Hubby and I are planning on heading over to Trail, British Columbia on August 31st for two weeks for a family wedding and a quick visit (we are going over for 6 weeks next year). I have been looking at various airlines and their airfares and after being advised by my cousin that Spokane is the best airport for us to fly into (it is the easiest one for her to get to to pick us up) I have gotten some quotes. The cheapest one is United Airlines at $1717 per ticket. The next one is $3146 per ticket with Singapore Airlines. My question is......considering Singapore Airlines have a pretty good reputation and I know next to nothing about United....should we fly with United or Singapore AIrlines? Please feel free to explain any pros and cons for either airline. Any information is better than the huge pile of nothing I have at the moment. Thanks heaps. I just can't understand how the airfares can be so different for the same route. Thanks for any replies in advance.
United is one of my least favorite airlines in the world (I think their service is appalling and their planes too old and lacking too many conveniences), and I've in the past paid 10-20% more on a ticket in order to not have to fly with them - but paying nearly twice as much for another airline is IMO absolutely not worth it (not unless you'd be flying business class).
Trying to understand airfares is an exercise in futility; they don't make any sense at all, ever. In this case though, it's probably the flight to Spokane which makes the difference, with such a small regional airport not being in the network for Singapore Airlines or any of their direct partners. (See wikipedia for how few airlines fly there from how few destinations.)
You could try searching for flights to San Francisco instead, and then booking San Francisco to Spokane separately.
Btw, I'm seeing $1406 on kayak.com for a flight from Perth to Spokane (via Sydney and San Francisco) on the 31st of August and flying back two weeks later; that's with Qantas and United. Singapore Airlines isn't coming up at all there. If I follow my suggestion to search for Perth to San Francisco, I get an Air New Zealand flight for $1002 as the cheapest result (going via Auckland and Hawaii, though; but Air New Zealand is great), while a flight from San Francisco to Spokane with United costs only $285.
Edit: btw, I'm using American dollars in the above. If you are using Australian dollars, then my $1406 is effectively the same as your $1717.
[ Edit: Edited on 01-Jul-2009, at 08:47 by Sander ]
Singapore Airlines (SQ) is one of the handful of airlines rated 5-star by Skytrax. The overall service of SQ is top of the class while United Airlines only average by comparison. Given the chance to save almost $1500 to endure that many hours on a flight, I can do without the top class service. But if cost is not an issue, I'd go for SQ. Check out the Skytrax website and you can find reviews and ratings (including those by individuals) for all airlines.
I agree with Sander that United is "the pits" - I avoid them at all cost. Concerning that difference in airfare, I'm assuming you're talking about Sydney-Spokane? I think you need to do a little more searching - you do indeed have more choices than just those 2 lines. First of all, there's no need for a single ticket (I think this is restricting you to the 2 airlines). What about V-Australia? The portion from SFO/LAX/SEA to Spokane can be flown on a number of airlines (I prefer Alaska or Southwest).
My airline of choice (Asiana Airlines of Korea) also flies Australia-USA, and at considerably lower prices than SQ (both Asiana and SQ are Skytrax Five Star). Asiana flies into Seattle which would be the shortest distance to Spokane. (United also codeshares on many Asiana flights)
Do you want the most direct flight - or are you happy to pay less, but with several changes??
Oh look thank you so much guys. Your input has been invaluable. I am off to the travel agents this afternoon and I am taking this info with me. The flight from Perth to San Francisco with Air NZ for $1002 and San Fran to Spokane is the one we now want to go with(thanks Sander). We will find out what it will cost to book it with an agent and if the fees are ridiculous we will come home and I will book it online. We need a pretty direct flight if possible as I don't travel very well but the Air NZ flight wins for financial reasons. I will let everyone know how we go. Thanks again everyone. Much appreciated.
I know it has been a while but I thought I would update this in case anyone was nice enough to actually check back and see how i went with booking our tickets.
Hubby and I ended up booking our flights with United as they had the most direct flights of the shortest duration. It came down to Delta and United and there was $80 difference in the price. The deciding factor was the fact that the Delta flight was 39 hours long and we had to change planes 4 times while the United flight was 24 hours long and we only change planes 3 times. So United won and they were the ones that were $80 cheaper. We are flying out on the 1st of September and coming home on the 18th of Sept.
Thanks for the advice that the kind people on here offered.