FRA-xxx-SFO in J -- LH or AC?

Old Apr 5, 18, 4:13 pm
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FRA-xxx-SFO in J -- LH or AC?

Looking at two award possibilities: FRA-SEA on a LH 744 or FRA-YVR on a AC 788.

Both connect FROM the same MLA-FRA on LH, with 1:40 in FRA for SEA connection, 1:10 in FRA for YVR connection. Latter seems short, but I've never connected in FRA.

Both connect TO a UA flight to SFO with 2:07 in SEA or 2:36 in YVR. Seems like plenty of time in each case.

Don't have experience on either *A partner, which would you choose? Top priority is hard product, but other advice also welcomed.
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Old Apr 5, 18, 4:23 pm
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I think it depends a lot on your personal preferences, and whether you're traveling solo or not. I have not experienced AC 787 J, but have heard mostly good things about it, and I've been almost a regular recently on LH 744s. Personally I love the upper deck and would choose it in a heartbeat, but I really like having a proper window seat and therefore am always somewhat skeptical of herringbone layouts. I also don't mind the climb-out from most J seats. With an upper deck window, you also get a generous amount of space with the window shelf. The seat itself is pretty comfortable on LH, but last generation at 2-2 and in my opinion the food in LH J is pretty meh (similar in quality to UA).

Also, the logistics strongly favor SEA -- a more comfortable connection in FRA (1h10 is quite doable with a lounge stop most of the time, but not something I would be eager to risk given the level of hassle for misconnecting), as well as not having to clear transfer security in YVR, which is awful. That being said, SEA customs is packed at that hour, so having Global Entry has saved me 45 minutes, easily.


For me, I think the balance strongly favors LH, but I think others will speak up for the all aisle access on AC.
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Old Apr 5, 18, 4:43 pm
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Good questions for me to clarify. Flying solo, and prefer aisle access. If LH I would choose the lower deck aisle in the center 3, to have the lowest chance of being bothered/climbed over. Have done the UD on a 747 enough times not to feel the need to experience it for its own sake.

Had the same logistics concerns that you pointed out. I do have GE to make SEA easier, and didn't know YVR was such a hassle. Thanks!
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Old Apr 5, 18, 5:07 pm
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Do you have Global Entry?

If not, I'd recommend YVR, since you can clear customs during your connection rather than on the back-end in SFO (where it can get quite backed up at passport control).
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Old Apr 5, 18, 5:13 pm
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Originally Posted by higher_flyer View Post
Good questions for me to clarify. Flying solo, and prefer aisle access. If LH I would choose the lower deck aisle in the center 3, to have the lowest chance of being bothered/climbed over. Have done the UD on a 747 enough times not to feel the need to experience it for its own sake.
Given that strong of a hard product preference (3-block aisle over UD aisle), I would do the 1-2-1 787 then.. I may overstate the hassle of YVR transfer security, but it's basically just like if you had to clear TSA in the US, except with no elite line, no pre-check, and everything moves at the unhurried pace of Canadian officials.

FRA is an extremely efficient airport, and unless your inbound is delayed I though you should be fine on the connection.
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Old Apr 5, 18, 5:35 pm
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another vote for 787 and AC. Clearly the winner here.
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Old Apr 5, 18, 7:19 pm
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I really like the AC 787. I have quite a bias for the plane itself as (in premium cabins) I find it the most comfortable ride in the sky at the moment, but also I think the AC seat layout is a good one. I find it comfortable and the window seats are quite private. I've had pretty good crews as well when flying AC J, so I don't have the complaints about grouchy crew that I've read about from some others. Food menu was fine for me, a few degrees better than United in my opinion, but bit lower quality than the 5* airlines.

Originally Posted by findark View Post
Given that strong of a hard product preference (3-block aisle over UD aisle), I would do the 1-2-1 787 then.. I may overstate the hassle of YVR transfer security, but it's basically just like if you had to clear TSA in the US, except with no elite line, no pre-check, and everything moves at the unhurried pace of Canadian officials.

FRA is an extremely efficient airport, and unless your inbound is delayed I though you should be fine on the connection.
I've cleared international transit security and US Pre-Clearance in YVR several times and I've never experienced any wait at all for security or US immigration. The only wait I've had was waiting for luggage to be offloaded so you can identify it on the video monitor. I'd take a YVR transit (INT-INT) over SEA any day of the week. I think in general I'd take a US CBP Preclearance entry ANYWHERE over going through immigration and customs in the US itself, preclearance procedure is much more streamlined and officers seem to be in a far better mood.
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Old Apr 5, 18, 7:30 pm
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Regardless what you do, keep an eye out for space on a nonstop FRA-SFO. If SJC is workable for you, you could do the LH nonstop to there.

Nonstop would be vastly better than either the YVR or SEA connection.

Note: I'm assuming you have sufficient status so you won't pay change fees, or that the fees are within your budget.
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Old Apr 5, 18, 8:51 pm
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With no UA issue in question, and as both LH and AC are *A, will move this to *A forum.

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Old Apr 5, 18, 9:15 pm
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AC no question as a solo traveler. My personal opinion is LH J is miles behind the average international J product these days. Plus i would fly a 787 over 747 any day of the week.
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Old Apr 5, 18, 10:10 pm
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I would fly LH just to avoid YVR, though I have some personal bias there based on being hassled by Canada immigration multiple times.
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Old Apr 5, 18, 11:53 pm
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Originally Posted by endrond View Post
Regardless what you do, keep an eye out for space on a nonstop FRA-SFO. If SJC is workable for you, you could do the LH nonstop to there.

Nonstop would be vastly better than either the YVR or SEA connection.
Have definitely been watching the SFO nonstops in both directions.

Hadn't thought of SJC and it's definitely doable, thanks excellent idea. Looks like that's now the older Cityline A343 with tiny J cabin. Nonstop is vastly better but ugh.
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Old Apr 6, 18, 8:16 am
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There was an article in the WSJ in August last year about the benefits of an Int'l-US transfer in Canada vs. US: Why Savvy U.S. Fliers Take Air Canada

I've flown the LH Cityline A343 before in J - it's the same J seat as mainline longhaul LH and I think you get better service due to the smaller J cabin.

Hoping I opens up for you on the 77W FRA-SFO though - that's probably the best outcome.

Originally Posted by higher_flyer View Post
Have definitely been watching the SFO nonstops in both directions.

Hadn't thought of SJC and it's definitely doable, thanks excellent idea. Looks like that's now the older Cityline A343 with tiny J cabin. Nonstop is vastly better but ugh.

Last edited by 764toHI; Apr 6, 18 at 8:22 am
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Old Apr 6, 18, 10:43 pm
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Originally Posted by 764toHI View Post
There was an article in the WSJ in August last year about the benefits of an Int'l-US transfer in Canada vs. US: Why Savvy U.S. Fliers Take Air Canada
The link is paywalled so I couldn't read it. Scott does a good job generally, but in this instance I'm hard pressed to understand why anyone with GE would choose to transit via Canada. It's definitely more cumbersome than a US arrival with GE.
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Old Apr 7, 18, 12:04 am
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Originally Posted by 764toHI View Post
I've flown the LH Cityline A343 before in J - it's the same J seat as mainline longhaul LH and I think you get better service due to the smaller J cabin.

Hoping I opens up for you on the 77W FRA-SFO though - that's probably the best outcome.
Thanks for the LH 343 insight, I was able to snag a J seat FRA-SJC and avoid the double connect altogether. Have been obsessing over my emails the last few weeks for Expert Flyer alerts to/from SFO, and have now set one for SJC-FRA as well

Cheers
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