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Comparing Business Class Experience: AA, USAir International

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Mar 28th, 2015, 08:07 AM
  #1
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Comparing Business Class Experience: AA, USAir International

Since I found out that it's impossible to fly Premium Economy on LH using AA award miles (earlier thread), I'm looking at other strategies for our one-way flight from SFO to BCN later this year. We had planned to use UA miles, but their business seat availability is zero at the moment, and additional inventory probably won't be released until very close to our departure date. As of tomorrow, if all goes well, we'll have enough AA miles for the trip. I've looked at possible choices for business class on the flights below and would appreciate the input of anyone who is familiar the products.

SFO to JFK 32B and JFK to BCN 763. Both in business class. AA flight.

SFO to PHL 321 and PHL to BCN 332. SFO to PHL segment is in first, next segment is in business. USAir flight.

SFO to MIA 738 and MIA to BCN 777. SFO to MIA segment is in first, next segment is in business. AA flight. (According to seatguru.com, the best seats on the 777 are already booked)

Of these three flights, which offers the best all around experience in business class? The first two flights are 15:15 to 15:50 hours, the third is 17:40. I believe all are flat bed.

Thanks a bunch for any information/impressions/recommendations you can provide.
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Mar 28th, 2015, 09:00 AM
  #2
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To clarify: UA and LH Saver availability is zero; Standard award travel is available.
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Mar 28th, 2015, 09:10 AM
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My view -

The SFO-JFK-BCN route would be my choice, PROVIDED you're on a reconfigured 763 from JFK to BCN. These planes are being converted from the old sloping-seat business class to the new flat-bed ones, and not knowing your dates, it's still uncertain if all the 763s will be converted by the time you fly. Regardless, the new A321s running on SFO-JFK are all lie-flats and have individual IFE in business class, as opposed to recliners and either overhead IFE (AA) or none at all (US) on the transcon routes.

For the transatlantic portions, the best seats would be the new 763 lie-flats, then the US suites, and last the old 772, unless that plane has also been fitted with the new lie-flat business class seats by the time you fly. AA is converting the three-class 772s to business/economy, no first class, so you MIGHT get a pre-reconfigured plane where they sell the old first class Flagship Suites as business class, but that's a crapshoot. Anyway, it's a longer overall flight, and the transcon (SFO-MIA) would be in a 738. Meh.

Even if you got stuck on an "old" 763 from JFK, the service on those planes is usually excellent as the business cabin is relatively small and the crew component quite adequate, so it sometimes has the feel of "old" first class on the 777s, rather than business class on the same 777s - more attentive staff.

I'm surprised you have this many options. When is your flight?
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Mar 28th, 2015, 12:01 PM
  #4
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Thanks, Gardyloo. I was hoping you'd show up. Hope you are doing well.

I'll sort through your recs a bit later this afternoon. Who knows what the choices will look like after the AA/USAir merger, which if all goes well, may be in place by tomorrow.

We're traveling in mid-October.
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Mar 29th, 2015, 01:04 PM
  #5
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Update: Thanks to your input, Gardyloo, we're booked! Checked my AA account this morning to find AA/USAir miles merged in the night. I had researched the configuration of the 763 seats, and the AA seat map showed lie-flats for the NYC to BCN portion of the itinerary, and Seatguru indicated good seats were available. I phoned AA late this morning and got an awesome agent (I asked for her supervisor's contact and emailed her kudos about the agent) who booked exactly what we wanted AND didn't charge for booking by phone due to the merger (I phoned because we were booking from two different accounts).

Thanks so much for the heads up and your willingness to share your knowledge about the itinerary and the 763 seats. If all goes well, the flight(s) should be great!
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Mar 29th, 2015, 02:20 PM
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I always like to hear about good customer service with AA. We have been using AA miles for upgrades and award tickets for quite a few years now and found most of the agents we have worked to be very nice and accommodating.
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