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NYC-Aruba: AA 1-stop in business or B6 nonstop in coach?

NYC-Aruba: AA 1-stop in business or B6 nonstop in coach?

Old Dec 7, 20, 3:23 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Mar 2009
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NYC-Aruba: AA 1-stop in business or B6 nonstop in coach?

I'm booked in B6 nonstop JFK-AUA (it was 10k miles + $15.60), but last night the AA fare was very cheap in business ($209 LGA-CLT-AUA) so I put it on hold. And today B6 canceled my 10:55am flight and moved me to the 7:30am the same day.

The pros of going with B6:
1. Nonstop and therefore no chance of getting stuck in a connecting city if there's a delay.
2. Since there's no domestic segment, it's more likely that the overwhelming majority of passengers will have had a negative Covid test recently (since Aruba requires one before travel or on arrival).
3. I get to Aruba 3 hours earlier.
4. I might, but probably not, go for B6's arrangement with Vault to take an at-home Covid test 3 days before (which is acceptable by Aruba). However, it's pricy at $119. I am pretty sure that I can get a test result locally within the required time frame; if not, I would have to take a test on arrival in Aruba (much cheaper) and quarantine for up to a day (but probably not that long), and I'm planning to stay at the airport Hyatt that night anyway.

The pros of going with AA:
5. More space and comfort, although both segments are Oasis 737s (maybe Kodiak by now but who knows?).
6. Easier to get to LGA for a 7:54am departure than JFK for 7:30am.

The new B6 flight looks pretty full, and there does not seem to be a window seat available (my preference) except the exit rows ($66), unless they've assigned me one (I'd have to commit to the new itinerary to see, and I'm not ready to do that).

The connection on AA is 80 minutes and I'd have Centurion Lounge access in CLT. I have no status with either airline and will bring hand luggage only.

I think #1 and #2 outweigh #5 and #6, but perhaps someone can identify something I haven't considered yet that tips the scale in favor of switching to AA. Posting here because I don't know the AA 737 product up front or the domestic business experience these days.

Thanks,
Seth
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Old Dec 7, 20, 5:12 pm
  #2  
 
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I think your assessment would be the same as many travelers but only you can decide the weight of the various factors and your unique situation.
For example, if I needed to get some work done, I might be inclined to take the connecting option. Likewise, if I was 6' 6", I might opt for first class over coach despite the later arrival.

The front cabin domestic product these days, for all intents and purposes, is a bigger seat with drink service.
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Old Dec 7, 20, 5:17 pm
  #3  
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If it was me, I would pay for an exit row seat on the non stop. Definitely wouldn't be wanting to detour - 4.5 hours journey time vs 7 hours seems a great benefit
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Old Dec 7, 20, 5:21 pm
  #4  
 
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Would switch to AA F in a second.
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Old Dec 7, 20, 5:28 pm
  #5  
 
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AA definitely. Too far, too early, too crowded to do B6.
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Old Dec 7, 20, 5:40 pm
  #6  
dll
 
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I would not trust the Vault at-home test. I have read very mixed reviews of people not being able to get the required video consultation set up within the 72-hour window, and they now specifically say to not use the test if you're sending it in over a weekend (for a Tuesday or Wednesday travel date).

I'd probably opt for the nonstop, otherwise, especially if you can get an "Even More Space" seat. The assurance of most passengers having taken a test is convincing.
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Old Dec 7, 20, 7:34 pm
  #7  
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I'd spring for an Extra More Space seat and fly B6, though if the time difference between B6 and AA were more than 24 minutes I might opt for AA.
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Old Dec 7, 20, 10:12 pm
  #8  
 
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Vacation mode = sitting up front on AA, no question

Also hi from AUA!
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Old Dec 7, 20, 10:51 pm
  #9  
 
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As you would already stay in the airport hotel on the day of arrival, I assume that you wouldn't miss anything from your planned vacations if you arrive 3 hours later than the direct B6 flight so I would go with the AA Domestic First option via CLT rather than a direct flight.

If you have a virtual meeting within those 3 hours that you would need to be on your computer, etc... That is a different story.
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Old Dec 7, 20, 11:18 pm
  #10  
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Thanks for the thoughtful responses. You've convinced me to switch to AA. Three other things came to mind:

7. If it's a funky day weather-wise, I'm likely out of luck with B6, whereas AA has a better network to get me there (a long delay after we've left the gate at LGA could be problematic, but anything before that can probably be fixed).
8. If I need to check in in person (due to Aruba's regulations or for other reasons), it's going to be a lot easier using the F line.
9. My Covid test results have to be uploaded "no later than 12 hours prior to departure to Aruba." With the connection, that now (maybe) gives me until 11:22pm the night before, rather than 7:30pm, since I'm departing for Aruba from CLT (though I'll see how that works in practice with the online documentation). Those four hours could make a difference.

Also, the available Even More Space seats on B6 weren't particularly alluring. A lot of them have missing windows or reports of interference from the exit doors. The only acceptable one was a few rows behind my original seat, and if I'm getting only three inches more I'd just as soon get off the plane 30 people sooner.

The total travel time door to door is only two hours longer, since I can leave my home at 6am instead of 5am.

Also, dll, your point is well taken regarding the Vault test (I was a bit concerned myself, since I'm flying on a Monday), and thanks for the greeting, platbrownguy!

Seth
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Old Dec 8, 20, 1:11 am
  #11  
 
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For that price, I would take AA in a heartbeat...no question.
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Old Dec 8, 20, 1:20 am
  #12  
 
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Also recommend AA, that's a great price, plus more options if something goes wrong.
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Old Dec 8, 20, 1:39 pm
  #13  
 
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I'll go B6. You get there in one shot. From experience, LGA can turn into a nightmare after a single drop of rain. You can miss your connection at CLT, causing additional stress. If you miss the last direct CLT-AUA, you either have to find alternative routes or spend the night at CLT. As for planes and checking areas being crowded, this can happen with either airline. Flying F with AA doesn't guarantee you a smooth in person check-in experience at LGA; dozens of flights leave around the same time. JFK - bigger airport and less prone to weather delays.
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Old Dec 8, 20, 2:31 pm
  #14  
 
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B6 would be less stress in my book. It's very early but once you arrive that is quickly forgotten. B6 is good enough to skip the connection.
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Old Dec 8, 20, 6:48 pm
  #15  
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Iíll go against the majority here and say Iíd rather fly B6 and pay for a nice EMS exit row. No real service to note on either airline though AA will give you a sandwich on the second leg. In terms of seat comfort, it would honestly be a complete toss-up for me and honestly I may lean to being more comfortable in a B6 EMS seat, especially if the middle is open which they often are in EMS.

I absolutely detest the Fauxasis 737s and the longest flight Iíll fly them is MCO-MIA. Otherwise Iím taking different equipment or a different airline. Those planes are utter garbage.
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