US to SYD ... NH/NZ C or UA/TG F?

Old Mar 26, 12, 9:11 am
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US to SYD ... NH/NZ C or UA/TG F?

Hi there!

We have an interesting dilemma. We're hoping to go from PIT to SYD in August, and it appears that the Atlantic and Pacific routing actually have relatively similar mileage for *A options.

The Pacific option we've been considering would be NH C from some domestic gateway (ORD, IAD, whatever's available), connecting to NZ C and going through AKL to SYD.

The upside:
- 1000 miles shorter
- Conserves miles (110k vs 140k US miles)
- Everything I've heard about longhaul C on NZ has been pretty good!
- When will I next have a chance to see New Zealand?

The downside:
- Awkward connections, at least 1 night in a hotel enroute. Paying for hotel rooms starts to eat into the cost savings from going C instead of F.
- How's NH C?

The Atlantic option, meanwhile, would be UA F (likely IAD-FRA) followed by TG F from FRA-BKK-SYD.

The upside:
- First class all the way
- Connections are comparatively convenient - hang out in FRA between the first two longhaul flights, etc. No hotel required.

The downside:
- 3 consecutive nights on airplanes
- From reading about TG F here, it sounds like it has a reputation for last-minute equipment changes, occasionally to an airplane with no F class at all. And it sounds like TG old C is a bummer...

So, my questions:

- UA F vs. NH C - which would you rather cross an ocean with? Since NZ C sounds like the moral equivalent of F, the UA F vs. NH C comparo seems like one of the more important questions here. This is UA F on the 763 and is apparently UA's new F product... which, at least on paper, sounds pretty decent.
- What are the odds of actually "getting TG'd" and put on a less desirable aircraft for one of the 4 TG flights?
- Could we sleep or shower at either the FRA (Senator) or BKK lounge? The spa and massage treatments don't interest me, but food, a shower, and a place to lie down all sound like they'd be quite welcome after such a long time in the air.

Thanks in advance!
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Old Mar 26, 12, 9:46 am
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Why not try for PIT/SFO-SFO/SYD? I go to SYD regularly and I would much rather fly SFO/SYD on UA F than roll the dice as you said with TG...

UA F is very nice and service on this route is top notch IME.
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Old Mar 26, 12, 10:14 am
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Originally Posted by BankerManUSA View Post
Why not try for PIT/SFO-SFO/SYD? I go to SYD regularly and I would much rather fly SFO/SYD on UA F than roll the dice as you said with TG...

UA F is very nice and service on this route is top notch IME.
I'm not seeing any availability around the dates I want to travel. Yes, SFO-SYD, JFK-SYD, LAX-SYD etc would all be fantastic choices if available!

Ditto transpacific NZ C - LAX-AKL or SFO-AKL would be very welcome.

I did notice when booking a ticket recently that US was able to open domestic F availability that ANA didn't show, but I'm assuming they wouldn't have the same privilege with UA?

EDIT: Just to be clear, my goal is to buy the ticket with US miles. I'm sure seats are open on these more direct routes for cash, but the cost savings of using an award ticket is worth going out of our way.
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Old Mar 26, 12, 10:25 am
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What about PIT-EWR/ORD/IAD/SFO-HKG-AKL-SYD? or EWR/ORD/IAD/SFO-PEK/PVG/ICN-SYD?

Last edited by Yoshi212; Mar 26, 12 at 10:37 am
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Old Mar 26, 12, 12:36 pm
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Originally Posted by armattheus View Post
What about PIT-EWR/ORD/IAD/SFO-HKG-AKL-SYD? or EWR/ORD/IAD/SFO-PEK/PVG/ICN-SYD?
Thanks for the suggestions - I think I had tried most of those but it's always worth making sure there's nothing hiding in a dusty corner of the *A ticket engine. It's what makes these ultra-longhaul routings such a challenge: there's always availability for half of the routing and not for the other half.

Can I get to HKG? Yep, but HKG-AKL is awfully hard to get.

Can I get to ICN? With great effort (the longhaul OZ offerings are looking pretty picked-over at this point) but it's moot, because ICN-SYD is unavailable. ICN-BKK-SYD might be possible, but by that point, wouldn't it make more sense to go the Europe route?

Speaking of which, I'd take the FRA-and-BKK route before transiting mainland China, so availability on that one is moot. And considering that the SFO-KIX flight that I'd originally envisioned as a way over is no longer available, I'm thinking it's looking more and more like the Europe route is the way to go.
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Old Mar 26, 12, 1:57 pm
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Originally Posted by shaggy_mutt View Post

Can I get to HKG? Yep, but HKG-AKL is awfully hard to get.
You mentioned you want NH/NZ C, are those readily available ? Or is it only your ideal routing ? NH C is relatively easy to get, but NZ C is hard to get basically on all their routes no matter SFO/LAX-AKL or even NRT-AKL.


Originally Posted by shaggy_mutt View Post

Can I get to ICN? With great effort (the longhaul OZ offerings are looking pretty picked-over at this point) but it's moot, because ICN-SYD is unavailable. ICN-BKK-SYD might be possible, but by that point, wouldn't it make more sense to go the Europe route?
Just be warned, while SFO-ICN on OZ will have new seats in C, but ICN-SYD on OZ don't, you will be stuck in an angle flat seat with no AVOD.

Originally Posted by shaggy_mutt View Post
Speaking of which, I'd take the FRA-and-BKK route before transiting mainland China, so availability on that one is moot. And considering that the SFO-KIX flight that I'd originally envisioned as a way over is no longer available, I'm thinking it's looking more and more like the Europe route is the way to go.
Correct, I would avoid transferring in PEK or PVG at all cost, I would take NRT/ICN/HKG/SIN/BKK instead.

Last edited by ORDnHKG; Mar 26, 12 at 2:15 pm
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Old Mar 26, 12, 3:57 pm
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NZ C is significantly different (worse) hard product on their 767s going to Asia than the product they fly on ultra-long haul to the US or UK via HKG.

The 30,000 miles may be worth it in this case.

TG doesn't usually sub planes with no F on those routes you've mentioned. It's shorthaul where they do that a lot. The plane they have on FRA-BKK right now (leased from 9W) is really nice in C and F (I've flown it in C and would cheerfully do it again- and on a BKK-FRA-SEA itinerary, for that matter).
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Old Mar 27, 12, 9:57 am
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Originally Posted by ORDnHKG View Post
You mentioned you want NH/NZ C, are those readily available ? Or is it only your ideal routing ? NH C is relatively easy to get, but NZ C is hard to get basically on all their routes no matter SFO/LAX-AKL or even NRT-AKL.
I wouldn't say NH C is readily available, but it's not unobtainable. Longhaul NZ C is pretty darn hard to get.

I'd love JFK-SYD, LAX-SYD, JFK-AKL-SYD, LAX-AKL-SYD, JFK-SIN-SYD, etc but all of these are either available in coach only or completely unavailable.

This is indeed a contrast to my usual get-the-most-for-the-least philosophy when putting an itin together - if a PIT-SYD nonstop existed (ha!), I would gladly take that over the elaborate itins I've been describing. This is such a long trip (PIT-JFK-FRA-BKK-SYD is 14k miles) that even in F, I'd rather just be there. I know I shouldn't say that too loudly on FT though!

Just be warned, while SFO-ICN on OZ will have new seats in C, but ICN-SYD on OZ don't, you will be stuck in an angle flat seat with no AVOD.
Yikes, that's very good to know. Will try to steer clear of it.

Originally Posted by eponymous_coward View Post
NZ C is significantly different (worse) hard product on their 767s going to Asia than the product they fly on ultra-long haul to the US or UK via HKG.
Oh, that's very interesting indeed. I don't know how I'd gotten it into my head that they used the 777 on this route. You're quite right and that changes the calculus significantly - if C class from either ICN or AKL means we're stuck in a glorified Y seat for 5000+ miles, then going through Europe is definitely worth it.

The 30,000 miles may be worth it in this case.
I'll say! Thanks for the heads-up.

TG doesn't usually sub planes with no F on those routes you've mentioned. It's shorthaul where they do that a lot. The plane they have on FRA-BKK right now (leased from 9W) is really nice in C and F (I've flown it in C and would cheerfully do it again- and on a BKK-FRA-SEA itinerary, for that matter).
Oh, they still have the 9W plane! Why was I thinking they had to give it back? Or was it TK that had it for awhile and gave it back? I know it's hard to predict, especially with TG, but is it generally thought that they'll still have it in August? That one has suites in F, doesn't it?

Thanks again!
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