Intl upgrade--would you choose there or back?

 
Old Feb 18, 06, 11:48 am
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Intl upgrade--would you choose there or back?

I have only enough miles to upgrade myself and my mom one way on our upcoming trip to Paris (ORD-CDG and CDG-DFW). Would you choose to upgrade the overnight portion, thereby getting a better night's rest, or the return trip, when you are awake the whole time to experience the better service?

Of course, this is assuming the upgrade goes through. No huge loss if it doesn't--that will just mean using the miles for a free trip later. :-)
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Old Feb 18, 06, 11:53 am
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If I had to choose, I would upgrade the return so as to end the trip on a good note. But it's really a personal decision, isn't it?
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Old Feb 18, 06, 11:58 am
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Hi,

It would depend on several things;

(1) Can you snooze in coach

(2) Do you need to be better rested for arriving in Paris ( ie meetings or important events) or can you afford to be tired during the first day and have an early night in Paris

(3) The o/night filght to CDG will be relatively shorter than CDG-DFW and oyu could have a meal before your flight and try to rest as soon as possible after take off.

On the return daytime flight if upgrading you would get to experience the Business Class service.

I would probably upgrade the return ( CDG-DFW) ( and expect other poster to argue the other way- upgrade ORD -CDG)

Good luck on getting the upgrades!

Regards

TBS
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Old Feb 18, 06, 12:02 pm
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All things being equal, I would upgrade the outbound to start a vacation/trip in the right way. If I'm coming home, it's not as big a deal.

All things are not equal here, though, with the outbound being a redeye. Given the choice, in this case, I'd go with the others and upgrade the return.

Cheers.
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Old Feb 18, 06, 12:10 pm
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The return trip is longer and I usually need to stay awake to get myself back on the home schedule. I would/do upgrade the return because I want to enjoy the awake hours in more comfortable environment.
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Old Feb 18, 06, 1:15 pm
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Before I would argue either way, depending. But now with the co-pay I'd just invest a few dollars in a good sleeping mask and ride the red-eye out in coach.
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Old Feb 18, 06, 1:17 pm
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On a TATL I would choose the return because sometimes as mentioned above the flight can be quite a bit longer.
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Old Feb 18, 06, 1:42 pm
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I would talk to Mom about it. Does she have experience in dealing with jet lag and redeyes? She will probably have more difficulty in these areas than you do, at least based on my experience. I am 62. I have found that sleeping on redeyes is much more difficult than it used to be for me (I can't sleep on redeyes in coach at all, not a wink), and that adjusting to jetlag is also much more difficult than it used to be. If I were 30, I would upgrade the return to enjoy the J experience, sleep about 3 hours in coach on the outbound, and be fine to enjoy Paris. At my current age, I would upgrade the outbound to try to get some sleep. Additionally, I would start adjusting to the time difference about a week before departure, getting up a half-hour earlier every day, and going to bed a half-hour earlier. As soon as the aircraft got to altitude (around 6:30 P.M.), I would put on my mask and earplugs or noise-cancelling earphones, tell the FAs I don't want any drinks or food for the entire flight, and go to sleep. Because of the one-week adjustment period I mentioned above, I would be used to going to sleep at that time. I would hope to get about 6 hours of sleep, and be reasonably rested and reasonably adjusted to the time change, ready to enjoy Paris.

Overall, a trip like this will be harder on your Mom than on you. I would do whatever I could to make it easier and more enjoyable for her.

Edited to add: Trying to upgrade the outbound has one added advantage. If your upgrade doesn't go through, you can still ask AA at CDG to put you in for the upgrade on the return. If you plan to upgrade the return and it doesn't go through, you can't go back and upgrade the outbound.

Last edited by gemac; Feb 18, 06 at 1:49 pm
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Old Feb 18, 06, 1:42 pm
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I'd upgrade the overnight outbound and try to sleep or rest all I could.

The return is only about an hour longer and its not like AA business class is worth staying awake to experience.
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Old Feb 18, 06, 1:56 pm
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You could, presumably, fly in the back both directions and upgrade your mother both ways? ......
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Old Feb 18, 06, 2:02 pm
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More seriously .... if I had to choose, I'd probably opt for the return. Going to Paris, I'd be pretty hyped anyway so the prospect of being in Paris when you get off the plane perhaps makes up for having to get there in coach (and, conversely, not flying in coach on the way back avoids ending the trip on a bit of a 'down' note). Also, going (ORD-CDG) is shorter and, flying east, you have the winds behind you, so a shorter trip than coming back (CDG-DFW) where it's longer anyway and you're flying into the wind, so a couple more hours to enjoy that "AA business class" experience .....
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Old Feb 18, 06, 2:10 pm
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Post Lengthy reply on what - and why

This question has been addressed several times in other, prior threads. The answer that is best for you will depend on your needs and predilections.

For me, this (executive summary: higher-class cabin redeye, best legroom day flight,) works if I can only upgrade in one direction and why it works:

Eastbound, overnight flight: I prefer to eat lightly this day, eschewing coffee, and having a light meal on the ground prior to departure on flights under 8 hours, and sleep as long as I can. When I arrive (usually Europe, but sometimes Asia - US,) I will freshen up, eat breakfast, drink coffee (this might be in the aircraft, or in an arrivals or airline's lounge.) I will stay up that day, eat a light lunch if it's time and light supper, try to be active and if possible walk outdoors in the afternoon, and go to bed about 21:00 / 9 PM. This works very well for me - I will normally sleep well, perhaps waking breifly once or twice, and awakening at the usual hour I do at home, about 6:00 AM, have a good breakfast and coffee, and am ready for a full day. This provides me with an optimum transition to the new time. To sleep well, I prefer the J cabin (F is better, of course!) - so for me, it's about the rest and space, not the food and copious wine. (I'll eat well in a real restaurant - far better than almost any airline food can hope to be, even in a medium-quality restaurant; airline dining is about economically purchased food, pre-preparation, lengthy storage and re-heating. )

Westbound, "long day" flight (e.g. BRU-ORD-SFO,: I will get up, have a good breakfast (with coffee,) and other than perhaps a light snooze or two (half hour or less,) will act "daytime" - read, watch movies, work, eat moderately if they feed me. I will try to get some outdoor activity in the afternoon, eat a light supper, and go to sleep at 21:00 / 9:00 PM. No major naps, etc. Next day, I will awake at 06:00 as usual, and eat a good breakfast, with coffee. On these flights, J is nice, but an exit row seat (leg room, as I am 6'4" / 193 cm) will do just fine.

This is what works for me - to repeat myself, I enjoy good food and wine as much as the next person, but it is generally not to be found in most aircraft cabins. Very dry air and a cabin altitude of ~7-8,000 feet above sea level are to be found - I believe these contribute to jet lag (not to mention pulmonary dehydration,) so I do drink lots of water prior to / during travel and avoid much of the tea, coffee or alcohol as these all contribute further to dehydration (I try to use caffeine to help me adjust to the destination zone.) I eat lightly on these days, though a larger breakfast on westbound arrivals, or the day after an eastbound arrival.

At pushback, I reset my watch to destination time and try to act as much as possible as if I were already in that time zone. I try to use daylight to help re-regulate the appropriate parts of my anatomy to the new time zone, therefore the afternoon daylight and activities, and destination night time to try to sleep so I can be more rested on morning arrivals.

Background: Some years ago, in my military job in the 1960's, my colleagues and I were on "alert" to deploy anywhere worldwide within two hours' notice for what was could be described most accurately as demanding work with high need for attention to detail and very long hours. (I learned a bit about travel and packing, though I tend to travel without broken-down military arms in my checked luggage these days,) I began to look around, and began to learn what worked for me so I could be fairly and immedaietly functional on arrival - the flight times and routes were much longer. (Iirc, PA 1 was SFO-HNL-AWK-HND and was how we might get to Japan, bus to TAFB to pick up a USAF, Southern Air Transport or Air America flight onward.)

So, what I use now is a synthesis of that and my adaptation of the 1984 "Jet Lag Diet" and guidelines developed by Charles Ehret. M.D. and the Argonne National Laboratory for use power and energy (nuclear power plant operators) shift workers, and used by some U S "shuttle" diplomats, rapid deployment forces, etc. More information can be found here.

This is much more than you asked for, so I proffer my apologies - but it got me thinking of the whys and wheres, so here we are! YMMV, of course!
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Old Feb 18, 06, 2:15 pm
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Originally Posted by g33kgrl
I have only enough miles to upgrade myself and my mom one way on our upcoming trip to Paris (ORD-CDG and CDG-DFW). Would you choose to upgrade the overnight portion, thereby getting a better night's rest, or the return trip, when you are awake the whole time to experience the better service?

Of course, this is assuming the upgrade goes through. No huge loss if it doesn't--that will just mean using the miles for a free trip later. :-)
What are your existing Y seat assignments? Since you're Gold, you hopefully have good seats pre-assigned.

My ideal situation would be exit row going over, J coming home, for all of the reasons others have said. But if I had bad seats going over and exit row coming back, I wouldn't hesitate to flip it around.
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Old Feb 18, 06, 2:56 pm
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Upgrade mom on outbound, upgrade mom on return.
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Old Feb 18, 06, 3:16 pm
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Originally Posted by pinniped
What are your existing Y seat assignments? Since you're Gold, you hopefully have good seats pre-assigned.

My ideal situation would be exit row going over, J coming home, for all of the reasons others have said. But if I had bad seats going over and exit row coming back, I wouldn't hesitate to flip it around.
Keeping mind that the flight is on a 767-300: Row 21 (the "good" exit row, according to seatguru) is already taken on the outbound; row 20 is available, but seatguru shows these as bad on the 763. Row 21 is available coming back, but seatguru doesn't have a really great review of those either--more room, but cold and the seats have less padding. For now, for both flights, I've selected seats C and G (aisle seats in the middle section, hoping the middle seat won't be taken--this worked OK on my flight in Sept.) in the "mini-cabin" just behind the business cabin (supposed to be quieter than main coach cabin). I'll continue to check and make sure no one grabs the seat between us.

tt7--Nice suggestion, but I think mom will want to be with me. Part of the fun is sharing the experience. ;-)

Jdiver--Thanks for the detailed analysis. I usually go for the free in-flight meal, go to sleep (w/ the help of my friend Ambien) immediately afterward, wake up in time for breakfast, and continue the day pretty much as you describe.

Thanks everyone--I know it comes down to personal preferences, but I wanted to hear pros and cons from those who has experience with this.
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