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Answers (7)

Help with Award Decisions, Quality of Product vs Ease of Schedule

Help with Award Decisions, Quality of Product vs Ease of Schedule

  1. Bourbon

    Got some great help here in the fall booking award tickets for my wife and I to China. Now with the deval coming up, I’m looking at my flight options again and I’m looking for opinions from people who have already experienced these flights. Was really looking forward to trying out the premium foreign carriers. I’m getting F on CX on my way over and it is already an efficient routing. I was very happy initially to snag the premium cabin space, but now I am struggling with trading for more time in China and home faster.

    My wife is currently flying over on JAL, DFW-NRT-PVG
    2:15 SDF-DFW
    2:30 Layover
    13:05 DFW-NRT
    4:20 Layover
    3:20 NRT-PVG
    So in total 18:40 in the air, and 6:50 in layovers. Leaving at 8:15AM and arriving the next night at 9:45PM. This gets her over on the JAL 787 in a Skysuite Business seat.
    [URL]http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2015/08/30/jal-launching-tokyo-to-dallas-flights-in-november-2015/[/URL]

    New option is to fly on AA on their old First class.
    1:30 SDF-ORD
    0:50 Layover
    14:40 ORD – PVG

    16:10 in the air, and 0:50 Layover. [B]Saves her 8:30 in total travel time[/B], but I can’t even offer her wifi on the plane as a consolation as it appears ORD-PVG is on a 777-200.
    [URL]http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2015/05/12/review-american-airlines-first-class-777-200-chicago-to-beijing/[/URL]
    [URL]http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2016/01/21/japan-airlines-boston-upgrade/[/URL]

    Similar dilemma coming home, as we are both routing PEK-SDF. She will get to try CX F and I am in J unless it opens up.

    (29:46) travel time. Might be able to jog to the gate to standby for an earlier flight in ORD.
    3:10 PEK – 6:30 HKG (3:20)
    5:25 Layover
    11:55 HKG – 13:55 ORD (15:00)
    4:30 Layover
    18:25 ORD – 20:56 SDF (1:30)

    Or(16:40) travel time
    10:10 PEK – 10:10 ORD (13:00) 787 Business with wifi
    2:10 Layover
    12:20 ORD – 14:50 SDF (1:30)

    [B]Now we are saving 13 hours[/B]. With the time of the flights, we would probably just be sleeping in PEK for a part of that, and 5:30 hours in HKG gives us time to be foolish and catch the train to town and back, or to hang out at some nice lounges. This would also be her only shot at CX First.

    Anyone have thoughts? Am I crazy to not get the fastest routing possible? Am I crazy to give up her F on CX for J on AA?

  2. Bourbon

    Alternately on the SDF-PVG trip she could fly on AA through DFW, 18:40 total time, but she goes on AA in a 787 on Business. From what I’ve read that might be an upgrade over the old 777-200 F. This would still get her there in the afternoon instead of late at night.

  3. Anonymous

    [USER=923]@Bourbon[/USER] — Here is something I have learned the hard way which might help:

    [I]Ask your spouse, and whatever they say is the right answer.
    [/I]
    When booking flights for my husband, I’ll show him both itineraries, pictures of the cabins or lounges, and let him choose. If we’re not together, he’ll almost always go for the shorter routing, but it does depend.

  4. Bourbon

    I totally agree. I sent her the options earlier today, but they sound like a foreign language to her so we will be discussing tonight. It always helps if I have another opinion to present along with my own. Honestly I think at this point I’m leaning towards switching over to American for the faster trip. I hate to take away her F award on CX but I think the 13 hours saved may justify it.

  5. Anonymous

    Good luck! I’ve found the pictures really help. “You can fly this plane, but then you have to sit in this lounge for four hours” etc.

  6. Bourbon

    I went over the options with her last night and she is definitely taking the single connection on the outbound. One down, one to go.

    I was pushing for J out of Dallas because of the newer configuration and wifi, but she was still unsure. Both are on hold. I know she is also wanting to experience F on this trip and this might be her only chance.

    On the return, we currently just have the 5.5 hours in HKG, which may be enough time for a stupid run into town on the express and back. I will be spending a few days in HKG at the start of my trip but she won’t be seeing it otherwise. I was able to snag some 7:30 – 11:00 PEK HKG tickets last night. They are on hold but it gives us an option to shrink that layover out entirely.

    I think I’ve heard read so many things about foreign carrier F services that I was willing to go out of my way to check them out, but maybe that is just a sign that I read too many blogs.

    Honestly if we do decide to go through HKG it may still make sense to take the earlier flight to allow more connection time. The later flight would mean paying for another night at the hotel and still getting up early to get to the airport. Early flight just means we are going to the airport at midnight, sleeping on the way to HKG and then likely crashing in the lounge or staying away to sleep on the plane.

    Looking at google flights for oneworld flight options with the fastest travel times, I think I now have 3 options for coming home. For ORD there is an earlier fast connection that leaves 1:30 after we get there, for DFW there is one that leaves in just 1:00. We both have Global Entry, so its a longshot but I dream of running for a gate to standby and get out faster.

    Fastest Route(Gets us home faster, extra night at the hotel and a breakfast before we go to airport)
    10:10 – 14:50 on AA PEK-ORD-SDF (16:40 total time)

    More time in PEK (Gets us home later, but faster than CX and would have an additional half day in PEK)
    16:25 – 23:34 on AA PEK-DFW-SDF (19:09 total time)

    Current/Caviar Route (Small chance that wife gets a 30 minute view of HKG, otherwise upgrade in food/service on plane at cost of precious time)
    3:10 – 20:56 ( 29:46 total time) or 7:25 – 20:56 (25:31 total time)

  7. Anonymous

    I personally wouldn’t mess with going into Hong Kong on a 5 hour layover. By the time you clear immigration, take the train, etc., that just sounds exhausting. I would probably just enjoy the lounges and shopping in that case instead, but that’s me 🙂

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