LAX to SYD United (Direct) or AC via YVR

Old Jul 11, 16, 9:49 pm
  #1  
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LAX to SYD United (Direct) or AC via YVR

So, I have a decision and trying to weigh pros and cons, but when it comes to routing through Vancouver, I really don't have much of a clue. This is partly a "this is what I think I know so far..." thread asking for opinions.

I'm looking to fly business class to Sydney for part of my honeymoon next May with United miles.

My options are LAX/SYD direct on United metal, LAX/YVR/SYD on AC... Asiana also flies via ICN but they use the A330 on the last leg with angle flat beds.

Pros for United:
Direct flight 15h
Can sit as a couple
70k miles each vs 80k miles each (United miles)

Cons for United:
Awards not available until several weeks away from departure
(re: the latter) Can mean having to book economy if nothing opens, and/or spending close-in/change fees
Service can be spotty?

Pros for AC:
Awards available now
Refurbished business class
Better food/service

Cons for AC:
Non-direct route (25h vs 15h)
Need to be processed through immigration?
80k miles each
Center divider limits interacting with fiancee

Not really sure about the immigration process for transiting passengers in YVR. Regarding the 25h travel time, it has a lot to do with AC only making an early flight available to YVR, with a seven hour layover. Not sure if it's worth booking a paid flight to YVR just to save a few hours, nothing saved in mileage for my out of pocket. No idea about the MCT needed if I attempted this.

Any thoughts?
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Old Jul 11, 16, 9:56 pm
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Fly to YVR, if in J you get lounge access. Probably still too long a wait in the lounge, so book a hotel room, and do honeymoon stuff.

Or... go into town and have a nice lunch and enjoy Vancouver for a few hours.
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Old Jul 11, 16, 10:56 pm
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Lock it in now with business space from Vancouver and change a few weeks out for the United space if that is important to you.

There is lots to do in Vancouver whether you have a 2 hr, 4 hr, or 8 hour layover. You can hit up the Globe YVR for a nice layover lunch, take the subway to the McArthur Glen Factory outlets, or head into downtown Vancouver for sightseeing on a longer layover.
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Old Jul 11, 16, 11:16 pm
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Originally Posted by worldtraveller73 View Post
Lock it in now with business space from Vancouver and change a few weeks out for the United space if that is important to you.
I like this option. YVR-SYD is hard to get in business class, so if there are seats, best to jump on them. If something else better opens up, change it, but at least you know you have something you can live with.
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Old Jul 12, 16, 2:01 am
  #5  
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You have free changes >21 days out.
Just book what's available, and monitor space on the nonstop.
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Old Jul 12, 16, 2:08 am
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Any chance of NH to SYD via NRT/HND?

Very good product...and the 789 HND - SYD...
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Old Jul 12, 16, 2:10 am
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Forgot to mention best option of them all that will open at 90 days, Air NZ.

That way you can bottom of the barrell airlines like UA and AC
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Old Jul 12, 16, 7:28 am
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Just spent a bunch of time working on a similar (non-award) itinerary..

1- United J is pretty crap from what I've seen. That said, their LAX->SYD is the 787... but United's 787 is (probably) the only long haul config with 2-2-2 in J.

2- AC YVR-SYD in J is hella difficult to get, especially on award space. Their paid J is very often full, and if you can grab it - grab it.

3- Air NZ ended up being my choice, with a stop in AKL. I haven't tried it before, but it was cheaper than AC by a lot - basically on par with United.


If you route through Asia, add 10+ hours to each direction. I wouldn't do that unless absolutely necessary.
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Old Jul 12, 16, 7:40 am
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As others have said, finding J to SYD on AC is nothing short of a miracle - grab the seats while you can and change later if you find a better option.

Just make your layover in Vancouver part of the honeymoon experience. Lots to do there.
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Old Jul 12, 16, 7:41 am
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Avoid UA until their J product is modernized and consistent. Polaris can't come soon enough.

Grab the AC J to SYD quickly before it's gone. Enjoy some time in YVR, lots to do, easy access to downtown via Sky Train.

Have a great trip.
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Old Jul 12, 16, 9:46 am
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Just a thought, but does the Stopover program work on Aeroplan bookings? If so, that'd be a great opportunity, even to just spend the one night in Vancouver. It's a beautiful city!

https://beta.aircanada.com/ca/en/aco.../stopover.html
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Old Jul 12, 16, 2:02 pm
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Thanks for all the opinions. I'd love to add stopovers in every transit city, but my fiancee is uninterested. She likes to travel with a closet checked, so then she complains about unpacking and repacking.

I'll try to snag the AC route. I didn't realize it was such a rare find. I need to transfer some miles into my United account to top off. Hopefully the awards are still available when everything clears.

Regarding a layover in YVR, would I need to recheck bag and go through immigration? Obviously if I leave the airport... I'm wondering about people just staying airside.

Regarding true stopovers on United awards, I believe this is only allowed on round-trip awards.
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Old Jul 12, 16, 3:24 pm
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Originally Posted by hyperzulu View Post
Regarding a layover in YVR, would I need to recheck bag and go through immigration? Obviously if I leave the airport... I'm wondering about people just staying.
Your bag will be checked all the way through regardless if you stay in the airport or not.

If staying, you follow the signs for international connections and go through a passport check and then end up back in the international departures zone.

If leaving, you follow the signs for arrivals, clear immigration, and then simply leave the customs hall as your bag will stay in the baggage system. When you return to the airport you just go through international security and go to your gate.

I would recommend leaving the airport and enjoying Vancouver.
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Old Jul 12, 16, 3:57 pm
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Originally Posted by hyperzulu View Post
Regarding true stopovers on United awards, I believe this is only allowed on round-trip awards.
Correct, but a seven hour lay-over in YVR on a UA award ticket LAX-YVR-SYD does not constitute a "true stopover". You are allowed up to 23 hours.
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Old Jul 12, 16, 5:02 pm
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Originally Posted by D582 View Post
Your bag will be checked all the way through regardless if you stay in the airport or not.

If staying, you follow the signs for international connections and go through a passport check and then end up back in the international departures zone.

If leaving, you follow the signs for arrivals, clear immigration, and then simply leave the customs hall as your bag will stay in the baggage system. When you return to the airport you just go through international security and go to your gate.

I would recommend leaving the airport and enjoying Vancouver.
Got it. Yeah I would head out to see the city if I had a layover. Why waste time in the airport... Same with our eight hour layover in HKG on the way back home. Would be good to get a day's worth of activity in before taking the red-eye to Sydney anyway. That way I can be rested before landing two days into the future.

Originally Posted by restlessinRNO View Post
Correct, but a seven hour lay-over in YVR on a UA award ticket LAX-YVR-SYD does not constitute a "true stopover". You are allowed up to 23 hours.
OK I understand what you mean now. The 7 hour layover is the route provided by the United online booking agent, so I assume it's a legal route for a United award on Air Canada.
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