Advice to LHR and from FCO

Old Jun 16, 13, 9:01 pm
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Advice to LHR and from FCO

I'm a 1k who does almost all domestic routes and occasional Lat Am but never Europe. Looking for some quick advice on choice of planes/routes. Here's the parameters:
1 - Will be flying business class this Oct, depart Fri Oct 4 return Sat Oct 12
2 - I'm generally trying to use UA metal on at least the outbound to try to finish up to get Million Mile status done by this October before they devalue it even more for next year (I know, another debate altogether)
3 - Return could be on Lufthansa if it makes sense (I have GPUs to use for my wife to upgrade her from Y but would like a high probability of U/G. This is a main reason for either UA or Lufthansa)

Trip is LAX - LHR and return is FCO - LAX
Options for LAX-LHR:
777-200 - direct
767-300 - thru IAH
747-400 - thru SFO
777-200 - thru ORD, IAD

767-400 - thru EWR or IAD
747-400 - thru FRA on LH
A340-600 thru MUC on LH

Thoughts??? Thanks!!
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Old Jun 16, 13, 9:06 pm
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Business upper deck UA 747
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Old Jun 16, 13, 9:16 pm
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
Business upper deck UA 747

Or the nonstop LAX-LHR if you don't want to risk the connection through SFO. All the other outbound options are inferior due to at least 3 hours in domestic first.

Consider UA via FRA-SFO on the return which is a 744. UA hard product in J is considered better than LH unless you can get the 748 FRA-LAX.

Note there has been random R availability (upgrade space) SFO-LHR recently. SFO-FRA is a tougher upgrade.
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Old Jun 16, 13, 9:19 pm
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I think it's worth pointing out that, for your return, Biz class is guaranteed lie-flat on UA, not so on LH. And the 764 is one of my personal favorites.

Outbound, I'm partial to a 747, but UA seems to have some dispatch reliability issues with theirs. That said, upper deck on a 744 would be hard to beat.
Heads up- on sUA fleet, the forward facing seats slant oddly (head-low, toe-high) in full flat, due to the airplane nose-up attitude of cruise. The rear facing seats are rumored to be a little more natural for sleeping.
On the sCO planes, of course, this is not as issue.
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Old Jun 17, 13, 12:54 am
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Just to echo what has already been said... you should consider the return FCO-FRA-SFO on UA rather than LH. UA uses the 744 on that route. LH the 380 which, with the angled lie-flat seat, I just don't find as comfortable.
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Old Jun 17, 13, 1:55 am
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Note that between now and October you are likely to see some aircraft and schedule changes.

You didn't list ANZ as an option; their LAX-LHR might be something to consider on the outbound (if you were on UA metal on the return).

I would be unlikely to double connect on the return, at FRA and SFO, just to get the UA 747.

LH is adding the new business class to some 340-600; not sure what the schedule is. That said, I *greatly* prefer connecting at MUC and also really like the timing of the MUC flights (saving you from having to get up at dawn in Rome) so would choose that route on the way back. You aren't likely sleeping that much anyway on that route so the lie-flat would matter less if you didn't get it.
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Old Jun 17, 13, 2:03 am
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Are you sure it's just the 747-400 on LH FRA-LAX on the return? They also operate daily 747-800 FRA-LAX, which has a new flat bed business class product.
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Old Jun 17, 13, 5:57 am
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Originally Posted by brsp18 View Post
3 - Return could be on Lufthansa if it makes sense (I have GPUs to use for my wife to upgrade her from Y but would like a high probability of U/G. This is a main reason for either UA or Lufthansa)
In addition to the suggestions given so far, I think that you might want to think carefully about your plan to upgrade your wife Y-->C. If you find R space at booking on UA, then it is all fine, but otherwise know what is your backup plan.

Upgrading Y-->C on LH requires a paper GPU and the ticket must be V class or above (generally semi-flexible economy which can be significantly more expensive than cheapest available). Also, you can request it on day of flight only and likely only when you land in FRA or MUC (the check-in staff at FCO is highly unlikely to be able to place you on the LH grading list).

Flying your wife on an award ticket might be easier. If you are flexible on dates, I have generally found reasonable availability on LH business mid-week. Feeder flights intra-EU are never a problem, so you just need to find the right TATL. Also, LH first quite often opens up one-two weeks before the flight and you could switch the award without any fee as 1k. You might even consider (depending on your booking class on your business ticket), to request a paper GPU for yourself to upgrade to first and travel in the same cabin. In any case, you can both use the first class lounge/terminal as long as one of you flies in first and you are both on the same flight. Really amazing airport experience.
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Old Jun 17, 13, 7:15 am
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On the way out, definitely go from LAX or SFO. the other flights are too short for proper sleep. I would favor the non-stop unless it departs before 6pm, in which case I'd go via SFO. UD on a 747 is nicer but the plan should be to have as much sleep as possible so I think it's not worth adding a stop.

On the return, lie flat is not so important as you'll probably at best snooze. So the considerations are more about the experience (LH, LX win here) and about booking flexibility.
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Old Jun 18, 13, 12:59 am
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Advice to LHR and from FCO

Thanks for all the help. Looks like the best option is biz on the 747 UD thru sfo on the outbound and thru Muc or FRA on the return.

The Muc-lax flights on the return are on the a346 and looks like plenty of J seats open. I guess I will need to choose between Muc on the a346, FRA to lax on a 744 or going UA thru ewr or iad on a 767-400

Any thoughts on upgrades being easier on sat or sun coming back from Europe in oct? Thoughts on chances of an UG on LH using either GPU or miles?
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