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Calif to Europe: How risky are multiple flts?


SusaninCali

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For you experienced travelers to Europe, how risky is it regarding luggage loss when using multiple carriers?

 

We're going from LAX to Barcelona. I can save about $300+ pp flying LAX on a US carrier (like American, Continental, etc.) to Boston or JFK, then switching to Iberia Airlines (the Spanish airline) or Swiss Air to get to Barcelona. There could be another stop on in Paris enroute to Barcelona where we would change planes again.

 

OR, I can spend $300/pp more to fly on British Airways or Delta. Each of these transfers only once, but all travel is with the same airline.

 

So, when using mulitple carriers to Europe, how much more risk is there for luggage going astray vs. staying with one airline? We'll be spending one extra day in Barcelona at the beginning of the cruise, so I guess that would give a pad to direct lost luggage to us, but still...

 

Thanks in advance for your responses.

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For you experienced travelers to Europe, how risky is it regarding luggage loss when using multiple carriers?

 

We're going from LAX to Barcelona. I can save about $300+ pp flying LAX on a US carrier (like American, Continental, etc.) to Boston or JFK, then switching to Iberia Airlines (the Spanish airline) or Swiss Air to get to Barcelona. There could be another stop on in Paris enroute to Barcelona where we would change planes again.

 

OR, I can spend $300/pp more to fly on British Airways or Delta. Each of these transfers only once, but all travel is with the same airline.

 

So, when using mulitple carriers to Europe, how much more risk is there for luggage going astray vs. staying with one airline? We'll be spending one extra day in Barcelona at the beginning of the cruise, so I guess that would give a pad to direct lost luggage to us, but still...

 

Thanks in advance for your responses.

 

 

I have flown to Europe 7 times and never had my luggage lost. Just make sure that you are aware of the times YOU have to switch your luggage over to the different airline.

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I rarely check luggage, but when I have, I've never had any lost, and I've been to Europe many times.

 

I would be less concerned about bags, and more concerned about possible misconnections due to delays/cancellations, etc. The more flights you add, the higher your chances are of problems.

 

Would recommend you avoid Iberia and choose Swiss if you go that route.

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For you experienced travelers to Europe, how risky is it regarding luggage loss when using multiple carriers?

 

We're going from LAX to Barcelona. I can save about $300+ pp flying LAX on a US carrier (like American, Continental, etc.) to Boston or JFK, then switching to Iberia Airlines (the Spanish airline) or Swiss Air to get to Barcelona. There could be another stop on in Paris enroute to Barcelona where we would change planes again.

 

OR, I can spend $300/pp more to fly on British Airways or Delta. Each of these transfers only once, but all travel is with the same airline.

 

So, when using mulitple carriers to Europe, how much more risk is there for luggage going astray vs. staying with one airline? We'll be spending one extra day in Barcelona at the beginning of the cruise, so I guess that would give a pad to direct lost luggage to us, but still...

 

Thanks in advance for your responses.

We went from LAX to Barcelona last year for a TA cruise.

Personally, we prefered an international carrier from LAX non-stop to Heathrow overnight (Virgin Atlantic), and then a short flight from LHR to Barcelona(BA). Service is great on VA, and we had a wait for the BA flight but several flight times were available (cheap flight). No problem with bags at all, just allow enough time.The more separate flights you have, the more that could go wrong.I shopped around, and the combo of the 2 flights was pretty reasonable. Barcelona is a wonderful city. We took one of the open air tour buses and got a good view of the city. We had 2 nights pre-cruise.

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Here's a horror story about missing luggage. A group of us from various points in the US and UK cruised from Rome last June. The couple who organised the trip are from Portland Oregon. They travelled via Gatwick in order to visit friends and family in England. Things went wrong on the first stage of the trip as the flight from Portland was changed and they ended up staying overnight in Atlanta. When they finally arrived at Gatwick a day late there was no sign of their luggage. Fortunately they had carry on bags with things for the couple of days they would be in England.

 

The flight from Gatwick to Rome was on a different airline, BA, so that complicated matters. Still they were assured that the luggage would be in Rome when they arrived.

 

The plan was that we would meet up with these friends at Rome airport and share a shuttle to the hotel in Rome. We travelled United from San Francisco to Rome via Frankfurt with no problems and found our friends in the baggage claim area still searching for their bags!

We finally decided they were not there and went in search of help. There is a service that is suppose to help with lost bags but it wasn't much use.

 

We spent a couple of nights in Rome and our friends spent a lot of time on the phone talking to people at Gatwick and Rome airports. The day of embarkation came and our friends decided to head back to the airport and do a manual check in the baggage claim area. And yes one of their bags was there! It was supposed to be delivered to the hotel but had been overlooked. And still one bag was missing! this couple were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary and had organised a vow renewal celebration and the missing suitcase contained my friends original wedding dress that she was planning to wear.

 

We all thought that they wouldn't see that bag again. However Celebrity got on the case (no pun intended) and lo and behold after a day out in Athens, on our third day, they arrived back and found the bag in their cabin.

 

So I would say pay the extra and stay with one carrier, I know some US airlines are in alliance with other carriers, for example we fly United but they sometimes use Lufthansa, British Midland or Air Canada. But it's all booked on one ticket. We fly back and forth to the UK all the time and have never had a problem.

 

Hope I haven't alarmed you too much;)

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My very first flight to England was on American Airlines through Dallas to Gatwick. We made our connecting flight, but our luggage didn't. We were doing a 7 day coach tour of England, Wales & Scotland. It took 3 days for our luggage to finally catch up with us. We each had 1 pair of sweats in our carry-on besides what we wore on the plane.

 

Now I always pack at least 3 outfits in my carry-on bag, and haven't had any luggage lost since. On flights to Brussels via Frankfurt, LAX direct to Dusseldorf, Athens via London, Vienna via Zurich, Budapest via Zurich, and LAX to Paris on to Rome/Venice to Rome to LAX.

 

It's tough to find direct flights these days, but I do try to make it as direct as possible, even if it does cost a little more. I would do more than 1 stop/change of planes, and make sure it is all booked on one ticket, so you have the International baggage limits.

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For you experienced travelers to Europe, how risky is it regarding luggage loss when using multiple carriers?

 

We're going from LAX to Barcelona. I can save about $300+ pp flying LAX on a US carrier (like American, Continental, etc.) to Boston or JFK, then switching to Iberia Airlines (the Spanish airline) or Swiss Air to get to Barcelona. There could be another stop on in Paris enroute to Barcelona where we would change planes again.

 

OR, I can spend $300/pp more to fly on British Airways or Delta. Each of these transfers only once, but all travel is with the same airline.

 

So, when using mulitple carriers to Europe, how much more risk is there for luggage going astray vs. staying with one airline? We'll be spending one extra day in Barcelona at the beginning of the cruise, so I guess that would give a pad to direct lost luggage to us, but still...

 

Thanks in advance for your responses.

 

 

Losing luggage was one of my big worries having arranged travel for 3 groups flying from 3 different cities last summer. Nothing would suck more then not having your clothes ( especially formal wear :eek: ).

 

You might consider looking at US-Air. We actually flew that from LAX-Philly first thing in the morning then caught the late afternoon flight from Philly to Europe. We finally settled on them versus Delta, single carrier one domestic stop. Another thing we did, inconvenient was that we pretty much managed to fit everything we needed into ONE carry-on/person. Yes one carry-on plus one big personal item ;) The good thing was it forced us all to go lite, and really simplified everything once we got to Europe too.

 

Good luck

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I would do more than 1 stop/change of planes, and make sure it is all booked on one ticket, so you have the International baggage limits.

 

You mean NO more than one stop right?

 

Thanks for the responses so far. I didn't know I'd have to re-check my luggage enroute with the next carrier. That could be a problem if in different terminals.

 

Chipmaster, we can't do carry-on only. 16-night trip with formal wear, hubby is really tall so his big clothes & shoes take up lots of room, etc. I travel a lot for work though and usually do carry-on only, but that won't work this time.

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You mean NO more than one stop right?

 

Thanks for the responses so far. I didn't know I'd have to re-check my luggage enroute with the next carrier. That could be a problem if in different terminals.

 

Chipmaster, we can't do carry-on only. 16-night trip with formal wear, hubby is really tall so his big clothes & shoes take up lots of room, etc. I travel a lot for work though and usually do carry-on only, but that won't work this time.

 

Yes, I did mean NO MORE than 1 stop.

 

If it's all booked together, you don't usually have to claim your luggage to change flights. Only if you book them as separate flights yourself. But the airline porters (or whatever they are called) still have to move those bags from one plane to the other and they sometimes don't make it.

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The key problem with lots of plane changes esp with different carriers is YOU missing the flight. (That matters more than luggage, IMO).

 

If you do this, it is VERY important that all of your segments are on ONE ticket (even with the different carriers). If you book separate tickets and one of your flights gets in late, causing you to miss the next flight, you have no recourse.

 

This happened to me last year when I was travelling to a small town in Sweden. I flew Vancouver-Heathrow (Air Canada) / Heathrow-Copenhagen (BA) then was supposed to fly Copenhagen-Sweden on SAS. The AC/BA ticket got me to Copenhagen (3 hours late) so BA felt they had fulfilled their obiligation but I missed checking in for the SAS flight, so SAS didn't feel they had to do anything.

 

If its all on one ticket, the airline that made you late will rebook you on the next flight. (I got it rebooked eventually, but it was a huge fight at the airport after 20 hours of travel!)

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Shows how persistance pays off. I've been keeping my eyes on airfares for weeks and one of the better itins on Delta dropped over $300 pp this weekend. So I booked it. I got to pick my ideal flight time, no crazy extra stops or changing carriers, and at a great price for an open jaw airfare!:D

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Good for you -- getting the most desired flights and prices.

 

We have been flying for years to Europe and the Middle East from San Francisco.

 

Generally try to go the most direct route ont the same carrier if at all possible. We try to avoid flying on partner airlines as well, if we can.

 

Do believe this minimizes the loss of luggage a lot. In 30 years, we have never lost a piece of luggage and only had one piece delayed a day.

 

Regardless, we always say our prayers in advance of any flight. :)

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For you experienced travelers to Europe, how risky is it regarding luggage loss when using multiple carriers?

 

We're going from LAX to Barcelona. I can save about $300+ pp flying LAX on a US carrier (like American, Continental, etc.) to Boston or JFK, then switching to Iberia Airlines (the Spanish airline) or Swiss Air to get to Barcelona. There could be another stop on in Paris enroute to Barcelona where we would change planes again.

 

OR, I can spend $300/pp more to fly on British Airways or Delta. Each of these transfers only once, but all travel is with the same airline.

 

So, when using mulitple carriers to Europe, how much more risk is there for luggage going astray vs. staying with one airline? We'll be spending one extra day in Barcelona at the beginning of the cruise, so I guess that would give a pad to direct lost luggage to us, but still...

 

Thanks in advance for your responses.

 

That's a toughie. The more stops, the more changes of planes, using multiple carriers....all these increase the chances of luggage going astray. That being said, I've never had luggage lost in over 32 years of traveling domestically and abroad.......

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The only time my luggage wasn't waiting for me when I got off a plane was fortunately AFTER our European cruise - and it wasn't lost. We flew from London to DC to Atlanta, and the last leg of the trip had us on some tiny little plane that simply couldn't accommodate the masses of luggage its passengers had with them. We let the cruise line arrange our flights and it seemed that the bulk of the people on that last plane were off our ship, so everyone had two weeks worth of luggage with them when I'm sure planes that size typically accommodate business travelers who carry little. Long story short, the luggage was too heavy for the plane so they had to leave some behind and didn't bother to tell us until we landed in Atlanta what had happened. We're just glad this was after our cruise, not before it, and they drove the suitcase out to our house the next day.

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If it's all booked together, you don't usually have to claim your luggage to change flights. Only if you book them as separate flights yourself.

If they are separate tickets, you will likely have to claim the luggage at baggage claim, then re-check it on the second carrier. You will also have to clear security screening, as you leave the secure area to claim the luggage.

 

But the airline porters (or whatever they are called) still have to move those bags from one plane to the other and they sometimes don't make it.
They are the ramp workers or "ramp rats" - the folks who take care of all of the luggage, as well as tugs and air-ducts and power and wing-walking and the like.

 

FYI - there is a dedicated forum here on CC called "Cruise Air". Lots of frequent flyers who can answer most questions about air travel.

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For you experienced travelers to Europe, how risky is it regarding luggage loss when using multiple carriers?

 

We're going from LAX to Barcelona. I can save about $300+ pp flying LAX on a US carrier (like American, Continental, etc.) to Boston or JFK, then switching to Iberia Airlines (the Spanish airline) or Swiss Air to get to Barcelona. There could be another stop on in Paris enroute to Barcelona where we would change planes again.

 

OR, I can spend $300/pp more to fly on British Airways or Delta. Each of these transfers only once, but all travel is with the same airline.

 

So, when using mulitple carriers to Europe, how much more risk is there for luggage going astray vs. staying with one airline? We'll be spending one extra day in Barcelona at the beginning of the cruise, so I guess that would give a pad to direct lost luggage to us, but still...

 

Thanks in advance for your responses.

 

There are direct AA JFK-BCN (Barcelona) flights a few times a week, so why don't you go AA all the way and back with one stopover. And you can check your bags all the way.

 

We did that - BDA-JFK-BCN and back and it was great. Better than stopping off in London.

 

Tip: if you book AA online, use Multi-city and enter 4 segments LAX-JFK, JFK-BCN, BCN-JFK, JFK-LAX. You may get cheaper fare this way.

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Chances of loosing luggage are slim. Chances of it not getting there with you are likely if a flight is delayed/late and connecting time is short. You might make the flight, but your luggage may not. With the bar codes and all, they usually can track it, tell you where it is and when and on what flight it will be on. This happened to us a couple of years ago returning from Budepest through Paris en route to JFK. Our Budepest/Paris flight was delayed. They picked us up at the plane on the tarmac and brought us in a van to the Paris/JFK flight. We got on and took off almost immediately (I think they held that flight by about 10 minutes as they knew there were about 12 of us connecting to it). We got to JFK, no luggage (all 12 of us who were connecting from Budepest). They told us where it was and what flight it would be coming on. And the best part.....we proceeded through customs "luggage free", not having to carry, cart or handle luggage, and it was delivered to our home the next morning.

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