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.
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.
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.
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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