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First Class Fares to Hawaii from East Coast USA (UAL/Continental preferred)

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Dec 26th, 2009, 05:08 PM
  #1
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First Class Fares to Hawaii from East Coast USA (UAL/Continental preferred)

We'd like to fly first class to Hawaii (Kauai) for our 20th anniversary next October. While we could use points for either an upgrade or free flights, I've heard availability is not great. The outright fares seem fairly inexpensive - less than $2400 each in some cases, depending on routing and airline. Should we just spend the $$ and use the points earned for a future flight somewhere else?
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Dec 26th, 2009, 05:25 PM
  #2
P_M
 
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You say you've heard availability is not great, does that mean you have checked CO's web page and what you need is unavailable? Partner info isn't always posted on the web site, you should give them a call if you can't book it on line.
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Dec 26th, 2009, 05:26 PM
  #3
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Sorry, I hit submit too soon.

It's not always easy to get freebies to Hawaii, you might want to book it now if you can get it.
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Dec 26th, 2009, 05:30 PM
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I'm a UAL Mileage Plus member and would rather save my points for a longer free flight or upgrade if $2400 is a good (or great) first class fare for the trip to Hawaii (which would also allow us to earn a bunch of miles). The trans-Pacific flights with which I am most familiar have first/business class fares as much as 5X that of economy whereas this one to Hawaii seems quite reasonable.
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Dec 26th, 2009, 05:34 PM
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Hi Craig
UA doesn't use new style seats in 1st class on flts to HNL from ORD. I don't know the situation from the east coast though. I would only upgrade w/miles if it were me; but it isn't. In all cases, 1st class is better than coach! The flt to Hawaii is probably 1 1/2 to 2 hours longer for you than ours is from ORD, and it's not a short hop! Go in comfort!
Carol
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Dec 26th, 2009, 06:02 PM
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Hey Carol, from the east coast we will either be flying from ORD or IAD and we will go in comfort no matter what. If it costs almost as much for an upgradable fare as it does for a first class ticket, I see no point in wasting the miles.

Non-upgradable fares are about a grand...
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Dec 26th, 2009, 07:47 PM
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I flew first class from Chicago to Hawaii (Maui) on a 777 a few years ago and, like Simpson said, it was a domestic FC seat, not like the international biz seat. Was it better than coach? Yes. But it was nothing like what you'd find on their overseas flights. Now, maybe from D.C. you can get on an internationally configured plane.
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Dec 26th, 2009, 10:14 PM
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My response is on your other thread. http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...question.cfm?8
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Dec 26th, 2009, 11:17 PM
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Craig, I think you made up your mind (to buy F tickets) before you even started this thread.
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Dec 27th, 2009, 01:47 AM
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Yes, Mr W but I need to hear that I'm not likely to do better than $2400...
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Dec 27th, 2009, 08:07 AM
  #11
 
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United did have a fare sale for first class seats to Hawaii--limited-time sale in mid-June of this year. I don't recall the travel dates, and no longer have access to the T/Cs (only the email). The prices were from $522 (plus taxes and fees) each way; I'm sure that was from the west coast and no idea what the east coast fares would have been. I don't know that you can count on this type of fare sale, though. I know that premium cabin sales were down due to the economy at the time.

I'm seeing refundable economy tickets ("M" class) from Chicago-Honolulu in October for $2500, so $2400 doesn't seem bad in comparison.

All regular paid fares are upgradeable for domestic tickets (including Hawaii), so you don't have to buy an upgradeable ticket. But, upgrades may not clear until close to flight time. I went to Hawaii twice last June upgraded with miles and my Hawaii segments didn't clear until 2-3 weeks prior.

Also, you're probably aware that there is a new co-pay going into effect for mileage upgrades on January 12. The co-pay will be $250-$500 plus 17.5k miles each way.

United uses 757s from SFO/LAX to Lihue, which are only moderately comfortable in first (I was on one for four hours last night, so it's fresh in mind). Avoid row one at all costs! United currently has a new-config 747 on the ORD-HNL route, but I think that's temporary for the holidays.

I don't know much about Continental, but does it use planes with BusinessFirst from Newark to Honolulu? If so, that would probably give you the best seat for the longest part of the trip.
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Dec 27th, 2009, 08:16 AM
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Yes, Mr W but I need to hear that I'm not likely to do better than $2400...

As I mentioned on the other thread, you can do better than $2400 pp - by almost $1000 each - by flying on Alaska from Newark, and can save a further $1200-$1300 (i.e. $1700 all in for two vs. $4800) by getting an Alaska-branded Visa card from B of A and using their $100 companion certificate.

If you're willing to forgo the price spread ($1800 - $3100 all in) for the CO/UA miles, go for it.
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Dec 27th, 2009, 01:07 PM
  #13
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Gardyloo - assuming that pricing does not change, we will attempt the Alaska-branded Visa card/EWR deal. The miles are obviously not worth the cheap fare.
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Dec 27th, 2009, 04:55 PM
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first thing is that despite what you "have heard" there are plenty of award seats available in F on United in October.

$2400 is not good in comparison to upgradeable fares. The lowest priced fares are upgradeable with miles. For dates in October I checked BDL-HNL and found upgrade seats available for the ORD-HNL segments. I mean, upgrade confirmed at booking. For BDL-ORD you would waitlist. The fare is about $1000. So those F fares are well over twice the cost of that upgradeable fare and you should be able to get the economy fare even lower and still upgrade.

I think that $2400 is a high fare for Sept and October. It is a slow period, I think.

The only way I would decide to buy a ticket now would be based on the changes to the United upgrade scheme.

United doesnt have nonstops from IAD to HNL. The flight changes planes at LAX.

But to answer your "question" directly: no you shouldn't spend the money for an F award. Spend the miles, or $ plus upgrade miles.
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