Routing Possibilities ORD >< KTM on *A

Old Aug 12, 19, 11:03 pm
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Routing Possibilities ORD >< KTM on *A

I'm going from ORD to KTM in late September and because I'm *G/United I would like to stick to member flights. My understanding is that unless I book it from United I'm going to get much fewer PQM on most member airlines. I also have a few days on either end I can play around with and would love to find somewhere to stop off in for a day or two.

What fun routing would you suggest? Any airlines/routes that are best to avoid? I've been to Delhi, Istanbul, Bangkok, Beijing, and Chengdu (which are the main connection points I can think of to Nepal by air) before, but it's been a while. I'd love to see Hong Kong, but given the recent news...

Booking direct on United routes me ORD > SFO > CTU > KTM which is fine going, but it's $3.5k+... which will probably be too much for this client's budget. Booking legs independently is much cheaper but will I have any assurance in the case of missed connections, baggage, etc. (I typically don't check bags, but might have some purchases on the way home)? I much prefer booking all through one airline (United), but the cost is significant to do so.
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Old Aug 12, 19, 11:14 pm
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Originally Posted by yeahokayillrememberthis View Post
... . My understanding is that unless I book it from United I'm going to get much fewer PQM on most member airlines. ...
How you book will have no impact on PQMs. The PQMs are decided by the flight operator. regardless of the ticket stock.

PQDsand Award miles (RDMs) are very much controlled by ticket stock.
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Old Aug 13, 19, 12:30 am
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Originally Posted by yeahokayillrememberthis View Post
What fun routing would you suggest? Any airlines/routes that are best to avoid? I've been to Delhi, Istanbul, Bangkok, Beijing, and Chengdu (which are the main connection points I can think of to Nepal by air) before, but it's been a while. I'd love to see Hong Kong, but given the recent news...
Well, if you want *A all the way, the options for your last flight are Air China (LXA, CTU), Air India (DEL, CCU), Thai (BKK), or Turkish (IST).

What class of service?

A quick scan of UA's routing rules shows that your cheapest option is likely to be via CTU. They also have a route published via HKG, connecting to Cathay Dragon (not *A), and a strange route that looks like a typo -- via SIN with the last leg on Malaysian (MH)... who doesn't fly SIN-KTM. I suspect it's supposed to be SilkAir (MI), who does, but... :shrug:

The only real stopover choices you're likely to find on an inexpensive single UA ticket would be CTU, HKG, or Tokyo or Osaka -- but the latter two require that you then connect through HKG anyway.

Originally Posted by yeahokayillrememberthis View Post
Booking direct on United routes me ORD > SFO > CTU > KTM which is fine going, but it's $3.5k+... which will probably be too much for this client's budget. Booking legs independently is much cheaper but will I have any assurance in the case of missed connections, baggage, etc. (I typically don't check bags, but might have some purchases on the way home)? I much prefer booking all through one airline (United), but the cost is significant to do so.
Checking luggage across multiple tickets is at the discretion of the check-in airline. UA's policy is the they will do it, but only to *A airlines.

You're correct that if you book on separate tickets, you won't have protection against missed connections -- but you said you had some flexibility anyway. If you book overnight (or longer) stays between your tickets, you'll be covered, barring an exceptional delay. (I might still avoid HKG, as you pointed out).
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Old Aug 13, 19, 7:36 am
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Well, if you want *A all the way, the options for your last flight are Air China (LXA, CTU), Air India (DEL, CCU), Thai (BKK), or Turkish (IST).
Can one simply transit LXA? I know there was that story... (can't find it now - the blown double-transit of India with no visa) that got rebooked through LXA but thought normally you couldn't.
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Old Aug 13, 19, 8:23 am
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
Welcome to FT!, yeahokayillrememberthis
How you book will have no impact on PQMs. The PQMs are decided by the flight operator. regardless of the ticket stock.

PQDsand Award miles (RDMs) are very much controlled by ticket stock.
I'm not concerned about PQD (I always have way more than needed for the next level), only PQM. Based on United's site, I just have to be careful of the booking class and look at their chart of earning per fare class. Unfortunately, this will have to be some sort of economy ticket. I'm trying to keep costs under, say $2,000ish USD if possible.

My other concern with booking direct with Turkish/Thai/India/Air China is booking a seat (running into this with Swiss on an upcoming flight), and getting a good seat. When I book on United I get an E+ seat but don't see any documentation on which airlines that *G perk extends to within *A.

Last edited by yeah okay ill remember this; Aug 13, 19 at 8:26 am Reason: Missing link - edited to make sense/clarify without link
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Old Aug 13, 19, 8:47 am
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Originally Posted by yeah okay ill remember this View Post
.... . When I book on United I get an E+ seat but don't see any documentation on which airlines that *G perk extends to within *A.
The equivalent of E+ does not exist for other *A other than bulkheads and exit rows. If the carrier restricts access it is generally just for their elites -- at least until checkin.
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Old Aug 13, 19, 9:26 am
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Originally Posted by findark View Post
Can one simply transit LXA? I know there was that story... (can't find it now - the blown double-transit of India with no visa) that got rebooked through LXA but thought normally you couldn't.
I suspect you'd need to get the special Tibetan landing document. OP was looking for a "fun routing"

OP: When are you planning to go? The published fares are much, much lower than you're describing, so I feel like there may be some kind of availability issue.
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Old Aug 13, 19, 9:28 am
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So I go to KTM often (I'm 100% Nepalese, born in the US). And a bit jealous that a client is sending you.

It simply can't be that a *A ticket is upwards of $3500 in Y, regardless of when you go.

ORD--IST- KTM is the best routing. $1300 ($1800 later in the year) (see link). Although a longish layover in IST, it's the amazing TK lounge (I know it moved over to the new airport).
The return is a bit rough on the date I chose (24 hours in IST) but you can easily route.to another US gateway.

Or fly ORD-BOS/EWR/LGA on a separate ticket. JFK-KTM on TK is 4 hour layover each way. Just need to pad your connecting flight and schelp bags from JFK to LGA/EWR.

https://www.google.com/flights#flt=ORD.KTM.2019-09-19.ORDIST0TK6~ISTKTM1TK726*KTM.ORD.2019-10-03.KTMIST0TK727~ISTORD1TK5;c:USD;e:1;sd:1;t:b;sp:2 .USD.125113*2.USD.125113
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Old Aug 13, 19, 4:40 pm
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Originally Posted by findark View Post
Can one simply transit LXA? I know there was that story... (can't find it now - the blown double-transit of India with no visa) that got rebooked through LXA but thought normally you couldn't.
I think some of the high fares I was seeing before was before this good deal ORD > < CTU came up (traveling late Sept - Oct) and I was ignoring booking direct on Turkish. That's helping me out here and the longest legs are on United so I get an E+ seat included. I choose not to go for the LXA route although interestingly, it did pop up as an option. However, it looks like the flight from KTM just deplanes for one hour or so in LXA. I've been before (by land from Urumqi and on to Nepal after right when the train opened) but figured the hassle with Visas and special travel permissions, etc. wouldn't be worth it.

The Turkish flights through Istanbul were the cheapest/most direct for sure and I considered a layover there. But I decided to make this a little more fun. So on the way there it's ~30 hours ORD-SFO-CTU-KTM. Nowhere near direct but that's a cheap fare. On the way back I booked BKK-NRT-ORD with a stopover in Tokyo for a few days. Total on United $909 USD.

Including KTM-BKK was throwing everything off somehow so I figured I'd book that direct on Thai. I'll decide tonight if I want to stay in Bangkok a few days or fly in the night before my 6:45am flight. That one's on a Dreamliner (ANA), which I'm excited about. Any warnings there?
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