LAX to Berlin

Old Apr 19, 14, 8:04 pm
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LAX to Berlin

Howdy- I'm soon going to be completing the Los Angeles-Berlin route with a fair deal of frequency and would like your opinions on the most sensible, comfortable route and airline, always with some insight for FF programs on the potential airlines.

At present leaning towards Lufthansa/Swiss, since I will have to connect somewhere, Zurich is a place I certainly wouldn't mind...

Thanks

S
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Old Apr 19, 14, 8:35 pm
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Welcome to Flyertalk!

Might help to know if you're planning on business or economy flights?

Lots of options here, obviously. Really could divide it into whether you prefer to stop in the US, i.e. Newark, or LAX-Europe then the short hop to Berlin. I think most would do the longhaul first, but the timing of the overnight from the east coast straight into Berlin might make sense on occasion for you.

Also many here would discuss miles earning and which alliance or program you want the miles to credit to. But if you're purely basing your decision on comfort/service/ease then Swiss is definitely a good option, I really like their flights. AA and NZ fly 777's to London, but personally I'd rather go one airline the whole way instead of switching to a partner in LHR or somewhere. As for Lufthansa, MUC is more pleasant to connect through in my opinion than FRA. BA and AF 380 probably have some trip reports you could look over in the "community" area of Flyertalk.

Last edited by maverick17; Apr 19, 14 at 8:57 pm
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Old Apr 19, 14, 10:51 pm
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Thanks Maverick17, I will probably be flying economy. I've flown Swiss and it have been very satisfied with their flights and with connecting in Zurich. Definitely want to stay on one airline, and the long hull from LA to Europe also makes most sense to me.

Munich and Zurich would also both be covered through "Miles and More" which I like. Maybe I'll give both these a try. Thanks for your help.
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Old Apr 20, 14, 4:23 am
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You can also consider flying with AA and BA. AA's programme is probably the best for earning status with only economy flying.

Assuming the more direct long haul flight, you can take routings like AA or BA to LHR then BA to BER or AA to CDG then Air Berlin to BER. If you hit AA EXP status you can use SWUs on the long-haul AA segments.

How often are you going to be travelling?
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Old Apr 20, 14, 12:10 pm
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Great points on AA. I used to fly with them a lot, and will have to see where my account is now with them. I will be splitting my time between the two cities, probably 3 return flights/ year and probably trips/year between NYC and Berlin.

In Re: to BA, Heathrow always struck me as a trickier airport to transfer through... however I suppose since both legs of the trip would be international there wouldn't be any terminal transferring and I could check thru?

Thanks for your insights
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Old Apr 20, 14, 12:18 pm
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Originally Posted by flatlander
You can also consider flying with AA and BA. AA's programme is probably the best for earning status with only economy flying.

Assuming the more direct long haul flight, you can take routings like AA or BA to LHR then BA to BER or AA to CDG then Air Berlin to BER. If you hit AA EXP status you can use SWUs on the long-haul AA segments.

How often are you going to be travelling?
AA does not fly LAX-CDG nonstop -- at least not on its own metal. It's possible that AA code shares on the TN nonstop.

However, AB does not serve CDG at all. All of AB's PAR service is via ORY.
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Old Apr 20, 14, 12:26 pm
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Another possibility, offered only certain months of the year, is LAX-DUS-TXL, all on AB. The LAX-DUS nonstop is seasonal, and offered just a few days per week.

I cannot comment on the comfort of AB Y on long-haul flights, however.
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Old Apr 20, 14, 12:35 pm
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http://www.heathrowairport.com/heath...ht-connections

Transiting LHR has gotten much better than it used to be. Depending on which airline you arrive and depart on you may have to do a terminal change but you say in transit.
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Old Apr 20, 14, 2:47 pm
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If you'll be flying enough to get status and SWUs or enough miles to upgrade, you should try to find an airline that serves Berlin TATL and connect somewhere in the USA. It's much harder (and can require more expensive tickets) to upgrade the intraEU segments. OTOH, on the return trip to the USA, there are advantages in clearing immigration and customs at your final destination so that you don't need to worry about delays at immigration and customs causing you to miss your domestic connection.
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Old Apr 20, 14, 9:42 pm
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After looking a little further, I believe United and Air Berlin are the only TATL's directly into Berlin at the moment. Once (IF) the new airport opens, that could change I suppose.

But to the points above, if you had status that would open you up to having possible upgrades LAX-EWR and then connecting on the redeye into Berlin.

Note this route in the winter a few years ago when I flew it was one of those, if I recall, that time to time had to stop for refueling in Canada. Mine did not, thankfully. Long thread on that topic back in the day on CO/UA forums. Not sure if it happens much anymore.
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Old Apr 20, 14, 11:13 pm
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3 LAX-TXL round trips and 2 TXL-JFK round trips puts you at 52k miles, not enough for top tier status on any airline - so things like SWUs are not really part of the equation unless you're doing another 50k of assorted flying.

With that in mind, I would choose whichever alliance / airline has the lowest priced business or first tickets on average (if you're into that) or whoever has the best priced mileage upgrade options.
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Old Apr 20, 14, 11:57 pm
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What or who decides what airline or price point for these trips?

Also consider other airports with a train to Berlin. But not these, as a long train trip

Have a look here: - http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/infor...help-here.html
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Old Apr 21, 14, 11:29 am
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Another something to throw into the mix... If and when the new airport in Berlin opens, there seems to be some chance of a direct LAX-BER route opening up on LH.

While no one is holding their breathe over the airports opening, I think this is something I should take into consideration and I will be flying this route indefinitely until at least 2017. Maybe someone knows more about this proposed route as well?

You've all be tremendously helpful and thoughtful in your suggestions
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Old Apr 21, 14, 12:03 pm
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There is a somewhat lengthy thread in the Germany forum regarding the opening of BER:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/germa...rport-ber.html

Given the fact that BER is still years away from opening, and that LH is unlikely to add the route before the airport is confirmed as open (if at all), I would focus on your current options and revisit once the situation changes.

I will second guv1976's suggestion to look into LAX-DUS-TXL if it's available -- DUS is a very easy airport to transit, and AB Y isn't terrible, especially if you have OW Sapphire status and can request XL seating (i.e. bulkhead/exit rows). You can credit to another program like AA to have more flexibility in redeeming miles down the road.
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Old Apr 21, 14, 3:58 pm
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Originally Posted by linglingfool View Post
Given the fact that BER is still years away from opening, and that LH is unlikely to add the route before the airport is confirmed as open (if at all), I would focus on your current options and revisit once the situation changes..
+1 on this.

The way programs change and devaluations occur, I wouldn't base my flying on something down the road a few years. BER is not to open before 2016 according to what I read, and it's impossible to know the state of frequent flyer programs by then. And for what it's worth, it doesn't hurt that much to change programs at that point anyway. Miles diversity is good, and maybe you get some sort of status challenge to help you out if you've reached status.
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