London to Melbourne on SkyTeam: 2 segs vs. 4 segs with KE A380

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by mtkeller, Aug 12, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. mtkeller
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    mtkeller Silver Member

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    OK, MPers, I've got a conundrum on which I'd love for you to weigh in.

    I've used my SkyPesos (despite nabbing this redemption, this week's "enhancement" has me reverting to that name) to redeem for LHR-ICN-MEL//SYD-KUL-LHR on KE and MH in December. (150K + ~$750, stupid UK APD and MH YQ :mad:) The aircraft (in flight order) are 747, A330, 747, and 747. Overall, I was pretty happy to get that with under 30 minutes on the phone with DL, especially since I redeemed on carriers that are impossible/hard to check partner award availability online.

    This week came news that KE has updated their schedule for Northern Winter, and they're putting an A380 on FRA-ICN from 1 December, which just happens to be my departure date. Not only would this give me a chance to ride on an A380, but it would also get me flat bed seats, as right now all four segments have angled lie flats. The downside, of course, is that I have to get to FRA using SkyTeam. Thus, I'd be looking at LHR-AMS-FRA-ICN-MEL for my outbound. (This is assuming there's availability on the FRA-ICN sector. I want to decide if I want to change before calling to see if it's possible. I do know that KL has availability.) In the process, I'd acquire KL's YQ, but if I stopover in FRA, I drastically reduce the UK APD to the point where I should get a few dollars back. (My AmEx Platinum will absorb the award ticket change fee, since I'm not yet PM with DL. I can't imagine what else I'll use the airline credit benefit for, so I don't mind using it for this.)

    So, the question is simple: Would you change from LHR-ICN-MEL to LHR-AMS-FRA(stop)-ICN-MEL for the chance for your first ride on an A380? There's always the risk that there's a delay with the A380 and it starts operating later than planned. However, I might be willing to accept that, as FRA-ICN is a 77W with Prestige Sleeper (flat bed) seats until the A380 comes in, giving a better hard product than the Prestige Plus angled lie flat 747 on LHR-ICN.

    (I've also given thought to LHR-FCO-PEK-ICN-MEL on AZ and KE to try out AZ's new Magnifica class seats with flat beds. I'm not convinced that the extra connections, one in China, are worth it just for a flat bed, but for A380 and flat bed, I think might be persuaded.)
     
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  2. rwoman
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    rwoman Gold Member

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    I'd take the "risk" and go with FRA on the way back as long as your travel plans have some flexibility. :D
     
  3. mtkeller
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    mtkeller Silver Member

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    I can't route back on KE, as it's within DL's interpretation of KE's blackout dates. Otherwise, I would definitely try for that swap, as a delay of almost a month would be rather extreme.

    I've also considered making FRA my origin (flying there on an LH or BA revenue ticket in the morning with ample leeway before FRA-ICN), taking a very long stopover in London on the way back, and eventually making my way back to Germany. (I'll be PM, so as long as I don't want to change within 72 hours of departure, I'd basically have a fully-flexible one-way to Germany.)
     
  4. RestlessLocationSyndrome
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    RestlessLocationSyndrome Silver Member

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    Perhaps I'm the only one who feels this way but the destination is far more important than the ride there. It seems like a huge hassle to shoot for the A380 but it all depends on how high a value you put on that experience. I would never do this if it were up to me. I just assume I'll have a chance in the future.
     
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  5. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    I'd try for the A380 and hope to be on its inaugural trip on this route, which could be a lot of fun. I'd be wiling to try various means to do LHR (or LGW or whatever)- FRA, but if LHR-AMS-FRA can be had on KLM as part of your award, there's no reason at all not to do the A380. It will be new with better seats. The two short hops at the start of your journey won't be a big deal as you'll have a nice long flight to sleep well on those flat beds, even if it ends up being the 777.
     
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  6. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    You mentioned a stop in FRA. Would the schedules require an overnight there?
     
  7. mtkeller
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    mtkeller Silver Member

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    The schedules wouldn't require an overnight there. However, if I don't overnight there, I pay the ridiculous UK APD (tax) level plus I'm assuming that DL will whack me with KL's YQ for the LHR-FRA portion. That drives the cost up by probably $150. On the other hand, if I overnight in FRA, the APD drops to the Europe level, saving money even with the YQ added.

    As I mentioned in reply to rwoman, another option would be to fly LON-FRA on BA/LH (I think BD just codeshares with LH on that route) on a revenue ticket, having FRA as my origin. Then I need to return to FRA (since my award already as an open jaw), but I could throw in a three month (or whatever) stopover in London and use the segments to FRA as half of getting a trip to Germany. (I don't know that I really want to do the tourist thing in FRA, but I wouldn't mind taking the train from there to somewhere else to be a tourist and then fly back.)
     
  8. mtkeller
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    mtkeller Silver Member

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    Well, I wound up making the change. Instead of overnighting in FRA, I decided to book a flight with LH from LHR to FRA with 6+ hours of leeway before the KE flight. If all goes well, LH will interline my bag and I'll pop out of the airport for a couple of hours to see something in the city (or Mainz). If not, I'll go to baggage claim, take it to left luggage for EUR4 and then go see something :D Even if something goes wrong and KE doesn't run the A380 that day, as MSPeconomist noted, the hard product will be better on the 77W than the 747, and I'll have some MH 747s to fly later on in the trip.

    Of course, since I can't have a double open jaw without paying way more miles, I tacked on KL flights in Y from LHR to FRA for April. (Did it in Y to save taxes, since C on those flights will not be worth the $20 in extra taxes.) I'll be PM, so I can rejigger that closer to the date (but not within the last 72 hours!) once I figure out when I want to go to Germany in the Spring.
     
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