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Thread: European airlines experiences, please share.

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    European airlines experiences, please share.

    Links to blogs about them, customer service experience, plane seat configuration, luggage allowance etc...

    Share as much as you can!

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    There are dozens of European airlines. If you're more specific as to where you're going, I'm sure many can help.

    For configurations, go to seatguru.com

    For luggage allowances look at the individual airline's website as they are all different.

    For many trips within Europe, the flight time is very low. Don't expect great service on a one hour flight. There isn't enough time.

    The Traveler's Helpline at ricksteves.com has a 'transportation" section where people talk about alrlines as well as other forms of transportation.
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    My preference for trans-Atlantic travel is BA, but that just might be because they steadily infuse me with gin and tonics.

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    My preference for trans-Atlantic travel is Virgin Atlantic.

    Watch out for Ryan Air and some of the low-cost ones. They are very cheap but you are basically in a public bus with wings. Not bad for short hops, but not as good for longer flights.

    If I'm going to make any generalizations, it's that carry-on luggage allowances are much stricter... and something they often do that we're not used to with domestic flights--they also WEIGH YOUR CARRY-ON.

    If you absolutely cannot meet the weight restriction for a carry-on, even after you've lightened your load as much as you could, the best solution is to look into getting a ScotteVest. They all have something like 43,000 pockets in them, and they are streamlined so you don't look like you're wanting to sell a bunch of watches on a streetcorner ("Pssst. Wanna buy a watch?").

    We managed to travel with just 13 pounds each (The Ultra-minimalist packing list: How I packed for Europe « The Travelite FAQ) for Virgin Atlantic, and it was a challenge even for us.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lani View Post
    We managed to travel with just 13 pounds each (The Ultra-minimalist packing list: How I packed for Europe « The Travelite FAQ) for Virgin Atlantic, and it was a challenge even for us.
    so I read your packing list article, and I realized that we must be related when you got to the part where you counted out how many Q-tips you were likely to need. I totally do that. I just wrap them up in a little piece of cling film, though--no fancy-schmancy craft store baggies for me. (Of course, I will undoubtedly procure them for my next trip . . .)

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    Hi, Lani. I just read your article. Great job paring the load down. But I always carry a nail clipper—what do you do about hangnails otherwise?

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    Wait, what's this with a baggie - isn't there an organizer pouch sized for Q-tips?

    backpack - I also endorse the Rick Steves graffiti boards for info on flying in Europe. I've had great success in the past with Ryanair. I got 3 tickets from southern France to Sweden once for half a Euro! But you do have to factor in baggage fees and the fact that the airports are often pretty far from the city you are heading to. Ground transportation adds to that cheap ticket price.

    One tip I'll offer is that some airlines let you pay in advance for overweight bags, and it's much cheaper than it will be at the airport.

    According to my husband, Skyscanner.com is a good website for searching for cheap tickets within Europe.

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    LJW
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    I wonder how much weight can be saved if you trim the middle bit in between the Q-tip ends?

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    Quote Originally Posted by LJW View Post
    I wonder how much weight can be saved if you trim the middle bit in between the Q-tip ends?
    not enough to risk potentially lodging cotton in your brain matter.

    I also know how many days I can get out of a travel bottle of contact cleaner, in three different brands. If I'm carrying crap across the world, I want it to be like Baby Bear's porridge for Goldilocks: just right.

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    I have flown Ryanair before but for a very short trip and it was before they weighted things.

    I will be willing to upgrade to premium economy, because I don't travel often from the U.S to Europe and I want to have a pleasant flight.

    I need a aisle sit so I can get up and not get P.A.D.

    I am nervous about the luggage weight, not for my husband but for me, I wear Plus Size clothes which are not available in great quantity in the U.S, let alone in Europe.

    I am thinking of sending an Aeronaute with clothes, via UPS.

    It is an informal trip but it would be nerve wracking if I "don't look right".
    Last edited by backpack; 03-13-2012 at 08:23 PM.

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    When you say you are nervous about "luggage weight," do you mean carry-on or checked?

    I'm not sure where you're located, but if in the U.S., stick to U.S. airlines for your flight across the pond as they are the most lenient as to carry-on weights. American, Delta and USAir have a 40 lb weight limit. United has no weight limit. British Airways has no weight limit and Air France is 26 lbs.
    All of the airlines now have Premium Economy for their international flights. You can check seat availability before purchasing tickets. (On BA you'll have to pay extra to reserve a specific seat.)

    Here's a link to a chart with information on many airlines. It's still best to check individual airline websites to make sure:

    http://www.travelsmith.com/wcsstore/...Guidelines.pdf
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    Aeronaut(2), Tri-Star(2) Cadet , Large Cafe Bag, Travel Tray, Travel Money Belt, Absolute Straps(3), Side Effect, Clear Quarter Packing Cubes (2), 3D Organizer Cubes (4), Aeronaut & Tri-Star Packing Cubes, Clear Organizer Wallet, numerous Organizer Pouches,, Guardian Dual Function Light, Vertical Netbook Cache, Nexus 7 Cache, RFID Passport Pouch, numerous Key Straps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kmcg View Post
    Wait, what's this with a baggie - isn't there an organizer pouch sized for Q-tips?
    When you're counting every ounce, a plastic baggie the size of a credit card to store your Q-tips is lighter than an organizer pouch.

    When I carry nail clippers, I try to carry little baby ones. Gerber used to make one that was about half normal size, but I can't find them anymore (they stuck a huge handle on them).

    Badger -- I'm so glad you count out Q-tips, too!
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    Publisher, The Travelite FAQ: Don't get saddled with baggage—free yourself & your mind by packing lightly!
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    JLE
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lani View Post
    When you're counting every ounce, a plastic baggie the size of a credit card to store your Q-tips is lighter than an organizer pouch.

    When I carry nail clippers, I try to carry little baby ones. Gerber used to make one that was about half normal size, but I can't find them anymore (they stuck a huge handle on them).

    Badger -- I'm so glad you count out Q-tips, too!
    For tiny nail clippers, you could perhaps try a baby/early parenthood specialist store? Here in Australia they are relatively easy to pick up even from the baby section in a larger pharmacy (drugstore).

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    Hmm. Baby nail clippers would not work for me. I need my ginormous goat-man clippers to do the job right.

    Backpack, I would NOT advise sending your clothes through the mail. Even with UPS, delays can happen and you don't need the added stress of wondering where your stuff might be.

    You didn't say where you're going, but my advice here would be to stay in a hotel with laundry facilities (or near a drop-off laundrette, which is way cheaper). Pack your clothes into compression bags if you're worried they'll take up too much room, and go for lightweight pieces. The clothes will get wrinkled as all hell, but you can relax them by hanging them in the bathroom while you take a hot shower, and then iron them. Also, pack more tops than bottoms, since tops tend to less tolerant of repeat wearings and are smaller anyway.

    FrankII said you can't pick your seats on BA without a charge, but if you buy World Traveller Plus seats they are (and correct me if I'm wrong) grouped as pairs. I believe it's a 2-2-2-2 configuration, or a 2-4-2. So, even if you're in the middle, you will get one aisle seat. Also, if you register with BA's frequent traveller program, you can state your preference for an aisle seat. Finally, the best thing about BA is requesting the Asian Vegetarian meal. You get Punjabi-style food and some sort of Indian dessert. And gin and tonics.

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    When you're counting every ounce, a plastic baggie the size of a credit card to store your Q-tips is lighter than an organizer pouch.
    Absolutely! I was just kidding about the organizer pouch. If I put everything I could think of in a cute little pouch, my bag would weigh 50 pounds. Funnily enough, right after this convo started I ran across a petite little sealed packet of 4 Q-tips, courtesy of the hotel we stayed at on a recent trip to Japan. Of course I brought it home with me, thinking "this could be useful on my next trip." Hmmm ... my family thinks I'm a bit eccentric about this packing obsession, which may be why I like this forum so much!

    Backpack, I know you didn't post here looking for fashion advice, but have you ever looked at the J Jill Wearever line of clothes? They're really attractive, and people rave about how great they are to travel with. Sizes go up to 4X. The key is to take a few really basic pieces that can be mixed and matched. Keep it to a minimum and just take the Aeronaut if at all possible; it will make your trip so much simpler. (Now if I could only find a way to shrink all my preferred shoes. That's what really kills me on the packing light front.)

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