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tech illiterate needs help selecting MIA-LHR-MIA Business

tech illiterate needs help selecting MIA-LHR-MIA Business

Old Dec 30, 19, 9:30 am
  #1  
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tech illiterate needs help selecting MIA-LHR-MIA Business

We're elderly (husband is 90), rarely use websites like this, etc. We need to go from Miami to Heathrow on May 15; return June 3. We'll be doing Business Class. I have NO CLUE how to find the best flight (obviously non-stops wanted) for us. And what seats to choose (and how to access those diagrams), assuming there will be a choice. I believe I found out that American/BA uses a 747 (400?) on that route. Is that aircraft comfortable in business? what are the seats like? I'm kind of a white-knuckle flyer; will I easily be able to hold hands with my husband, or are the seats awkwardly separated.? Etc.
In short, any help you can give me will be enormously appreciated. Hoping to make arrangements asap.
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Old Dec 30, 19, 9:45 am
  #2  
 
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Too many questions for me but:

https://www.google.com/flights#flt=M...;sc:b;sd:1;t:f

That shows flights to London airports from Miami or Ft. Lauderdale for your dates. You can change dates to see other options.

I use: https://www.seatguru.com/ to help choose the best seats on those flights

Once you decide possible flights (if you have options) you can search on FT the individual plane/airline to see what posters have said about seats.
If you have no status- BA charges for seat reservations and 747-400 is an old plane (fyi). Just to keep in mind when loohing at total costs.

Others can chime in on more.
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Old Dec 30, 19, 9:52 am
  #3  
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Originally Posted by pease View Post
We're elderly (husband is 90), rarely use websites like this, etc. We need to go from Miami to Heathrow on May 15; return June 3. We'll be doing Business Class. I have NO CLUE how to find the best flight (obviously non-stops wanted) for us. And what seats to choose (and how to access those diagrams), assuming there will be a choice. I believe I found out that American/BA uses a 747 (400?) on that route. Is that aircraft comfortable in business? what are the seats like? I'm kind of a white-knuckle flyer; will I easily be able to hold hands with my husband, or are the seats awkwardly separated.? Etc.
In short, any help you can give me will be enormously appreciated. Hoping to make arrangements asap.
1) BA uses 747-400s on that route. The Business (“Club World”) seats are less comfortable than American’s, most require the window or inside occupant climb over the aisle passenger when the seat is flat. That being said, the backwards-facing E and F “honeymoon” seats are cosy for couples and allow hand-holding (the others have privacy dividers). You’d have to pay to book, and your preferred seats might not be available. 17EF are usually seserved for couples with an infant. 22EF have aisle access and are our preferred seats, as I have to administer medication to my wife. Below, see a schematic if one of the types of BA 747 Club World cabins; the green box denotes the seats you’d likely prefer.

2) American uses 777-200ERs on that route. There are two seat types (some with seats facing forward and aft, more all facing forward at an angle), both recline fully, all seats have full aisle access. None are easy for holding hands, though the center seats’ privacy divider can usually be lowered so you can see each other and with some effort possibly hold hands. The green box denotes the Business seats I’m talking about.

Unfortunately, the websites such as SeatGuru are often not quite helpful - their information is below - because they can be wrong. They list all AA 777-200s as below and don’t show the aircraft with the fore and aft facing seats (but as I recall, the numbers are the same).

Here’s a start.
Attached Images   
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Old Dec 30, 19, 10:02 am
  #4  
 
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I suggest you visit a local, reputable travel agent who can help you book the best flights and seats for you. Ask friends, relatives and neighbors for recommendations, if necessary.
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Old Dec 30, 19, 10:25 am
  #5  
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Originally Posted by QueenOfCoach View Post
I suggest you visit a local, reputable travel agent who can help you book the best flights and seats for you. Ask friends, relatives and neighbors for recommendations, if necessary.
I would second this. The TA would also keep the OP informed of items such as schedule change or change in equipment. The extra $$ for a TA would be worth the peace of mind.
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Old Dec 30, 19, 10:26 am
  #6  
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Thank you ever so much for these quick replies. I will be studying, for sure.
Also, Virgin Atlantic seems to fly this route as well. I wonder how that airline compares to BA/American.
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Old Dec 30, 19, 10:42 am
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Originally Posted by pease View Post
Thank you ever so much for these quick replies. I will be studying, for sure.
Also, Virgin Atlantic seems to fly this route as well. I wonder how that airline compares to BA/American.
I have a friend who much prefers Virgin Atlantic which flying LAX-LHR. I like AA, personally, and try to get a seat on a 77W.

HOWEVER, my earlier advice stands. I seriously advise you to take your business and questions to a travel agent and pay the commission for the personalized service. The expertise of a travel agent is worth the cost for a novice, nervous traveler.
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Old Dec 30, 19, 11:03 am
  #8  
 
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Originally Posted by QueenOfCoach View Post
HOWEVER, my earlier advice stands. I seriously advise you to take your business and questions to a travel agent and pay the commission for the personalized service. The expertise of a travel agent is worth the cost for a novice, nervous traveler.
In my experience, most travel agents are not particularly helpful for booking flights and can be more of a hassle than a help when things go wrong. They certainly won't provide the sort of detailed advice about seat selection, that, e.g., JDiver provided earlier in the thread.

General advice to the OP:

- You seem tech savvy enough to use FlyerTalk so you can probably do the research and bookings that you need to online.
- BA has the worst business class product on this route. I'd rate American's as slightly better than Virgin, but it depends on how you value seat quality versus everything else.
- Because of a business arrangement between BA and AA, you can book AA flights through BA and vice versa. Regardless of which airline you book through, prefer the flights on 777s as these are the ones operated by American with nicer business class than the 747s that BA operates.
- BA offers a $200 per person discount on business class tickets for AARP members. Even if you're not currently a member, it may be worth signing up to be one. This link has more details: https://www.britishairways.com/en-us...ember-benefits
- If you have an American Express Platinum charge card, they also have discounts on business class travel for some airlines. In this case, you could just call them and give them your dates and have them go over the best offers for you on those dates.
- Otherwise, a tool like Google Flights or Kayak should give you a good sense of the best available fares and how to book them. Just make sure you choose
"business class" at the start of the process so you're seeing the correct fares.

Right now, for your dates it seems that fares are about $3600 on either BA or Virgin, which is neither particularly good nor particularly bad. It probably wouldn't hurt to check the prices every few days for a month or two and see if the fare drops--if you see anything below $2500 per person, I'd go ahead and book.
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Old Dec 30, 19, 11:21 am
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Also if mobility is not what it used to be, it’s perfectly okay to contact the airline after booking and request wheelchair assistance for your trip. Some of the walks to gates or immigration stations can be quite long
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Old Dec 30, 19, 11:33 am
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Given your situation I would actually probably suggest the BA Club World seat for this trip. While it is a generation behind most of the AA business class products at this point, the service is about the same if not a bit better and the biggest plus is that you will be able to see your husband the entire time (though probably not hold hands comfortably). The newer business class seats on AA aircraft are realtively private and without stretching uncomfortably far, it's not very easy to see and talk to your travel companion.

The thing about BA that is quite frustrating is that they charge a seat selection fee even in paid business class. This can be upwards of $100/seat so this is an additional cost to factor in when booking. With that said, my suggestion would be to book a pair of seats on the upper deck of the BA 747. This is the best way to ensure a private and relaxed experience while still being able to have good contact with your travel companion (though again, maybe not comfortable for holding hands).
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Old Dec 30, 19, 12:03 pm
  #11  
mia
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There are four non-stop flights on May 15, 2020:

5:05pm British Airways 206 on a Boeing 747
5:56pm Virgin Atlantic 6 on an Airbus 330
6:35pm American Airlines 38 on a Boeing 777
8:45pm British Airways 208 on a Boeing 747

All arrive in London the following morning.

American Airlines' cabin layout is conventional. All the seats the face forward, with single seats near the windows and pairs of seats in the middle.

British Airways cabin layout is different. Some seats face forward, others backwards. If you book an adjacent pair facing opposite directions you can easily see one another throughout the flight.

If you want to see/touch/speak with each other during the flight I would avoid Virgin Atlantic. Their seats are excellent for sleeping, but you do need to stand up to convert the seats from seat mode to bed mode, and the seats are pretty private - not easy to speak with anyone else. All their seats are angled in a herringbone layout, and all have direct access to the aisle which is good if you need to use the restroom.
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Old Dec 30, 19, 2:06 pm
  #12  
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Upper Deck on the 747 is the way to do this, taking all factors into account here. This assumes you are OK using the stairs on embarkation and disembarkation. It's very private and really good for couples. Two cabin crew members looking after 20 passengers. The seating charge is extra compared to Main Deck but Upper Deck 747 won't be around for much longer, and all the BA 747s have now been refurbished in the last 3 years.

When you have made your choice of flights, by all means reach out for specific advice. Don't use Seat Guru for BA, it shows aircraft which are no longer in service, but even when they were in service Seatguru's configuration wasn't updated to their final layout!
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Old Dec 30, 19, 8:35 pm
  #13  
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I don’t think I’d recommend the upper deck for a 90 year old.

The BA center seats downstairs are known as “honeymoon seats” as they are close to one another. Those would be the best option for holding hands, but they’ll potentially require climbing over someone’s feet to get out, unless you take the last pair of seats in each cabin section.
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Old Dec 30, 19, 8:43 pm
  #14  
 
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Originally Posted by pease View Post
We're elderly (husband is 90), rarely use websites like this, etc. We need to go from Miami to Heathrow on May 15; return June 3. We'll be doing Business Class. I have NO CLUE how to find the best flight (obviously non-stops wanted) for us. And what seats to choose (and how to access those diagrams), assuming there will be a choice. I believe I found out that American/BA uses a 747 (400?) on that route. Is that aircraft comfortable in business? what are the seats like? I'm kind of a white-knuckle flyer; will I easily be able to hold hands with my husband, or are the seats awkwardly separated.? Etc.
In short, any help you can give me will be enormously appreciated. Hoping to make arrangements asap.
Since the cost is considerable (more than the average Joe or Jane wants to pay for their 29" pitch economy seats) for a pair of business class tickets, find a human travel agent in an agency that deals with non-tourist/package travel and pay their small fee and let them do the work.

People will cheap out on not paying $40 for a $5,000 ticket that meets their needs, which boggles the mind.
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Old Dec 30, 19, 8:49 pm
  #15  
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Looking at available fares, I would choose VS over either of BA or AA

There is also the option for travel to London of Norwegian Air , which offers a business class on a non stop service for less than half the price of the main carriers ( $1600 r/t vs $3667) though these are only recliner seats with 46" pitch

Last edited by Dave Noble; Dec 30, 19 at 9:00 pm
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