west coast to ICN, UA, AC or OZ?

Old Sep 18, 19, 12:53 am
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west coast to ICN, UA, AC or OZ?

I'm planning a family trip from SAN/LAX (closer to SAN, but can drive to LAX) to ICN in 2020 or 2021. We will likely be flying economy, but may splurge for Business class one-way. I'm using a combo of UA miles and Chase Ultimate rewards, and see three options with lowest flight duration: UA, OZ, and AC.

The cash price of all three carriers are fairly similar ~$1400 for Econ and $4200 for Business class.
The award mile booking for three carriers is also very similar 35K each way for Econ, and 80k miles each way for Business (booking via united website). This works out to about 2 cents per mile with Economy flight and 2.5 cents per mile with business class flights.

Which carrier is most comfortable for the route? UA vs AC vs OZ. Does it even matter if I end up flying economy?
I've heard OZ has the best business class seats between the three, but not sure how to approach this. AC seems to have the most availability in Business class. Any help is appreciated. Feel free to move post if it belongs in a different forum. I'm still relatively new. Thanks!
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Old Sep 18, 19, 10:10 am
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Are the choices you're comparing all non-stop or are some connecting itineraries? If the latter, what are differences in travel times?
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Old Sep 18, 19, 11:51 am
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Avoid Air Canada economy like the plague.
Avoid AC period, no need for the hassle of a connecting itinerary on an inferior carrier
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Old Sep 18, 19, 2:36 pm
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I've flown OZ in J for LAX->ICN, and UA SFO->ICN. (Pre-Polaris 787 on UA, A380 on OZ). I usually take the overnight OZ flight and not the daytime flight out of each direction. The UA flight is a daytime flight.

As a solo traveler, I preferred OZ. Both seats were fine for sleeping. The service was better on OZ. Though I was somewhat put off by a comment by a UA attendant near the end of the flight. "You were asleep most of the flight, I didn't have to pay attention to you, you can fly with us any time!"

The overnight OZ flight leaves at midnight, arrives at 5am out of LAX. Out of ICN, it leaves late afternoon, and arrives in LAX mid morning.
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Old Sep 18, 19, 4:22 pm
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Moving to the Star Alliance forum for further discussion. Thanks. /JY1024, TravelBuzz moderator
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Old Sep 18, 19, 5:07 pm
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$1400 is well above market rates for LAX ICN.
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Old Sep 18, 19, 6:04 pm
  #7  
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Originally Posted by pdragn78 View Post
I'm planning a family trip from SAN/LAX (closer to SAN, but can drive to LAX) to ICN in 2020 or 2021. We will likely be flying economy, but may splurge for Business class one-way. I'm using a combo of UA miles and Chase Ultimate rewards, and see three options with lowest flight duration: UA, OZ, and AC.

The cash price of all three carriers are fairly similar ~$1400 for Econ and $4200 for Business class.
The award mile booking for three carriers is also very similar 35K each way for Econ, and 80k miles each way for Business (booking via united website). This works out to about 2 cents per mile with Economy flight and 2.5 cents per mile with business class flights.

Which carrier is most comfortable for the route? UA vs AC vs OZ. Does it even matter if I end up flying economy?
I've heard OZ has the best business class seats between the three, but not sure how to approach this. AC seems to have the most availability in Business class. Any help is appreciated. Feel free to move post if it belongs in a different forum. I'm still relatively new. Thanks!
If wanting awards availability may/will be the issue. The more awards (people) on the same flight the harder it will be.
So you may not end up with a choice of carrier/route if using awards
Have you looked as what awards are available now?
A guide--> https://www.awardhacker.com/#f=SAN&f...=0&c=y&s=2&p=1

Last edited by Mwenenzi; Sep 18, 19 at 6:18 pm
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Old Sep 18, 19, 7:09 pm
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If flying economy, OZ is the clear choice for seat comfort, service, and food.

In business, it would be a close call among the three, except I personally would avoid the YVR transfer if possible. You're most likely to find award space on OZ.

I will note that while air travel overall is incredibly safe, relatively speaking, OZ is not exactly your safest airline.
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Old Sep 18, 19, 10:44 pm
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
$1400 is well above market rates for LAX ICN.
That was precisely my reaction reading this as well. $1400 is way too much for that route. Look at flights within 3 months to get a better gague on what you should be paying, flights way out in the future tend to be opened only in higher fare brackets.



For the OP, I have never flow AC in economy, so can't comment there, but have never heard anything good about it. UA vs OZ is a tossup. I'd probably take OZ on the A380 from LAX if it still exists when you take your trip, however if may not. If there is no A380 then space-wise both are similar. Food is arguably better on OZ (in economy) and cabin service usually more professional, but the entertainment system on UA beats them by miles to help pass your time. (assuming you want English language content).
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Old Sep 18, 19, 10:52 pm
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Originally Posted by dvs7310 View Post
UA vs OZ is a tossup.
Beg to differ. OZ economy has meaningfully wider seat and more pitch than UA in Y, especially compared to the 10 across Polarized 772. It's not even a close call, especially if you get the 380, but also on the 772 and 350.
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Old Sep 18, 19, 10:58 pm
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Originally Posted by 84fiero View Post
Are the choices you're comparing all non-stop or are some connecting itineraries? If the latter, what are differences in travel times?
All itineraries are similar. 1 stop from SAN (SAN-LAX-ICN, SAN-SFO-ICN, and SAN-YVR-ICN) and travel time is 15-16 hours. The direct non-stop flights would be LAX-ICN, but would involve renting one-way car rental to drive LA and that negates some of the cost savings (but may be worth it for return trip since many award flights from ICN-SAN have 2 stops and longer layovers (20+ hours of total travel time)
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Old Sep 18, 19, 11:59 pm
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Originally Posted by dvs7310 View Post
That was precisely my reaction reading this as well. $1400 is way too much for that route. Look at flights within 3 months to get a better gague on what you should be paying, flights way out in the future tend to be opened only in higher fare brackets.
For the OP, I have never flow AC in economy, so can't comment there, but have never heard anything good about it. UA vs OZ is a tossup. I'd probably take OZ on the A380 from LAX if it still exists when you take your trip, however if may not. If there is no A380 then space-wise both are similar. Food is arguably better on OZ (in economy) and cabin service usually more professional, but the entertainment system on UA beats them by miles to help pass your time. (assuming you want English language content).
You are correct. I was searching for flights in June 2020 since that's when kiddos are out of school. Searching within next 3 months (SAN-ICN 1 stop) and the price is closer to $1000. J is still around $4000. So that puts mileage valuation of awards at 1.4 cents/mile in Y and 2.5 cents/mile in J; However flights might be more expensive during summer travel season. I'll have to do another search in March 2020 to confirm.

Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
If flying economy, OZ is the clear choice for seat comfort, service, and food.

In business, it would be a close call among the three, except I personally would avoid the YVR transfer if possible. You're most likely to find award space on OZ.

I will note that while air travel overall is incredibly safe, relatively speaking, OZ is not exactly your safest airline.
What's so bad about YVR transfer?

Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
If wanting awards availability may/will be the issue. The more awards (people) on the same flight the harder it will be.
So you may not end up with a choice of carrier/route if using awards
Have you looked as what awards are available now?
A guide--> https://www.awardhacker.com/#f=SAN&f...=0&c=y&s=2&p=1
This is precisely my issue- I'm looking to book 2 separate itineraries. Family of four, for a 2 week trip. And a solo travel (mother in law) for a 4-5 week trip, but share the same airline on departure. Luckily, I'll have around 150k united miles and 450k Chase UR to work with. This is looking more like a 2021 travel date, but i'm doing test bookings for 2020 to get an idea of what's available.

If I had to book this tomorrow, it would look like this:
SAN-YVR-ICN on AC ~15 hr total travel time in Y for (35K miles x 5 =175K total)
ICN-SFO-SAN on UA metal ~14 hr total travel time in Y for (35K miles x4 =140K total) and probably book mother in law similar flight 4 weeks later.
There is the option for J on OZ only for return flight ICN-LAX-SFO-SAN for 17.5 hr total travel time (80k x 4= 320K miles); And it states 5 J tickets left (but mother-in law would be flying back later so only need 4 tickets for return)

If I decided booking J on OZ, I would consider booking ICN-LAX (11.5hr duration) and rent a one-way car rental in LAX for $100 and drive to SAN (3 hr drive at 5pm) shaving off 3 hours of travel time.

While there is currently no J availability for the departing flight, I'm hopeful I can find 5 tickets if I book 330 days in advance. If not, then we fly Y.
If I decide to book 330 days out, would it be better to book outbound flight first as a one-way so I can snag 5 J seats together? Then book separate one-way for return flights. We are planning 2 week trip plus or minus several days so have some flexibility on return dates to choose award flight with least amount of stops/total travel time.

I would much rather fly on J outbound to start my vacation out right and settle on Y for return flight. I don't have the miles to book RT in J unfortunately.

Thanks for all the tips!
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Old Sep 19, 19, 12:23 am
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When I read the OP, I didn't realize you'd be tacking on SAN-LAX if you flew from LAX. But, since you would be, I'd say the YVR connection is much better, especially if you have lounge access. That having been said, some of AC's planes are miserable in economy, so this is an important consideration.
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Old Sep 19, 19, 8:42 am
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
If flying economy, OZ is the clear choice for seat comfort, service, and food.

In business, it would be a close call among the three, except I personally would avoid the YVR transfer if possible. You're most likely to find award space on OZ.

I will note that while air travel overall is incredibly safe, relatively speaking, OZ is not exactly your safest airline.
I bet it is far safer than streets of san francisco.
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Old Sep 19, 19, 10:17 am
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Originally Posted by vinx View Post
I bet it is far safer than streets of san francisco.
We all appreciate your valuable contribution to the discussion.
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