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To my friends I like to give off an air that I have all my travel plans under control all of the time and that, unlike them, I never have nagging doubts about which airlines to fly, what fares to book and when to use miles and when to pay cash. Sadly none of that is true.
Just like most people I have times when I have absolutely no idea what the right thing to do actually is and I’m going through one of those times right now.
I have a trip I need to take next year which involves meeting up with a friend for a week of very bad golf in Palm Springs. We usually go at the same time each year and he already has his flights booked so I’m very limited in the dates I can travel.
Since I first knew we would definitely be doing this trip next year there have been two types of fare I’ve been concentrating on finding:
- Cheap American Airlines Economy Class fares between London and LA (usually cheaper to fly to LA and then drive rather than fly to Palm Springs)
- Cheap Business Class fares from Europe to LA with whatever airline chooses to offer them.
A cheap American Airlines Economy Class fare from London would appeal because it would give me a chance to use my systemwide upgrades to move from Economy to Business Class and it would remove the need to position into Europe.
American Airlines 777-200 Business Class would be a very nice way to travel
A cheap Business Class fare from Europe to LA would appeal because, although I’d have to position to Europe from London (and therefore see a lot more of my checked baggage than I’d ideally like to), it would guarantee me a comfortable seat in both directions and possibly another airline to review.
I’ve ruled out a cheap American Airlines Economy Class fare from Europe as the economics make it a poor option…especially when you also add in the hassle that I would have with my checked bags.
I’ve been on the look out for good fares since the beginning of August and, while American did post a somewhat tempting Economy Class fare from London back in September, the Business Class fares out of Europe have come nowhere near what I’m prepared to pay….except for one fare which had a little bit of an issue.
I didn’t jump on the American Airlines fare when it was available because, although it was ok, I’ve seen cheaper fares posted on the London – LA route for the same time of year and, as I’ve explained in a separate post, I’m in no hurry to give American any more of my cash.
But now there’s a new option that I’ve noticed and it’s giving me serious pause for thought.
Right now I can book a British Airways World Traveller Plus (Premium Economy) fare between Dublin and LA for €770 ($893) roundtrip….
…or I could book BA Premium Economy between Copenhagen and LA for DK 4,707 ($734) roundtrip:
Both fares would involve positioning to Europe (at a cost of around $165 roundtrip) and therefore would require me to check my bags in London, pick them up in Dublin or Copenhagen and then recheck them on the flight to LA – so that’s a lot of hassle – but then these fares are pretty good!
This Is The Conflict
- Clearly Premium Economy is going to be better than Economy Class….but is it that much better that it’s worth the hassle of positioning into Europe? After all, this is BA we’re talking about not Singapore Airlines!
- My planned trip is still a few months away so there’s still time for a super-cheap American Airlines fare out of London or for a cheap Business Class fare out of Europe to turn up – will I regret booking the Premium Economy fare if either of those things happen?
- If I carry on procrastinating the great Premium Economy fares will surely disappear and I could then end up overpaying for a worse product.
British Airways World Traveller Plus – Image courtesy of British Airways
I know that I’ll kick myself if a great Business Class fare shows up after I book the Premium Economy fare….but then I’ll kick myself if I don’t book the Premium Economy fare and I end up paying $900 to sit in cargo class without an upgrade!
Right now I’m very close to pulling the trigger on the fare out of Copenhagen. $734 for a roundtrip Premium Economy fare is pretty great and, although I don’t think I’ll need them, it would net me a nice number of Tier Points too.
But there’s still a nagging doubt at the back of my mind that I really wish would go away – I really want a lie-flat seat for the overnight flight on the return journey and something is telling me to hang on just in case a Business Class deal comes along.
I think that if this has been a good airline that I was considering (like Singapore Airlines) I would have so much confidence in the Premium Economy product that I would have booked it as soon as I saw the fare…but this isn’t a good airline I’m considering – it’s BA – and that makes quite a bit of difference.
I guess what it comes down to is this: Do I want a lie-flat seat enough to risk ending up in transatlantic Economy Class instead?
Any thoughts from you guys? What would you do?