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Non stop Dulles - Heathrow opinions on carriers

Non stop Dulles - Heathrow opinions on carriers

Old Apr 21, 2024, 1:45 pm
  #1  
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Non stop Dulles - Heathrow opinions on carriers

Novice flyer, (nervous flyer, too!) putting together airline pros and cons for trip with my two adult kids next spring. The non stop options that work best for scheduling to LHR are out of Dulles, either with British Airlines, American Airlines or United. The first two are using the Boeing 787-9/10 (BA), 789-787 (American) and 777-200 (United).

I’m pretty even-keeled, but I’m not going to lie that all the Boeing news gives me a bit of pause, mostly because I am traveling with two of my most favorite people in the world. I’m trying not to allow that information to factor too much in my decision, but is the plane United is using - the 777-200 - a decent choice over the Dreamliners?

On another note, I am trying to determine if we want to pay more to get the premium economy seats. I’m leaning toward yes, so if there are thoughts on that factor, I would appreciate hearing about them. I know everyone has different experiences and opinions may vary. Just doing a dummy booking has them all within about $125 of each other. I may look into just going premium over and main economy (with seat choice coming home just to save a bit).

Again, thank you all for your thoughts on this and patience!
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Old Apr 21, 2024, 2:23 pm
  #2  
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AA does not fly IAD-LHR nonstop. It can, however, sell you a seat on the BA-operated nonstop with an AA "codeshare" flight number.

In addition to BA and UA, VS (Virgin Atlantic) also offers nonstop service on that route.

If you would be nervous sitting in a 787 for eight hours, book a flight operated with a different aircraft.
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Old Apr 21, 2024, 2:49 pm
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Again, very new to this…So is the AA flight the same as the BA flight, shared between the two for booking purposes? I thought it was two different flights. Thanks for the information correcting me on that. Truth be told, I’ll be nervous sitting in any aircraft, but I’m hoping to get less anxious as I fly more 😊. Appreciate your response!

I have heard great things about Virgin, but their return flight on a round trip ticket arrives back much later in the evening than the others. I would like to get back earlier if possible.
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Old Apr 21, 2024, 3:08 pm
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Note that BA charges extra for seat selection more than 24 hours before departure -- unless you have elite status, or are traveling in First Class.

I believe that UA permits free, advance seat selection, as long as you are not traveling on a "Basic Economy" fare.
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Old Apr 21, 2024, 3:16 pm
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Originally Posted by guv1976
Note that BA charges extra for seat selection more than 24 hours before departure -- unless you have elite status, or are traveling in First Class.

I believe that UA permits free, advance seat selection, as long as you are not traveling on a "Basic Economy" fare.
Which means when comparing prices must check what each airline includes in the base fare and what are extras
  • checked bags
  • specific seat selection (take what ever the airlines allocates at checkin or pay a fee to select)
  • meals
PE at $125 extra could be good value.

Last edited by Mwenenzi; Apr 21, 2024 at 6:33 pm
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Old Apr 21, 2024, 4:49 pm
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From a pure statistics standpoint, BA has had less incidents than UA as an airline. The 787 is also newer, so with the lower cabin altitude results in people (in general) feeling more refreshed after landing. If you're going straight into LHR to enjoy the day after the redeye, you might feel better (although the later flight on UA might be more conducive for sleep than BA).

In Y, the 787 is 3-3-3 and the 777 is 3-4-3. As a group of 3, the 787 would only be better if you wanted 2 people to have direct aisle access (and the person in the middle to only disturb one person when getting up).
In PE, the 787 is 2-3-2 and the 777 is 2-4-2. You will either be separated or have someone sitting next to someone not in your party on the 777, but can grab the middle set on the 787.
However, this far out, the likelihood of an equipment change (especially with BA) is very high. With UA, they only have Boeing planes, so this would be to a 767 or 787 (I don't think they would sub in a 757, but I could be mistaken, I have flown IAD-LHR on a 757 many years ago). With BA, they have flown the Airbus A380 to IAD before (although I don't think it will return, they had some operational challenges including a required escort from the airport authority due to the size), and they also have the A350 that they could swap to.

As other posters have said, BA does not offer free seat selection until check in (24 hours out), and typically by then most preferred seats have been taken, so the likelyhood of sitting apart in this case high.

In general, with most US carriers, flights with flight numbers over 3000 are not operated by the airline in question. Usually for 3000-~6000 this is a regional partner, and anything higher is a different airline in their alliance. (Your AA flight # is probably 69xx or 7xxx, indicating it's actually operated by BA).

I do not know your financial situation, but personally, for $125 more, I'd take PE in a heartbeat.
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Old Apr 21, 2024, 7:25 pm
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Thank you all for such a detailed responses. Just to clarify because I very poorly worded the information about premium economy, the PE seats for all were about $600 pp more than regular economy and within $125 of each other (comparing airline prices).

Lots to think about. I also just learned about a seasonal non stop offered by United from IAD to Edinburgh that is interesting. It is on a 757-200 plane. Going to do a bit more digging on that option as well. There doesn’t seem to be a PE option when I briefly checked. Thank you all for sharing your insights!
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Old Apr 21, 2024, 7:43 pm
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Originally Posted by Mustlovedogs2
Thank you all for such a detailed responses. Just to clarify because I very poorly worded the information about premium economy, the PE seats for all were about $600 pp more than regular economy and within $125 of each other (comparing airline prices).

Lots to think about. I also just learned about a seasonal non stop offered by United from IAD to Edinburgh that is interesting. It is on a 757-200 plane. Going to do a bit more digging on that option as well. There doesnt seem to be a PE option when I briefly checked. Thank you all for sharing your insights!
For $600 more pp it's subjective, personally it's too much for me. It depends on if you need the extra space due.

United's 757s don't have Premium economy, and economy is in a 3-3 config (only one aisle)

Edinburgh is a small and easy airport, but not as connected as LHR. (Trains to London can run $100+ each way and take at least 4 hours, usually closer to 5).
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Old Apr 21, 2024, 8:55 pm
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Originally Posted by Mustlovedogs2
Novice flyer, (nervous flyer, too!) putting together airline pros and cons for trip with my two adult kids next spring. The non stop options that work best for scheduling to LHR are out of Dulles, either with British Airlines, American Airlines or United. The first two are using the Boeing 787-9/10 (BA), 789-787 (American) and 777-200 (United).

Im pretty even-keeled, but Im not going to lie that all the Boeing news gives me a bit of pause, mostly because I am traveling with two of my most favorite people in the world. Im trying not to allow that information to factor too much in my decision, but is the plane United is using - the 777-200 - a decent choice over the Dreamliners?

On another note, I am trying to determine if we want to pay more to get the premium economy seats. Im leaning toward yes, so if there are thoughts on that factor, I would appreciate hearing about them. I know everyone has different experiences and opinions may vary. Just doing a dummy booking has them all within about $125 of each other. I may look into just going premium over and main economy (with seat choice coming home just to save a bit).

Again, thank you all for your thoughts on this and patience!
As others have mentioned, the AA flight is the same one as the BA flight.

While the Boeing issues have been troubling to hear about, keep in mind that thousands and thousands of flights take place on Boeing planes every day without any incidents. I'm not sure how far you live from Dulles, but you almost certainly have a better chance of dying on the drive to the airport than you do on the plane.
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Old Apr 22, 2024, 5:36 am
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S80, it’s a lot for me, too, to pay that much extra pp. I am helping the kids a bit with their airfare as well, so if there’s a way I can maybe reduce the amount by paying a little more for even a few more inches of legroom, I think that would work.

I must say I have gone down the rabbit hole learning about all of these different kind of planes. What a fascinating industry! Wide body configurations, narrow bodies, new retro fits, reduced fuel emissions…I never felt so uninformed lol! I’m over being a baby about worrying about the issues spoken of lately and my husband said the exact words you did about the drive to NOVA.

We are flying to visit the northern part of the UK, so having the non stop to Edinburgh might be a serious contender. I wonder if a 10:30 pm departure like for an overnight flight helps you to go to sleep since it’s already late or if it’s harder. Anyway, I really am learning a great deal as I peruse this forum. Thanks for sharing your expertise!
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Old Apr 22, 2024, 7:25 am
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Originally Posted by Mustlovedogs2
S80, its a lot for me, too, to pay that much extra pp. I am helping the kids a bit with their airfare as well, so if theres a way I can maybe reduce the amount by paying a little more for even a few more inches of legroom, I think that would work.

I must say I have gone down the rabbit hole learning about all of these different kind of planes. What a fascinating industry! Wide body configurations, narrow bodies, new retro fits, reduced fuel emissionsI never felt so uninformed lol! Im over being a baby about worrying about the issues spoken of lately and my husband said the exact words you did about the drive to NOVA.

We are flying to visit the northern part of the UK, so having the non stop to Edinburgh might be a serious contender. I wonder if a 10:30 pm departure like for an overnight flight helps you to go to sleep since its already late or if its harder. Anyway, I really am learning a great deal as I peruse this forum. Thanks for sharing your expertise!
A distinction that I think should be made here is that Premium Economy on international flights is often different than Premium Economy on domestic flights. Premium Economy on international flights is something more like domestic first class, where you have slightly elevated service + food, a much wider seat, and more recline in a smaller cabin. Premium Economy on domestic flights is just a few extra inches of legroom. (Confusingly, Delta sells both on their international flights. On AA/BA/UA, you're looking for Premium Economy for the superior experience. On DL, it's "Premium Select" and not Comfort+.) That may influence your decision in paying the premium.

There's nothing wrong with being concerned about Boeing's issues - they're real and even a slight risk is concerning. But in practice, the airline industry is incredibly safe, even acknowledging those issues.

Flying from the East Coast to Europe is tough given that you don't really get a long window in which to sleep before waking up and being in an entirely new expected sleep schedule. I think later flights are better for a few reasons. One is you get to work a full day before leaving, which may make it easier to budget spending a little more on your trip. Two is that your chances of actually sleeping on the flight over are better, since you're more likely to be tired per your natural sleep schedule. Three is that you land later in the day in the UK/EU, which makes it more likely that your hotel room will be ready and you won't be stuck storing your bags with the hotel and walking around in that headspace between traveling and having arrived. Finally, I know I'll be tired during my first day overseas and so I find it easier to push through a short day with the hopes of going to sleep at a normal time in the UK and getting a good night's rest while eliminating jet lag.

On the other hand, if you're naturally early to bed/rise, you only have a short time in the UK, and you want to plan a lot in your first day, you might prefer to take an earlier flight and hit the ground running.
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Old Apr 22, 2024, 8:37 am
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Originally Posted by Mustlovedogs2
S80, its a lot for me, too, to pay that much extra pp. I am helping the kids a bit with their airfare as well, so if theres a way I can maybe reduce the amount by paying a little more for even a few more inches of legroom, I think that would work.
Like AA and DL, UA offers extra-leg-room seats in regular Coach. This is different than Premium Economy. Details here:

https://www.united.com/en/us/fly/tra...nomy-plus.html

Also, depending on how credit-worthy you are, and how far in the future this trip is, you might be able to earn enough UA Mileage Plus miles through credit-card sign-up bonuses and spend to get one of the round-trip tickets with miles. Look at Chase's UA credit cards, as well as Chase's "Sapphire Preferred" card, which earns Chase "Ultimate Rewards" points. UR points can be converted to UA Mileage Plus miles on a 1:1 basis.
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Old Apr 22, 2024, 11:28 am
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Originally Posted by steveholt
A distinction that I think should be made here is that Premium Economy on international flights is often different than Premium Economy on domestic flights. Premium Economy on international flights is something more like domestic first class, where you have slightly elevated service + food, a much wider seat, and more recline in a smaller cabin. Premium Economy on domestic flights is just a few extra inches of legroom. (Confusingly, Delta sells both on their international flights. On AA/BA/UA, you're looking for Premium Economy for the superior experience. On DL, it's "Premium Select" and not Comfort+.) That may influence your decision in paying the premium.

There's nothing wrong with being concerned about Boeing's issues - they're real and even a slight risk is concerning. But in practice, the airline industry is incredibly safe, even acknowledging those issues.

Flying from the East Coast to Europe is tough given that you don't really get a long window in which to sleep before waking up and being in an entirely new expected sleep schedule. I think later flights are better for a few reasons. One is you get to work a full day before leaving, which may make it easier to budget spending a little more on your trip. Two is that your chances of actually sleeping on the flight over are better, since you're more likely to be tired per your natural sleep schedule. Three is that you land later in the day in the UK/EU, which makes it more likely that your hotel room will be ready and you won't be stuck storing your bags with the hotel and walking around in that headspace between traveling and having arrived. Finally, I know I'll be tired during my first day overseas and so I find it easier to push through a short day with the hopes of going to sleep at a normal time in the UK and getting a good night's rest while eliminating jet lag.

On the other hand, if you're naturally early to bed/rise, you only have a short time in the UK, and you want to plan a lot in your first day, you might prefer to take an earlier flight and hit the ground running.
Yes, and they all have different names for it too - there generally is no distinction when booking between economy and economy with extra legroom, it's just a seat assignment (that they consider the same class, despite it for me means being able to sit in a seat and not being able to).

AA it's just premium economy, main cabin extra, main cabin
BA it's world traveler plus and world traveler (with no extra distinction for economy with extra legroom)
DL it's Premium Select, Comfort+, Main Cabin
UA it's Premium Plus, Economy Plus, Economy

Yay marketing.


Originally Posted by Mustlovedogs2
S80, its a lot for me, too, to pay that much extra pp. I am helping the kids a bit with their airfare as well, so if theres a way I can maybe reduce the amount by paying a little more for even a few more inches of legroom, I think that would work.

I must say I have gone down the rabbit hole learning about all of these different kind of planes. What a fascinating industry! Wide body configurations, narrow bodies, new retro fits, reduced fuel emissionsI never felt so uninformed lol! Im over being a baby about worrying about the issues spoken of lately and my husband said the exact words you did about the drive to NOVA.

We are flying to visit the northern part of the UK, so having the non stop to Edinburgh might be a serious contender. I wonder if a 10:30 pm departure like for an overnight flight helps you to go to sleep since its already late or if its harder. Anyway, I really am learning a great deal as I peruse this forum. Thanks for sharing your expertise!
If you want to book economy, but get a seat with extra legroom, go with United. While BA do have seats with extra legroom, it can be as few as 9 on a widebody, with some blocked as bassinet (infant) seats. If they swap the plane, you could be SOL. With United, their planes all have a number of rows with extra legroom (and not just emergency exit rows), so a swap is less likely to be highly catastrophic.

​​​​​
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Old Apr 22, 2024, 1:23 pm
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Originally Posted by Mustlovedogs2
Thank you all for such a detailed responses. Just to clarify because I very poorly worded the information about premium economy, the PE seats for all were about $600 pp more than regular economy and within $125 of each other (comparing airline prices).

Lots to think about. I also just learned about a seasonal non stop offered by United from IAD to Edinburgh that is interesting. It is on a 757-200 plane. Going to do a bit more digging on that option as well. There doesn’t seem to be a PE option when I briefly checked. Thank you all for sharing your insights!
A long transatlantic flight on a 757 is no fun, I've done it. And your plane will be 20 years older than the one I took. I would only do it again if Edinburgh was my final destination, and maybe not even then.

It's simple. If you fear the 787 don't take it. If you need legroom spring for PE. If you want to choose seats pay for it if necessary.
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Old Apr 22, 2024, 1:25 pm
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Premium economy tends to have wider seats
example BA777 https://www.aerolopa.com/ba-77l
PE 2-4-2 (8)
Y 3-4 -3 (10)
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