I've been a loyal fan of Sidestep and Kayak over the last years. However, I've neverbeen truly satisfied with either of them. True, Sidestep will learn you that the cheapest flight you can find from Brussels to Rio de Janeiro is a TAP flight at 1.040 US$ which brings you from Brussels to Rio in 14 hours. Iberia offers you the deal for 1.055 US$ with 30 minutes more per leg of your trip.
But on transatlantic flights I need much more information than just the flights and the actual hours:
1. Leg room. Flying a Boeing 747 is a pain, flying an Airbus 340-300 or 340-600 is a breeze when it comes to seating comfort.
2. Security wait time: Heathrow: never again. Miami: never ever again. Frankfurt and Lisbon: comme si comme ca. Munchen and Zurich: heaven.
3. Aircraft age. Nothing worse than flying the old American cigar boxes. Quality of planes of American carriers like Delta and American is horrifying.
4. On Time performance.
5. Connection times.
6. Number of stops.
7. Flight duration.
8. Lost luggage track.
9. Hostorical airplane passenger loads. Extremely important for me. Air France and British Airways to Rio are always full.
10. Aircraft type.
Imagine how glad I was when I learned that Insidetrip.com went in bèta. The site puts the consumer in control of their travel experience through an innovative search by "TripQuality" ratings.
I tried the service for two routes that I know very well, because I've flewn every possible carrier catering the route: Brussels to Johannesburg and Brussels to Rio de Janeiro.
1. Brussels to Rio de Janeiro:
The winner was the TAP flight with Tripquality score of 76%.
The analysis is right, probably the score fell below 80% because of the Lisbon airport. However, British Airways, Air France, TAM, Iberia all scored substantially lower. I can tell you why.
2. Brussels to Johannesburg:
This is an interesting one. Most people that i know fly South African over Heathrow or Frankfurt, or take Lufthansa over Frankfurt.
The last years I've developed a keen preference to fly Lufthansa over Munich or even better, fly Swissair over Zurich. Lufthansa flies an airbus from Munich and so does Swissair. And Munich and Zurich are one of the most convenient airports in Europe. Moreover, the trip with the Airbus 340-300 from Swissair is excellent; their fleet is maximum 5 years old.
The strange thing on this route is though that I could never find a Swisair on the return leg from Johannesburg back to Europe. This always happens to be a Lufthansa flight to Munich (Swissair and Lufthansa have codeshare). If it were not for that, this Swissair flight would score without doubt +90%.
Try it out for yourself.