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Old 07-21-2010, 11:28 AM   #1
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Question Need Help With What Airstream Model To Buy

I currently donít own an Airstream but I am beginning the process of researching them as I plan on buying one in the near future. I am having a tough time deciding on what model is best for my currently usage and future usage needs. Airstreams are extremely expensive so I want to make sure the one I buy will last for many years in terms of quality and functionality. At the moment I am a weekend warrior in terms of camping trips with an occasional weeklong camping trip. However, I want to begin taking more and longer camping trips as time goes on. Because of this, I want to make sure the Airstream I choose now can accommodate both situations so I donít have to buy a new Airstream later on down the road. The Airstream will need to accommodate 6 people in terms of sleeping capacity and be between 28 and 30 feet in length.

I have done a lot of research online and have found a ton of information on model types and pricing. However, I canít seem to find a ton of information on the differences between the models and which one is preferred among active Airstream campers. I know people say that the Airstream Sport is considered the Chevrolet, the Airstream Flying Cloud is considered the Buick, the Airstream International is considered the Cadillac, and the Airstream Classic Limited is considered the Rolls Royce. This is a great comparison for general purposes but doesnít really provide enough information to make a final decision on a model when purchasing one. If someone could please provide some specific details as to the differences between the Airstream Flying Cloud, the Airstream International, and the Airstream Classic Limited I would greatly appreciate it. A concern I have is that the Airstream Flying Cloud is of lesser quality than that of the Airstream International and the Airstream International is of lesser quality than the Airstream Classic Limited. This being said I am concerned that the overall quality declines based on the modelís price level.

I am hoping to get some good responses from people who own the Airstream Flying Cloud, the Airstream International, and the Airstream Classic Limited so that I can get a couple of different perspectives before making my final decision. Thank you all for reading this post and I look forward to your responses.
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Old 07-21-2010, 12:55 PM   #2
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guy:

Howdy and welcome to airforums.com!

I don't know where you got the idea that the different models are of a different quality. The various models of AS trailers are the same quality, just different trim levels, and different options. It's rather more like they are all Cadillacs, but as there used to be in the Cadillac line-up, there are wildly varying different levels of trim and features.

But that doesn't change the fact that there is no difference in how long a Flying Cloud or a Classic will last. The frame and body construction is identical.

They are all built in the same factory by the same people, using almost exactly the same materials. The difference in the materials is again trim.

The only way you will know the differences between the models is to get out and look at them all and sit in them, and read, read, read this website.

Don't be shy to ask questions, but you should know that there aren't many questions that haven't already been discussed in great depth.

Take your time, and get out to the trailers and look at them. The Nashville RV Super Show is at the end of January in the Nashville Convention Center, so plan on being there for several days, hopefully you will see lots of Airstreams, if your local dealers are active participants.

Good luck with your research!
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Old 07-21-2010, 02:05 PM   #3
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I hope Aage is correct about the differences being different trim levels, but it has been asserted on the Forum that the FC/Safari has cheaper frame/shell construction. I'd like to know the definitive answer to that myself. Our trailer has a lot of fiberboard covered in laminate (Formica). This means that screws back out or don't hold well. More expensive models use wood, but eventually screws tend to loosen in an RV. I think the cloth on the cushions is better on the more expensive models; the quality of cloth and the seamstress on ours is poor and the cushions have no liners.

There are quality issues with Airstreams these days, but no one questions they tow well and are cool to look at. Though some of the decor is more like the 1950's or '60's in some models, others have been updated a bit.

The best way to get a real feel for the trailers is to go see them. Spending a lot of time going back and forth between them, sitting in them, trying the toilet for size, lying on the bed, checking out storage, etc., helps. For a while all this new information is overwhelming and confusing. When you go to a dealer, try not to become seduced by all the aluminum and buy one right away. It's easy to succumb.

There is no end to research and even after you own one, there's plenty to learn.

Determining sleep capacity is up to the people involved. Assuming some of the six of you are children, they keep getting bigger, then when they are teenagers, they want nothing to do with you (not always true). The comfort level of the cushions on sofas and dinette don't seem very good to me, but when I was a kid, it might not have bothered me at all. It's different for different people. Our 25' is said to sleep six, but is seems to me one would be on the floor or taped to a wall. The 28' and actually 1" shorter than the 27', so you might consider that one too.

Are you looking for a new one or older model? Some models have bunk beds which may be useful for a large family, but I don't know enough about that, but others will. If you are more specific about your needs, it could be helpful.

Gene
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Old 07-21-2010, 04:25 PM   #4
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The Safari Sport line is cheaper because it's smaller. The build quality is the same as the larger ( FB ) trailers but it takes less metal and less work to produce them. Personally, I like the smaller trailers better. Much easier to tow and faster to set up. You said you were looking for a trailer to sleep six, so the smaller trailers are a no starter for you.
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Old 07-21-2010, 05:24 PM   #5
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Here's somewhat of a link where you can look into the 'guts' of some of them. Then go ahead and navigate around at this site....http://service.airstream.com/files/l...4febdf7c99.pdf Say Hi to Nashville for me. (used to live in Tupelo and miss the smell of actual trees) ....newbies love the pictures!
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Old 07-21-2010, 08:05 PM   #6
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Thumbs up Thank You For Your Quick Response And Information

That you for the quick response. I really appreciate it. It is very good to hear that all of the models have the same overall quality and that it is the trim level that dictates the pricing. Since I am just starting out and don't plan on living in it full time I think the Classic Limited would be a little overboard. I could use the money I saved buying the Flying Cloud or International instead of the Classic Limited on actually going camping! Also, thanks for the heads up on the Nashville RV show. I plan on marking that date on my calender and attending it. I will keep checking the website for the Nashville RV show to see if Airstream is going to have a strong presence. Again, thank you for your quick response and information. Have a good night.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aage View Post
guy:

Howdy and welcome to airforums.com!

I don't know where you got the idea that the different models are of a different quality. The various models of AS trailers are the same quality, just different trim levels, and different options. It's rather more like they are all Cadillacs, but as there used to be in the Cadillac line-up, there are wildly varying different levels of trim and features.

But that doesn't change the fact that there is no difference in how long a Flying Cloud or a Classic will last. The frame and body construction is identical.

They are all built in the same factory by the same people, using almost exactly the same materials. The difference in the materials is again trim.

The only way you will know the differences between the models is to get out and look at them all and sit in them, and read, read, read this website.

Don't be shy to ask questions, but you should know that there aren't many questions that haven't already been discussed in great depth.

Take your time, and get out to the trailers and look at them. The Nashville RV Super Show is at the end of January in the Nashville Convention Center, so plan on being there for several days, hopefully you will see lots of Airstreams, if your local dealers are active participants.

Good luck with your research!
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Old 07-21-2010, 08:44 PM   #7
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Just in case you are bored this weekend, the biggest RV show and rally of the year (their words, not mine..lol) is In Louisville this weekend.

We were just at the factory a couple weeks ago, as far as the build quality of the tralers, I didn't see anything that looked like they were skimping based on size or trim, other then the variations of trim level. We walked through everything from a little 17 footer headed to Europe to one of the special edition 34 footers.

I don't know the current trim levels, but after looking at the new ones on the line.. whichever has the bare aluminium interior walls and hickory cabinets is my "won the lottery" choice.
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Old 07-21-2010, 11:43 PM   #8
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A lot of folks concerned with floor rotting issues with some newer models. Flying cloud too new to be included, but search on "rotted floor" and read up. I am trying to see if Classics are in that group. Doesn't seem so as of yet. Classics are apparently designed very differently than Intls., Flying Clouds, etc in the rear.
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Old 07-22-2010, 12:03 AM   #9
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We just acquired a 2010 Flying Cloud; we compared International and Flying Cloud, and to us, the main difference was interior materials, colors, and some details, such as the design of the overhead cabinet doors. Appliances and equipment appeared identical. The color schemes of the Flying cloud appealed to us more. The difference in interior material quality on International was not enough to justify the added cost, to us at least.

My only complaint so far is the edge of the formica dinette table is a little bit sharp; I haven't decided whether it is bothersome enough to do anything about it.

Good luck on your hunt!

Steve
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Old 07-22-2010, 10:23 AM   #10
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A question about build quality lately is about separation of the aluminum body from the frame. It has been posted that Thor has cheapened the connection between them, and it has also been posted that cheaper trim lines are also cheapened in basic structure. The problem for us is that you have to take one of each trailer apart to see it. I think the posts would be in a thread about front end separation, but I'm not sure. It has also been said the longer trailers and those towed a lot have the highest frequency of separation problems. It has also been posted that the more windows, the weaker the body. That doesn't have to be so if they compensate for the windows, so I don't know if that is a guess or is a fact.

I don't know the answers and maybe those that do (or think they do) will post.

Gene
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Old 07-22-2010, 11:58 AM   #11
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I second that it is very important to go and visit the AS dealer in your area (which may be an all day trip) I would encourage you to take the entire gang that will be camping (all 6) and put the dinette down/make beds up and see if you all fit, can move around, looks like you'd be comfortable.

We took our full sized teens along and all layed down in our respective sleeping areas before we picked the floor plan that suited us.

I agree with Crawford Gene - a 25' sleeps 4 adults. ONLY 4. Small munchkins would then be on the floor or taped to the wall....
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Old 07-22-2010, 01:01 PM   #12
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I , much agree with everyone else. I went with the Flying Cloud because of the $$$$$ difference in that and an International. For the lenght, go with the 30 or 34 ft. I had a 30 and it was tight for 4 large adults. And last, if you have the time go to Colonial in NJ; I see where they have over 100 AS in stock and try them all out. Take the gang with you.
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Old 07-23-2010, 07:42 PM   #13
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Hi, Gerry Goffinet again. As I said on another post we bought new an International CCD 28 in 2004 and have put over 75,000 miles on it over tough roads in Alaska (twice), Newfoundland, and et cetera.

We joke that while our unit supposedly will sleep 6, we say it will entertain 6, feed 4 and sleep 2.

As a sidebar we have pulled this 7,300 (empty) trailer with a 2001 Suburban which had a 5.3 liter, 270 hp, "1500" model, with a 3.73 rear end in it. We never had a problem pulling it with this car....bottom line you don't need a tank to pull this trailer, a "1500" Suburban will do........this bit of info could save you a bundle on the "truck" you pull it with.

You can go anywhere for any amount of time in comfort with a 25 to 30 foot Airstream. The model you choose matters not but our 28 has more room for clothes and cereal than a 25, and I think out shower is more convenient. Creature comforts (holding tanks) should be seriously considered and are probably identical....which is very important.

I doubt that the basic construction detail is much different between units. I know our CCD 28 was built identically to a Safari 28 in 2004. Only the trim was different (windows, cabinets, etc.)

Anyway, you are on your way to having fun in a trailer that will last you for years.

The size models you are looking at will make it a squeeze for 6 people, consider weekend trips, , but when you size down to two you'll be sized just right for months on the road. Gerry
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Old 07-23-2010, 10:47 PM   #14
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The large frame members underneath the trailer that go from back to front are larger on the Classic (4") than the Safari/FC where they are either 3 or 3 1/2". I learned that about an hour ago which reminded me I had read it somewhere. Not sure about the Internationals.

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