Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > United Airlines | MileagePlus
Reload this Page >

With low TATL pax loads, is it a better value to fly J, or economy with an empty row?

With low TATL pax loads, is it a better value to fly J, or economy with an empty row?

Old Sep 18, 20, 7:37 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 10
With low TATL pax loads, is it a better value to fly J, or economy with an empty row?

I have (had?) an award J flight from FRA to ORD coming up in a couple weeks, but United dropped that route it seems. I have to change my ticket anyway, and I see on the seat maps of my prospective replacement flights that the pax load is only maybe 5-10 in J, and maybe 20-30 in Y as of now, and I doubt things will be filling up much more. I can also change my departure to MUC if I want.

So, I'm internally debating if it's more worth it to cancel my J seat, refund the 70k miles and buy a 33k mile economy award seat where I will in all likelihood get a whole row to spread out or lie down, and save ~40k miles for future use, or still keep the J seat. It's a daytime flight, so I wouldn't be trying to sleep. But one option too is an LH operated 747-8 with a nearly empty upper deck, which would be quite nice. Wherever I could be around fewest other passengers would be preferable.

It's not an urgent situation, but just curious to hear some people's opinions and experiences based on the odd state of trans Atlantic flights now.
yst33 is offline  
Old Sep 18, 20, 7:45 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: MBS/FNT/LAN
Programs: UA 1K, HH Gold, Mariott Gold
Posts: 9,169
Originally Posted by yst33 View Post
I have (had?) an award J flight from FRA to ORD coming up in a couple weeks, but United dropped that route it seems. I have to change my ticket anyway, and I see on the seat maps of my prospective replacement flights that the pax load is only maybe 5-10 in J, and maybe 20-30 in Y as of now, and I doubt things will be filling up much more. I can also change my departure to MUC if I want.

So, I'm internally debating if it's more worth it to cancel my J seat, refund the 70k miles and buy a 33k mile economy award seat where I will in all likelihood get a whole row to spread out or lie down, and save ~40k miles for future use, or still keep the J seat. It's a daytime flight, so I wouldn't be trying to sleep. But one option too is an LH operated 747-8 with a nearly empty upper deck, which would be quite nice. Wherever I could be around fewest other passengers would be preferable.

It's not an urgent situation, but just curious to hear some people's opinions and experiences based on the odd state of trans Atlantic flights now.
Lots of thoughts in this thread: Poll: Hobo first class vs Polaris

But if you want a guarantee of fewer passengers, probably go with the LH flight in the upper deck.
jhayes_1780 is offline  
Old Sep 18, 20, 10:32 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 5,830
Originally Posted by yst33 View Post
I have (had?) an award J flight from FRA to ORD coming up in a couple weeks, but United dropped that route it seems. I have to change my ticket anyway, and I see on the seat maps of my prospective replacement flights that the pax load is only maybe 5-10 in J, and maybe 20-30 in Y as of now, and I doubt things will be filling up much more. I can also change my departure to MUC if I want.

So, I'm internally debating if it's more worth it to cancel my J seat, refund the 70k miles and buy a 33k mile economy award seat where I will in all likelihood get a whole row to spread out or lie down, and save ~40k miles for future use, or still keep the J seat. It's a daytime flight, so I wouldn't be trying to sleep. But one option too is an LH operated 747-8 with a nearly empty upper deck, which would be quite nice. Wherever I could be around fewest other passengers would be preferable.

It's not an urgent situation, but just curious to hear some people's opinions and experiences based on the odd state of trans Atlantic flights now.
If you have a specific plan for using 37k miles on another flight, then it may be worth switching to economy. You have to weigh those options yourself. But otherwise, I would stay in J, and definitely take LH.

Empty-row economy is relatively pleasant, but J is still better, and it's never a good idea to bank miles for the long term.
Artpen100 likes this.
fumje is offline  
Old Sep 18, 20, 12:44 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: SJC
Programs: Southwest, Alaska, United, American Airlines
Posts: 874
"Business Class ain't Business Class" right now. You redeem for J for the experience, and that experience ain't coming back in full force until the pandemic is over or nearly so. IF Coach is indeed empty, go for it, and save the remaining miles for another day. FRA-ORD is short, you'll live.
Flying Machine likes this.
nerdbirdsjc is offline  
Old Sep 18, 20, 1:47 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: HNL
Programs: UA GS4MM, MR LT Plat, Hilton Gold
Posts: 3,096
Originally Posted by yst33 View Post
So, I'm internally debating if it's more worth it to cancel my J seat, refund the 70k miles and buy a 33k mile economy award seat where I will in all likelihood get a whole row to spread out or lie down, and save ~40k miles for future use
Miles devalue - availability comes and goes - I personally wouldn't assume the 40K in miles will be easily used in the future
HNLbasedFlyer is online now  
Old Sep 18, 20, 1:59 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: DAY
Programs: UA 1K 1MM; Marriott LT Plat Premier (+AMB); Amex MR; Chase UR; Hertz PC; Global Entry
Posts: 7,695
In addition to comfort issues, I would take LH upper deck if at all possible, just to limit the number and proximity of fellow passengers.
goodeats21 is offline  
Old Sep 18, 20, 2:32 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Chicago
Posts: 778
LH’s A350 MUC-ORD is nice and features PE cabin. It is like you said with loads - we were the only 2 pax out of 21 PE seats on Mon this week. PE seats and service better on LH A350 than UA’s 787.
AirbusFan2B is offline  
Old Sep 18, 20, 4:52 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Programs: UA Million Miler
Posts: 1,257
As nearly always, the answer is "it depends."
AlanInDC is offline  
Old Sep 18, 20, 6:28 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: APC/SFO
Programs: UA Plat (21 yrs elite), B9, AA
Posts: 238
Originally Posted by nerdbirdsjc View Post
"Business Class ain't Business Class" right now. You redeem for J for the experience, and that experience ain't coming back in full force until the pandemic is over or nearly so. IF Coach is indeed empty, go for it, and save the remaining miles for another day. FRA-ORD is short, you'll live.
I redeem J for the comfort / hard product, even more so on long haul and/or overnight. The "experience" is rarely exceptional, my physical comfort is far more important anyway.

Part of my physical (psychological lol?!) comfort this year is lower pax density, so I'd chose J any day.
higher_flyer is offline  
Old Sep 18, 20, 6:58 pm
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 10
And, I still can't make up my mind! Still, I'm leaning toward grabbing the LH flight with the upper deck and staying in J, because for one it's that many fewer people to get exposed to, and two, I don't know how many more chances I'll have to fly in a 747 upper deck, which I've only done once before. It'll feel like a private jet up there if it stays practically empty.

I get at least 2 flights US to Europe every year, and shuffle credit card bonuses for the needed miles, so saving the 40k miles would help for sure too - assuming flying next year doesn't get even more restricted than this year has been. I like (dare I say need!) the J seat on the overnight outbound, while the way back in the daytime isn't as critical - a PE seat would be ok too, but it seems impossible to get them now just with miles. Last year home bound on Y I bought an E+ upgrade but United still included PE seats as E+ and got PE that way, and it was totally worth it.

Unrelated, I still can't figure out if I would have FRA lounge availability with a J seat (non-schengen lounge open?), but for the paltry lounge food offerings of late and the generally empty airports, it probably doesn't matter a ton either way.
yst33 is offline  
Old Sep 18, 20, 8:20 pm
  #11  
TPJ
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Programs: TK*G (E+), AA OWS (Plat Pro), EY Silver (compted), IHG Plat
Posts: 6,793
LH has 2-2 config on the B747-800 Upper Deck with badly designed 'let your feet meet my feet' C-class seats (just Google for pictures). If you happen to have a neighbor, you may not feel comfortable. Polarised aircraft offer more privacy and distance.
TPJ is offline  
Old Sep 18, 20, 9:04 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: LAX
Posts: 9,634
westbound daytime flight I d do in empty coach - its not easy to sleep across 3 seats but there's plenty of space to stay comfortable otherwise, you are not gaining much in business
azepine00 is offline  
Old Sep 18, 20, 9:22 pm
  #13  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: MCO
Programs: AA, B6, DL, EK, EY, QR, SQ, UA, Amex Plat, Marriott Tit, HHonors Gold
Posts: 10,304
LH J > UA Y (if can guarantee you’ll in fact have the whole row) > UA J > UA Y (if full).
cmd320 is online now  
Old Sep 18, 20, 10:06 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,674
Originally Posted by cmd320 View Post
LH J > UA Y (if can guarantee you’ll in fact have the whole row) > UA J > UA Y (if full).
LH Y A380in a 4 across section would be my choice if I could guarantee the row to myself.
travelinmanS is offline  
Old Sep 18, 20, 10:12 pm
  #15  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: MCO
Programs: AA, B6, DL, EK, EY, QR, SQ, UA, Amex Plat, Marriott Tit, HHonors Gold
Posts: 10,304
Originally Posted by travelinmanS View Post
LH Y A380in a 4 across section would be my choice if I could guarantee the row to myself.
Agreed for sure. Though I don’t think LH A380s are on the table right now.
cmd320 is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: