Question about availability on BA and opinions on J vs F

Discussion in 'British Airways | Executive Club' started by sunny_sc, Jan 6, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. sunny_sc
    Original Member

    sunny_sc Silver Member

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    I'm trying to book a trip using my BA 2-for-1 companion pass for this spring and I am wondering why certain cities have tons of availability and why other cities have none?

    For instance, I don't see anything in J or F for the SEA-LHR or LAX-LHR flights, yet there seems to be plenty of availability from PHL, DEN and IAH. Is this just a case of certain cities being more in demand?

    Also, would anyone care to comment about the DEN-LHR flight vs. the IAH-LHR flights? The one from DEN uses a 747 and from IAH there's 2 flights, one on a 747 and one on 777.

    Finally, is it worthwhile to spend the additional 55,000 Avios points to fly F instead of flying J? If it makes any difference, we are a couple flying with a 9 month old lap infant. The taxes/fees seem to be approximately the same. Is the only difference the inflight seat/service/experience?

    Thank you!
     
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  2. Globaliser
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    Globaliser Silver Member

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    That's basically it. Award seats are generally treated like very low yielding seats in that cabin. So, just as the lower yielding cash booking classes will be made unavailable on flights with heavy demand (leading to only the higher fares being available), award seats will generally not be made available if the airline thinks it can more profitably sell cash fares.

    Sometimes, award availability appears at very short notice before the flight (ie the last few days), but that's usually not very useful for someone relying on award seats to make an entire trip.
    One big issue, which only you can evaluate, will be which of these places is more convenient for you to fly from.

    If you're thinking of flying in First, then one thing you might want to think about is what effect the choice of aircraft has on your chances of getting the refitted New First cabin and what are your chances of getting the older version. (There are pros and cons to each, so it's not a straightforward case of newer being better.) One of the 747 configurations (the one with 70 business class seats) will guarantee you New First, and one of the 777 models (the 777-300ER) will do the same. Other configurations may leave you not knowing until the day of your flight whether you're going to get New First or Old First.
    Whether it's worth it depends on many things that only you know, like whether you have many excess miles you can't spend (so you may as well spend as many as you can), or whether you could really do with using those miles for other flights.

    The differences apply to some of the ground experience as well as in-flight; for example, First check-in desks including the First check-in area at LHR (if you don't get access to it via oneworld status); access to First lounges including the Concorde Room at LHR (which is basically for First passengers only); and the YouFirst service which can do things like book appointments in advance for the Spa at LHR.

    Whether you'll get the most out of a trip in First also depends on whether you plan on sleeping through the majority of the flight. Some people think it's a waste to get a First ticket if all they're going to do is to sleep from one end of the flight to the other (which can be important on the short overnight eastbound trans-Atlantics), and they could sleep just as well in Club.
     
  3. Dad to GO

    Dad to GO Silver Member

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    My wife and I went through the exact same issues. We are flying to Europe using our 2-4-1 in May in F and are taking our 5 month old. It took me forever to find a flight out and back that would work with our schedule. As of now we are flying LAS-LHR and the return is LHR-LAX. I am hoping that at some point the LAX-LHR opens up and I can change our flight for that segment but it's just wishful thinking for now. I personally think that it will be worth it to fly F and have the infant. I know you'll get great service in J too... but I expect it even better in F. Good luck!
     
  4. sunny_sc
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    sunny_sc Silver Member

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    Thanks for your comments Globaliser and Dad to Go!

    Are you saying that the planes used to fly the IAH-LHR route could be different day to day? What are the differences between the old and new first cabins? I tried looking online but couldn't find a good trip report that highlighted those.

    Do you know what the change fee is?

    Thanks!
     
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  5. Globaliser
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    Globaliser Silver Member

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    Yes, in theory. You need to look at a seat map for the actual aircraft scheduled for each day to get an idea of which configuration is scheduled to operate the flight that day. In reality, this tends to be relatively stable, but there can be changes - sometimes apparently at random if there has been longer range planning to accommodate (for example) scheduled maintenance.

    One photo of each cabin as fitted to the 747:-
     
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  6. Dad to GO

    Dad to GO Silver Member

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    I believe the change fee is $60 per ticket... to me it would be worth it since we live an hour drive from LAX. That drive would be easier with a 5 month old vs flying LAX-LAS and then LAS-LHR.
     
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  7. Whatwasthat...
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    Whatwasthat... Silver Member

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    My wife & I are going to be making our first F flight on BA in May (well, late April - mid May), using the 2-4-1 voucher, LAX - LHR - LAX :D . We had to book it about 9 months out and J wasn't available at that point; so we figured hey, if not now, when? We've flown J on BA before, and it is pretty addictive. So we're really looking forward to the F experience.

    Hope it goes well for you and your family too!
     
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  8. sunny_sc
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    sunny_sc Silver Member

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    I just changed my ticket! I found availability this morning on SEA-LHR so we no longer have to fly on a separate ticket to PHX. Unfortunately we had to downgrade a class of service and pay a change fee but ultimately we saved $600 on 2 tickets/bags to PHX + a night of hotel, even after the change fee.

    Now to pick seats on our flight... I'll have to ask on a separate thread about that :)
     
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  9. Boraxo

    Boraxo Silver Member

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    When looking for SFO-LHR for a trip last April (pre-Avios), I found much less inventory from SFO than other nearby cities including LAS, PHX and even LAX. I feel unfairly penalized in SFO as it is a desirable destination and as a result there is high demand for tix by people who want to visit. As opposed to somewhere like IAH where there is zero demand for tourism. Plus the added difficulty of being at a UA hub where everyone is a member of MP, so there are millions of people all chasing the same tix! I feel like those of us who live in place like SFO and HNL deserve our own special inventory!

    Ok, now that I've finished my rant I would respond that it would definitely be worth 55k miles to fly F, particularly with a lap child. The service is just light years better, and you will notice the difference in terms of space with the little fellow. Of course, there are some like me who believe that the best course is to fly East in C (since you'll hopefully be sleeping most of the way) and West in F, when you can enjoy the daytime service and meals. But really, it is all good on BA, you won't have to deal with those hideous LH angled C seats or even worse (gasp) AF...
     

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