We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Air Travel help

Which Madrid hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Ca
Level Contributor
123 posts
112 reviews
Save Topic
Air Travel help

Hello

We are planning to do a section of the Camino de Santiago.

We have started to look at the air travelling arrangements from Sacramento, California to Madrid.

We plan to leave April 20th and returning May 4th

The search for air travel dumped several pages of airfares, connections, airlines, etc. Within the same price range and the same airline you get a bunch of flight options.

I need your experience tips with airlines and connections.

What are your experiences with United Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, SkyWest, Brussels Airlines and Iberia?

If I look at the connections, what are your experiences with Dallas-Ft. Worth, Logan (Boston), O'Hare (Chicago), Newark, St. Paul and Schiphol (Amsterdam).

Thanks

Torremolinos, Spain
Level Contributor
13,990 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: Air Travel help

Hi there..

Just in case you don't get any joy here, it may be worth posting this in the Air Travel Forum here:

tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowForum-g1-i10702-Air_Tr…

Hope that helps

CB

Chicago
Level Contributor
98 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Air Travel help

I'd be glad to share my recent Iberia experience - codeshare with American and BritishAirways - plane operated by Iberia direct from Chicago to Madrid. I go to departure gate from home - no plane changes so didn't experience connections. If you are familiar with O'Hare, it may be helpful to know that the Iberia flight did not leave from the International Terminal, but instead from a domestic terminal used by American Airlines planes. That would help any connections you need to make. On the return, the plane does land at the International Terminal, but anyone with a short connecting time was met by representatives and rushed through customs before being sent off to their domestic connection.

The plane itself was clean and flight on-time and non-eventful (which is a big plus). Flight attendants were not as friendly as I've experienced on other international flights on different airlines, but they weren't rude or ill-mannered, just lacking a welcoming smile and gracious manner. The flights weren't full and there were no trouble makers that I was aware of, so don't fully understand the lack of warmth. Also, lacked fluent English (or wouldn't use it) in several cases which surprised me. I had to give our dinner and drinks order in Spanish as the attendant didn't seem to understand my English. (My Spanish must have been a real laugh to a native speaker - I'm a beginner. Interesting that I got the dinner I wanted!)

These were the positives. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't hesitate to fly and book through Iberia again. However, circumstances for my trip weren't normal. Iberia threatened 6 days of strikes which included our return date. I couldn't get any information other than that we would be rebooked if it became necessary. I was going to cancel my trip since I couldn't be assured of the circumstances or timing of our return, but luckily, Iberia withdrew their strike threat less than 24 hours before we left. I have since learned that Iberia strike threats and some actual strikes are not uncommon.

I had booked the trip through Iberia. Iberia did not allow any changes to the itinerary, even though the strike was making things confusing for all of us effected. The flight was a codeshare with (and obviously same plane as) American. American allowed people to rebook without penality due to the uncertainty. If I fly this O'Hare-Madrid route again, I will not book through Iberia, but would consider American. American seemed to treat their customers much better when the Iberia operations team was threatening the strike.

Edited: 05 January 2013, 22:44
Madrid, Spain
Level Contributor
826 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Air Travel help

Chicago: I think you summed this up pretty well. I do recall how stressful it got for you at the time. The relief when the strike was called off was almost palpable! It is great that you made it to Madrid and that you are now able to share your experiences.

Charlottesville...
Destination Expert
for Madrid
Level Contributor
3,388 posts
425 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Air Travel help

I hate flying with Iberia. They have never been on time for us and have always had any number of problems (try they had to change our flight by an entire day because they stopped flying from DC (IAD is where we usually fly out of, easy as can be) on Sundays but then wanted to charge us to change the Venice leg of our trip and refused to do anything to compensate our overnight in Madrid because of their changes). But sometimes they are the cheapest. It's not so much that the flight attendants are not friendly it's just that the definition of customer service in Spain is quite different than it is in the Anglo speaking world. I would characterize it as brusque, but many people who are unfamiliar with Spain find it rude. Just expect it to be what it is. They are the same as American and British Air so whomever you buy from expect them for at least one leg of the journey. Or at least it is likely to end up with them for a leg if there is a layover somewhere.

We've flown United as well. Better experience with them. Flights on time and with little trouble. United is the same as Lufthansa so you can end up with them at any time as well. But they are quite prompt if they can help it!

I've not done the others. We have flown Aer Lingus (they often hub out of Boston Logon which was my hometown airport growing up and is easy to navigate now with the improvements). They are part of Star Alliance with United. Very very pleasant planes.

Chicago
Level Contributor
98 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Air Travel help

Thanks Wombat - the word I wanted to use when describing the Iberia FA's was brusque - not truly off-putting, but just not what I expected in a customer service position. I understand better now that this may be just cultural and not at all personal or Iberia related.

Pleased to say that (with one or two exceptions) I would not characterize any of the encounters we had in Spain with customer service personnel in restaurants, hotels, museums, theaters, trains, buses, metro, cabs, etc as "brusque". We found almost everyone very warm and helpful with ready smiles. I especially appreciated the willingness to stretch their English language attempts to match my Spanish language attempts. Some fun exchanges!

Edited: 06 January 2013, 01:00
Charlottesville...
Destination Expert
for Madrid
Level Contributor
3,388 posts
425 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Air Travel help

I'm very pleased to hear that! I do suspect that for tourists with little English there is more of an attempt made perhaps to be more accommodating than there is when one is living full time and speaks Spanish. I have the unfortunate (fortunate?) distinction of both looking like I come from somewhere like Argentina or Chile and sounding like I do as well. And yet my Spanish is not perfect. So while I speak nearly unaccented Spanish, it's always assumed I understand everything which I think makes for even more confusion for all involved! LOL!

Malaga, Spain
Destination Expert
for Malaga, Andalucia, Madrid, Zaragoza, Valencia, Seville
Level Contributor
56,092 posts
3,501 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Air Travel help

capun:

I used to live in San Jose, CA, and always used American to get to Madrid, because that was the most practical way from California.

However American code shares with Iberia. Iberia is in the process of downsizing and wants to lay off permanently about 5000 employees. So the Iberia workers are threatening a series of strikes early this year. I would avoid Iberia for the time being until this has all cleared up.

Madison, Wisconsin
Destination Expert
for Madrid
Level Contributor
8,111 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Air Travel help

We usually take the American/Iberia code share to Madrid from ORD Chicago O'Hare. ChicagoEurope's statement is spot-on, IMO. "The word I wanted to use when describing the Iberia FA's was brusque - not truly off-putting, but just not what I expected in a customer service position."

We were bumped up to business class a time or two and got the same treatment...enough to say that above statement fit in business class as well.

But we were in an horrific (scary only no plane problems other than plates flying in the galley) flight from ORD to MAD the year after the Air France flight from Brasil to Paris...therefore, we were all thinking): however, when we landed safely at Barajas Madrid, I was so glad to see some grey hair on the pilot. We usually book on American for this flight paying for one fare at least with points....these labor concerns remind us to book with American although it's an Iberia flight as well...crew and plane. And that is the only direct flight from ORD to MAD daily. Leaves around 5 pm. Usually on time in our experience as well.

Santa Rosa Beach...
Destination Expert
for Negril
Level Contributor
3,264 posts
182 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Air Travel help

Try this...http://www.itasoftware.com/

10. Re: Air Travel help

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 09 January 2014, 06:16