book through United or Lufthansa?

Old Sep 29, 2022, 6:31 am
  #1  
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book through United or Lufthansa?

Total newbie here and I'm looking for some guidance from the experts! We have booked a river cruise next May, starting in AMS, ending in BUD. Searching flights out of BOS and finding Lufthansa schedules (transferring FRA) that look good. I am a MileagePlus member but with no significant mile balance so I'm not wedded to them (41K). Looking to book Business class.

Question: Do I book through the United site or Lufthansa? Pros/Cons? I assume I will earn miles if I book through United so that seems to make sense. However, when I look at the itinerary on the UA site, it looks like I might not be able to reserve a seat which is important to me. I see this message -

"This flight is operated by a partner airline. Seat selection for this flight may be available on united.com after completing your purchase."

So the selection "may be available"? What if it's not?

Also - is there a rule of thumb for how far out to start looking at flights for international travel? We won't leave until the middle of May.

Thanks for your help. I have booked a ton of domestic flights but I am really inexperienced with international. I appreciate any advice.
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Old Sep 29, 2022, 6:41 am
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You will be able to select a seat, so that is not a concern. Seat selection might be available on united.com, but it will definitely be available of Lufthansa's website, and if you do book with United, you will get a record locator number to use on the Lufthansa website.

Personally speaking, I would probably book this through UA, given their more flexible change policy, and the fact that reaching UA in the event of a schedule change will probably be easier than reaching LH.
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Old Sep 29, 2022, 6:51 am
  #3  
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Thank you. This is exactly the kind of input I was looking for.
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Old Sep 29, 2022, 7:22 am
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UA also has better IT than LH, so you can do more online. But the main reason to ticket through UA is the much more generous change policy. It's slightly advantageous to book under the operating carrier's native flight numbers, but the major disadvantages of booking codeshares have mostly faded at this point.
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Old Sep 29, 2022, 3:20 pm
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Some cruises that I have looked at in the past offer some discounts on air travel. Have you looked into this with the cruise company you're using?
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Old Sep 29, 2022, 3:24 pm
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If the price is the same or close, always book with the operating carrier. In case of IRROPS, you will be in a much better position to reschedule flights if you booked via LH. Booking an LH flight via UA means that you will be at the mercy of whatever seats LH makes available to UA, and the flights you may want to get on may not be open to the agent from UA who will be rebooking your flight. Also, online seat selection on LH-group flights is a bit of a mess, and there is a very good chance you will NOT be able to select/change seats on the LH website/app if you book via UA (you will definitely not be able to select LH seats on the UA website). The miles earned are based on the airline you are flying on and the fare bucket of the ticket, so booking the same fare code will earn the same miles, regardless of where you book the flight. You will also not be eligible to bid for an upgrade on LH if you booked via UA.
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Old Sep 29, 2022, 3:37 pm
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Originally Posted by angetenar
You will be able to select a seat, so that is not a concern. Seat selection might be available on united.com, but it will definitely be available of Lufthansa's website, and if you do book with United, you will get a record locator number to use on the Lufthansa website..
This is definitely not always true. For quite a few years now, I have had nothing but nightmares trying to manage TATL flights on LH-group airlines with an 016 ticket. The only reason I kept booking with UA was because I was able to get a markedly cheaper airfare for the same exact flights on UA.com, which seems to be less of an issue lately. I have had very little success accessing the online seat selection after logging into the LH website or app with the PNR. I usually have to call or DM the airline to select or change seats. I have been able to do it online maybe 10% of the times I have tried in the last 5 years. This is true for LH/OS/LX flights booked via UA. The correct PNR will allow you to view the flight info, but many of the options, including seat selection, are disabled. There are also sometimes where I need to enter the UA PNR instead of the LH PNR, which makes no sense. The bottom line is that there are a lot of needless hassles that arise accessing a 016 flight on LH-group websites/apps.
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Old Sep 29, 2022, 3:41 pm
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Don't know about flights out of Boston but for business class, United has 1-2-1 layout so everyone has access to the aisle.

LH seems to be mostly 2-2-2 layout and has older lie flat seats.

But many people prefer the food and service on LH more.

If the OP does think he or she will try to qualify for status, then a UA flight might make more sense than an LH flight.
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Old Sep 29, 2022, 3:50 pm
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Originally Posted by downinit
This is definitely not always true. For quite a few years now, I have had nothing but nightmares trying to manage TATL flights on LH-group airlines with an 016 ticket. The only reason I kept booking with UA was because I was able to get a markedly cheaper airfare for the same exact flights on UA.com, which seems to be less of an issue lately. I have had very little success accessing the online seat selection after logging into the LH website or app with the PNR. I usually have to call or DM the airline to select or change seats. I have been able to do it online maybe 10% of the times I have tried in the last 5 years. This is true for LH/OS/LX flights booked via UA. The correct PNR will allow you to view the flight info, but many of the options, including seat selection, are disabled. There are also sometimes where I need to enter the UA PNR instead of the LH PNR, which makes no sense. The bottom line is that there are a lot of needless hassles that arise accessing a 016 flight on LH-group websites/apps.
In all of my experiences booking LH group flights on 016 tickets, I've never had any such issues, and I've always been able to select seats online for LH/OS/LX flights.
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Old Sep 29, 2022, 4:16 pm
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Since you are booking biz- I would agree with UA as to easy IT and change policy if =$. Should be no problem with seats on LH metal.
Also agree with #5- check out cruise discounts on air fare first.
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Old Sep 29, 2022, 4:28 pm
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Originally Posted by downinit
If the price is the same or close, always book with the operating carrier. In case of IRROPS, you will be in a much better position to reschedule flights if you booked via LH. Booking an LH flight via UA means that you will be at the mercy of whatever seats LH makes available to UA, and the flights you may want to get on may not be open to the agent from UA who will be rebooking your flight. Also, online seat selection on LH-group flights is a bit of a mess, and there is a very good chance you will NOT be able to select/change seats on the LH website/app if you book via UA (you will definitely not be able to select LH seats on the UA website). The miles earned are based on the airline you are flying on and the fare bucket of the ticket, so booking the same fare code will earn the same miles, regardless of where you book the flight. You will also not be eligible to bid for an upgrade on LH if you booked via UA.
IME, booking with the operating carrier is the best policy. However, if you book an LH flight through UA, you can most certainly select and change flights on the LH website. Given my successful experience with LH's bidding for upgrade policy over the past 6 years, I will always book on LH if it is the operating carrier.

​​​​​​
Originally Posted by angetenar
In all of my experiences booking LH group flights on 016 tickets, I've never had any such issues, and I've always been able to select seats online for LH/OS/LX flights.
Same here.
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Old Sep 29, 2022, 4:33 pm
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Originally Posted by downinit
If the price is the same or close, always book with the operating carrier.
Bad advice. As has already been stated, UA has much more generous change policies than LH. For me, this makes it a no brainer to book through UA.
Originally Posted by downinit
In case of IRROPS, you will be in a much better position to reschedule flights if you booked via LH.
Not true. Day of departure, LH will be responsible for rebooking, regardless of ticketing carrier. And because it's a UA ticket, UA will also be able to rebook. So in case of IRROPS, you'll have a choice of dealing with LH or UA. Personally I prefer dealing with UA, though there may be times that it's advantageous to let LH handle the rebooking.
Originally Posted by downinit
For quite a few years now, I have had nothing but nightmares trying to manage TATL flights on LH-group airlines with an 016 ticket.
Originally Posted by angetenar
In all of my experiences booking LH group flights on 016 tickets, I've never had any such issues, and I've always been able to select seats online for LH/OS/LX flights.
Five years ago, buying an LH or LX codeshare could lead to problems with advance seat selection. Those days are now long past. I've flown at least four or five UA issued tickets for flights operated by LH, LX, and OS over the past two years (both native and codeshare flight numbers) and have been 100% successful with advance seat selection. There's virtually no advantage at all to buying on native stock these days (except possibly when buying LX F), particularly with UA offering both better change policies and more user-friendly customer service.
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Old Sep 29, 2022, 5:16 pm
  #13  
 
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FWIW, I still occasionally run into online seat selection issues with LH for 016 issued tickets. For example, this upcoming flight - can't select seats online for the LH segments on either UA or LH.
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Old Sep 29, 2022, 5:35 pm
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Originally Posted by downinit
If the price is the same or close, always book with the operating carrier. In case of IRROPS, you will be in a much better position to reschedule flights if you booked via LH. Booking an LH flight via UA means that you will be at the mercy of whatever seats LH makes available to UA, and the flights you may want to get on may not be open to the agent from UA who will be rebooking your flight. Also, online seat selection on LH-group flights is a bit of a mess, and there is a very good chance you will NOT be able to select/change seats on the LH website/app if you book via UA (you will definitely not be able to select LH seats on the UA website). The miles earned are based on the airline you are flying on and the fare bucket of the ticket, so booking the same fare code will earn the same miles, regardless of where you book the flight. You will also not be eligible to bid for an upgrade on LH if you booked via UA.
Absolutely none of any of this!

You have multiple avenues during irops. UA is not limited to 'the mercy of LH at all', they have a JV TATL and I have never ever had an issue re-booking during irops.
Online seat selection is routinely available on lufthansa.com or through the LH app. There are rare cases where you have to call to get seat assignments, but for regular tickets that is almost never needed.
The miles are absolutely NOT based on the airline you are flying or the fare bucket. This is completely nonsense. If you book with United you will earn based on 5-11x fare, even if your flights are (all) LH operated.
You can also absolutely 100% bid for upgrades on 016 United tickets. Where did you hear that tale? You need LH flight numbers for flights that you wish to upgrade and you can get these either by using goggle flights in many cases ... or call after you purchase the ticket and ask UA to convert to native LH flight numbers ... tell them you want to upgrade ... they know what to do.

Book on united ... in almost all scenarios the much better choice.
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Old Sep 29, 2022, 5:41 pm
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Originally Posted by Kacee
UA also has better IT than LH, so you can do more online. But the main reason to ticket through UA is the much more generous change policy. It's slightly advantageous to book under the operating carrier's native flight numbers, but the major disadvantages of booking codeshares have mostly faded at this point.
thank you!
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