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Old Jan 2, 12, 2:06 pm   #1
 
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SFO-VCE: Transit through MAD on IB or LHR on BA

In May, a friend and I will be flying from SFO - VCE. On the portion to Europe, we will be flying on AA. To flying into VCE, we can either transit through MAD on IB or LHR on BA. Does anyone have an opinion on which option is more attractive? Based on hearsay, people seem to think OW => IB is a pain. Both layovers will be about 3 hours.
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Old Jan 3, 12, 8:18 am   #2
 
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Originally Posted by WChou View Post
In May, a friend and I will be flying from SFO - VCE. On the portion to Europe, we will be flying on AA. To flying into VCE, we can either transit through MAD on IB or LHR on BA. Does anyone have an opinion on which option is more attractive? Based on hearsay, people seem to think OW => IB is a pain. Both layovers will be about 3 hours.
Are you sure both layovers are only 3 hours? My recollection is that both the AA & BA SFO-LHR flights arrive at LHR after the LHR-VCE flight departs. I had to do the Gatwick shuffle to connect to VCE. BA has two LGW flights , but only one LHR flight to VCE.

But things may have changed.......

Also, AA to BA at LHR will require a terminal change.
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Old Jan 3, 12, 9:17 am   #3
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Since AA doesn't fly SFO-LHR (only BA, albeit carrying AA codes) and since the BA nonstop does indeed arrive after LHR-VCE has departed, I'm presuming that the AA segments involve a US connection, arriving at LHR early enough to make the VCE flight. Otherwise the move to Gatwick is a giant pain.

On the other hand, the IB LAX-MAD nonstop (which also carries AA codes) does indeed allow for a direct connection through MAD with a sub-2 hour layover, so that would be the fastest; DFW-MAD on AA would also allow a 3-hr connection through to VCE.

I personally have found that connecting through Madrid is quite painless; since you would be entering Schengen there you'd have to go from T4S to T4, but that's no big deal. It certainly beats the bejeezus out of having to do the LGW schlep if that was the other option.
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Old Jan 3, 12, 9:47 pm   #4
 
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Gardyloo, apologies for leaving out a few details. The flights I am considering ex-SFO are on AA with a connection in DFW for MAD or JFK for LHR. I did see flights from LGW-VCE but I am not planning on changing airports. So far one friend has told us to avoid MAD because the airport can be difficult according to her.

wingzing, thanks for the info on the terminal change at LHR.
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Old Jan 4, 12, 7:07 am   #5
 
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Originally Posted by WChou View Post
So far one friend has told us to avoid MAD because the airport can be difficult according to her.
I would agree with Gardyloo and think that connecting at MAD should not be a problem.

Unless you friend gives you some specific reasons, I would not rule out MAD.
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Old Jan 11, 12, 3:46 pm   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gardyloo View Post
Since AA doesn't fly SFO-LHR (only BA, albeit carrying AA codes) and since the BA nonstop does indeed arrive after LHR-VCE has departed, I'm presuming that the AA segments involve a US connection, arriving at LHR early enough to make the VCE flight. Otherwise the move to Gatwick is a giant pain.

On the other hand, the IB LAX-MAD nonstop (which also carries AA codes) does indeed allow for a direct connection through MAD with a sub-2 hour layover, so that would be the fastest; DFW-MAD on AA would also allow a 3-hr connection through to VCE.

I personally have found that connecting through Madrid is quite painless; since you would be entering Schengen there you'd have to go from T4S to T4, but that's no big deal. It certainly beats the bejeezus out of having to do the LGW schlep if that was the other option.
When all goes right with schedule and you are seated near the exit of the plane, 3 hours is plenty. If there are weather issues that delay your departure and you miss your connection, AA elite status carries no weight with rescheduling with IB.
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Old Jan 12, 12, 11:37 am   #7
 
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It doesnt look like SFO-VCE via MAD is a valid routing as there is no published fare. You would effectively have to connect in ORD & MAD...which would take longer, but you dont have to change airports in LON.
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Old Jan 12, 12, 4:42 pm   #8
 
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I did iad/mad/vce last year(2010). MAD is a much easier connection then LHR.
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Old Jan 12, 12, 7:28 pm   #9
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Originally Posted by nitrobass24 View Post
It doesnt look like SFO-VCE via MAD is a valid routing as there is no published fare. You would effectively have to connect in ORD & MAD...which would take longer, but you dont have to change airports in LON.
IB has a published fare for SFO -> VCE that would allow an AA award itinerary of
SFO -> LAX (AA) -> MAD (IB) -> VCE (IB).

AA has a published fare for SFO -> VCE that would allow an AA award itinerary of either:
SFO -> DFW (AA) -> MAD (AA) -> VCE (IB)
SFO -> LAX (AA) -> LHR (AA) -> VCE (BA)

BA does not publish a SFO -> VCE through fare. This means that an itinerary including BA across the Atlantic would not be allowed.

AB and AY participate in the SFO -> VCE industry (YY) fares. This means that an itinerary including AB or AY across the Atlantic probably would be allowed.

Last edited by Austinrunner; Jan 12, 12 at 7:56 pm..
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Old Jan 12, 12, 8:54 pm   #10
 
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Originally Posted by Austinrunner View Post
IB has a published fare for SFO -> VCE that would allow an AA award itinerary of
SFO -> LAX (AA) -> MAD (IB) -> VCE (IB).

AA has a published fare for SFO -> VCE that would allow an AA award itinerary of either:
SFO -> DFW (AA) -> MAD (AA) -> VCE (IB)
SFO -> LAX (AA) -> LHR (AA) -> VCE (BA)

BA does not publish a SFO -> VCE through fare. This means that an itinerary including BA across the Atlantic would not be allowed.

AB and AY participate in the SFO -> VCE industry (YY) fares. This means that an itinerary including AB or AY across the Atlantic probably would be allowed.
Where did you find this? I was looking on EF and came up with nothing besides SFO-ORD-MAD-VCE
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Old Jan 12, 12, 11:42 pm   #11
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You look for a published fare between the origin and the destination. The intermediate points are irrelevant when looking for the fare. Once you've found the fare, you look at its routing rules to see if the fare can be used for the exact itinerary desired, including the intermediate points. This is a complicated task that's hard to explain. You need to know how fares work to do it correctly.
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