United First Class or Lufthansa Business?

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by cptnkirk77, Jan 24, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. cptnkirk77
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    cptnkirk77 Silver Member

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    I am on a once in a lifetime trip with my never-had-a-passport-before dad to Scotland this August , and I was able to book LHR-IAD in United first, then IAD-MCO (our destination) in United economy, not being able to get business class for that flight due to scheduling contraints. I just recently found availability to change this flight to a same day LHR-FRA-MCO in Lufthansa business. I want my well deserving dad to have an incredible experience on this trip, including on the flight back, and while first class would be neat I almost feel like changing this to Lufthansa business class and experiencing their business lounge in Germany would be even cooler than a 7 hr United first class flight...
    Would the fees I would pay to change this award ticket down to business class (but on Lufthansa) be worth it in your opinion as far as giving my dad an overall better experience? Also, do you know what the change fee is? $150 a passenger or something?
     
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  2. Jimgotkp
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    Jimgotkp Gold Member

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    I'd just stick with UA First since you will get entrance into the SEN lounge at FRA. The seat will be better too on UA F compared to LH C.
     
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  3. cptnkirk77
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    cptnkirk77 Silver Member

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    Sorry, I guess I didn't clarify it well enough. At the moment, we have a UA F flight from LHR straight to IAD. Then we're on an economy flight to MCO. Instead of doing this, we would pay the fees and change it to route through FRA, thus having a non-stop from FRA to MCO in LH C. I feel like that would be a more pleasant experience than the 4 hr layover in IAD plus the 2 1/2 economy flight to MCO afterwards as well, even if we first had a 7 hr UA F flight before then...
     
  4. JohnDeere19
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    JohnDeere19 Gold Member

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    I'm not sure I would do that extra economy flying + connection just for United F.
     
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  5. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    I'm inclined to vote for LH, but it would help to know the fees exactly. What airline's miles are you using and do you have status? When are your travel dates?
     
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  6. cptnkirk77
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    cptnkirk77 Silver Member

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    I don't have status unfortunately :(...I'm a points addict, but my job doesn't dictate me flying enough to have the good life! I'm using Continental miles, and subsequently booked on their website. I've just booked a one way on 8/20/12 from LHR to IAD, then on to MCO. I have found out that if I did change it, the fees for this would be $150 for each passenger, so I'd essentially be paying $300 to take away the 4 hr layover and the economy flight and instead do a direct flight from FRA to MCO in LF C, as well as get back 35k continental miles.
     
  7. mgrepo

    mgrepo Silver Member

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    I like the experience of the First Class Star Alliance Lounge at LHR, which you would get with United F. Also, I think you would get to use the Arrivals Lounge and International First Lounge at IAD, so your four hours (less since you have to clear customs) will pass quickly as you freshen up and eat/drink up before your relatively short flight to MCO.
     
  8. Infinite1K
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    Infinite1K Silver Member

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    It all really depends on what is important to you. But here are the pros/cons for the two itineraries:

    [LHR-IAD-MCO]
    + Star First Class Lounge @ LHR
    + United First Suite
    + United Arrivals @ IAD
    + United International First Class Lounge @ IAD
    - Economy from IAD-MCO
    - Re-clearing security @ IAD

    [LHR-FRA-MCO]
    + Only need to clear Immigration/Customs @ MCO
    + You'll arrive at your final destination and won't risk possible delays and navigating through IAD
    - No Arrivals facility @ MCO

    Also since you state you don't have any status, if you fly through FRA, you'll only get the Business Class Lounge which IME is not as good as the the Star First Class Lounge @ LHR or the United Arrivals/IFC @ IAD. If you were Star Gold then you would have access to the Senator Lounge which would be equal or better.
     
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  9. sfo1
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    sfo1 Silver Member

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    You don't say how old your dad is but if he is up in age, you might want to consider the easiest with LH, IAD is no happy picnic, it is an awful place, Just a suggestion depending on his age.
     
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  10. cptnkirk77
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    cptnkirk77 Silver Member

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    Thanks so much, you guy have all been extremely helpful! After thinking about what you said, and especially after this great breakdown of pros and cons, I think we'll just keep it like it is as it sounds like the quality of lounges for both departure and arrival would outweigh the other. Thanks again!
     
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  11. TrippePanAM

    TrippePanAM Gold Member

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    Many Great points here,

    LH business the facilities are nice in FRA, have used them numerous times, The Business Lounges are sometimes less crowded then the Sen lounge. nonstop to mco for ease would be very nice, service is better than any portion in economy

    Connecting at IAD is a complete wildcard and while UA first is nice, the hassle and stress of connecting and clearing customs at IAD probably not worth it. the wines and all in LH c are about the same caliber as what UA serves in F

    I would suggest doign the LH flight, because UA INTL F to domestic Y is a bittersweet finish to a fun flight go with LH
     
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  12. nova

    nova Silver Member

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    My wife and I are planning a trip to Europe this summer and had a similar conundrum in the opposite direction, going from the US to BER and then back out of MUC.

    After all my investigation, and a timely 25% discount to buy the last few miles I needed, I decided to do United First going and Lufthansa Business coming back. Ended up with a somewhat roundabout itinerary with HSV->IAD->GNV->BER then MUC->CLT->HSV with a 5 and then 7 hour layover but I think it will be tolerable with lounge access. It also helped that the IAD->GNV leg is on a 767 with the new first interior...
     
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  13. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    IAD can be a zoo, so a wildcard. I'd do LHR-FRA-MCO, and plan on enjoying real lounges in MCO:D
     
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  14. cptnkirk77
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    cptnkirk77 Silver Member

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    So just to clarify, by arriving in IAD with a same day arrival F ticket, I should be able to still have access to the International First class lounge in IAD?
     
  15. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    Yes you should have access to the IFL, If you're on a CO Reward you're allowed to make free changes outside of 21 Days of the new date so it would only cost you additional taxes to change it to LHR-FRA-MCO... I personally would go with Lufthansa Business Class, and sometimes LH releases space for F so I'd keep checking for that.
     
  16. MDDCFlyer

    MDDCFlyer Silver Member

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    It is a hard call. F is better than C (even when the F is UA and the C is LH). In this case the hard product will be better, but the service will be better on LH. Those flights are day time flights, and for those (actually even for night time flights) I find the LH seat to be more than adequate. It is not the best seat in the world, the IFE is not the greatest, but you will get good service (probably better than UA F service). For such relatively short flight, especially in the day time, with the added bonus of avoiding IAD and saving some mils - I will take LH C. Now if it was LH F it was really a no brainier.
     
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  17. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Look at the aircraft types or seat maps. I hate 2-3-2 business class cabins with a passion, which LH does on their 747s. These also seem like dated planes to me, although the seats are the same as on the LH A380.
     
  18. daemon14

    daemon14 Gold Member

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    Is LHR-IAD a 777 or 763 on UA? With 777, chances are it could be old F.

    I'd go for the LH C. Frankly, being able to get to your destination (MCO) without a hassle at IAD + a Y domestic seat will be better.

    I think FRA-MCO is a 747, so J is in the "pointy end." Just sent my mom in 1K on LAX-FRA and she loved it! It's only 2-2 in that section instead of 2-3-2.
     
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  19. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    I'd take LH.

    The UA seat is better, but you're likely not looking to sleep overnight so much as maybe just take a nap on the flight and the LH seat is good enough for that. And avoiding the IAD connection would be appealing to me. Saving a few miles in the process would be nice, too. The IFE on Lufty isn't fantastic, so if that is important then it might be another strike against them, but it also doesn't completely suck.

    Not so bad IME if you are traveling with someone else, especially if you get the 2 section.
     
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  20. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    In light of the y connection, this one is a true coin toss.
     
  21. FlyingFree
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    FlyingFree Gold Member

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    This is a great thread that illustrates the differing reasons that people book premium class travel. For example, I care a lot about: 1) leg and shoulder room, 2) the fewest connections possible, 3) a chance at getting a decent Indian vegetarian special meal, 4) flying a new airline or aircraft I’ve never experienced, or to fly one of my favorites again.

    Alcohol selection or IFE is extremely unimportant to me, but they could be VERY important to you.

    So, especially if you’re somewhat new to the game, if you’re planning your next big trip and want to get the most out of it, do what cptnkirk77 did – ASK! On Milepoint, you’ll find friendly people who have flown nearly every airline, aircraft, and route imaginable. We can help you find the routing that suits you and your priorities best.

    Cptnkirk77 – hope you have a fantastic time with your dad…I took my parents to London not long before they passed and it was one of the best things I ever did.
     
  22. thegrailer
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    thegrailer Silver Member

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    The seats might be an issue. LH C isn't a flat seat is it? It's angled sort of like the "old" UA C seat - right?
     
  23. Wandering Aramean
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    Correct, it is an angled flat seat, though better than the old UA C seat by far IMO. Still, I'm less concerned about full flat on a west-bound flight as I want, at most, a short nap on those flights. And the benefits of staying in the premium cabin the whole time, avoiding the long IAD connection and avoiding clearing immigration in IAD would win over the partial trip on the better seat for me.
     
  24. joesmoe
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    joesmoe Gold Member

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    Depends if its the new united first or not.

    The old united first is awful. LH biz isn't much better though.

    UA does have a nice F lounge (well not nice, but better than the LH biz lounge) in IAD (iirc). Its very small but also usually not too busy.

    I can't really speak for LH biz, but i'm not much of a fan of LH first aside from the first class lounge/terminal experience.

    Good luck and congrats to your father on getting his passport and using it!
     
  25. cptnkirk77
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    cptnkirk77 Silver Member

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    Thanks for everyone's suggestions and comments-you all made the decision much easier. As an update I was able to change the flight to LH C and leave from FRA. We will of course even enjoy an evening in Germany, which will be a first for both of us so that's a plus! I don't know yet whether the flight will be on a 747 or 380, but hoping it's the latter. Thanks again for everyone's helpful suggestions, I'm starting to get pretty excited thinking about how much I'm about to spoil my dad! :)
     
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