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Best to go direct or breakup tedium and possibly save money with stop-over?

Best to go direct or breakup tedium and possibly save money with stop-over?

Sep 16th, 2009, 12:55 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
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Best to go direct or breakup tedium and possibly save money with stop-over?

I flew to Rome from Seattle a couple of years ago on a BA flight that stopped at Heathrow for a connecting flight. The only trouble I had was tedium and stiff legs. I found the long flight from Seattle to London almost unbearable and the return flight home drained a lot of "vacation" out of me. I stood most of the time at the back of the plane which really isn't 'safe' but I could not even straighten my legs in the economy seating at the back. (I am not THAT tall even!) I could upgrade to a better seat but that costs hundreds more. Some travelers have suggested I should have flown to NYC for a few hours of stop-over time kicking around in the airport between flights. Any suggestions on how to fly comfortably to Italy from Seattle without paying hundreds more for a seat upgrade or should I just go ahead and spend the extra money? Some traveling friends have suggested that I might even find tickets cheaper than BA's usually Rome/Heathrow flight by splitting up my flight between Seattle and Rome via a major U.S. city, true?
donatella is offline  
Sep 16th, 2009, 01:57 PM
  #2  
 
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With only a very few exceptions, coach is coach. Breaking it up can help for some flights, but not this one. Going via New York doesn't really cut down on the length of the overwater flight. SEA to LHR is scheduled by BA at 9 hours, while NYC to FCO is scheduled by most of the airlines north of 8 hours. And remember that most domestic planes are even more cramped than the ones flying long-haul. Besides, BA gets you there an hour faster than anyone else.

If you are that uncomfortable, then I would seriously consider Premium Economy on BA. The difference in comfort is pretty substantial. Only you can decide if the money is a big deal or not, but there are often decent deals.
travelgourmet is online now  
Sep 16th, 2009, 03:22 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: May 2003
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I'm like you, donatella. If I'm faced with an agonizingly long itinerary, I'd almost rather break it up with a change of planes somewhere than to go non-stop.

But travelgourmet raises an important point. It's misleading to look at a flat map. A non-stop flight from west-coast U.S. to Europe does not go straight across the United States and straight across the Atlantic. A stopover somewhere in the United States isn't going to get you out of a flight of 8-ish hours.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Sep 16th, 2009, 04:33 PM
  #4  
J62
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
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I'm with TG on this one. I much rather one really long flight than two long ones. NYC to SEA isn't a puddle jump.

My tolerance for coach seats (and my ability to sleep on planes) may be higher than yours.
J62 is online now  
Sep 17th, 2009, 01:07 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,063
I actually don't mind stopping one way, going through on the other.

From the N. America west coast, all nonstop flights to Europe are overnight. In coach that means not only are you cramped for a long flight, but you're trying to sleep sitting up with nowhere to put your arms and legs.

However several airlines offer morning departures from east coast cities (NYC, Boston, Washington) and from Chicago that arrive at dinnertime in London. For these flights, you sleep in beds on both sides of the pond, which we find really reduces jetlag, plus eastbound the flights over the Atlantic usually have tailwinds, so the flights are relatively short.

Coming back to the west coast, virtually all flights are daytime flights, so if you can sleep, fine, but if not, you can just save it up and crash when you get home. Plus, since you have to go through US customs at your first landfall, nonstops westbound are quicker as a rule, since you don't go through immigration/customs until the west coast.

So we now try to find a flight to a daytime departure city the day before for the eastbound morning flight, even if it means an additional hotel night at JFK or ORD or BOS (Priceline is your friend) and a nonstop or short one-stop coming back. As a rule there's minimal difference in cost, but of course you have to be a smart consumer.
Gardyloo is online now  
Sep 17th, 2009, 11:21 AM
  #6  
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Thanks everyone. Travelgrourmet is right probably a seat upgrade on the BA flight would help me a lot. Your knowledge about comparing the actual flight length and that one cannot avoid the 8+ pond flight makes a lot of sense. I feel a bit lame, Jeff_Costa_Rica, since I DID make a mental picture of a flat map and think I could avoid some tedium by jump-frogging. Also Gardyloo had some good ideas for me. For J62...yes I wish I had more tolerance for flying in small spaces and I envy those that do. I just remember the passenger in front of me lowering his seat back onto my chest and the toes of the 6' plus guy behind me sticking out under my seat. 'We are all in this together' is one of my travel mottos but seriously shouldn't airlines make our spaces a bit more humane as well? I guess that's another topic!
donatella is offline  
Sep 17th, 2009, 12:49 PM
  #7  
yk
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 24,095
Here are a few things to consider:

1) Gardyloo's suggestion probably is the most comfortable, if you want to sit in coach all the way. However, if you have a limited # of days for your vacation, his option will eat up 2 days of it (Day 1 SEA to NYC; Day 2 dayflight NYC to London). If you have extra days to spare, you are paying 2 extra nights of hotel (one in E Coast, one in London).

2) If you have limited # of days for vacation, instead of spending 2 days on the plane, you should use the $ for the extra nights of hotels for Economy Plus or Premium Economy and get it over with, with the shortest flights/connections.
yk is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 09:44 PM
  #8  
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yk and all, yes i've thought about all these replies off and on over the last couple of days. I am going to save my time for the vacation and book a better seat. this is my first topic post and I've learned so much, it's really great. thanks.
donatella is offline  

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