases, 1 ski bag containing three pairs, 2 boot bags, 1 kids car seat all checked in plus 6 x 10kg hand baggage pieces (2 each) all included, no extra charges.

the stopover split - the timings really worked, the TA flight was shortish (6-7 hours) and then there was time enough for a good stretch and a proper meal in Toronto, the Toronto to Denver flight was short, less than 3 hours. On the return the actual 'overnight' portion of the flight was really well timed in that we left Toronto at about 11.30pm which was exactly right for trying to sleep. Often the returning TA flights are too early so you don't actually sleep overnight. With these timings we arrived at Heathrow at around 11.30am and felt that we had slept onboard and that it was morning on arrival, rather than arriving at 7am and then getting home and going to straight to bed! As we have done in the past! Seemed to help alleviate the jetlag (having said that it is 2.30am and I am posting on here!!)

On board - Air Canada entertainment was similar to Emirates, excellent choice of movies and tv and all on demand/stop/start/pause etc. Seat was reasonable pitch in economy and cabin crew service was excellent. Outbound we were on the new Dreamliner and it was great.

What I didn't like:

Air Canada food - it was very average and inconsistent with the rest of the product IMO, have had better food on short haul charter flights.


In contrast our friends flew United and had a nightmare. Their outbound flight was via Washington and so they cleared US immig there, the queues were so horrific that they missed their onward connection and had to be rebooked and ended up arriving in Breckenridge around 9 hours late at around 4am Skullie They also had less baggage than us but were subject to excess baggage charges, then on the return their outbound flight was delayed over an hour which meant that they would miss their connecting flight, fortunately that was delayed by two hours so they made it. In both directions they ended up being 'in transit' far longer than us and on the OB flight they were in a cabin where the onboard entertainment system had failed so they had no tv/radio for 8 hours.

Big thumbs up to Air Canada. I would choose this option again unless the direct BA flights were similar in price.
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