Australia to US - J availability

Old Jan 1, 20, 5:05 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Programs: UA 1K
Posts: 29
Australia to US - J availability

Hi everyone,

Iím trying to book a flight in business class for a family member from Australia to the US (AUS specifically) and hoping to get some input on the best options for securing a seat. At the moment everything ex-Australia is PZ0 IN0 but wondering if there was any consensus on:
  • Would I have better luck waitlisting for saver business award space or buying a revenue ticket + PlusPoints?
  • Are any routes more likely to get space released than others? (MEL/SYD to SFO/LAX/IAH)
  • I donít travel much to Australia: are there certain days that work better than others in terms of low front-cabin demand?
Thanks!
AUSNYCflyer is offline  
Old Jan 1, 20, 5:11 pm
  #2  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 14,865
Originally Posted by AUSNYCflyer View Post
Would I have better luck waitlisting for saver business award space or buying a revenue ticket + PlusPoints?
Upgrade space will always open before saver business space.

Originally Posted by AUSNYCflyer View Post
Are any routes more likely to get space released than others? (MEL/SYD to SFO/LAX/IAH)
When UA launched the IAH-SYD route, I saw quite a bit of upgrade space. Theyíve since cut frequencies across the board to try to match supply and demand better.

Originally Posted by AUSNYCflyer View Post
I donít travel much to Australia: are there certain days that work better than others in terms of low front-cabin demand?
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday will always be your best bets.

That said, when are you looking to travel? These routes are quite seasonal. Also, you might consider waiting for upgrade space to open. (Also, make sure youíre checking flights by searching between the long-haul gateways; if SYD-IAH is PZ1 but IAH-AUS is PZ0, searching SYD-AUS will show PZ0.
bluedemon211 likes this.
jsloan is online now  
Old Jan 1, 20, 5:15 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Chicago
Programs: ,united 1k, HH Diamond,BA gold, Hyatt globalist
Posts: 648
I would advise purchasing a revenue ticket and using plus points this will be your best shot at getting business class.
united 1k flyer is offline  
Old Jan 1, 20, 5:16 pm
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Programs: UA 1K
Posts: 29
Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
That said, when are you looking to travel? These routes are quite seasonal. Also, you might consider waiting for upgrade space to open. (Also, make sure youíre checking flights by searching between the long-haul gateways; if SYD-IAH is PZ1 but IAH-AUS is PZ0, searching SYD-AUS will show PZ0.
Thank you! Iím targeting the first week of March ideally. Do you have a sense of how that aligns with the seasonality of the ex-AU routes? It seems like many days have P9 so Iím hoping thatís a good thing at least.
AUSNYCflyer is offline  
Old Jan 1, 20, 5:25 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Chicago
Programs: ,united 1k, HH Diamond,BA gold, Hyatt globalist
Posts: 648
Yes P9 is a good starting point however prioritize any options that have PN I personally wouldnít boy a ticket for any flight with out at least PN
k_den likes this.
united 1k flyer is offline  
Old Jan 1, 20, 5:25 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: NYC (Primarily EWR)
Programs: UA 1K / *G; Marriott Bonvoy Gold; ALL Gold; Hertz PC
Posts: 8,134
Based on fare buckets, it seems like SYD-IAH is probably the hardest one to land, while you will have (possibly) better luck on SYD/MEL-SFO. I still think it will be a tough find - I was looking at this a couple months back, and early-mid March was still quite difficult in finding PZ space (forget about IN/I).
PsiFighter37 is offline  
Old Jan 1, 20, 6:22 pm
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Programs: UA 1K
Posts: 29
Thanks for all the help so far! Iím definitely going the revenue ticket route (a bit scarier since I canít cancel after 24h but oh well...)

Iíll keep an eye on SYD-SFO flights then as that does sound like a good option and we can also fallback to Y->PE upgrade if nothing else.
AUSNYCflyer is offline  
Old Jan 1, 20, 6:25 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: DEN
Programs: UA GS, Marriott Ambassador, IHG Spire Elite + Kimpton Inner Circle, AA Gold
Posts: 31
Originally Posted by united 1k flyer View Post
Yes P9 is a good starting point however prioritize any options that have PN I personally wouldnít boy a ticket for any flight with out at least PN
Agree with this. I found that one way returns from Australia sometimes price reasonably. If you can find PN space, then itís a great deal if you can round up the plus points. Also, at $900 USD for flexible fares, you may be able to book and waitlist and hope something comes available on award and cancel if it does.
k_den is offline  
Old Jan 1, 20, 6:32 pm
  #9  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 14,865
Originally Posted by AUSNYCflyer View Post
Thanks for all the help so far! Iím definitely going the revenue ticket route (a bit scarier since I canít cancel after 24h but oh well...)
While you canít cancel, youíre also not obligated to purchase a ticket today, or tomorrow... IME, the lowest UA fares to Australia tend to book into W or V; as a result, they tend to have very short advance purchase requirements, if any, and availability is generally pretty constant. IĒd give it more time and keep searching; perhaps PZ space will open.
Kacee, AUSNYCflyer and findark like this.
jsloan is online now  
Old Jan 1, 20, 11:16 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Melbourne MEL Calgary YYC
Programs: UA1K, QF Plat, *A & Marriot Gold, OW Emerald, Hyatt Hertz PC CanPass Nexus APEC Global Entry
Posts: 463
Lately I have had more luck waiting until 1-2 weeks out, there is PZ space for the 13th and 15th of January Mel lax

so if you can be flexible start looking closer to your date and check every 6 hours or so as it pops up randomly

Last edited by Jimmie Jet; Jan 1, 20 at 11:16 pm Reason: Mel lax
Jimmie Jet is offline  
Old Jan 1, 20, 11:49 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: San Francisco/Sydney
Programs: UA 1K/MM, TK Elite, DL Gold, Hilton Diamond, Marriott Platinum, IHG Gold, Hertz PC, Avis First
Posts: 7,205
Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
IME, the lowest UA fares to Australia tend to book into W or V; as a result, they tend to have very short advance purchase requirements,
I don't recall the last time I've seen a W or V fare to Australia as the cheapest option. Even during peak periods UA plays with the fares themselves more than the fare codes on these routes. eg, if you want to head from the US to tomorrow on a return flight, the cheapest ticket is an S fare with no advance purchase requirements, at around ~$1200 each way!

In general the cheapest W fares to Australia normally run around $1800 return. Other fares are frequently sub-$1000, and are almost always available cheaper than W, even if only by a few dollars but normally by far more.

There are multiple fares published with different advance purchase times. eg, I just priced a trip in June and it gives a 90 day advance purchase G fare, and a 50 day advance purchase W fare. I didn't check, but I suspect there's also a 28 day W fare, maybe a 21 day one, and a 1 day one as those are the normal combinations I've seen.
docbert is offline  
Old Jan 2, 20, 12:14 am
  #12  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 14,865
Originally Posted by docbert View Post
I don't recall the last time I've seen a W or V fare to Australia as the cheapest option. Even during peak periods UA plays with the fares themselves more than the fare codes on these routes. eg, if you want to head from the US to tomorrow on a return flight, the cheapest ticket is an S fare with no advance purchase requirements, at around ~$1200 each way!

In general the cheapest W fares to Australia normally run around $1800 return. Other fares are frequently sub-$1000, and are almost always available cheaper than W, even if only by a few dollars but normally by far more.

There are multiple fares published with different advance purchase times. eg, I just priced a trip in June and it gives a 90 day advance purchase G fare, and a 50 day advance purchase W fare. I didn't check, but I suspect there's also a 28 day W fare, maybe a 21 day one, and a 1 day one as those are the normal combinations I've seen.
OK, fair enough; different markets, different experiences. Iíve mostly been looking at travel in and out of AUS (which, somewhat coincidentally, is also where OP is headed). If nothing else, itís worth looking at the fare rules for the lowest available fare. If it has a 50-day advance purchase requirement, it might make sense to book something soon and waitlist something. If it has no advance purchase requirement, it might make more sense to wait.
jsloan is online now  
Old Jan 2, 20, 12:38 am
  #13  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: wandering expat
Posts: 44,513
Originally Posted by Jimmie Jet View Post
Lately I have had more luck waiting until 1-2 weeks out, there is PZ space for the 13th and 15th of January Mel lax

so if you can be flexible start looking closer to your date and check every 6 hours or so as it pops up randomly
This. Before the merger it was relatively easy to book W fares 6+ months out and find tickets that were upgradable at purchase. No more. I'm now looking inside of 2 weeks for upgrade space.
halls120 is offline  
Old Jan 6, 20, 11:45 am
  #14  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Bay Area
Programs: DL SM, UA MP.
Posts: 12,730
How about business savers space vs. MUA space?

Or PlusPoints space vs. MUA space?
wco81 is offline  
Old Jan 6, 20, 11:50 am
  #15  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 14,865
Originally Posted by wco81 View Post
How about business savers space vs. MUA space?

Or PlusPoints space vs. MUA space?
PointsPlus and MUA space is identical (PN for Global Services, PZ for anyone else).

PZ will always open before business saver award space (IN/I).
jsloan is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: