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JFK (NYCA) <--> SFO monthly - what Airline/Alliance if starting from scratch

JFK (NYCA) <--> SFO monthly - what Airline/Alliance if starting from scratch

Old Feb 24, 20, 3:20 pm
  #1  
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Post JFK (NYCA) <--> SFO monthly - what Airline/Alliance if starting from scratch

Long time lurker & rare poster but figured some may have input on the matter... I'm about to take a job in SF and will be going between NYC/SF monthly so interested for anyone with some experience on regular travel between these two cities. My preferred NYCA is JFK (SFO direct is Delta, Alaska, American) but it's not mandatory.

I currently have no status with any airline (after years with Air New Zealand) so I'm a free agent. Key things:
  • Regular/reasonable direct flights
  • Good lounge
  • Any other perks
  • Bonus points: I also fly regularly to YVR, YYZ & AKL.
Anyone have some hot takes for me (good, bad, ugly).

Thanks,
WS.
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Old Feb 24, 20, 3:35 pm
  #2  
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Originally Posted by willstew View Post
  • Good lounge
I don't believe anyone would dispute that basically all U.S. airline lounges suck. So I would not force my criteria here.

Originally Posted by willstew View Post
  • Bonus points: I also fly regularly to YVR, YYZ & AKL.
Personally, I believe this forecloses all of your choices and forces you to *A.

Sure - There are other airlines flying to YVR and/or YYZ. However, AKL is the issue. Only NZ is the airline regularly serving AKL routes (I believe UA is still seasonal for now. AA has a pending seasonal service). So most likely, a *A program will fit you better.

The question is which one. But this comes down on what kind of fare you are going to buy. As you did not say anything about this, I can't say which one would be the best fit.
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Old Feb 24, 20, 4:19 pm
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Yeah, I hear you on all that.

I'm trying to get past *A purely so I'm not flying in/out EWR all the time to SFO (just ends up being a longer travel day living in Brooklyn) but maybe it is smarter longer term though.
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Old Feb 24, 20, 4:21 pm
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Advice:
1. check the schedule for your most likely times that you want to fly and also other possible times. That would be the most important criteria, about equal to frequency of the airline's flights.
2. Lounge choices should make no difference
3. Unknown is if the company pays, has a required airline, or if you pay. Assuming that you pay, decide on what fares you'll use. Would you use a $150 each way fare (February) and a $220 each way fare (June) or higher fare. Alaska's FF plan is based on miles, roughly 2586 miles JFK-SFO yielding 2586 FF miles + elite bonus. Delta might only give you 5 FF miles per dollar until you are silver elite (then 6) so $150 one way fare would be 750 miles.
3a. Don't be a slave too much for miles but if AS schedule is similar to your needs as DL, then AS.
4. If you have special needs, cater to them. For example, if one is claustrophobic, one might have a better flight on a wide body.

If I had to guess, my choice would be AS then DL then AA then B6. I wouldn't fly UA because they left JFK, only flying to LGA and EWR.

Don't be a slave to FF miles. For example, if NZ has a good flight, take that and don't fly QF to Australia then backtrack to NZ just because AA/QF is your primary FF plan (if it is).


Also CX is leaving JFK-YVR very soon, if not already. That leaves AC EWR-YVR. Take that. I think it's a Boeing 787 on a EWR-YVR-BNE (Brisbane) routing.
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Old Feb 24, 20, 4:33 pm
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Yeah this all makes sense, appreciate that feedback!

Crazy about CX for YVR, didn't know. I've also flown Philippine Airlines to YVR from JFK a few times (same flight onwards as other two, but to Manila). Most of my flights up to YVR will be from SFO now, so lots of options!
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Old Feb 24, 20, 4:41 pm
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Originally Posted by willstew View Post
Long time lurker & rare poster but figured some may have input on the matter... I'm about to take a job in SF and will be going between NYC/SF monthly so interested for anyone with some experience on regular travel between these two cities. My preferred NYCA is JFK (SFO direct is Delta, Alaska, American) but it's not mandatory.

I currently have no status with any airline (after years with Air New Zealand) so I'm a free agent. Key things:
  • Regular/reasonable direct flights
  • Good lounge
  • Any other perks
  • Bonus points: I also fly regularly to YVR, YYZ & AKL.
As above who is paying? You or your employer (if applicable)?
Employers can have preferred airline/lower than retail prices.
How far ahead will the tickets be purchased?
Want flexibility with the ticket?
Schedules?
Class of travel?

FF miles are a by product of flying: not the reason
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Old Feb 24, 20, 4:48 pm
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  • it's going to be 50/50 (6/12 flights covered and I pay the others)
  • no preference on domestic USA airline
  • will be a combo of mostly economy + some premium economy flights
  • booking in advance & no need on flexibility
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Old Feb 24, 20, 4:53 pm
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Originally Posted by willstew View Post
  • it's going to be 50/50 (6/12 flights covered and I pay the others)
  • no preference on domestic USA airline
  • will be a combo of mostly economy + some premium economy flights
  • booking in advance & no need on flexibility
As this is in USA, some(all?) JFK (NYCA) <--> SFO may not have real premium economy. May have economy plus/MCE : economy with extra leg room
Have you checked which airlines have 2 or 3 class aircraft on those routes. (first-coach or first-business-coach)
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Old Feb 24, 20, 5:04 pm
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All of this is USA/CAN. Have other stuff in APAC/Asia but wanting to look at how to best plan this as a primary objective.

I haven't looked at various classes yet across them.
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Old Feb 24, 20, 5:16 pm
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Originally Posted by willstew View Post
All of this is USA/CAN. Have other stuff in APAC/Asia but wanting to look at how to best plan this as a primary objective.

I haven't looked at various classes yet across them.
B6 also flies JFK-SFO nonstop. And if you're going to be traveling in Economy without any frequent-flyer status, you would probably be most comfortable on B6.

It is possible to credit B6 flights to SQ's KrisFlyer program, if you wish.
​​​​​​
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Old Feb 24, 20, 6:07 pm
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OP - based on what you have said, TK will be your friend. What's good about TK, AFAIK, is its low requirement (37.5K for *G), as well as 2-year membership and the soft landing.

The biggest problem is the fare class uncertainty. However, assuming you can earn at least 50% on each flight, a RT NYC-SFO each month should be able to yield 30K status mile with TK, even with BE. It can be even more if the tickets paid by employer are more expensive.

Of course - 1 thing you will definitely trade off is UA's E+ (extra legroom seat). But it is more difficult to become a UA Gold. And the loss of such benefit can be solved by an E+ annual subscription.

While I understand how much you prefer JFK. I believe you will have a better outcome if you return to EWR.
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Old Feb 24, 20, 6:14 pm
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Oh, I misread the original post. The question is for someone who will be living in San Francisco. If that is the case, then have one's primary frequent flyer programs as United and Alaska and maybe JetBlue and Delta as secondary choices. For JFK flights, take Alaska unless the fare is too high, then take another airline. However, one is taking a red eye flight SFO-JFK and is able to take first class, then don't fly Alaska. JetBlue has lie flat seats. I would have to research the question before knowing whether AA or DL has them. I would guess that AA doesn't. Lie flat seats allow one to function the next day in NY but still don't compare with a hotel bed and quiet.

If one is flying economy class, AA and AS have the same seating pitch but surprisingly, Alaska gives about an inch more leg room due to seat design.
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Old Feb 24, 20, 7:58 pm
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No @A318neo you're right, i'll be based in SFO now but back in NYC each month. Which is why something like Alaska isn't bad esp. if I'm up to YVR/YYJ and within the Alaska PNW area.

Unfortunately I'm not flying 1st class, I'm middle management, so am looking at whatever is reliable and cost appropriate b/w SFO/NYC.

if UA flew out of JFK I wouldn't even be asking!
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Old Feb 24, 20, 8:12 pm
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UA has by far the best schedule on SFO-EWR, and they fly a good number of widebodies, many of which do (or will) have Premium Economy -- which normally isn't sold domestically. I'm not sure how UA allocates those seats, whether they're considered E+ or reserved for elites. But to Brooklyn that's a drag.
DL I think is all 757, which isn't particularly great in economy. (FWIW, UA/DL/AA/B6 are all flat beds in business/first class). But it has slightly more frequency than AA, and will operationally be more reliable. B6 kind of stinks operationally as well. No lounge option on B6. DL probably has the best membership lounge option on this route, at least on the NYC side (SFO is probably decent too). But if you're in paid business class, AA's Flagship Lounge at JFK is tops (but SFO isn't anything special). B6 will have the best base economy product (including free wifi) but they won't help you out on international.

I think this is a tough call because there are so many pluses and minuses of all the options...
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Old Feb 24, 20, 10:19 pm
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I would absolutely say DL. They are by far the most reliable domestic airline, they have the best customer service, all planes on that route are guaranteed to have TVís, USB ports, and outlets. The service is excellent on DL, and theyíre the best in IRROPS. B6 is simply unreliable, and from what I understand youíre not guaranteed TVís and outlets on UA or AA. Also the on time performance of any other airline except AS does not compete with DL.
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