First ex-EU with baggage and children

Old Apr 25, 17, 6:54 am
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First ex-EU with baggage and children

We have family in NYC, and planned to go visit with our boys (5 + (just) 3) over Easter. Last Autumn FT kindly flagged some great ex-AMS AA J fares that after discussion with the ladywife, we decided to go for it. Departing AMS at 4:20pm (AA6507) and connecting thru T5 onto BA179 (AA6144) at 6:00pm. We also have family in AMS so thought we would go early and see them for lunch in Schip and then onwards. We added on a week in Florida, and decided to come back from ORD (AA46), cos, well why not, and a connection of just under 24hrs (overnight) in LHR. Total cost was EUR3150.

We could see our seat allocations on the BA flights a couple of days before - they were fine 13 DEFG - didnt want to pay to change. I'd chosen 3AD 4AD on the 77W for the AA46 return at the time of booking. We were blue EC at the time.

What could go wrong? x2 hold bags, kids, car seat, ex-EU first time?

We took the 8:00am orange bus from LGW - AMS - no problem, EZY now has automated baggage check so you cant get away with any excess weight at an agents discretion, but we had to get someone to help us with the car seat - all straight forward and quick enough. Flight was fine on time, long taxi in AMS baggage collected by 1100, and checked back in with BA well in advance.

Dutch family couldnt join us for lunch so we hung out in the lounge with a couple of G&Ts, the kids watched planes and youtube for a bit, then we went and played on the travelators and the kids zone - they're easily pleased. Time didnt drag too much - eventually meandered out to end of the D pier and watched a few more planes and boarded.

The lady wife was a bit concerned at the short t/fer (80 mins) and got more concerned as after pushing back a few mins early, we had to return to offload a piece of baggage - I reassured her that there were later flights to JFK so we would still make it, and the crew were also great at reassuring here that even an hour would be enough in LHR. Drank the monopole - 3 year old ate all the sandwiches - 5 yr old turned his nose up - we picked at the charcuterie plate - enjoyed the small scotch egg...

Arrived 20 mins late or so to the B gates, there was a member of staff waiting to help us with the transfer - which was easy - noone at the B gates, and we took the train straight out to C gates (wife didnt want to go to lounge) long queue to board in standard, but priority boarding was empty by this point. Flight was great - crew were great - did the kids chicken meal without sauce, they thought it was roast chicken and were thrilled. Grown up food good too - plenty of drinks. Kids slept a good 4 hours or so, we slept a couple. Cant remember the snack. Immigration in JFK awful, but we were glad to make it.

Great few days in JFK, and week on Daytona Beach.

ORD was dead simple - we did the roadside check in, and the agent short checked our bags and car seat to LHR without question (relief for me) security checks quick - we even managed to get some of the TSA staff smiling as the kids automatically put their hands above their heads as if in a full body scan even in a regular beeping scanner. Lounge passable, nice hendricks and tonic with the voucher - went well with the 'home made guacamole' + chips - unfortunately we got plane change so were on a 767 not the 77W, but was pretty quiet 5 or 6 empty seats in the cabin. The crew were really great on this flight, really made the kids feel welcome, and looked after them - they were fast asleep on landing, and they were happy for us to leave their seats in the flat bed position so they wouldnt wake.

dozens of families going through immigration at T3 so was a bit of a wait 30 mins maybe. Bags waiting for us, so off home we went. Overslept for the final leg....

So to answer my earlier question, not a lot went wrong really. Was a shame about the replacement 767 on the return - the overall feeling was that the BA flight was better in terms of hard product, which might have been different on the 77W, but the AA crew got the thumbs up just because they went that extra mile.

Thanks for all the advice that you share on these boards, it helped no end to have a really enjoyable adventure for a very agreeable price - friends and family cant believe that we got biz class returns to the US for About 750 ea. It was a bit of a hassle positioning to AMS, in future we would probably try to work out a <24Hr overnight change of planes in London and we were lucky not to have any major issues/delays and to get our bags short checked to LHR without question.

Next time will take pics...
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Old Apr 25, 17, 7:15 am
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Good to hear of such a positive and relatively painless experience. My only question I guess is whether it would have still been worth it if the whole family had taken the whole itinerary as booked? For the journey you've taken it is definitely a good deal, but a further journey to Amsterdam and back when you're tired after a lot of travelling already may have taken the shine off that fare.
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Old Apr 25, 17, 8:07 am
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Sounds like it worked out pretty well for you. I'd be wary of making a habit of sleeping in for last legs booked through AA though, they have a much less ambivalent attitude towards this than BA do at present!
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Old Apr 25, 17, 8:42 am
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Originally Posted by Flexible preferences View Post
Good to hear of such a positive and relatively painless experience. My only question I guess is whether it would have still been worth it if the whole family had taken the whole itinerary as booked? For the journey you've taken it is definitely a good deal, but a further journey to Amsterdam and back when you're tired after a lot of travelling already may have taken the shine off that fare.
We did something similar it last year, with OSL instead of AMS and 9+8 year old instead of 5+3, and we did all the booked legs.
For us was surely worth it.
It went so well it has become a standard, when prices around EU are better than ex-BRU
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Old Apr 25, 17, 8:51 am
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Originally Posted by Lefly View Post
We did something similar it last year, with OSL instead of AMS and 9+8 year old instead of 5+3, and we did all the booked legs.
For us was surely worth it.
It went so well it has become a standard, when prices around EU are better than ex-BRU
Thank you for sharing your experience of this

If I think about it for myself - all well and good on the way out, a nice little hop to Amsterdam or somewhere with the anticipation of the bigger trip on the back of it. So far so good.

However, what I find a bit galling is the return - I don't respond very well to overnight flights, so the thought of taking a US domestic, then an overnight transatlantic and finally arriving back in the UK in the morning, just 30 minutes from home, only to drag my sorry a**e off to another gate and fly back to Amsterdam yet again, wait around and fly back when I'm feeling wrecked certainly puts me off a bit!
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Old Apr 25, 17, 9:37 am
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Originally Posted by Lefly View Post
We did something similar it last year, with OSL instead of AMS and 9+8 year old instead of 5+3, and we did all the booked legs.
For us was surely worth it.
It went so well it has become a standard, when prices around EU are better than ex-BRU
We also did this for our Easter 17 trip. As we got SK flights from MAN-OSL I padded the schedule a bit and we had an enforced overnight in OSL on the way back. The Park Inn was excellent, and had Mr TL not skipped off to the loo at the wrong time, I would have trousered some VDB cash from SK and taken a later flight back.

The kids enjoyed it and even Mr TL conceded that he'd do OSL again especially as this meant that we got the BA flights all the way to YYC for 830 each in J.
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Old Apr 25, 17, 9:49 am
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Originally Posted by Flexible preferences View Post
However, what I find a bit galling is the return - I don't respond very well to overnight flights, so the thought of taking a US domestic, then an overnight transatlantic and finally arriving back in the UK in the morning, just 30 minutes from home, only to drag my sorry a**e off to another gate and fly back to Amsterdam yet again, wait around and fly back when I'm feeling wrecked certainly puts me off a bit!
I understand your point. I guess I could feel the same if the LH flight was returning to BRU, but I still had to go to, say, OSL and back

Tiger_lily, in our case we added the night at the beginning. Park inn was very convenient!

Next big family trip to US via LHR will start in LIN (going there the day before) and end in PRG, with 4/5 hrs "layover" before the flight back to BRU.
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Old Apr 25, 17, 9:57 am
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Good to hear of such a positive and relatively painless experience. My only question I guess is whether it would have still been worth it if the whole family had taken the whole itinerary as booked? For the journey you've taken it is definitely a good deal, but a further journey to Amsterdam and back when you're tired after a lot of travelling already may have taken the shine off that fare.
financially it would have been worth it, but wouldnt have been worth it for the grumpy family
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