Booking award flight for 3 vs 2+1

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by govtmule, Oct 2, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. govtmule

    govtmule Active Member

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    I'm trying to book an United business class award flight for 3 (me, wife, kid) from Houston to Europe for next September.
    Obviously, there is much less availability for 3 than 2 or 1.

    Is it safe to assume that if there isn't availability for 3 in business class shown on United.com, then I can't book an award for 2 and then 1 on the same flight?

    I guess I'm wondering if searching for 3 is searching for 3 seats together, but maybe I can book 2 together and then 1 by itself. Is that possible?
     
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  2. viguera
    Original Member

    viguera Gold Member

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    Depends... the general consensus is that there's a limited number of seats released at any given time, and that "more will show up" after those are gone.

    It could be that you'll book two, then another will magically appear... or it could be that you'll book 2 and that will be the end of that (which would obviously be a bad thing :) )

    Some will say look at the R space, and if anything more than 2 is showing that chances are the third seat will open up... or that you can book in Y and not take any chances, then try to switch to the front later.

    I'll leave that to those which are more experienced than me with UA awards. :)

    Just for the sake of thoroughness though, what dates are you looking at, and which city pairs ("Europe" is kind of vague :) )
     
  3. boondr

    boondr Gold Member

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    I just did a booking for 3 to Europe in Biz with United miles, we did all 3 on the same reservation because we wanted there to be continuity if there was a problem.
     
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  4. govtmule

    govtmule Active Member

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    We are somewhat flexible.
    The main options I'm checking are Houston to: Rome, Milan, Geneva, Zurich.

    I would probably take Frankfurt, as well, but we want to spend most of our time in Italy.
    So, we'd end up taking a train or separate flight down from Frankfurt.

    Also, I didn't mention that I have to make the booking on two accounts.
    We have 200k points in my UA account and 100k points in my wife's. So, I have to book 2+1, correct?
    But I was going on the assumption that I should search availability for 3, and when I find availability for 3, I will book 2 on my account and 1 on my wife's.

    Does that sound like the right plan?
     
  5. particlemn

    particlemn Silver Member

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    we have booked 3 each returning form europe next July, I was able to get 3 on same reservation with 2 sepreate reservation, we will be flying AB from Venice to Stuttgart using 4500 BA miles each in coach, next day we fly Stuttgart-Newerk-Lax in bussiness. 3 one one reservation, the Stuttgart-Newerk operates as a 757 and appears pretty easy to find availability for 3
     
  6. particlemn

    particlemn Silver Member

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    you can book it together using miles from each account but you have to call
     
  7. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    I think booking everything is one PNR is preferable just in case of IROPS.

    As far as your outgoing, you might also consider looking around from other departure points and taking positioning flights out. If you find more availability with another Star carrier out of ORD for example, it might be worthwhile.

    I assume that you've looked into the wondrous / wonderful / wandering aramean tools over at http://wandr.me ? :)
     
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  8. govtmule

    govtmule Active Member

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    Assuming I can you book the positioning flight on the same award, how do I do that if it doesn't show up as an option in the normal award search?

    Also, how do I reply to a conversation on Milepoint?
    I don't see a reply button in the conversation screen anywhere.
     
  9. govtmule

    govtmule Active Member

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    I see that there is business class availability from Newark through Lisbon to Rome and Geneva.

    Is it possible to book an award IAH to EWR to LIS to FCO (or GVA)? Basically, adding the connection from Houston to the Newark to Rome route.
    Since I can't see that online, is that something I'd have to do by phone?
     
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  10. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    It might be possible, or you might have to bite the bullet and buy the positioning flight (IAH-EWR-IAH) around your award. It sucks when you have to do that, but sometimes it happens.
     
  11. Singapore Flyer

    Singapore Flyer Silver Member

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    check the segments separately. I would imagine there are quite a number of flights from IAH to EWR on any given day. Since this is on UA it will be part of the same award provided there is space. The only thing I am not sure of is if there is a 4 hour rule that applies on the domestic connecting flight. Don't know if it allows for an <24 hour one because your award is an international one.

    Sent from my iPhone using milepoint
     
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  12. viguera
    Original Member

    viguera Gold Member

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    Looks like 11 flights on weekdays and 10 on weekends, starting at 6am and ending at 9pm.

    The next segment is the more restrictive one. UA only runs one daily EWR-FCO flight at 5:16pm (UA 52 on a 764).

    They also only have one EWR-ZRH flight, at 6:45pm (UA 992). My mom flies that route all the time as a non-rev and there's always space in J, so that might be more likely to have 3 award seats (it's a 763 so there are 30 J seats).

    Frankfurt might be doable because there are two daily flights, although that's no guarantee. UA 119 leaves at 4:40 and UA 968 leaves at 7:16pm. I'd say aim for the latter since the earlier one is a 752 so there are a lot less seats to begin with.
     
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  13. Singapore Flyer

    Singapore Flyer Silver Member

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    Then there are the LH flights to FRA and MUC.

    Sent from my iPhone using milepoint
     
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  14. guberif

    guberif Silver Member

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    How old is your kid? Stick their butt in coach :)
     
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  15. govtmule

    govtmule Active Member

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    The kid would enjoy that, and so would mom and dad! Haha!
     
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  16. jaw_24
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    jaw_24 Silver Member

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    I've had luck in splitting up domestically and then flying the same int'l segments. If it is far enough out, chances are a schedule change will allow you to move to the same flight later anyway.
     
  17. KathInJax

    KathInJax Silver Member

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    Are you searching each segment individually? So, you would want to find TATL space first. Do not worry about connecting flights. Look at all of the Star Alliance hubs in the US to the Star Alliance hubs in Europe. After you have found something, then start looking for your feeder flights from Houston. Then look for your destination flights in Europe.

    You can look at routes like BOS/DTW/ATL - FRA.

    You might also be a little early to book seats for Sept 2014. IAD-BRU looks like it has quite a bit of availability in August, so if you wait a month or so, availability will probably open up.

    Your feeder flights can also be in economy. IAH-IAD is about 2 hours, so it is not bad if you are not in business.
     
  18. govtmule

    govtmule Active Member

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    Thanks for all your input so far!

    I am searching each segment individually now. I wasn't at first, but figured that our a few days ago.

    I understand now that the the flight over the Atlantic is the keystone. I'll get that figured out, and then add the connecting, feeder flights.

    I was wondering if the one month lag in availability would hold true next month, so thanks for that tip.
    I know it's not a guarantee, but it's good to know that a pattern like that tends to hold.

    I am considering booking a good economy route, and then paying the $75-100/ticket change fee if business class opens up on one of our preferred routes.
    That would be like the IAH-FRA-ROM and GVA-FRA-IAH routes on Lufthansa.
     
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  19. govtmule

    govtmule Active Member

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    What is "R space"? I tried searching for R class tickets and it says it's not a valid class.
     
  20. jetsetr
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    jetsetr Gold Member

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    On UA, "R" or "RN" space is what non-Global Services Premier members look for when trying to confirm an upgrade in advance, either using instruments (Global Premier Upgrades - GPUs, a/k/a Systemwide upgrades; or within a region like the U.S., Regional Premier Upgrades - RPUs) or miles.

    If there is R availability, that means that UA thinks some seats will not sell as revenue seats. So if that's the case, they might be / become available as award seats.

    To see if a UA flight has R/RN space, you need to enable "Expert" mode on united.com (forgot how to do it, but it's a profile setting in your MileagePlus options), or use a free service like Wandering Aramean Travel Tools (see MilePoint homepage; he has a forum dedicated to his WATT tools), or if you already have a paid account with ExpertFlyer or KVS tools, use that.
     
  21. govtmule

    govtmule Active Member

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    I don't see the class option on WATT, but I'll email him. Do you recommend his premium service? $15/year seems reasonable.

    Also, there isn't much upfront availability between Houston and Frankfurt, and when there is, it's First Class and no Business Class.
    Is that common for UA? Or is it just what's going on now?
     
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  22. jetsetr
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    jetsetr Gold Member

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    I thought there was a class option. I know it exists for finding W space.

    Anyway, I trust Wandering Aramean more than most. Knowing him personally, he's an ethical guy with solid travel tools and knowledge.
     
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  23. govtmule

    govtmule Active Member

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    Yesterday, I booked an US Airways flight from IAH to FCO. It's first class to Charlotte and business (envoy) class to Rome!

    I called US Airways to add our infant on the flight. They came up with a high price, and basically told me to try United since I booked through United. So, I called United and they came up with a price for the infant ticket that was less than half what US Airways quoted!

    I got a confirmation number, but I haven't gotten a confirmation email and it hasn't been charged to my credit card.
    I called back late in the afternoon to verify that they had added the infant ticket, and they confirmed. I asked that a confirmation email be sent. Still no email.

    Should I be worried that the infant ticket didn't get added somehow?
     
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  24. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Yes, you should. Call and get it sorted out because it happens a lot, but you want to avoid any potential problems at the worst possible time -- when you're at the airport or something like that.

    http://runningwithmiles.boardingarea.com/united-infant-ticket-problems/
     
  25. govtmule

    govtmule Active Member

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    Thanks for letting me know.
    This is a hassle.

    I called US Airways, and they did not yet have any information or ticket for the infant.
    They recommended I call United back.
    I called United, and they said they didn't have any record that I had purchased an infant ticket.
    They asked for credit card information again, and when I started questioning why I had been given a confirmation number they hung up.
    So, I called United again, and this agent found the record and gave me the same confirmation number.
    That agent told me the ticket is being processed by the ticketing department and should be issued in 24-48 hours.
    It hasn't been 48 hours, yet. So, I'll check again after that point.

    What in the world is going on at United?
     
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