Help Me Pick Flights For An Upcoming Trip

I’ll admit it, I spend way too long researching flights for some of my trips.  Some trips come together quite quickly, whether from good decisions or bad.  And others just, well, linger.

I’ve spent the last few weeks fiddling around with a trip but haven’t been able to settle on an itinerary.  I recalled reading this post by my friend the Wandering Aramean, which inspired me to shamelessly copy his idea and ask for your help.  Here are the relevant details, followed by potential choices I’m considering.  I’m open to other considerations given my requirements:

  • Departure city is IAD (DCA as an alternative), DUB is my destination.
  • I need to be there late in 2015.  I need to be there all day Tuesday through the end of Thursday.  This makes a likely departure day as Sunday (though Monday is possible with some routings) and returning Friday or Saturday.
  • I’m allergic to coach
  • I’m especially allergic to coach on redeye flights.
  • I’m drastically allergic to coach on redeye flights where I have to get off the plane and rush into a day-long convention and be attentive for meetings without a shower (what I did for this same trip in 2014).
  • I can purchase a Business Class fare if it’s in the $3K range or less.  Otherwise, I’m buying coach and using an upgrade instrument.
  • My goal in 2015 is to maintain my EXP status on American.  A secondary goal is to maintain Gold status with United.  I currently have enough flights planned with American that I have the freedom to book this flight with any carrier.

British Airways

This was the option I chose for my 2014 trip.  I flew the A380 to London and then connected to Dublin.  I purchased a premium economy ticket and used Avios to upgrade the TATL segments.  I had to wait a few months after booking, but both cleared.  This is absolutely one of my favorite redemptions as it only costs 10,000 Avios to upgrade one-way.

Right now, my outbound is not available for upgrade but the return flight is.  I could do this as a Sunday or Monday departure and likely still squeeze in a day of sightseeing in Dublin.  There are still some things I would enjoy seeing there.

I’ve flown their business class product a few times and find it to be relatively comfortable.  I can sleep fine in the bed.  I haven’t flown premium economy (World Traveller Plus) before but believe, based on reports from others, that it will be my best non-business class seat of the choices available.

United Airlines

2 options here.  First is to take the direct flight (IAD-DUB) Sunday night, arriving at 10am Monday.  There’s no upgrade space available for GPUs currently, so I’d have to hope it clears at some point.  If it didn’t these seats would be less comfortable than BA but I would have Monday to recuperate.

Second option is to take the direct flight Monday night and arrive Tuesday morning.  GPU space is available for this flight.  I wouldn’t have access to a shower upon landing and I’d have to go straight to the conference.  I did this last year and was groggy most of the day, even with getting some sleep on the BA flight.

In both cases, there is no GPU availability for the return flights right now.  The return is less critical, given it’s not a redeye and these are relatively short TATL flights.

There is availability LHR-IAD on United.  But, if I was considering that option I would just take BA.  The only reason I can think of to fly United is to avoid LHR.  I don’t have big issues with the airport (though some do) but can be cumbersome.

Turkish Airlines

A bit of a crazy option, but they have discounted business class seats available for my dates.  The downside here is that to get the price I’d need to get home on Sunday, not Saturday.

The potential upside is that the itinerary forces a stop-over in both directions, so I’d get the equivalent of about a day to explore Istanbul.  So, I’m weighing extra time away from the family to be able to explore Istanbul a bit.  It’s also a longer itinerary, so generates more miles towards elite status with United.

Let me know your thoughts on any of my itineraries or suggest your own if there’s something you think I should consider.

 


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17 Comments

    1. Colin, I know people crazy enough to route through the sandbox to get from Washington to Dublin, but I’m not one of them. 😉

    1. Gisele, Aer Lingus would work, though it doesn’t give me elite qualifying miles. If I put this on Aer Lingus I’m likely not able to qualify for United Gold status. Still not sure I can, but holding out hope.

  1. For convenience how about direct IAD-DUB with Aer Lingus. 12th Oct (Mon .. arr Tue))- 16 Oct 2015)Fri.. Arr IAD Fri) business class each way comes in at $4,400 But if you travel in on the overnight in Business class and back to IAD in economy, which is not bad on Aer Lingus you price comes down to $2,700

    In my opinion, there is a value on a direct flight ( what it is is up to each individual). especially if you need to be someplace and are not doing a MR or flying just for the sake of it

  2. Would love to see a review of the Turkish Airlines business class product. Although I have read good things so far, would like to hear more. They offer great prices from the UK to Maldives! Istanbul is fab! We got stuck there for 8 days during the ash cloud problems and loved it! Very easy transport from the airport and easy to get around. Well worth a stop over.

  3. I’d love for you to try out Turkish. I’ve heard stellar reports about their in-flight catering in Business and some outrageous (both great and not-so-great) ones about their IST lounge. I’d pay to read your TK report.

  4. Ed,

    Based on this writeup, I echo those who encourage you to take the TK itinerary.

    You can do the Bosphorus-area sites and the night market. You’d have a good time. You could stay at PH Macka Palace, which you know I think highly of. Use Uber in and out of downtown (but beware that the pickup situation at the airport is chaotic – doable, but chaotic).

  5. Istanbul and Turkey are fabulous and deserve a trip separately, at least that was my experience. There is no right answer in terms of family time. I know I was always glad for my husband to get home, and to have him to help me with the kids!

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