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International flights when RDU is your home airport

International flights when RDU is your home airport

Old Jan 3, 18, 8:16 am
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International flights when RDU is your home airport

I've been pricing some flights to DUS and LHR and starting at RDU adds $$$ to the cost. Ex: RDU-LHR-RDU is $1522; JFK-LHR-JFK is $703, with RDU-JFK-RDU at $221. BOS is close to that, as is IAD. I've never flown on separate tickets and have concerns about transferring a checked bag, connection times, etc. I do have Global Entry and TSA Pre-check. I'd like to settle on one gateway airport, ideally with an Admiral Club or PP lounge. Any suggestions from fellow RDU folk or others near a smaller airport? Or are separate tickets so much of a hassle (plus the added travel time) that it's reasonable to spend $400 to avoid it? I know ultimately it comes down to weighing my own pros and cons but I'd love to know how others have dealt with this. Thanks in advance!
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Old Jan 3, 18, 10:32 am
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there's nothing requiring you to purchase the tix in the same transaction

if you stay on the same airline (DL/AA over JFK/BOS, UA over IAD), all you have to do is point the check-in agent to your reservation for the continuing flight; they'll check bags thru to your final destination (you'll have to claim and re-check at Customs on the way back, but the tag will show RDU)
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Old Jan 3, 18, 1:28 pm
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Originally Posted by jrl767 View Post
there's nothing requiring you to purchase the tix in the same transaction

if you stay on the same airline (DL/AA over JFK/BOS, UA over IAD), all you have to do is point the check-in agent to your reservation for the continuing flight; they'll check bags thru to your final destination (you'll have to claim and re-check at Customs on the way back, but the tag will show RDU)
Really? I thought if your flights weren't on the same ticket they wouldn't transfer your bags for you. As a fellow RDU local, I've always avoided this because I didn't want to deal with the stress of re-checking bags at a place like JFK.
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Old Jan 3, 18, 1:35 pm
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Originally Posted by buckybadger View Post
Really? I thought if your flights weren't on the same ticket they wouldn't transfer your bags for you. As a fellow RDU local, I've always avoided this because I didn't want to deal with the stress of re-checking bags at a place like JFK.
It depends on the airlines involved. AA/BA won't check through on separate tickets. DL will if it's a DL-DL itinerary (or AF/KLM). If it crosses alliance, most airlines won't check through on separate tickets.
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Old Jan 4, 18, 7:55 am
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Originally Posted by wrp96 View Post
It depends on the airlines involved. AA/BA won't check through on separate tickets. DL will if it's a DL-DL itinerary (or AF/KLM). If it crosses alliance, most airlines won't check through on separate tickets.
Good to know. I'm between AA and DL right now, trying to decide which one to stay with for 2018. That DL-DL would check a bag through is a great data point. Thanks!
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Old Jan 4, 18, 8:23 am
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Originally Posted by jrl767 View Post
there's nothing requiring you to purchase the tix in the same transaction
This is not necessarily true. The OP is asking about what amounts to a nested ticket (RDU - JFK with JFK - LHR nested inside).

These can be in violation of an airline's minimum stay requirements. Not always the case but something that can be true and can be problematic if you do it repeatedly and they catch it. The easy workaround is to book the gateway flights as 2x OW tickets like this:

RDU - JFK (ticket #1 )
JFK - LHR - JFK (ticket #2 )
JFK - RDU (ticket #3 )

Or book the nested ticket on a different carrier (e.g., RDU - JFK - RDU is on AA and JFK - LHR - JFK is on DL in which case you are in the clear).

Here's the thread from the AA forum about nested tickets: Back-to-back or "nested" ticketing questions, discussion (consolidated)

Personally, I don't find the savings the be worth the hassle (I'm RDU based as well) but I also tend to wait for the sales if you don't need to book this second (Europe/LHR can get as low as $400-500 ex-RDU, we just got back from a BRU trip that was $500.

I am a DL person these days because they have the best Y product (IMO) and the best availability ex-RDU (and for work they are a preferred option so if I need to go to Europe, the RDU - CDG - XXX or RDU - JFK - XXX routes are great). If you go the DL direction, pick up the AMEX Plat for SkyClub access in RDU / ATL / JFK plus you'll get Centurion lounge access if you happen to be flying through IAH/DFW/LGA/MIA/PHL/HKG/SYD. Otherwise just keep the AC membership for AC access at RDU / PHL / JFK / CLT / ORD.
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Old Jan 4, 18, 2:44 pm
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Thanks for the info and links. The OW tickets make sense, although in either case I have to get checked luggage and go back through security, which may be too much of a time sink to be worth it. Just mulling it over, the easiness of RDU then 6-8 hours, done with travel, is sounding more worth it.

I'm curious about your thoughts on DL as a better product. It seems like status gets a better seat on AA that it does on DL but I haven't booked a flight on DL since I got Gold. It does seem like they're more on time, and they never delayed my luggage for days like AA. I usually buy up to J if I'm using a Delta flight but that may not be my plan for 2018.

I don't need to book LHR right now but I do need to book particular dates in July. The risk of waiting is we get to the week of, and then my travel looks too expensive. I'd rather book a less expensive flight ahead of time and ask to be reimbursed.

I do have that card :-) Felt strange the first time I turned right instead of left at RDU. I've been pleased so far, with the lounge access and the other benefits.
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Old Jan 4, 18, 3:47 pm
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Originally Posted by KBRDU View Post
Thanks for the info and links. The OW tickets make sense, although in either case I have to get checked luggage and go back through security, which may be too much of a time sink to be worth it. Just mulling it over, the easiness of RDU then 6-8 hours, done with travel, is sounding more worth it.

I'm curious about your thoughts on DL as a better product. It seems like status gets a better seat on AA that it does on DL but I haven't booked a flight on DL since I got Gold. It does seem like they're more on time, and they never delayed my luggage for days like AA. I usually buy up to J if I'm using a Delta flight but that may not be my plan for 2018.

I don't need to book LHR right now but I do need to book particular dates in July. The risk of waiting is we get to the week of, and then my travel looks too expensive. I'd rather book a less expensive flight ahead of time and ask to be reimbursed.

I do have that card :-) Felt strange the first time I turned right instead of left at RDU. I've been pleased so far, with the lounge access and the other benefits.
For me it comes down to the fact that most of the time I'm in Y for work (due to policy unless I pay out of pocket or use miles which I usually only find worthwhile for TPACs) and I find the Y experience on DL is light years better than AA though if it were J it might be a harder value prop (flew on the AA 772 B/E Aerospace seat back from Tokyo on a miles upgrade to a work trip at the beginning of December and it was great).

For Y, I find that the food is borderline good (the salad with a chicken breast that they serve in Y on TATLs is arguably IMO as good as any generic domestic F meal), they serve Woodford and prosecco for free in Y (which is a nice touch), I get exit row for free as a Silver/corporate traveler, the seats are comfortable and for the most part legroom is fine (though I've been avoiding the 739 like the plague so haven't experienced that yet) and they aren't moving to the ridiculous pitch that AA has on their 737 MAX planes, if you do get the C+ upgrade it comes with a free drink and SKY on domestic which is a nice add especially as a Silver, and most importantly I find that most of the FAs are pleasant and treat me like a real person despite flying in Y with relatively low status (Silver).

That all being said the miles are by far the least valuable so you kind of have to be okay with that.

I say all of this as a former multi-year 1K and then EXP who decided a couple years ago to become a free agent (in tandem with my paid travel dropping down to the 30k-40k range/year down from the 100k+ I was doing as a consultant). I didn't really intend to start committing to anyone enough to get any status but DL is one of our corporate preferreds and so I just started flying them a fair amount over the past 18 months and have come to find that I like them the best in Y (and they are perfectly fine the times I am in J, flew the 763 in J to LHR last spring and while it wasn't the best J seat ever it still got the job done).
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Old Jan 4, 18, 3:53 pm
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Originally Posted by Duke787 View Post
...OP is asking about what amounts to a nested ticket (RDU - JFK with JFK - LHR nested inside).

These can be in violation of an airline's minimum stay requirements. Not always the case but something that can be true and can be problematic if you do it repeatedly and they catch it. ...

The easy workaround is to book the gateway flights as 2x OW tickets like this:
RDU - JFK (ticket #1 )
JFK - LHR - JFK (ticket #2 )
JFK - RDU (ticket #3 )
I don't really see how minimum stay requirements play in this itinerary, but we don't need to go off on that tangent
Originally Posted by Duke787 View Post
... book the nested ticket on a different carrier (e.g., RDU - JFK - RDU is on AA and JFK - LHR - JFK is on DL in which case you are in the clear). ...
the problem with booking on different carriers is the need to change terminals at JFK (or BOS) ... at IAD, everyone's at least all in one building
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Old Jan 5, 18, 9:06 am
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Have you priced travel out of CLT? I know its a couple hours drive, but that is probably less than any connection would add. AA would offer some nonstops for you. When my daughter and her family lived in eastern NC, we would have them drive to CLT for better fares-as we were treating them to tickets to join us on vacation. Just a thought.
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Old Jan 5, 18, 9:47 am
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Originally Posted by Duke787 View Post
For me it comes down to the fact that most of the time I'm in Y for work (due to policy unless I pay out of pocket or use miles which I usually only find worthwhile for TPACs) and I find the Y experience on DL is light years better than AA though if it were J it might be a harder value prop (flew on the AA 772 B/E Aerospace seat back from Tokyo on a miles upgrade to a work trip at the beginning of December and it was great).

For Y, I find that the food is borderline good (the salad with a chicken breast that they serve in Y on TATLs is arguably IMO as good as any generic domestic F meal), they serve Woodford and prosecco for free in Y (which is a nice touch), I get exit row for free as a Silver/corporate traveler, the seats are comfortable and for the most part legroom is fine (though I've been avoiding the 739 like the plague so haven't experienced that yet) and they aren't moving to the ridiculous pitch that AA has on their 737 MAX planes, if you do get the C+ upgrade it comes with a free drink and SKY on domestic which is a nice add especially as a Silver, and most importantly I find that most of the FAs are pleasant and treat me like a real person despite flying in Y with relatively low status (Silver).

That all being said the miles are by far the least valuable so you kind of have to be okay with that.

I say all of this as a former multi-year 1K and then EXP who decided a couple years ago to become a free agent (in tandem with my paid travel dropping down to the 30k-40k range/year down from the 100k+ I was doing as a consultant). I didn't really intend to start committing to anyone enough to get any status but DL is one of our corporate preferreds and so I just started flying them a fair amount over the past 18 months and have come to find that I like them the best in Y (and they are perfectly fine the times I am in J, flew the 763 in J to LHR last spring and while it wasn't the best J seat ever it still got the job done).
This is so helpful! I have a short flight (personal trip) on DL in Comfort+ in a few weeks so I'll have a chance to check out the Y seats (and see if I can figure out if "preferred seat" is anything to value). I get SKY with my CC (plus, I guess Gold gets SKY). That's a good point about the FAs--I've had some nasty ones on AA (to the point where my seatmate and I exchanged "did that just happen?" looks).

I'm burned out on domestic J on AA, I think. If I'm in MCE and am lucky enough to have an empty middle seat and some snacks, it's so close to J (better in some ways) it's hard to justify the money. I do like the multiplier for EQMs and FF miles with purchased J, but after I burn my AA miles this year, I'm not going to obsess too much over them. At some point this year I want to take a personal trip to Taipei but from what I've read, I really want to have freedom of choice in airlines for that.
Thanks again :-) Such good points to consider that I hadn't thought about.
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Old Jan 5, 18, 10:05 am
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Originally Posted by Mr. Vker View Post
Have you priced travel out of CLT? I know its a couple hours drive, but that is probably less than any connection would add. AA would offer some nonstops for you. When my daughter and her family lived in eastern NC, we would have them drive to CLT for better fares-as we were treating them to tickets to join us on vacation. Just a thought.
I do sometimes look at CLT, but it's 2.5 hours from Raleigh *if* traffic is okay, and that's a huge if...and I'd need to park my car. We went out of CLT all the time when we lived in the NC foothills (straight down I-77) but now that I'm fifteen minutes from RDU, (a $15 uber ride) it would have to be a deep discount, and I haven't seen any fares yet that would be worth it. I just priced a trip to MBJ and it was $300 cheaper to leave from RDU even though some flights went through CLT. I see some NC airports that it really would be worth it to drive to CLT, but I guess the airlines at RDU wants to keep the RTP people happy.

That's a nice thing to do for your daughter and her family :-) I hope to do the same in the next year or two!
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Old Jan 5, 18, 2:54 pm
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Originally Posted by KBRDU View Post
(and see if I can figure out if "preferred seat" is anything to value)
The big "preferred seat" benefit is that on most DL flights (with the exception of some 767s), the exit row seats are preferred seats and not C+, which for me means free exit row seats on long flight. That's beneficial both domestically and internationally (makes something like RDU - ATL - LAX at lot simpler).

I also have to go to AUS from time to time so I appreciate that direct flight over connecting. The final point I'll make in favor of DL, is that the SC at RDU is leaps and bounds better than the AC at RDU. I'd say the SC is close to 3-4x the size which is great during that afternoon rush. The AC gets so overfilled right before the RDU-LHR flight and while the SC does get busy before RDU - CDG, there's just more space to sit so it's not as bad.

I do wish DL would bring the 767 onto RDU - CDG permanently (not just the summer months). I mostly avoid that flight when it's on the 757 (if CDG isn't my final destination) because I don't care for the 3-3 in Y and would rather take the connection in ATL or JFK to get on a 767/A330 (with a "2" row) that's going directly to the final destination.

Also don't forget about GSO. They sometimes offer deals that RDU doesn't. We just went to BRU on a $500/ticket deal (even for the week between Christmas and New Years and we had a $1k voucher we had to use) that was ex-GSO and it was easy enough - parking is cheap, the airport is small, and DL/AA/UA have enough of a presence to get you to a major hub fairly painlessly. Depends where you live though, if in Raleigh it can be a longer drive but if you are on the Durham (we are) it's not terrible (about 1 hour maybe with traffic). Going out of CLT though is only worth it if DL or UA decides to attack AA hubs (or in response to AA attacking DL hubs), otherwise the AA dominance there makes pricing noncompetitive.

I usually just put in RDU, GSO, CLT though when I'm doing a Google search and have some flexibility so I can see the results from all 3 and see if there is any difference that makes GSO/CLT worth considering.
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Old Jan 6, 18, 12:15 pm
  #14  
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Keep an eye on RIC too. Last year when I was going to Madrid I found that RIC-MAD was over $200 cheaper than RDU-MAD and it's an easy 2.5 hour drive.
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Old Jan 7, 18, 2:29 pm
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Moving this to the USA-South forum for further discussion of flying out of RDU and nearby airports. Thanks. /JY1024,
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