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British Airways Travel Package... Worth the Money?

British Airways Travel Package... Worth the Money?

Oct 31st, 2005, 09:47 AM
  #1  
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British Airways Travel Package... Worth the Money?

So here's the deal...

Over the weekend, I came across a promotion that British Airways is doing called "A Sale of Two Cities." The package includes round trip airfare from Chicago to London, 2 nights in London (hotel provided) and 2 nights in Paris. The web site quoted a price of $693 from Chicago. Not having any Thanksgiving plans of my own (cue the violins), I thought it might be kind of fun to spend the holiday in Europe. Yeah, its kind of a whirlwind trip, but you can't beat the price.

I made a conscious decision a couple of years ago that I would never, ever fly coach again if the flight is longer than three hours (I know... it sounds incredibly pretentious, but it is both uncomfortable and unhealthy to be crammed into an airplane seat like a sardine for hours on end). So I decided to call British Airways today to see if it would be possible to upgrade to their World Traveler class and what the cost would be (WT is the basic equivalent of US business class --- 21" seats, leg rests, etc....). Prior to calling, I told myself that if the price were under $1300, I'd go ahead and book the trip.

So this morning I called and the price they quoted me is $1335... just $35 over my self-imposed spending limit for the package. I asked them to hold a seat for me for 24 hours, and will call them back tomorrow AM with a firm yes or no answer.

I don't know, guys... I'm really conflicted here. Should I just be spontaneous and pull the trigger, or is this a waste of money? Jet lag won't be much of an issue for me (in my last job, I was flying to different time zones all the time), so its not like I'll spend half of my trip sleeping off the flight. On the other hand, 4 days is not much time to fully enjoy one of those cities, much less two of them.

What do ya think?
starbuck1105 is offline  
Oct 31st, 2005, 09:57 AM
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I think it sounds great but how are you getting around the "double occupancy" requirement with most packages? Perhaps I am mistaken but it sounds as though you are going solo.
grandmere is offline  
Oct 31st, 2005, 10:33 AM
  #3  
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Personally, if I only had 4 days to spend in Europe I would stay in the same city. 4 days is such a short amount of time for a trip like that and I would hate to spend even 1/2 day of it traveling to another city.
P_M is offline  
Oct 31st, 2005, 10:41 AM
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Maybe I'm wrong, but I thought I'd read somewhere that the World Traveler upgrade doesn't make that much difference from regular economy. Also which category hotels are included in this fare? Anyway, personally I think four days total are too short as it'll be more like 3 1/2 days since you lose time in traveling. I'd prefer to stay in one city instead if it's that short of a time.

francophile03 is offline  
Oct 31st, 2005, 10:44 AM
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starbuck--double check your understanding of the BA class of service; I think that the equivalent of Business Class is called Club World; we just flew World Traveler Plus which is the class of service between coach and business; it was nice--more room, but not (IMO) $600 nicer than coach (if I am doing the math right). For example, you get the same meals as coach.

I may be wrong, but I would check with BA or look at their website.

Mary in D.C.
marymarra is offline  
Oct 31st, 2005, 10:46 AM
  #6  
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I didn't catch the reference to WT+ being the same as business class in your OP. WT+ is definitely NOT the equivalent of business class. There is more space in WT+ than coach. The seats are wider with a better pitch and more legroom. The food served in WT+ is the same as coach. As a short person it doesn't make a huge difference to me, but my 6'2 husband really liked WT+. The only bad thing about WT+ is that the armrests will not raise, so if the seat next to you is vacant, you cannot stretch out.

I have also flown business class in BA, and there is no comparison whatsoever between WT+ and business class. In business class you get better food, better service, more movies on your TV screen, lounge access at the airport, and a chair that you can make into a flat bed.
P_M is offline  
Oct 31st, 2005, 10:54 AM
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sockboy
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BA economy is World Traveller. Their "enhanced" economy is World Traveller Plus, Business is Club World, and First, is First!
 
Oct 31st, 2005, 11:02 AM
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I think they are giving you Economy Plus. Business has a flat bed. But still, 38 inches of legroom instead of 31 will help.
wally34949 is offline  
Oct 31st, 2005, 11:10 AM
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WT+ is "premium economy" - meaning coach service with a slightly larger seat and lots more legroom. WT-, OTOH, is pretty miserable. WT+ is definitely not anything like business class, especially on BA where the business class seats go flat like beds (but not very comfortable ones IMO.)

Is it worth the extra money? Only you can say. We prefer it for west coast - London routes, which are 10 hrs and always (eastbound) involve an overnight flight, where sleep is nigh impossible in ordinary coach. From Chicago, JFK, Newark and Boston, though, BA and/or American both offer daytime transatlantic flights - leave around 8 or 9 am, arrive in London at 8-10 pm, which allows (us, at least) to function at reasonably high levels the next morning. While I think the coach package sounds pretty good, I'd do a little comparative shopping before commiting one way or the other.
Gardyloo is online now  
Oct 31st, 2005, 01:13 PM
  #10  
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Thank you everyone for setting me straight on the differences between World Traveler Plus and Business Class. The woman at British Airways was describing the differences to me and I probably made some assumptions that I shouldn't have. I will likely still go with WTP as I am a big guy, and the prospect of subjecting myself an/or the unfortunate person who sits next to me to cramped quarters for 8+ hours is not something I look forward to. I'd rather spend the extra money and be somewhat comfortable.

Anyway, I think I am going to go ahead and book the trip at the $1335 rate. I'll double check on the double occupancy thing that the other poster talked about.

Thanks again!
starbuck1105 is offline  
Oct 31st, 2005, 04:43 PM
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I say go for it...life is short!
rosebud is offline  
Oct 31st, 2005, 06:15 PM
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By the way - I don't agree that it takes a half a day to change cities. You can have a full day in London, take the last Eurostar, and get to Gare du Nord about half past eleven. Into the hotel and asleep by midnight. Full day in Paris on the morrow.
Robespierre is offline  
Oct 31st, 2005, 06:22 PM
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Is the Eurostar an option nowadays for the BA air/hotel packages?
francophile03 is offline  
Oct 31st, 2005, 09:50 PM
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Every flight/hotel package I've ever seen was quoted "per person double occupancy". The single supplements are normally hundreds of dollars.
janisj is online now  
Nov 1st, 2005, 12:36 PM
  #15  
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The lady at British Airways said that single occupancy was not a problem. She said something about a $30 fee, but that it was already included in the quote they gave me.

Last night, I called about another trip they are offering --- 3 days in London. I thought it might be a little easier than spending two in London and two in Paris. Its also about $120 cheaper. The only catch is that I would have to fly out the day AFTER Thanksgiving. Isn't that day a really bad day for traveling? If I do the London/Paris trip, then I would fly out on Thanksgiving Day. I have to think that would be a pretty light travel day.

I have to give them my answer by 7pm tonight. Any additional thoughts/advice?
starbuck1105 is offline  
Nov 1st, 2005, 01:16 PM
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If you're big, you ought to check the opening offers Eos and Maxjet are making on their all-business flights from JFK to London Stansted. And look at the kind of London hotel deals people are reporting elsewhere on this board from Priceline ($55 at Marble Arch for example)

If getting to JFK at that time of the year is affordable, you'll be able to use your time a lot better by getting a decent night's sleep on the way across. I've never taken an eastbound night flight across the Atlantic in business without getting at least 5 hours' sleep. With a mild sedative, a decent amount of hooch, a suitably stodgy meal before embarking (and a quick word with a sensible stewardess), I've even nodded off before the safety demonstration to wake up again after landing.
flanneruk is offline  
Nov 1st, 2005, 01:47 PM
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flanneruk,

do you actually know what you're talking about? and what does your advice have to do with the OP's question?

EOS - First class airline - cheapest R/T icket? over $5000

MaxJet - Business class ticket - ~$1500 PLUS.

Both airlines operate from JFK ONLY.

The OP is asking about a nice fairly inexpensive deal from ORD to London over the Thanksgiving weekend.

If he followed your advice it would mean that the OP would have to purchase a separate ticket from ORD to JFK, probably ~$300+, and not get any hotels in the deal.

Please know what you are talking about before you post such assinine suggestion.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Nov 1st, 2005, 02:03 PM
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Thanks for the additional information, folks. I was actually just looking at the seat details on BA's web site and it appears that the seats in WTP (18.5") offer only one inch more width than the seats in WT (17.5"). While I am concerned about the pitch, seat width is also an issue. One of my chief concerns is that I am not "squishing" the person next to me. Does each seat have dedicated armrests, or do you share an armrest with the person(s) sitting on either side of you? Does anyone know?
starbuck1105 is offline  
Nov 1st, 2005, 02:18 PM
  #20  
P_M
 
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I don't see how you can squish the person next to you because the armrests are like solid dividers and they cannot be raised.
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