Need assistance w/AA Award ticket to Europe

Jul 18th, 2011, 11:14 AM
  #1  
yk
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 24,197
Need assistance w/AA Award ticket to Europe

I used to know AA's system pretty well but I haven't been flying as much as I did before and haven't been keeping up on Flyertalk.

I'm looking to book 2 award economy tickets from BOS to AMS r/t for next March, which I believe will only cost me 40k/ticket because of the off-peak season.

I see that I can't book this itin online, so I'll have to call. Since there are a couple of airline options, I figure I should sort it out first before calling to book the tickets (assuming there's availability).

From what I can tell, here are the options for BOS/AMS:
BA/BA via LHR
AA/BA via LHR
IB/IB via MAD

The IB/IB via MAD is on Airbus 340 for the transatlantic leg. I've flown IB trans-atl last year and it was bearable. The + thing about this itin is that the fees/taxes that I have to pay is $30 cheaper per person.

The BA trans-atl flight is on 777, vs AA trans-atl flight on 757. This should be a no-brainer, right? And the BA trans-atl flight should arr in T5, so I don't need to do terminal transfer for the LHR/AMS. However, will I have trouble getting assigned seats on the BA flghts? I've gone into my BA booking webpage before and I recall that I was able to pick seats in advance.

So, I suppose my preference would be:
First choice: BA/BA via LHR
2nd choice: IB/IB via MAD
3rd chioice: AA/BA via LHR

How would you choose if it were you? Are there other issues/problems that I haven't thought of? I'd like to be as informed as possible prior to calling AA to book the tickets. Thanks!
yk is offline  
Jul 18th, 2011, 12:15 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
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If you like an alcoholic drink on your flight, go with BA. (free) Terminal 5 is pretty easy.
wally34949 is offline  
Jul 18th, 2011, 12:32 PM
  #3  
 
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DISCLAIMER all I know about AA/BA is from the fodors board.

with BA isn't there an issue that you can't preselect seats and no one cares?
mztery is offline  
Jul 18th, 2011, 02:02 PM
  #4  
yk
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So, I've been doing some homework this afternoon (reading Flyertalk). It appears that BA charges a hefty fuel surcharge, esp on the TATL flights, which can amount to several hundred bucks per person even when one is redeeming AA miles for an award seat.

I guess my first choice is out then, the BA/BA via LHR option.
yk is offline  
Jul 18th, 2011, 02:23 PM
  #5  
 
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When I'm taking AA/BA to a city in Europe from BOS, I really prefer to take the morning flight to LHR. It arrives around 8.30pm, then I stay at an LHR-area hotel and catch a morning flight to wherever I'm headed. Yes, it costs me an extra day, but if I take the overnight flight, I wind up napping half yhe first day (and/or feeling miserable), anyway. Your circadian rhythms may vary.

One small benefit when traveling in economy: based on my limited sample (maybe 8-10 flights), the daytime flight seems to be more popular among business-class flyers, which would mean a better likelihood of an empty seat next to you in econ.

Don
DonTopaz is offline  
Jul 18th, 2011, 02:27 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
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You want to stay on AA.com from personal experience if you can

via LHR best BA.com charges more including fuel surcharges

and you are the red headed step child everyone comes B4

you in everything charges for seat assigments too..

I flew on BA FF miles in May to ROM via LHR

their fuel charge was hundreds a gian rip AA.com best.
qwovadis is offline  
Jul 19th, 2011, 05:33 AM
  #7  
esm
 
Join Date: May 2003
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yk, seems you're no longer considering Iberia but I still wanted to chime in about connecting in Madrid. We flew Iberia in May and connecting in MAD was a pain. Long walk between terminals and very long wait for passport/security. We ended up running and barely getting to our gate.

Re seat assignment on BA, it is free in the 24 hour window before flight. I got seat assignment even though I only had the AA record locator. I guess you could call ahead and get the BA ticket number or record locator to make life easier.
esm is offline  
Jul 19th, 2011, 10:14 AM
  #8  
yk
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Well, so much for all that dilemma.

I just called AA, and there are no economy award seats on IB on the dates I want to travel.

I've put a reservation on hold now for the AA/BA via LHR itinerary. Even when flying AA for the TATL leg, the tax/fees/phone charges etc will be $224.30 pp, +40k miles. Ouch.
yk is offline  
Jul 19th, 2011, 01:07 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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If you're condemned to the 757 slAAve ship, then if at all possible I'd try for the morning departure from Boston, followed by an overnight in a real bed at a (Priceline) hotel at Heathrow, followed by the connecting flight to Amsterdam the next morning.

BOS-LHR is so short a leg that the 757 can be tolerable if you're not trying to "sleep." By the same token, sleeping in a real bed at London really whacks jetlag in our experience, so your time in Holland is more productive right out of the gate.
Gardyloo is offline  
Jul 19th, 2011, 01:46 PM
  #10  
yk
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Gardyloo, w/my measly gold status, I can grab 9D/E on the 757. Not ideal but probably bearable. I think we'd rather go directly to Amsterdam and sleep in our apt rental, than schlepping to & fro btw Heathrow and one of the dreary Heathrow airport hotels.
yk is offline  
Jul 21st, 2011, 08:04 PM
  #11  
 
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Interesting. After two itinerary changes initiated by AA, DH and I are flying SFO through LHR to FCO in November on BA metal. Zero taxes and fees. Original flight, SFO through JFK to FCO on AA, was discontinued seasonally.
Betsy is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2011, 06:29 AM
  #12  
yk
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Betsy, you mean that all you had to pay was the miles but nothing else??? For us, it was about $200 tax/fees + $25 phone booking fee per ticket.
yk is offline  
Jul 24th, 2011, 02:56 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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yk, I booked on line. Just checked our receipt, and I erred. I paid $10 for both of us, $5pp in taxes, no fees. Could the fees have been instituted after I first booked in early March?
Betsy is offline  
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