airfare question

Old Jun 10th, 2003, 12:00 PM
  #1  
jmp
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airfare question

My husband and I are going to Rome from NYC in Oct. I have 2 choices of airfare which I need advice on:

both are the same flights on American

1. Fly Europe.com - - $401 (direct -- can't cancel, can't upgrade with miles)

2. $640.80 economy -- can upgrade with 50,000 ffmiles per person (i have just about that much), BUT there are no seats currently available, so I would be put on a wait list.

Should I chance it and pay $240.00 more for an economy seat just to have that option for business?

Thanks
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Old Jun 10th, 2003, 12:18 PM
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ira
 
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Hi jmp,

Which will make you feel worse, paying 401 and seeing 2 seats in business class, or paying 640 and seeing business class full?

Think of the dinners you could have for $480.
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Old Jun 10th, 2003, 12:34 PM
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jmp
Go for the $401.If the upgrade seats are not available now,they probably wont become available.Having to worry about a waitlist--I would not.Put it aside and go onto thinking about some other aspect of your trip.If you choose this route,go for seats in row 10 or 21 on the 2-seat side(A/B or H/J).Row 21 is the exit row and always blocked.But if you have status,as you know you'll get them.HTH
S
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Old Jun 10th, 2003, 01:30 PM
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Do you have to book now? I know this has been an unusual year ( due to poor economy, etc.) but airfares can fluctuate a lot between now and October. If you do need to lock it in, I'll disagree with the other posters, and recommend going with the option that gives you a shot at business class. We recently faced the same dilemma, booked through American, were waitlisted for business using FF mileage, and not even a month later, were sucessfully upgraded, all 4 seats! My thinking is that any time you have a chance at a business seat for nearly a 9-hour flight out of JFK, you should go with that, if it's economically feasible.

Good luck, and have a great trip in Rome!
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Old Jun 10th, 2003, 01:55 PM
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jmp
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Thanks for all the advice. Do you think I could get something cheaper on American (that is upgradable?). Should I wait to ticket?


American also mentioned that if someone who is a platinum or gold ff member is on the wait list, that person will get the
business class seat over me (something else to worry about)

Thanks
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Old Jun 10th, 2003, 02:06 PM
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Without doubt I would choose option number 1, and forget about business class upgrade.....Keep all these extra airline mileages for a different time...
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Old Jun 10th, 2003, 02:31 PM
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Hi jmp--

I would definitely book the $401 ticket.
My husband and I recently flew to Manchester, England via USAir. We paid $50 more for the chance of up-grading to business class and using our frequent flier mileage. Fortunately the flight wasn't full and we were up-graded. I would advise you not to pay $240 more when there are not current seats available.

You will love Rome. We were there in June 2002.
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Old Jun 10th, 2003, 02:45 PM
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Reduce it to TOTALLY economic terms and maybe the answer will be easier to come up with. First, add $480 for the upgradeable tickets (and you already know that you may not be able to upgrade). Then value the 50,000 miles per person. I use a value of 1.5 cents per mile, so 50,000 x 1.5 x 2 passengers = $1,500. Now, do you think it's worth $1,980 more to fly in biz class for the two of you? (For me, it's not.)

Some may challenge the math, but 100,000 miles would fly two people anywhere in the U.S. or Canada with essentially no capacity controls, no Saturday night stay requirement and very little advance notice required. It would also fly one person to Europe on that basis. That's valuable.

I would scarf up those $401 tix to Rome in October in a heartbeat because there is little room for them to go down and so much room for them to go up. If there were seats available to upgrade to, it might be worth more thought, but $480 is a lot to pay just to roll the dice.
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Old Jun 10th, 2003, 06:13 PM
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I think this really comes down to whether you really want to sacrifice your FF miles or not. The previous poster makes some good points. But if you are still interested, can you check into availability of business seats on other days in October or are there specific dates that you need to go?
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Old Jun 10th, 2003, 07:18 PM
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Flyboy:

Superb quantitative analysis! I agree with you 100%.

==Mike
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Old Jun 10th, 2003, 07:39 PM
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jmp, have you considered posting your question on the airline forum? I would think AAFrequentFlyer or SOE would provide you with a pretty good answer.

Looking at things in economic terms, flyboy is on target as it seems far from frugal to spring for the upgradeable seats. But if all that is a drop in the bucket to you, and you rather prize add'l perks, hey, all the more power to you.

Anyhow, from my limited understanding, doesn't American already offer the most generous seating on transatlantic flights in economy?
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Old Jun 11th, 2003, 06:53 AM
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Think about it another way: with Business Class you get a wider seat that you still cannot sleep in, you pay a lot more to get there about 30 feet sooner, because you paid more you now are forced into the Rick Steve's "Oh, it really is just as good as a hotel with a roof" mentality for the next HOW MANY nights?
Have you ever flown in coach and spent 8 hours trying to look through the curtain at the Business Class folks? Remember when you thought to yourself, they wouldn't have even considered it if they had had to spend the money.
Take that $401 fare and think about splurging on stuff after you arrive.
 
Old Jun 11th, 2003, 11:36 AM
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Everyone has made good points. I certainly agree about posting on a message board with ff experts (try flyertalk.com)

The other issue I would ask is how long does it take you to accumulate these miles. If you fly all the time & 50,000 miles is no big deal that's one thing, but if you've been saving up for these forever, do you really want to use them for this? I'd rather use them for a trip where I can't find airfare for $401.
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Old Jun 11th, 2003, 01:25 PM
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jmp
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Thank you! Thank you! I just booked my airline tickets - $401 per person(taxes included)! I don't fly that often and only have my citibank visa to accumulate miles....Maybe I'll take my husband on a surprise trip to California for his birthday in August using 25,000 miles per person!

Originally we were going to come home on a sunday, when I changed to monday, the fare came down dramatically. The agent said that the airlines charge a "weekend" fee for travel on fri, sat & sun. (just wanted to pass along this info)!

Now I need to figure out the hotels -- Positano & Rome......

Thanks again!

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Old Jun 11th, 2003, 01:56 PM
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methinks yuv gotten a lot of help from Fodorites for past ventures and haven't returned the favor in kind!

What makes ya think everyone here will go through all the trouble to help you out again?

But I will. Spend the $700 a night at San Pietro in Positano and $700 a night at the Hassler in Rome. No need for more research!

>)
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Old Jun 11th, 2003, 02:04 PM
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Great!IMHO--LeSereneuse and the D'Inghilterra in Rome.Enjoy
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Old Jun 11th, 2003, 05:56 PM
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Sirenuse in Positano is a wonderful hotel, but quite expensive. Some other places to check out that have received good reviews on this forum: Poseidon, a 4-star just uphill from Sirenuse ( we stayed there in a jr. suite, absolutely loved it. If you go, make sure to at least request a seaview room) Villa Franca, Covo Sarceni, Casa Alberta.
In Rome, two three-star hotels that receive a lot of mention here are: Santa Chiara and Albergo Del Senato.

Good luck, and have a great time!
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Old Jun 11th, 2003, 08:12 PM
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The great thing about AA is that you can check your itinerary continually (and that includes seat assignments), so that any time you find a seat you like better, you can nab it. (like maybe two aisle seats on a 3-seat middle section--unlikely someone is going to sit in the middle)
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