Help me plan a trip for my mom's 80th

Apr 2nd, 2002, 02:36 PM
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Help me plan a trip for my mom's 80th

It's been my mother's dream to see Paris. She's turning 80 this summer and I think it's now or never! She's worried about how she will survive the flight with her bad knees and arthritis. So, ideally I'd like to put her on a nonstop flight from SFO to CDG, get her into business class, and have the option for her to wait in a posh airline club room at either airport. I have some miles on American which I think I can use to upgrade her to business class. I've also noted on travelocity if you become a member you can use the Admiral's Club once or twice.

Here's the tricky part. My niece is generously (wink) offering to accompany my mother to Paris and be her sherpa. So I need to get her on the same flights as my mom, but she will have to fly in coach. Please give me advice on the following:

1. If I buy a coach class ticket from travelocity and become a member to use the Admiral's Club, will I then be able to use my American miles to upgrade mom to business? If I buy her ticket from American directly will I have any luck finding a discounted ticket for my niece on the same flight?

2. Do you know of any other good way to buy a business class ticket for less than $6000? I really think nonstop is important. What airlines besides American and Air France fly nonstop from SFO?

3. Is there much benefit to waiting in the posh airline club rooms? Is it worth joining travelocity?

I will also be securing wheelchair assistance for her on both ends, just trying to do all I can to make this work. Any and all advice will be appreciated!
Apr 2nd, 2002, 02:45 PM
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Susan, What an amazing daughter you are! I am flying SFO to CDG direct on United. I checked business class fares; $6625 for the June to July dates I'm flying. $950 for economy restricted class. To my knowledge the only direct flights from SFO are United and Air France. I think American flies direct from San Jose. You might check on that. The international waiting area at SFO is not bad at all.
Apr 2nd, 2002, 02:49 PM
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I take that back.... I just checked and American has discontinued it's non stop flight from SJ to Paris. Sorry!
Apr 2nd, 2002, 03:00 PM
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I can tell you that the Admiral's Club is usually much more comfortable than sitting out in the terminal. I would think that this would be better for someone with arthiritis. However, some of the clubs are quite large and some are quite small (meaning not much difference than out in the terminal). I'd check on the size of the club and it's ammenities before booking thru Travelocity for that sole benefit.

Sorry I can't help you on your other questions. Perhaps you should check with the airline.

Have you also considered hiring someone for a driven tour of Paris? It's very much a walking city. My mother also has bad knees and problems with arthiritis. She wanted to go with me on my trip, but didn't, and I realized while I was touring the city that it would be very hard for her to see things in the manner that I did. I'm sure it's doable for your mom, but you might want to look into how to accomplish it.
Apr 2nd, 2002, 06:13 PM
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I personally enjoy a break in the flight--just to be able to walk around (besides, I have no choice), but I know that doesn't fit your grandmother. Normally if you upgrade, you get automatic use of the Admirals Club, so you shouldn't have to worry about that (I can't conceive of their turning your niece away if she is with your mother). I may be totally off-base on this since I am not a frequent flyer, but every time I upgrade, I go through the AAdvantage line because the number of seats that are available for upgrade are limited--you could not know that through Travelocity. I have also found that I pay more than if I had bought a very discounted coach flight ($1000 RT from Las Vegas). Once you have decided on a flight, you could inquire through them about a cheap coach ticket for your niece, reserve it and then check for same through Orbitz or others before you buy it.

As I said, my experience is limited and maybe someone with more experience with upgrading can give you more advice.
Apr 3rd, 2002, 06:55 AM
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My brother and I will be traveling to Paris the end of June with our 80 year old mother. She is in good health - no mobility problems and kept up well on our trip to Italy in 2000. I would of course love to get into business class, for her in particular, but we are on a direct flight from Dulles so the trip is much shorter than from California so I think we'll do all right in coach. I am figuring on taking taxis when in Paris - my memory of the Paris metro is that there are lots of steps and long corridors connecting the lines, which I'd like to avoid this time.
Apr 3rd, 2002, 07:25 AM
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Thanks for the great advice so far! Grasshopper, you are right, of course, no more nonstop from the bay area to Paris for American. I've found that Air France, Delta and United do, though I'm sure there's some codesharing in there. $6000+ for business class on all three! I also checked with some consolidators that sell business class tickets, but I'm going to try my miles first. I also found some items on ebay, upgrade certificates that they claim you can use on any flight, no blackouts. I'm hesitant about these. Anyone have experience?

Statia and Ellen, you bring up great points about tours for my mom while in Paris. I have a cousin living there who will help me secure good accomodations with an elevator and centrally located. I think car tours and taxis will be the way to go, no metro.

My cousin lives in the St. Germain area and although I will be relying on him to help me I'd love any suggestions for roomy, accessible accomodations in that area.

Sue, you are more help than you realize, by telling me you often get admitted to the Admiral's Club if you are flying in business class. I don't mind paying more for her coach ticket, just not 3 grand! I will definitely take your advice and reserve a seat for my niece via American and then see if I can buy it discounted elsewhere.

This is such a great forum! Please, keep the info coming.
Apr 3rd, 2002, 10:21 AM
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Apr 3rd, 2002, 04:05 PM
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