Seniors looking for a reality check

Old Dec 3, 2023, 6:36 am
  #16  
 
Join Date: Feb 2023
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Just my $0.02. I fly TATL from the US about three times per year but am hardly an expert by FT standards.

Playing around with google flights, it seems that the issue with the price is that OP wants to fly to/from LIS/FCO as opposed to other places in Europe. For example, for Sept 3-17, I can get SAV-LHR and CDG-SAV for under $3,400 in J on AA. OTOH, flying UA/AA/DL from ATL/ MIA/IAD rather than SAV to/from LIS/FCO in Sept didn't make much difference to the price (I admit I was surprised by this). Flying from ATL/ MIA/IAD to/from LIS/FCO on a non-US airline could cut the price significantly in some cases but OP may not want to do that.

Given that OP's dates and destinations are probably not flexible but are more or less fixed by a cruise, I'd be slightly inclined to buy the ticket now even for ~$5,200. As others have noted, if the flight drops in price, it's possible to cancel and get future flight credit on UA for the difference. Obviously, there are numerous funky ways to save money with this (eg. flying SAV-LIS on JetBlue and Azores and getting a separate FCO-LIS flight) but I'll guess OP wouldn't be interested. Personally, if I wasn't prepared to spend $5,200 on this, I'd get the same flights but fly PE instead of J.

One suggestion (my apologies if this is obvious): I would not arrive in LIS the day before the cruise: I'd arrive at least two days before the cruise starts and possibly even longer before to account for the possibility of lost bags or cancelled flights. In my experience, it takes at least 24 hours for bags to arrive if they didn't make a TATL flight.
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Last edited by Lost_Luggage_in_SEA; Dec 3, 2023 at 6:40 am Reason: clarification
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Old Dec 3, 2023, 7:14 am
  #17  
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Original poster here. Thanks for all the advice. I did find lower fares with multiple connections. But the Mrs. is not a good traveler and insists on only 1 stop. I know this is a limiting factor. Yes the connection is in EWR and I have allowed for an extended layover to experience the Polaris lounge. Yes i have allowed for a 3 day stay in Lisbon to allow for possibility of flight issues and to get our time change jet lag under control. We are as I said In our late 60's and aren't quite as adventurous as we used to be when it comes to multiple connections and alternative airports. I think you have given me a good sense of the pricing. I think I'll book the tickets and take the credits if the price goes down.
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Old Dec 3, 2023, 7:40 am
  #18  
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 567
Being a fellow SAV person and a frequent traveler to Europe the current LIS/FCO fares are way too high and I would not book now but just keep checking for something in the $3300 range ( sometimes it drops to the $2XXX range but the split country destinations you have might make that challenging.

I usually do these things
1) Try weekdays versus weekends and use the savings to stay a few nights in your landing destination to get over any jetlag and get on euro time.
2) Break up your bookings by traveling from ORD, IAD, EWR or JFK to your European destinations and book the SAV flight to one of those airports separately.
A) UA uses Embrear 175 planes to IAD with 2-2 seating in economy for the 2 hour flight so you can comfortably sit together with your spouse ( usually runs around $2xx roundtrip.
B) UA also occasionally uses Embrear 17X planes to ORD. If you fly UA on both legs your check in person in SAV can merge your bookings so that you do not see your baggage until you hit Europe.
C) if flying out of JFK my go to is DL and their CRJ-900 or A220 planes SAV-JFK which also allow the same two seats together in economy. I try then to fly AF out of JFK. Once again the DL agent at SAV can merge your bookings for baggage purposes.

Safe travels.

edit: clarification on Embrear destinations.
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Last edited by NJSwamplands; Dec 3, 2023 at 7:52 am
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Old Dec 3, 2023, 7:49 am
  #19  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
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I live on a barrier island in SC and use SAV for air travel. TATL fares in business have been around $3,500 for a Z fare and slightly cheaper for a P fare. One thing Ive learned over the last year is to avoid EWR if at all possible. Ive had 3 really unpleasant TATL MX cancellations in the last 1.5 years. I now try to connect in ORD or IAD on United - both easily accessible from SAV.
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Old Dec 3, 2023, 7:54 am
  #20  
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
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You got some great advice in this thread. I also find the fare way too high. I frequently fly USA>EU round trip and I can usually score a business fare between $2,200 and $3,000even for a trip during the busiest travel periods.

I look at fares several times per week on Google Flights and that gives me a good idea of how much prices fluctuate. When I see something that seems like a good deal, then I pull the trigger.
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Old Dec 3, 2023, 7:57 am
  #21  
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
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Originally Posted by kodyandgracie
.... I now try to connect in ORD or IAD on United - both easily accessible from SAV.
We are on the same boat about avoiding EWR if possible. When things go sideways and have to suddenly overnight at one of those two airports, IAD has many great hotel choices nearby. Also IAD has been far less crowded than my ORD experiences.
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Old Dec 3, 2023, 8:14 am
  #22  
 
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Originally Posted by techsman
Original poster here. Thanks for all the advice. I did find lower fares with multiple connections. But the Mrs. is not a good traveler and insists on only 1 stop. I know this is a limiting factor. Yes the connection is in EWR and I have allowed for an extended layover to experience the Polaris lounge. Yes i have allowed for a 3 day stay in Lisbon to allow for possibility of flight issues and to get our time change jet lag under control. We are as I said In our late 60's and aren't quite as adventurous as we used to be when it comes to multiple connections and alternative airports. I think you have given me a good sense of the pricing. I think I'll book the tickets and take the credits if the price goes down.
It makes sense to do one-connection trip. I usually drive to DC to get much better business fares (about three hours drive one way), instead of departing from my local airports (within one hour drive). With this said, if either CLT, RDU or ATL is close enough airport for you, you may consider one of them to get lower fares with one connection for TATL flights.

A few posters mentioned future travel credits if UA lowers the fare. The credit has to be used within 12 months of your booking date of this trip by the same travelers.

Good luck.

Last edited by Kmxu; Dec 3, 2023 at 9:12 am
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Old Dec 3, 2023, 9:15 am
  #23  
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Originally Posted by NJSwamplands
the split country destinations you have might make that challenging.
OTOH, it may be helpful. Both LIS and FCO tend to be low-fare airports; including one of them in an open-jaw itinerary will often allow access to a deep discount fare that is not available to/from other European airports. One of the more rewarding/maddening things about searching for discount TATL business class fares is how much impact tinkering with just one origin or destination can impact the total fare.
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Old Dec 3, 2023, 9:17 am
  #24  
 
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If you shop further, be careful of pricing to LIS as the cheapest flights almost always include Azores, which does not have lie flat seating in Business.
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Old Dec 3, 2023, 9:20 am
  #25  
 
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Agree with the majority of the posters - the fare isn't great but it isn't terrible. If there was flexibility on number of stops, driving to nearby cities etc then it could but lower. However, for a one stop itinerary at preferred times/dates, it seems reasonable enough. My guess is that the fare (on the same exact itinerary) will go down sometime in the next 10 months but it is hard to say for sure. I recently flew PIT-ZRH and the fares were in the $8,000 range and dipped to $2,500 the month before I traveled. I am now tracking flights on google flights for the same itinerary in May 2024 and the fares have consistently been in the $8-9k range - I am hoping that something similar will happen.
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Old Dec 3, 2023, 9:30 am
  #26  
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Originally Posted by Kmxu
A few posters mentioned future travel credits if UA lowers the fare. The credit has to be used within 12 months of your booking date of this trip by the same travelers.
But is easily extended.

Another advantage of booking early is that the likelihood of schedule changes (particularly on United metal) is very high and that gives you flexibility to change a non-optimal routing to something better.
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Old Dec 3, 2023, 9:32 am
  #27  
 
Join Date: May 2005
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Even for West Coast - Europe flights I find Premium pretty comfortable. Especially for the Westbound day flight.
Connections are a real pain and make the trip much longer. Way less stress to do a hotel close to the airport with plenty of buffer, especially if picking up a cruise.
I did a round trip Tokyo flight in Polaris recently and the food was absolutely terrible!
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Old Dec 3, 2023, 9:55 am
  #28  
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
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Originally Posted by Kacee
OTOH, it may be helpful. Both LIS and FCO tend to be low-fare airports; including one of them in an open-jaw itinerary will often allow access to a deep discount fare that is not available to/from other European airports. One of the more rewarding/maddening things about searching for discount TATL business class fares is how much impact tinkering with just one origin or destination can impact the total fare.
I am flying the exact same thing that the OP is flying except in reverse. Any time I tried to add a non Portugal country to the return the ticket price went up $1xxx or more ( Christmas holidays ). I just ended up booking a cheap one way J TAP flight LIS-FCO for $333.
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Old Dec 3, 2023, 10:30 am
  #29  
 
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I would also suggest trying a consolidator (via a travel agent). Typically some reasonable discounts on a $5000+ fare.
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Old Dec 3, 2023, 10:31 am
  #30  
 
Join Date: Nov 2022
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I would only fly business to Europe from the east coast if (1) I was made of money (2) someone else was paying or (3) I had miles to burn. Now longer flights...that's another story.

The flight is short enough you won't get much benefit from a lie-flat seat. I'd book premium economy and spend the $ on something else.
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