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Slow Traveler
Picture of Wendy & Rob
posted
We Are going to get to Italy this May - hopefully leaving the 16th returning June 6/7/8th, we have tons of points w/ United, but don't seem to be able to redeem them...

So, if we have to pay for Business class who do you recommend? We do not want to fly through Heathrow, nor CDG. We would like comfortable sleepers and of course not wanting to pay through the nose. Roll Eyes

We will be flying from SFO-FCO (San Francisco-Rome), and only will accept one change of planes.

Your opinion counts, that is why I am here asking.

Happy New Year and thank you for your thoughts. W&R
 
Posts: 5674 | Location: Monterey Peninsula, California, USA | Registered: 07 September 2003Report This Post


Slow Traveler
Picture of Susie L
posted Hide Post
Sorry to hear you are having problems redeeming your points Wendy.

Like you, we only want one plane change, preferably in Europe. So for the last many trips we have flown United SFO to FRA, then connect via Lufthansa, usually to Venice, Rome or Bologna.

The Business Class seats in United International are truly lay-flat now.
 
Posts: 1929 | Location: San Francisco, CA | Registered: 22 April 2003Report This Post

Slow Traveler
Picture of JustTravel
posted Hide Post
If you plan to fly business, British Airways through Heathrow is good. We have been doing so for a few years now, much easier landing and connecting at Terminal 5. Also, FasTrack makes transitioning less painful, usually much shorter lines through passport control and security. However, the price for business class has rocketed this past year and haven't seen any significant "sale" price reduction.


Angel





Simply travel, travel simply.


 
Posts: 1737 | Location: San Francisco/Venezia for the holidays | Registered: 22 April 2005Report This Post

Hero-2009, 2012

Slow Traveler
Picture of Americana in Parigi
posted Hide Post
I don't have a tone of business class experience. Cool
Cathay Pacific and Air France are very comfortable. The former especially has great service. Both cover SFO.

As for redeeming points, we know all airlines are reducing the number of flights instead of reducing fares, and whatever seats are offered, they prefer to make money off them. Frequent fliers become the Frequent Abused, with so many restrictions on dates and seat options, not to mention the imposed multi-stop itineraries. Whats up with that.
 
Posts: 7561 | Location: Paris, France | Registered: 01 March 2007Report This Post

Slow Traveler
posted Hide Post
air canada has this & a fewother similar- get regular business seats on SFO leg & lie flat beds on YYZ to/from FCO.

AC758

San Francisco, San Francisco Int'l (SFO)
Terminal 3
Toronto, Pearson Int'l (YYZ)
Terminal 1
Wed May-16 08:00 to 15:44
16hr45 320 Executive First Lowest , Z

AC890

Toronto, Pearson Int'l (YYZ)
Terminal 1

Rome, Fiumicino (FCO)
Terminal 3
Wed May-16 19:15 to 09:45
+1 day 763 Executive First Lowest , Z

AC891

Rome, Fiumicino (FCO)
Terminal 3

Toronto, Pearson Int'l (YYZ)
Terminal 1
Wed Jun-06 11:30 to 15:15
17hr10 333 Executive First Lowest , Z

AC739

Toronto, Pearson Int'l (YYZ)
Terminal 1

San Francisco, San Francisco Int'l (SFO)
Terminal 3
Wed Jun-06 17:15 to 19:40
320 Executive First Lowest , Z


VIEW QUOTE DETAILS
Total charge for 1 adult
Base Fare
4726.00
Taxes, fees, charges and surcharges 768.68
Grand Total - Canadian dollars
$5494.68
 
Posts: 2738 | Registered: 05 April 2003Report This Post

Slow Traveler
posted Hide Post
or use your ff miles from San Francisco & purchase executive seats for YYZ-FCO portions.

AC890
Toronto, Pearson Int'l (YYZ)
Terminal 1

Rome, Fiumicino (FCO)
Terminal 3
Wed May-16 19:15 to 09:45
+1 day 8hr30 763 Executive First Lowest , Z

AC891

Rome, Fiumicino (FCO)
Terminal 3

Toronto, Pearson Int'l (YYZ)
Terminal 1
Wed Jun-06 11:30 to 15:15
9hr45 333 Executive First Lowest , Z


VIEW QUOTE DETAILS
Total charge for 1 adult
Base Fare
3845.98
Taxes, fees, charges and surcharges 674.39
Grand Total - Canadian dollars
$4520.37
 
Posts: 2738 | Registered: 05 April 2003Report This Post

Slow Traveler
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If you can use points to get to Atlanta, Delta has non-stops to Milan and Rome. Also, if you can get to Miami,
Al Italia has some nonstop flights. I think they had some very low fares recently, at least in coach.

Lufthanza also has flights from Atl. with one stop, either in Munich or Frankfurt.

Air France used to have flights ATL to Rome with one stop at CDG. and I have flown nonstop on Al Italia Rome to Boston. So, I would look for flights from and east coast city--don't forget to look at flights from JFK, then use points for a domestic flight.

Sorry to hear about the difficulties with points. I quit Delta/AmX a year and 1/2 ago and am now getting United points to use, hopefully for Bus Class tickets to Milan.
 
Posts: 1131 | Registered: 22 September 2005Report This Post

Moderator/Hero-2009

Slow Traveler
Picture of Andrew
posted Hide Post
The Continental site works a little better, and you can transfer your United miles to CO before they're fully merged (which I understand could happen in early March). Still, award availability for those dates doesn't look good, unless you pay double miles for the EasyPass.

So, you're more people with overlapping dates with me in Italy, and a possible GTG.
 
Posts: 7580 | Location: Midwest U.S. | Registered: 22 February 2004Report This Post

Gathering Hero

Slow Traveler
Picture of Jane
posted Hide Post
United is getting to be very difficult but keep caling as they do open seats from time to time. Also, try again with a different agent. Many just are lazy and just look at the easy screens. A few are very diligent and will check out several permutations and options, sometimes finding something. We just experienced this with our Egypt trip. I spoke to many phone agents trying to make a change and always within a minute they would say nothing was available. Then I got an agent that must have worked for 15 minutes or more and then found a perfect routing for us. It was not the standard routing but one he dug out on Egyptair, a partner in Star Alliance.
 
Posts: 8118 | Location: San Diego, CA | Registered: 26 June 2001Report This Post


Slow Traveler
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I recommend Air Canada too. The seats on the flights going across the Atlantic are completely lie flat. You get a very nice blanket to use also. You have personal entertainment units at all seats in all classes. The planes are relatively new or recently refurbished. The food is better than any of the U.S. based airlines in my opinion.
 
Posts: 894 | Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Registered: 20 January 2003Report This Post


Slow Traveler
Picture of Wendy & Rob
posted Hide Post
Thank you everyone. We used all our AE/Delta points for our last Italy trip - 2009, when my back was better. Since then we have been using our Chase/United card exclusively (w/ the exception of Costco). Sorry, but we hate CDG, lost our bags both ways, missed our connection, too spread-out of an AP, for us.

I do like the idea of going through Canada, using AC for our flights. I tried that route a couple of months ago, maybe there are seats avail. now. Thank you, chiaro di luna for the routes. The price is high, if we have to pay, but you are right, we might be able to use points to get ourselves to YYZ and then get the good seats for the jump across the Atlantic.

One of the problems I kept running up against was United could guarantee BC on their planes, but not on the Lufthanza leggs, maybe I will try again.

Actually, we need two sets of flights, as we are going to do a cruise out of Civitivecchia in Sept. and need RT flights for that. As I said, we are going to return to Italy this year. (2.5 years is way too long for us).

Andrew, if we can make it work, we would love to meet you and Margaret for a GTG. Our plan is to be in around May 28/9th for ten nights. Until our flights are booked I won't know the exact dates. But let's make it happen. HNY
 
Posts: 5674 | Location: Monterey Peninsula, California, USA | Registered: 07 September 2003Report This Post

Patriarch/Moderator
My Profile Pic

Slow Traveler
Picture of Doru
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Yayoye:
I recommend Air Canada too.

Seconded. Recently it was named the best International Airline in North America.
 
Posts: 11104 | Location: Toronto | Registered: 26 May 2002Report This Post


Slow Traveler
Picture of Susie L
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Wendy & Rob:

One of the problems I kept running up against was United could guarantee BC on their planes, but not on the Lufthanza leggs, maybe I will try again.



Wendy, are the Lufthansa legs originating and ending in Europe? Such as Munich or Frankfurt to Rome? If so, the Business Class seats on those flights are barely discernible from Coach. We stopped wasting our miles on those legs, it was not worth it to us.
 
Posts: 1929 | Location: San Francisco, CA | Registered: 22 April 2003Report This Post


Slow Traveler
Picture of Wendy & Rob
posted Hide Post
Good point Susie, but if we are booked BC then we get the heavier luggage at no extra fee. Of course as I write that, we could pay the penalty and save dollars for the flights, maybe better your way - and not a wash.

And we now have ultra light Rimowa luggage, which should help us.
 
Posts: 5674 | Location: Monterey Peninsula, California, USA | Registered: 07 September 2003Report This Post


Slow Traveler
Picture of Susie L
posted Hide Post
Wendy, I was thinking about you and Rob yesterday as we boarded our Lufthansa flight in Venice to Frankfurt.

In my earliest post, I said there was no discernible difference in seats between classes. An update - there is no difference at all! Same seat width, same pitch, 3 across from 3.

We have never had to pay a fee for overweight baggage, I am assuming because we fly the transatlantic leg BC.
 
Posts: 1929 | Location: San Francisco, CA | Registered: 22 April 2003Report This Post

Moderator/Hero-2009

Slow Traveler
Picture of Andrew
posted Hide Post
The general practice for intra-Europe Business Class is that, while it's the same configuration as Economy, middle seats are kept empty. Here is Lufthansa's description.
 
Posts: 7580 | Location: Midwest U.S. | Registered: 22 February 2004Report This Post

Slow Traveler
posted Hide Post
Could you buy UA coach tickets and use points to upgrade to business? I have never done this but I hear it's possible.

DD
 
Posts: 348 | Registered: 23 September 2008Report This Post


Slow Traveler
Picture of Wendy & Rob
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DD, I originally tried that one, but it was rediculously, still, expensive.

I went to the doctor yesterday and he was very hesitant to say I should be on a plane for that long of a flight w/out seeing my what is going on w/ my lungs in April, so now we don't know what to do.

I thank everybody for their thoughts and suggestions, we still want to get there this Spring, maybe short notice will work. I don't know.

In the meantime I need to make flights for an Oct. trip - we have a cruise booked Civitivecchia-Civitivecchia - so will work on that first. Maybe I can get flights for 100K. That would be sweet, and how it should be. None of this 250K...

Grazie tutti
 
Posts: 5674 | Location: Monterey Peninsula, California, USA | Registered: 07 September 2003Report This Post

Slow Traveler
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hope all goes well with your health Wendy.
our ff plan is called aeroplan with air canada. 3 times we have been able to get the executive lie flat beds to europe. 1st time for 80,000 miles, 2nd for 90,000 miles & this year for 95,000 miles each. We book about 320 days prior to flight to get the direct, non stop flights from Toronto.another thought- maybe do a lay over in Toronto to break up the flights.
Well, good luck with your plans.
 
Posts: 2738 | Registered: 05 April 2003Report This Post


Slow Traveler
Picture of Wendy & Rob
posted Hide Post
Thank you, good idea and I like the lessor points, Chiaro di Luna. The two times we have flown AC we were very impressed. I think I will start w/ the Oct. trip, with that itinerary. I will let you know how it goes.

Again everyone, thank you for your sage advise and experiences. W&R
 
Posts: 5674 | Location: Monterey Peninsula, California, USA | Registered: 07 September 2003Report This Post

Slow Traveler
posted Hide Post
I forgot to mention that AC non stop flights YYZ to FCO are seasonal. May to Oct., but put in dates to see options.
 
Posts: 2738 | Registered: 05 April 2003Report This Post


Slow Traveler
Picture of Wendy & Rob
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Thanks
 
Posts: 5674 | Location: Monterey Peninsula, California, USA | Registered: 07 September 2003Report This Post

Slow Traveler
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We have a lot of miles with AA and on some trips have been able to snag business class seats with BA and have not been disappointed. In fact, this June we'll be flying BA first class outbound (LAX/CDG) which will be an extra special treat with the seats that lay down flat into a bed. Actually, that was our only option as business class seats never opened up. Our return will be on AA (PSA/LAX). BA always has a layover at Heathrow and their business class lounge is the best and I'm sure the first class lounge will be even better. Hard to believe I am actually looking forward to our flight and even the layover at Heathrow.

Carole
 
Posts: 2075 | Location: Laguna Beach, CA | Registered: 09 February 2006Report This Post

Slow Traveler
posted Hide Post
air canada has a sale on executive seats to europe right now.
 
Posts: 2738 | Registered: 05 April 2003Report This Post


Slow Traveler
Picture of Wendy & Rob
posted Hide Post
OK, I will check those out, thank you, Chiaro
 
Posts: 5674 | Location: Monterey Peninsula, California, USA | Registered: 07 September 2003Report This Post

Slow Traveler
posted Hide Post
Have you thought about using your points for an Business class upgrade?
 
Posts: 1017 | Location: Nashville, TN USA | Registered: 11 September 2002Report This Post


Slow Traveler
Picture of Susie L
posted Hide Post
Wendy said she tried that, but it was very expensive.

My last UA upgrade to Business was ridiculously expensive. You have to buy an "upgradable coach fare" which is not exactly the cheapest fare by any stretch. Then they make you pay a surcharge on top at the airport the day of your flight. But they can't tell you what the surcharge will be in advance! They just give you a range of what it might be.

So in our case, 2 expensive coach seats, miles to upgrade, then an additional $1600 on top for the surcharge. Yikes!
 
Posts: 1929 | Location: San Francisco, CA | Registered: 22 April 2003Report This Post


Slow Traveler
Picture of Wendy & Rob
posted Hide Post
"....then an additional $1600 on top for the surcharge. Yikes!"

OMG, Susie, seriously? That is outrageous. we have in the past bought the economy seats - at a premium - and used points to upgrade, but a surcharge on top of all that. Did you save any money? Hard to believe.

It is looking like business class is around $5,500 pp w/out using points - doesn't seem too different from Susie and Mark's flight costs. It is a ton of money, could pay for several flights to Italy, but my back, hips and body need that extra comfort for such long flights.

And now, we really do need to buy our tickets for our Oct. trip.

Are there any sales on the wind, Andrew or anyone else?
 
Posts: 5674 | Location: Monterey Peninsula, California, USA | Registered: 07 September 2003Report This Post


Slow Traveler
Picture of Susie L
posted Hide Post
Wendy, I feel for you. I know how difficult and delicate your back can be, and how many problems you have had with it over the years.

My scenario above is still a lot cheaper than what you are looking at just to buy BC outright. I can't remember what we paid for our upgradeable seats, but the $1600 was for the two of us, not each person thank goodness! I think the total cost for the two of us was about $5,500.

Our 2 trips previous to this we were able to get free BC r/t once and free 1st r/t once.

I am fretting about this December's tickets...
 
Posts: 1929 | Location: San Francisco, CA | Registered: 22 April 2003Report This Post

Slow Traveler
Picture of Debra
posted Hide Post
Wendy, I don't know what Alitalia's business/first class is like, but they do fly out of San Francisco to LAX then direct to FCO.
~
I just booked that route for my sister, joining me here in LA, to fly to Rome in October.
 
Posts: 1388 | Location: Simi Valley, California | Registered: 20 March 2002Report This Post


Slow Traveler
Picture of Wendy & Rob
posted Hide Post
Hi, I think what we have decided to do, is this;

I booked today, with points, RT flights through UA on Lufthansa for next May. I gave the on-phone-agent the month of May, he came up with a great date and then I said we wanted to return three weeks later. Bingo. No problem.

Lufthansa all the way, business class on all flights - guaranteed, 100K points each, RT. We can live with that.

So, we pay for this Octobers flights - AC is our choice through Toronto, and get the springs flights free-w/ points(free, in my mind). Go with that please.

I guess it will all work out in the end. At least we have two trips to Italy in the works for the next 10 months.

Now that is great.

Thank you for all of your input. We all love traveling, we all want to get there, and we can try and help each other.

Grazie mille,
Wendy e Rob
 
Posts: 5674 | Location: Monterey Peninsula, California, USA | Registered: 07 September 2003Report This Post
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