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LHR - TPA / Change of Connecting Flight - Long Layover

LHR - TPA / Change of Connecting Flight - Long Layover

Old Jul 17, 19, 5:47 am
  #1  
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Smile LHR - TPA / Change of Connecting Flight - Long Layover

Hello,

I am booked to fly LHR / TPA via MIA on 3rd of October in Club. My outbound connecting flight from MIA to TPA had initially a time change and was subsequently cancelled altogether.

Flight routing is: BA 207 LHR / MIA, which will get me into MIA at 15.00 then my connecting flight was originally MIA / TPA on BA 2435 operated by AA at 19.00 (which was then changed to 17.32 before it was cancelled). I have been rebooked onto BA5400 which leaves MIA at 21.57 and which will get me into TPA at 22.59.

I rang BA to see whether there were any alternatives as I didn't fancy a 7 hour wait at MIA and was first offered the direct routing from LGW, which I politely declined as I would rather go on the 747 and bank the extra TP's.

They then offered me a routing via Philadelphia, which would mean an AA flight on an A330. It would get me into TPA earlier (at 18.43) and I would quite happily go on AA as I had a really good flight with them at Christmas (on a 777), however, I read that the A330 is the oldest plane in world, nearly as old as the BA 777 flying out of Gatwick. Then there is the whole hoohaa on another thread about people not being allowed into the Admirals Club in Philadelphia because of their odd access guidelines.

Does anyone here have any experience of the AA PHL flight or connecting via Philadelphia in general? Is it fairly straight forward and exactly how old / bad is the A330?

I am a bit torn, on one hand a 7-hour layover in Miami would allow me to have a quick drink and bite to eat in South Beach, but on the other hand it makes my travelling day very long!

Thanks very much for any advice here.
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Old Jul 17, 19, 5:56 am
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LGW-TPA is mainly the new 10 across with only 32 in J. I'd take direct and sacrifice the 40TPs - i'm doing this in August despite usually going LHR-MIA-TPA as do like the Upper Deck 744, and can be in Clearwater by 17.30hrs if all goes to plan!
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Old Jul 17, 19, 6:11 am
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Direct is always generally the best/easiest option for any journey, but avoiding BA CW on a day flight is a priority for me.

I have flown the AA 330 in J many times - give me that over a BA CW seat any day of the week! Much less dense, greater personal space. Some people on here have issue with the AA crews since they don't have the "banter" that BA crews have (whatever that means), but I get on a plane to go somewhere, not to make friends with cabin crew. I would happily take the PHL option if it was offered to me, and regularly use PHL as a point of entry to the US when it is not possible to take a AA 777 service.
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Old Jul 17, 19, 6:24 am
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I connected at PHL earlier this month, from a BA transatlantic flight onto an AA flight (in Domestic First) and in the opposite direction as well, although I used the BA Lounge on the return journey.

Absolutely no problem going into the Admirals Clubs at PHL as a BA Silver (as I was at the time). I tried out two Admirals Clubs as one was very busy and the other pretty quiet.

BM
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Old Jul 17, 19, 6:31 am
  #5  
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Save yourself many hours of travel and just take the non stop flight; if desperate to take a longer journey, travel on AA via ORD allows for a journey 3.5 hours longer than the non stop with a 90 min connection in ORD

Alternatively United via Dallas allows for a slightly shorter journey than AA; I would really not want to be connecting in the US
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Old Jul 17, 19, 7:01 am
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The AA morning flight out of LHR to Dallas is a 77W and connects nicely to a mid afternoon flight to Tampa getting you in around 7pm. I would probably go for that option. Being based here in TPA I almost never take the LGW-TPA service.
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Old Jul 17, 19, 7:25 am
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I would take the AA731 and connect in CLT, gets into TPA at 18:16 with a 10:05 start from LHR

There's a later connection to TPA in case of IRROPS
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Old Jul 17, 19, 8:15 am
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Fly direct and save yourself a whole load of hassle.
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Old Jul 17, 19, 8:27 am
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I think the OP can see the factors here, a direct flight on (usually) a recently updated aircraft with good IFE, or an interchange at PHL or CLT., with AA's variable and apt to change rolling stock from there. CLT is a great interchange point, PHL is quite reasonable too, but a direct service avoids it altogether. I know of some issues getting into the BA lounge if flying AA, but none for using Admirals if Gold. There is plenty of lounge capacity at any rate. The question the OP needs to resolve is whether the hassle of the connection is worth 40 TPs or not , given whatever alternative ways of earning 40 TPs could be. If the 40 TPs aren't critical, then going direct is for all but the eccentric.

Note that this still some way off, AA can and will change flights again, whether via MIA, PHL or CLT, and that incidentally includes reinstating services currently cancelled.
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Old Jul 17, 19, 10:00 am
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Thank you very much for all the replies, there's a lot of food for thoughts here. The 40 TP's would be nice but are (hopefully) not essential - the main reason I wanted to avoid going direct was due to the old 777 Gatwick fleet and I seem to remember that people advised against the direct Tampa flight for that very reason.

The other reason I booked this flight was the difference in price at the time - flying direct would have been much more expensive, so in a way I would actually benefit from a free re-booking to the direct service.

It's a bit of a throw of the dice, this! I might (or knowing my luck, will) get an old 777, but I will get to Tampa nice and early without the danger of having a connection cancelled.

Ha, all of the above said, I just checked Expert Flyer and see that all window seats are occupied, I'm not giving up 62k on a 747 for a middle seat on a 777! Call me odd, but that makes all the difference to me, I hate not having a window.

I think for now I'll stick with my original routing via MIA and hope that AA will re-instate my original connection. And thinking about it, in case of an IRROPS I would rather be stuck in Miami (with relatively short travel time to TPA) than ORD or PHL.

Thanks very much for all the different options you have given me, that was really helpful, even if I'm not following any of the advice given... But sometimes it's just good to get a different point of view.
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Old Jul 17, 19, 10:10 am
  #11  
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First, before anything else, do not subject yourself to a 7-hour connection at MIA. It is only a 4-hour drive and you can thus save 3 hours and boredom by driving if you really want to preserve your current aircraft choice.

Second, take the nonstop service. Shorter and less to go wrong. All connections are always riskier and I would not forego a nonstop flight for a connection unless the latter provided some unique and extraordinary experience.

Third, neither the CLT nor PHL connections are bad. Easy CBP clearance, drop your bags after Customs, head back through security and off to an Admirals Club or gate depending on timing. The onwards flights in domestic F are short and nothing special.
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Old Jul 17, 19, 11:04 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
First, before anything else, do not subject yourself to a 7-hour connection at MIA. It is only a 4-hour drive and you can thus save 3 hours and boredom by driving if you really want to preserve your current aircraft choice.
I would not recommend this after a long flight. It's an incredibly boring drive and if you're tired it can be extremely tedious bordering on dangerous.
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Old Jul 17, 19, 11:42 am
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+1 on the drive, having done it twice even a quick toilet break and leg stretch combined with collecting the hire car will take well over five hours.

Also, if it’s leisure and maximising on board enjoyment you’ll be limited to a couple of drinks having to drive from Miami
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Old Jul 17, 19, 11:45 am
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Seven hours for 40 TPS? No thank you!
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Old Jul 17, 19, 1:32 pm
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Hop on over to the AA forum to see what an operational basket case AA is at the moment. If you're being given the option to go direct fee free and avoid MIA and AA, I'd bite their hand off.
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