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AI vs CA in biz, which would you choose?

AI vs CA in biz, which would you choose?

Old Sep 11, 19, 8:43 pm
  #1  
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AI vs CA in biz, which would you choose?

Forgive me if this question has been asked in the past. I tried a search but couldn't find the relevant info. Trying to book a biz class award between Australia and Europe next March. On most days the only options are either AI or CA. Which is better? Or are they both equally horrible?
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Old Sep 11, 19, 8:46 pm
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AI couldn't pay for jet fuel recently. At least CA is not on the brink of shutting down. Leave lots of time for a PEK transfer.
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Old Sep 11, 19, 9:10 pm
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Different *A carriers open seats at different times. If you have concerns about what is available now, perhaps patience would be a virtue.
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Old Sep 11, 19, 9:18 pm
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Thanks for the replies so far. I checked various dates: AI or CA availability seems prevalent, sometimes with a few seats on TK. In the past, TG offered decent availability on this route, but these days I just found it in Y. I did read about AI not paying for fuel, which is very concerning... but aren't they the state airline? Or were they privatized?
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Old Sep 11, 19, 9:18 pm
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It's better to book now and switch later if you are GS/1k. On the off change of a schedule change you might even be able to request UA to open up space on its own flight to accommodate you.
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Old Sep 11, 19, 9:20 pm
  #6  
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Nowhere near GS/1K, just vanilla MP, and I don't see last minute availability on any other carrier either. Also, I'd rather not force my aunt to fly through North America to travel between Europe and Australia.
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Old Sep 11, 19, 9:28 pm
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
AI couldn't pay for jet fuel recently. At least CA is not on the brink of shutting down. Leave lots of time for a PEK transfer.
Better yet, take at least an overnight. If you're going to bother to transit in Beijing, and deal with the possible delays, you might as well pay the city a visit.
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Old Sep 11, 19, 9:50 pm
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I'd hold out for BR or TG, depending on how diligently you're willing to keep searching. I hate spending miles on CA long haul, even regional flights, I feel like the business class rate is a waste of my miles. For me, AI would be tempting because I've never flown them, I like the food they serve, and it would be a little adventure. I don't mind the risk of them shutting down because you'd be on a ticket issued by another airline and get rerouted. But if you're not wanting to burden your aunt transiting the US, then I don't know that DEL is any more appealing.

I don't know what city pairs you're looking for, Australia and Europe both have a lot of them obviously, but the two regions aren't generally difficult for mileage tickets. Keep in mind too that LH and LX open business awards within 2 weeks of departure and both fly to a number of cities in Asia. You can use BR or TG to connect to them, no need for 1 airline all the way through, that also opens up the possibility of NH to one of the Tokyo airports then connecting to LX, LH, OS, SK, LO. (TK awards ex-TYO are rare, though not impossible).

Tons of options out there, so just because CA and AI are the only ones you see now, doesn't mean you need to accept that, barring trying to travel on super busy holidays where they may be the only ones willing to release awards.
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Old Sep 11, 19, 11:01 pm
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Originally Posted by dvs7310 View Post
For me, AI would be tempting because I've never flown them, I like the food they serve, and it would be a little adventure. I
If you haven't flown them, how is that you like their food? (I have, and I don't like their food, but I do like good Indian food.)
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Old Sep 12, 19, 2:29 am
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Just flown CA in BIZ from EU to Australia. Good product, especially the A330. Acceptable food, excellent AC ground service. You can choose for certain connections the limousine service in Beijing or the free transit hotel. I would definitely recommend it
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Old Sep 12, 19, 11:08 am
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Thanks for all the replies. I get the impression that, whatever last minute biz availability LH, LX, BR, or TG might release, it canít be booked via Mileage Plus. I donít know if UA blocks them like they do with SQ. All I see is CA or AI, with a smattering of TK, and at least one of the connections through either DEL or PEK, neither of which sounds particularly appealing - although, to be fair, Iíve never connected through either airport before. Itís possible to avoid those airports, but it requires a segment in economy from Australia, and thatís around 9 hours from either SYD or MEL. It seems that the general consensus here is that CA via PEK is slightly preferable to AI via DEL, right?
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Old Sep 12, 19, 11:05 pm
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Originally Posted by honu View Post
Thanks for all the replies. I get the impression that, whatever last minute biz availability LH, LX, BR, or TG might release, it canít be booked via Mileage Plus. I donít know if UA blocks them like they do with SQ. All I see is CA or AI, with a smattering of TK, and at least one of the connections through either DEL or PEK, neither of which sounds particularly appealing - although, to be fair, Iíve never connected through either airport before. Itís possible to avoid those airports, but it requires a segment in economy from Australia, and thatís around 9 hours from either SYD or MEL. It seems that the general consensus here is that CA via PEK is slightly preferable to AI via DEL, right?

You can book UA awards right up until departure without issue. I just did a search for tomorrow TYO-FRA and got results in Business on LH, CA, TG, and combinations of LH and others. I have booked LX awards from MileagePlus within 2 hours of departure. "Last Minute" partner awards are not an issue if the airline offers availability. One exception is NH due to their own internal restrictions of 72 hours.

What approximate date range are you looking for?
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Old Sep 13, 19, 2:33 am
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CA and AI are roughly the same, I have flown both business products in the past 12 months. Sadly neither the flight of CA and AI match up to their flight from DEL/PEK to Europe, so have to slum it out in DEL/PEK. In DEL there is an airside transit hotel, which has decent rates (AI pays this transit hotel for revenue pax). Going into town is an option but you need a visa (again AI usually pays if buy a ticket from them). CA in PEK doesn't have a transit hotel, so you have to get a 144h TWOV endorsement and go landside.

Cabin interiors and service of both are representative of their 2nd or 3rd tier status within the *A. Both are government owned, the current cash flow issues of AI are usually taken care of by a new round of cash injections by the government of India. Even then, should anything happen, United will issue you an alternative since the issue the ticket for MP members.
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Old Sep 13, 19, 6:21 am
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Thanks for the additional replies. I guess itís harder to find availability out of Australia in biz other than to PEK or DEL. Asia to Europe last minute in biz seems easier on a variety of *A partners. I guess Iíll keep checking frequently...
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Old Sep 13, 19, 2:14 pm
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Leave lots of time for a PEK transfer.
Argh, I would agree with this and yet totally disagree. Transferring at PEK/PVG for me has never taken a ton of time, but it's also kinda unbearable lol. I have star gold and the lounge at PEK is pure garbage, it's a total joke. Meanwhile the CA lounge at PVG is a delight.

However, with internet functions nerfed, wifi being unusable even with firewall at both...it's just kinda miserable. You really have to come armed with lots of offline stuff to entertain yourself. My first PEK experience was like an 8 hour layover, thinking I'd be fine to use my VPN, but VPN only works when wifi is actually working. What a miserable time that was. No shower, no internet, no content beyond like a couple family guy episodes on my laptop that went by way too fast.

To the OP, honestly, don't waste your miles. I would gladly fly CA or AI when the price is right, as I'm a price conscious consumer, but man...the J class I had on CA 777 was lacklustre to say the least. AI I've heard nothing good about, my 2 experiences in Y were fine, again, but only because I knew I hadn't paid much.

IT for both airlines is awful, so if you think you're picking a seat, think again. If you think you're gonna be checked through to your final destination...think again.
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