Now I by no means claim to be an expert but in this post i'll tell you about my personal experience of both short haul internal flights and long haul international flights for the USA.
I myself am British but during my time working at a camp in New York and the subsequent time afterwards travelling I definitely picked up some tips when it comes to flying in America.
All I can say for internal flights is book with Southwest! They are by far the best that I have experienced especially for budget travellers and here's why:
- No extra charge for baggage - some airlines will be charging $20 plus on top of your ticket price for luggage where as it's completely free with Southwest!
- 2 pieces of hand luggage - during check in when our cases where way over the weight the lovely check in lady at Washington Baltimore airport informed us we could check our bags, have our rucksacks AND an additional piece of hand luggage! She even went to her locker to grab us a plastic bag for our extra piece. I've never had such great service from a member of staff from an airline before.
- Free snacks on board - every Southwest flight i've taken has had free snacks, either pretzels or peanuts which is such a nice added bonus for a budget traveller when airplane food is so expensive there was even free water and orange juice.
- Flight prices - in my experience even with all the extras Southwest tend to have the cheapest ticket prices especially if you consider what you'd spend on baggage with other airlines.
- Frequency - Southwest fly so many places internally and flights are super frequent meaning you can almost always find one with them.
International flights are slightly more tricky and often price is the biggest decider, however when possible British Airways will be my #1 and here's why:
- The food! - I'm a big foodie and as we all know airplane food is not the best but I have always been impressed by BA's long haul options on my flight from London to NY and San Fran to London I received 2 meals, multiple snacks and as many drinks as I could manage all included with the price.
- Seats - there's only so much comfort you can get on an 12 hour flight but arriving at your seat to a pillow and blanket as well as a TV in the back of the seat fully loaded with all the latest films, TV and multiple games definitely helps.
- Now this one is a bit bias but being British, flying with BA is sort of iconic, growing up it was by far the biggest, most well known and fanciest airline so flying BA feels special even if like me you're flying economy!
- Frequency - like Southwest, BA fly everywhere all the time meaning it's not difficult to find a flight with them, they are also one of the only british airline to offer frequent flyer miles, although this isn't quite as straight forward as with American airlines. It does require you to sign up for a specific credit card.
As I said, my international argument is less fact based and more opinion but I hope this at least gives you a little insight into making you airline decisions and what to expect.
Let me know what your favourite airline is in the comments!
Disclaimer the airlines have not asked for this promotion i'm just a big fan!