Recommendations for best routing, J seats, SFO-LHR

 
Old Jan 15, 09, 6:57 pm
  #1  
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Recommendations for best routing, J seats, SFO-LHR

I'll be flying AA SFO-LHR in early June, then connecting on BA to BUD. Upgrades are available from Y to J on at least some of the AA flights; then I'd fly J on BA. I've flown through all of the AA connection airports at various points, but don't know any of them too well. Some questions:

1. On the outbound, since I want to arrive in LHR as early as possible in order to make an early connection to BUD and since I'd like the transatlantic to be as long as possible, it seems like my best bets are to go via ORD or DFW rather than JFK or MIA. (Only afternoon flights from LAX). Does this seem right and, if so, any preferences between ORD and DFW?
2. Because I want the long translatlantic, it seems like coming back through LAX would be best. Make sense?
3. Planes are mostly 763s and 777s. Any seat recommendations? Are the two seats in row 8 on the right on the 777 better or worse than others? Seatguru says nice things about them, but they seem close to the potentially noisy galley.
4. The surprisingly inept EXP CSR I spoke to told me that I can't combine my Y AA and J BA flights into one ticket. Make sense?
5. Not too familiar with anything but the basics on the AA site. Any way to check upgrade availability online? And to then actually upgrade during or after the purchase?

Thanks for any info or advice.
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Old Jan 15, 09, 7:27 pm
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Originally Posted by Thunderroad View Post
I'll be flying AA SFO-LHR in early June, then connecting on BA to BUD. Upgrades are available from Y to J on at least some of the AA flights; then I'd fly J on BA. I've flown through all of the AA connection airports at various points, but don't know any of them too well. Some questions:

1. On the outbound, since I want to arrive in LHR as early as possible in order to make an early connection to BUD and since I'd like the transatlantic to be as long as possible, it seems like my best bets are to go via ORD or DFW rather than JFK or MIA. (Only afternoon flights from LAX). Does this seem right and, if so, any preferences between ORD and DFW?
2. Because I want the long translatlantic, it seems like coming back through LAX would be best. Make sense?
3. Planes are mostly 763s and 777s. Any seat recommendations? Are the two seats in row 8 on the right on the 777 better or worse than others? Seatguru says nice things about them, but they seem close to the potentially noisy galley.
4. The surprisingly inept EXP CSR I spoke to told me that I can't combine my Y AA and J BA flights into one ticket. Make sense?
5. Not too familiar with anything but the basics on the AA site. Any way to check upgrade availability online? And to then actually upgrade during or after the purchase?

Thanks for any info or advice.
1. I would use LAX when possible and take a later flight to BUD.
I would choose DFW over ORD in the winter and ORD over DFW in the summer

2. Definitely LAX
3. You might want to check seatexperts.
I would use the middle row on the 763
On the 777, 9AB or 9HB, due to accessibility from the window (I would choose near the gallery over near the lav)

4. You can check upgrades at ExpertFlyer.com
You need to call or visit AA to get upgrades

In my experience, connecting using LHR-LAX or LAX-LHR always seems to be harder to upgrade and have higher fares. I fly from either SJC or SFO.
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Old Jan 15, 09, 7:38 pm
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Couple of quick things:
a) MIA/LHR is about 4400 miles opposed to about 3950 for ORD/LHR
b) The MIA/LHR flight gets in at 0635 am the earliest pretty much of all your choices.
c) LAX/LHR is a tough upgrade much easier through the other gateways.
d) Any special reason why you are flying J on a separate BA tix?
The last time I flew BUD/MIA it was a AA codeshare on BA and the cost was not too much more than just MIA/LHR R/T
The return through LHR got in to LHR at 200 pm and with no later flights onward to MIA that evening, I got to spend the evening in London.... not bad thing in my books.
Besides its only about a 2 hour flight, you can live in coach for that cant you?.

I would shoot for MIA or DFW but get on the ball June is a tough month to upgrade if you wait too long.

Check out Expert flyer, right now I can see C2 out of MIA on 6/12 through 6/20

mike

Last edited by MIKESILV; Jan 15, 09 at 7:46 pm
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Old Jan 15, 09, 7:43 pm
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I always try to fly AA1931 from SFO, then AA136 from LAX. However, AA136 doesn't arrive until afternoon, so a lot depends on your connection. This flight gives you the maximum amount of sleep time. So many other routing arrive in early AM at LHR, so you get there before the time when you might go to bed at home.

I often have morning connections, so I unfortunately often have to fly via JFK or DFW. The DFW AA50 or AA78 connections are a good 2nd choice, as they are almost 2 hrs longer than flights from JFK or BOS, so it's possible to get a decent amount of sleep. (ORD is on my No-Fly Ever list).

Another route is AA18 redeye to JFK, then the daytime flight to LHR, AA142, but that's a fairly tight connection at 1hr 15 mins.

Generally, it's easier to get upgrades to clear from JFK as there are so many flights to LHR every day.
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Old Jan 15, 09, 8:09 pm
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Hi Folks,

Thanks for the feedback. Mike, the CSR didn't tell me that the BA flight to BUD was an AA code share and I didn't think to ask, so I'll try to make it one ticket--assuming that she was incorrect in saying that I couldn't combine a Y SFO-LHR fare with a J LHR-BUD fare.

In any event, getting "stuck" in London overnight on the way back is great.

As for MIA, I'm under the vague impression that it's a lousy airport to transit through, but if I'm wrong about that feel free to let me know.

Last edited by Thunderroad; Jan 15, 09 at 8:38 pm
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Old Jan 15, 09, 8:22 pm
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Even though you want to fly as long as possible on the transatlantic, one consideration may be to take AA 24 SFO-JFK connecting to AA 100 JFK-LHR.

On some random weekdays in June, AA 24 is showing as operated by 767-300 -- this has next generation business class. Thus, you'd have an angled-lie flat seats all the way, and arrive at LHR at 6:25 a.m.

You could also take AA 1625 SFO-ORD which is showing 767-300, then connect to AA 63 and arrive at LHR at 6:50 a.m. A little less time to connect at ORD - but its still 95 minutes.

Gate-to-Gate flying times between ORD-LHR and JFK-LHR aren't much different during the evening hours.

The 763 from SFO is subject to aircraft swaps (downgrade to one without NGBC) - perhaps there is more of a chance of an aircraft swap on these routes than average. Its happened to me on 1 of the 4 times I've been scheduled on a 763, FWIW.
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Old Jan 15, 09, 8:29 pm
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Originally Posted by Thunderroad View Post
Hi Folks,

Thanks for the feedback. Mike, the CSR didn't tell me that the BA flight to BUD was an AA code share and I didn't think to ask, so I'll try to make it one ticket--assuming that she was in correct in that I couldn't combine a Y SFO-LHR fare with a J LHR-BUD fare. In any event, getting "stuck" in London overnight on the way back is great.

As for MIA, I'm under the vague impression that it's a lousy airport to transit through, but if I'm wrong about that feel free to let me know.
Well you did have to ask the MIA question didnt you?
As one of the "its not so bad" defenders of MIA on this board and living in TPA I am pretty much forced to get to like it since I make a great number of connections there ( plus I have two siblings along with my mom who lives in Miami/Fort Lauderdale)
I would be lying if I didnt say some here just dont care for MIA.
Outbound connections are fine its just that on the return INS/Customs MAY be a bit of nusance but I firmly believe it has improved considerably.

mike
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Old Jan 15, 09, 8:44 pm
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Originally Posted by jesus4jets View Post
Even though you want to fly as long as possible on the transatlantic, one consideration may be to take AA 24 SFO-JFK connecting to AA 100 JFK-LHR.
I highly discourage this--you'll get 4/5 hours sleep max. Stick to LAX (if you can make the BUD connection) or as late a departure you can DFW for minimum jet-lag and maximum comfort.
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Old Jan 15, 09, 9:07 pm
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Thanks again to all! Mike, I'd forgotten you lived in Tampa. Didn't mean to cast aspersions on a nearby airport!

I guess one other strike against MIA is almost all flights in and out of there these days have become 757s. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the 763s that fly other routes are all NGBC, right? Or if not, at least have a lot more pitch than the 757s?
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Old Jan 15, 09, 9:26 pm
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As you are EXP, I would point out that LAX and ORD have Flagship Lounges (as does JFK, which I wouldn't recommend). DFW and MIA do not.

In general, I'm with those who would take LAX outbound if you can get the upgrade confirmed on ticketing. If not, I would take the routing that would give upgrade on ticketing. If upgrade is available on all routes, I would take LAX first, then ORD in the summer/DFW in the winter.
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Old Jan 15, 09, 9:36 pm
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Dont worry about the MIA thingy ( I a big boy )....but you are right the last SFO/MIA 763 is now a 757..
so all SFO/MIA directs are 757s. (but you might get reaaal lucky and get the one or is it two? newly converted 757s)

But yes the 763s that fly SFO/ORD SFO/DFW or LAX/MIA have NGBC.
If looking on aa.com all 763s are NGBC

mike

And yes MIA has reopened its Flagship lounge in E

Last edited by MIKESILV; Jan 15, 09 at 9:44 pm
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Old Jan 15, 09, 9:40 pm
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Originally Posted by gemac View Post
As you are EXP, I would point out that LAX and ORD have Flagship Lounges (as does JFK, which I wouldn't recommend). DFW and MIA do not.
MIA has an IFL, if I'm not mistaken.

Definitely avoid the JFK-LHR flight. It's just too short. Living in NYC, I take that flight often and I never arrive refreshed. It is also better to have the entire itinerary on one PNR in case of irrops.

Don't place too much priority on LHR-BUD in J. Unless the extra cost is just marginal, it's just not worth it. Recently did a LHR-ATH in CE on BA, and actually found myself wishing I were in an MD-80 in F. Yeah, that bad.
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Old Jan 15, 09, 9:45 pm
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Originally Posted by gemac View Post
As you are EXP, I would point out that LAX and ORD have Flagship Lounges (as does JFK, which I wouldn't recommend). DFW and MIA do not.
Pardon the question: a Flagship Lounge is a first class lounge?? (I've accrued a lot of my points/miles on BA and especially CX, mostly flying AA just domestically in the past. Hence my ignorance. ) And they're nicer than the Admirals Club in DFW? I thought that was pretty nice.
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Old Jan 15, 09, 9:47 pm
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Originally Posted by Thunderroad View Post
Pardon the question: a Flagship Lounge is a first class lounge?? (I've accrued a lot of my points/miles on BA and especially CX, mostly flying AA just domestically in the past. Hence my ignorance. ) And they're nicer than the Admirals Club in DFW? I thought that was pretty nice.
IFL provides complimentary drinks and food. Much different than an AC. It is essentially an international first class lounge. And as an EXP, you have access when flying on international itineraries. It's no Wing or Pier, but you'll enjoy it.

Last edited by justforfun; Jan 15, 09 at 9:57 pm
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Old Jan 15, 09, 10:37 pm
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Originally Posted by justforfun View Post
IFL provides complimentary drinks and food. Much different than an AC. It is essentially an international first class lounge. And as an EXP, you have access when flying on international itineraries. It's no Wing or Pier, but you'll enjoy it.
you may enjoy it at lax, ord, or MIA but at lhr it is a joke and should be avoided in lieu of the ba lounges (t5) or cx in t3.
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