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Old Jun 24, 12, 10:54 am   #1
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
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Strategy for planning family award trip to Paris next summer

I'm planning to take my family (2 adults, 2 kids) to France for two weeks next June. While it would be nice to do business class each way, I'm a little short on miles for that and, in my experience, it is the flight back after vacation that benefits most from avoiding Economy Hell.

I'm Silver and currently have 265,000 in my United account. My wife has no status and has 165,000 miles. Since we are a little flexible with dates, it looks like there is a good chance that I'll be able to get 4 economy award seats for the flight over (IAD-CDG) at 30,000/per person and 4 business class seats back for 50,000/per person.

Is there anything wrong with having my wife book the 4 tickets over using her account and me booking the 4 flights back using my account? What are the risks of doing this as opposed to waiting until I have enough miles in one account?
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Old Jun 24, 12, 10:57 am   #2
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The main risk is double the change fees should you need to cancel or reschedule the trip.

Another strategy would be to have your wife book 2 RTs and you 2 RTs (or 1 + 3 RTs) so that the outbound and return are on the same record. Downside of that is that not all pax will be on the same record in case there are IRROPS.

Note that you get a stopover and open jaw on a RT itinerary, so you may want to use the RT approach if you want to take advantage of that.
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Old Jun 24, 12, 11:04 am   #3
 
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Originally Posted by RichmondFlyer View Post
I'm planning to take my family (2 adults, 2 kids) to France for two weeks next June. While it would be nice to do business class each way, I'm a little short on miles for that and, in my experience, it is the flight back after vacation that benefits most from avoiding Economy Hell.

I'm Silver and currently have 265,000 in my United account. My wife has no status and has 165,000 miles. Since we are a little flexible with dates, it looks like there is a good chance that I'll be able to get 4 economy award seats for the flight over (IAD-CDG) at 30,000/per person and 4 business class seats back for 50,000/per person.

Is there anything wrong with having my wife book the 4 tickets over using her account and me booking the 4 flights back using my account? What are the risks of doing this as opposed to waiting until I have enough miles in one account?
You do have enough miles for all of you to fly business class. You book 5 segments and your wife books 3. For me it's the US to Europe thats the toughest. If you only did 1 way I would go Business on the outbound.
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Old Jun 24, 12, 11:07 am   #4
 
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Originally Posted by channa View Post
The main risk is double the change fees should you need to cancel or reschedule the trip.

Another strategy would be to have your wife book 2 RTs and you 2 RTs (or 1 + 3 RTs) so that the outbound and return are on the same record. Downside of that is that not all pax will be on the same record in case there are IRROPS.

Note that you get a stopover and open jaw on a RT itinerary, so you may want to use the RT approach if you want to take advantage of that.

I'm not so worried about the change fee -- my biggest concern is that we're not on the same record on the same flight, which could conceivably end up with us getting split up, no? We've got a 4 year old and an 8 year old and getting split up is not an option. What is the risk of us getting split up if we're on separate records on the same flight?
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Old Jun 24, 12, 11:10 am   #5
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I'm not so worried about the change fee -- my biggest concern is that we're not on the same record on the same flight, which could conceivably end up with us getting split up, no? We've got a 4 year old and an 8 year old and getting split up is not an option. What is the risk of us getting split up if we're on separate records on the same flight?

The risk is low. It would only probably happen in IRROPS. And if that were to happen, you would reject the rebooking and insist on travelling together.

If there were an advance schedule change, you could make sure you get on the same flight.
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Old Jun 24, 12, 11:17 am   #6
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For me it's the US to Europe thats the toughest. If you only did 1 way I would go Business on the outbound.
I'll 2nd this, even thou the Europe to US is a longer flight (time wise) its also a day flight, while the US to Europe is a night flight and if I was going to be in Biz for only 1 way Id rather have it when I will sleep
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Old Jun 24, 12, 11:25 am   #7
 
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We did this trip last year, except to London, and it was the flight back that absolutely killed us. The kids slept all the way over, which made economy manageable, but trying to keep them occupied in the cramped confines of coach coming back was an incredible challenge.

We did have an IRROPS coming back last year and were rebooked on Virgin Atlantic out of LHR at the last minute. Are you saying that the only risk would be that there might be a situation in which they would rebook one of us on a particular flight but not the other? In that case, we could just say "no thanks, you've got to keep us together"?
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Old Jun 24, 12, 12:22 pm   #8
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I recently returned from Normandy and the 68 anniv of the DDAY landings thru CDG on reward tickets (2) that was easily booked in Oct of 2011, so you might have some time yet. Although you should try ASAP, once you know when kids get out of school, to get all 4 or you'll end up on separate flights. My only advice is to take a widebody jet (may need to book a partner for that)
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Old Jun 24, 12, 1:45 pm   #9
 
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We're planning to book the full 11 months out. I think the 767-300 is the standard United flight from Dulles to CDG, which I would consider a widebody (at least compared to some of the tiny planes Continental used to fly from Newark to Manchester and Copenhangen).

The United search engine doesn't really show partner flights to CDG from the East Coast. Is there another way to search for those?
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Old Jun 24, 12, 1:55 pm   #10
 
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We're planning to book the full 11 months out. I think the 767-300 is the standard United flight from Dulles to CDG, which I would consider a widebody (at least compared to some of the tiny planes Continental used to fly from Newark to Manchester and Copenhangen).

The United search engine doesn't really show partner flights to CDG from the East Coast. Is there another way to search for those?
It should show partner flights such as Lufthansa, SAS, Swiss etc. The challenge is none of them are non-stop flights
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Old Jun 24, 12, 2:40 pm   #11
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Are you saying that the only risk would be that there might be a situation in which they would rebook one of us on a particular flight but not the other? In that case, we could just say "no thanks, you've got to keep us together"?
Yes, that's theoretically possible. Each record gets booked together since the computer doesn't know you're together.
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Old Jun 24, 12, 3:01 pm   #12
 
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Yes, that's theoretically possible. Each record gets booked together since the computer doesn't know you're together.
On the other hand, I believe - but I'm not certain - that you can NOT IDB minors traveling alone. Which technically they would be if in their own PNR. So in the event people are going to be IDB'd, your status would likely protect you and the kids being minors would likely protect them. I'm not entirely sure, maybe somebody else can clarify.
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Old Jun 24, 12, 4:30 pm   #13
 
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Strategy for planning family award trip to Paris next summer

Here's a question I was going to ask in a separate thread but this question is related.

Planning a Med Cruise next June and need three tickets (in business). I will only have enough miles for one ticket, maybe two (but not right away). What is best approach to do this? Should I book one way awards when they open, them either book the return when that opens or should we pay miles one way and $ the other (at least one ticket will be bought outright - and I would like to wait for a potential sell). But I feel we need to get the miles ticket booked early.

Anyone have any experience or advise?

Thanks.
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Old Jun 24, 12, 5:19 pm   #14
 
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Originally Posted by jamienbaker View Post
On the other hand, I believe - but I'm not certain - that you can NOT IDB minors traveling alone. Which technically they would be if in their own PNR. So in the event people are going to be IDB'd, your status would likely protect you and the kids being minors would likely protect them. I'm not entirely sure, maybe somebody else can clarify.
Booking minors by themselves will almost certainly involve paying an unaccompanied minor fee (even though there are responsible adults on another PNR on the same plane) or spending hours talking to United to get the fee waived.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fed planner View Post
Here's a question I was going to ask in a separate thread but this question is related.

Planning a Med Cruise next June and need three tickets (in business). I will only have enough miles for one ticket, maybe two (but not right away). What is best approach to do this? Should I book one way awards when they open, them either book the return when that opens or should we pay miles one way and $ the other (at least one ticket will be bought outright - and I would like to wait for a potential sell). But I feel we need to get the miles ticket booked early.

Anyone have any experience or advise?

Thanks.
Have you booked the cruise already (and as a result, must fly on particular dates)?
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Old Jun 24, 12, 5:34 pm   #15
 
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Strategy for planning family award trip to Paris next summer

Cruise booked and not flexible (window between end of school and sail date). Return is flexible. I am concerned about outbound availability and cost as I have enough miles right now for one and a half saver tickets in business. I will need three and am prepared to buy (hopefully on sale).

Should I book three one ways and then buy one ways one the return (probably not best value) or wait until I have more miles or do I use miles for one and wait hopefully for sale to buy other two? It is possible I will wind up with enough miles for another award but I don't know when that might be and then it becomes difficult to get the same flights.
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