Starting in May, American will start flying from JFK to Madrid, Spain.  Let’s take a look.

Context – There are currently many ways to get to Madrid from the US from 7 different airlines.  Five of those airlines fly from New York: Air Europa, Delta, Iberia, Continental (although they fly from Newark), and now American.

AIR EUROPA, AIRBUS A330, EC-JPF, at JFK, New York, USA. July, 2009Air Europa – One daily flight to MAD leaving JFK 9:30 PM arriving in Madrid at 11:00 AM the next day.  The return flight leaves MAD at 5:20 PM and arrives in New York at 7:30 PM.  $812 round trip, flying an A330 wide-body, part of the SkyTeam Alliance.

Continental 757-325 N56859Continental – Two semi-daily flights to MAD leaving EWR 8:40 PM and 10:10 PM arriving in Madrid at 10:05 AM and 11:35 AM the next day, respectively.  The return flights leave MAD at 11:35 AM and 1:05 PM and arrive in Newark at 2:15 PM and 3:50 PM, respectively.  $1074 round trip, flying 757 narrow-bodies, part of the Star Alliance.

Delta Air Lines 767-332(ER) N194DNDelta – One daily flight to MAD leaving JFK 5:20 PM arriving in Madrid at 7:25 AM the next day.  The return flight leaves MAD at 10:10 AM and arrives in New York at 12:25 PM.  $1004 round trip, flying a 767 wide-body, part of the SkyTeam Alliance.

IBERIA AIRBUS A340 (A340-600), EC-IOB at JFK, New York, USA. 2009Iberia – Two daily flights to MAD leaving JFK 6:00 PM and 9:00 PM arriving in Madrid 7:10 AM and 10:10 AM the next day, respectively.  The return flights leave MAD at 1:55 PM and 5:00 PM and arrive in New York at 4:05 PM and 7:10 PM, respectively.  From $1006 round trip, flying A340 wide-bodies, part of the OneWorld Alliance.

American Airlines (AA) - Boeing 757-200 - N627AA - John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) - November 3, 2009 429 RT CRPAmerican – One daily flight to MAD leaving JFK 5:40 PM arriving in Madrid at 7:20 AM the next day.  The return flight leaves MAD at 10:00 AM and arrives in New York at 12:25 PM.  $1004 round trip, flying a 757 narrow-body, part of the OneWorld Alliance.

Conclusions – If we’re looking just at cost, Air Europa is the way to go.  They are almost $200 cheaper than any other carrier.  If we’re looking just as scheduling, your only option to Spain is a red-eye, however, you can fly pretty much any time of day on the return leg.  It is interesting that American based airlines leave Spain in the late-morning/noon-ish times, and the European airlines leave in the mid-late afternoon.  I can’t decide which of these is best for you.  The good news is that because there are so many options flown by three different alliances, you can use Delta or American miles to give yourself some flexibility (or, alternatively, earn American or Delta miles flying their European based counterpart).  Once again, loyalty will help you decide which flights are best for you.  Unless you only care about the cost of the flight.  Then, you should fly Air Europa.

Remember: It’s all about the little things.

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