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Advice Wanted: Planning A Trip In J With LH Or NZ  
User currently offlineDrStrange From Germany, joined Jul 2007, 49 posts, RR: 0
Posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 5415 times:

Hi everyone,

I am currently planning my honeymoon to the Cook Islands (yeah! ).
We would like to treat ourselves to flights in J.
I was planning on paying for one leg in J and upgrading the return leg (or vice versa) with my LH miles.
While looking around I found out that booking a ticket in J ex Germany is much more expensive then buying a flight originating eg in the UK. (~500-700€ cheaper). I figure it makes sense to take NZ LHR->LAX->RAR and use a shuttle with LH to LHR from STR (or FRA).

Since I was unable to find a site which allowed choosing a return ticket with one leg in J and one in Y(+), I turned to my travel agent. They were pretty helpful and found a couple of flights.
She sent me two options today and I am unsure which one to choose.
1) NZ via LHR
STR-LHR with LH (separate ticket)
LHR-LAX-RAR in J with NZ
RAR-LAX-LHR in Y+ (in order to upgrade to J) with NZ
LHR-STR with LH

2) LH via LAX
STR-FRA-LAX with LH in J
LAX-RAR with NZ in Y
RAR-LAX with NZ in Y
LAX-FRA-STR with LH in J

pros / cons I can think of right now:

pro 1)
- one whole leg to the islands in J, return in Y+ with the possibilty of an upgrade from 30 days before departure
- NZ's new 77W

con 1)
- stopover in LHR or LAX (depending on availabiltiy of J on the LHR->LAX leg)
- possibility of not getting an upgrade for the return leg with miles (availability)

pro 2)
- easy connection from my home (via high-speed rail)

con 2)
- mixing J and Y on one leg
- if you could call it a "con", LH J is, ... well, not the best.

the price is roughly the same with 100€ in favor of 1) (NZ). Since we're able to do stopovers in London or LA (eg spend 2 nights@LA), we're pretty flexible. I just do not want to pay a fortune for these flights. All legs in J is too expensive for us. The alternatives mentioned above are around 3200€ (incl. taxes etc) per person.

Opinions / advice from all of you seasoned travellers very welcome!  
Thx

11 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinekiwiandrew From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 8580 posts, RR: 13
Reply 1, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 5414 times:
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Sounds interesting , just be aware ( if you are not already ) that the LAX-RAR flights are operated with 767-300ER which have the old J class seats , not the lie-flats , other than that I don't really have any words of wisdom .


Moderation in all things ... including moderation ;-)
User currently offlineDrStrange From Germany, joined Jul 2007, 49 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 5406 times:

Quoting kiwiandrew (Reply 1):
Sounds interesting , just be aware ( if you are not already ) that the LAX-RAR flights are operated with 767-300ER which have the old J class seats , not the lie-flats , other than that I don't really have any words of wisdom .

Hi kiwiandrew, thanks for the heads-up. I noticed that already. That confused the travel agent even more, because in order to upgrade to J on the LAX->LHR leg, you need Y+, which does not exist on the 763... Apparently I need to buy a high Y-fare (B-class) to be eligible for an upgrade with LH-miles on the 763....
  


User currently offlineAKLRNO From United States of America, joined Dec 2010, 950 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 5380 times:

At least on the very long haul segments you will have a fully flat seat in J on NZ (LHR-LAX) . I think its the best business class seat in the sky, and may be even better on the 77W. Much nicer than anything I've ever had on LH, but I haven't flown LH for a couple of years.

I've complained about the business class seat on the NZ 767 in other posts. I would just as soon fly in Y. That's mainly because of my size (I am short). If you are average or taller then J would be more comfortable.

While you are in Rarotonga be sure to rent a bike for a full island tour. You can explore the entire road network in an hour or two. Don't worry about getting lost. If you miss your destination just keep going. You will come back to it the next hour.

Also if you are not otherwise planning to go to Aitutaki (an outlying island) a day trip might be nice.

If you have a few hours to kill at LAX try out the Encounter restaurant. It's in the oddly shaped flying-saucer like building in the center of the airport, 3 minutes walk from the NZ's Terminal 2. Great views, good food, and a weird star-trek environment.


User currently offlineTheCommodore From Australia, joined Dec 2007, 2890 posts, RR: 8
Reply 4, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 5350 times:

Quoting kiwiandrew (Reply 1):
Sounds interesting , just be aware ( if you are not already ) that the LAX-RAR flights are operated with 767-300ER which have the old J class seats , not the lie-flats , other than that I don't really have any words of wisdom .

Not only the 767 !

I flew Syd-AKL-RAR-LAX on a 777-200 in May last year for my 20th anniversary
We had a fantastic time both on Air NZ and in RAR.

Our trip report might give you some tips as to what to do and where to stay.

Enjoy !

2 reports
Read on below.

Part 1.
Air New Zealand Business Premier SYD/RAR/SYD (by TheCommodore Mar 30 2010 in Trip Reports)

Part 2.
Air New Zealand Business Premier - Part Two (by TheCommodore Mar 30 2010 in Trip Reports)

[Edited 2011-01-10 22:10:01]


Flown 905,468 kms or 2.356 times to the moon, 1296 hrs, Longest flight 10,524 kms
User currently offlineagrflyer From Switzerland, joined Nov 2005, 169 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 5344 times:
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I flew LH in J from FRA to BKK some time ago. The food, seat and service were ok but nothing special and I slept like a baby on the flight. Last year when I was on the way to HKG I flew NZ on the leg LHR to HKG. I prefered NZ's product much more than LH's even I did not like NZ's seat. Nevertheless I would go with LH only due to the fact that you have more legs in J than on the schedule with NZ.

Gute Reise



MXP-MUC-ORD/DFW-FRA-MXP in September LH in C, ZRH-TLV-ZRH in October LX in Y, ZRH-LCY-ZRH LX in Y in Nov
User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25741 posts, RR: 50
Reply 6, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 5334 times:

If you want the guaranteed J class option then go with LH. If you are willing to wait it out for a better overall product if the upgrades clear than go with the NZ.

While LH Biz class is a consistent decent product the NZ longhaul product is quite a bit better especially thanks to the lieflat seat on 777/747s. As others mentioned the 763 product however is not much to write home about, but atleast on the Atlantic portions you will have something nice to enjoy.

Have a good trip!



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlinetravelR From Australia, joined Sep 2010, 94 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 5322 times:

I would probably go with NZ as I think their service and seat on LHR/LAX/LHR would be better than LH business class seat/service. Having tried VS fully flat bed and NZ being a copy of it, I personally think would win hands down to LH old style seat. Depends how badly you want business on the long legs of your trip.


You can never travel too much in your life!
User currently offlineDrStrange From Germany, joined Jul 2007, 49 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 5276 times:

Quoting AKLRNO (Reply 3):
At least on the very long haul segments you will have a fully flat seat in J on NZ (LHR-LAX) . I think its the best business class seat in the sky, and may be even better on the 77W. Much nicer than anything I've ever had on LH, but I haven't flown LH for a couple of years.

I've complained about the business class seat on the NZ 767 in other posts. I would just as soon fly in Y. That's mainly because of my size (I am short). If you are average or taller then J would be more comfortable.

Hi AKLRNO, thanks for your opinion. I've flown LH's current J product on the A343 mostly (2 or 3 upgrades I believe) and it is ok, but not great. I think I really should try NZ. I'm really tall, so Y is not really fun for me, but I manage...  
Quoting AKLRNO (Reply 3):
While you are in Rarotonga be sure to rent a bike for a full island tour. You can explore the entire road network in an hour or two. Don't worry about getting lost. If you miss your destination just keep going. You will come back to it the next hour.

Also if you are not otherwise planning to go to Aitutaki (an outlying island) a day trip might be nice.

We'll split our trip: one week on Rarotonga and one week on Aitutaki... so we'll hope to see everything   Good point about the bike, we should try that! Thx

Quoting AKLRNO (Reply 3):
If you have a few hours to kill at LAX try out the Encounter restaurant. It's in the oddly shaped flying-saucer like building in the center of the airport, 3 minutes walk from the NZ's Terminal 2. Great views, good food, and a weird star-trek environment.

We'll probably spend 2 or 3 days in LA and around (haven't thought that out fully, yet...), because MrsStrange has never been to the States, so I'd like to show her at least a tiny little bit...


TheCommodore, thanks very much for the reports, I very much enjoyed reading them. I'll definitley write one (or two) about our trip to the Cook Islands and back!

Quoting agrflyer (Reply 5):
I flew LH in J from FRA to BKK some time ago. The food, seat and service were ok but nothing special and I slept like a baby on the flight. Last year when I was on the way to HKG I flew NZ on the leg LHR to HKG. I prefered NZ's product much more than LH's even I did not like NZ's seat. Nevertheless I would go with LH only due to the fact that you have more legs in J than on the schedule with NZ.

Hi agrflyer, yeah, that is/was my impression, too... But I hope the fact that NZ does not have a First Class will make the J a little better than J at airlines with a separate First...

Quoting agrflyer (Reply 5):
Gute Reise

Dankeschön!

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 6):
If you want the guaranteed J class option then go with LH. If you are willing to wait it out for a better overall product if the upgrades clear than go with the NZ.

While LH Biz class is a consistent decent product the NZ longhaul product is quite a bit better especially thanks to the lieflat seat on 777/747s. As others mentioned the 763 product however is not much to write home about, but atleast on the Atlantic portions you will have something nice to enjoy.

Hi LAXintl, thanks for your opinion. I think I really like the idea of lieflat seats better than LH's version.... Maybe we should try our luck, it is our honeymoon after all. So we should be lucky     

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 6):
Have a good trip!

Thanks, I will write a report about it!

Quoting travelR (Reply 7):
I would probably go with NZ as I think their service and seat on LHR/LAX/LHR would be better than LH business class seat/service. Having tried VS fully flat bed and NZ being a copy of it, I personally think would win hands down to LH old style seat. Depends how badly you want business on the long legs of your trip.

Hi travelR, thanks. I think I tend to agree, after reading all your posts.  


I would like to thank everyone again! If you have any other crazy ideas on how to get to the Cook Islands making the most of my LH-miles, go for it!  


User currently offlinetravelR From Australia, joined Sep 2010, 94 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (3 years 9 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 5112 times:

Quoting DrStrange (Reply 8):
I would like to thank everyone again! If you have any other crazy ideas on how to get to the Cook Islands making the most of my LH-miles, go for it!

Have you thought about a round the world ticket with Star Alliance? Depending on how many miles you actually have and want to spend, you may want to only upgrade the long legs with the carriers that have fully flat beds. An example itinerary could be STR - LHR (LH) - LAX (NZ) - RAR (NZ) - AKL (NZ) - SIN (SQ) - ZRH (SQ) - STR (LX). It may worth considering if you have enough miles and can upgrade on most legs.

Cheers,

Rob



You can never travel too much in your life!
User currently offlineDrStrange From Germany, joined Jul 2007, 49 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (3 years 9 months 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 5077 times:

Quoting travelR (Reply 9):
Have you thought about a round the world ticket with Star Alliance? Depending on how many miles you actually have and want to spend, you may want to only upgrade the long legs with the carriers that have fully flat beds. An example itinerary could be STR - LHR (LH) - LAX (NZ) - RAR (NZ) - AKL (NZ) - SIN (SQ) - ZRH (SQ) - STR (LX). It may worth considering if you have enough miles and can upgrade on most legs.

Hi Rob,
yeah, I checked that already with my travel agent and online at *A.com. Unfortunately, the RTW tickets are pretty expensive. I was actually looking for a cheap way to do a J Class trip. The option of going back and forth via London seems the cheapest way to get to the Cook Islands with one leg guaranteed in J.

We booked our itinerary now. It's going to be J from LHR to RAR and Y all the way back. We're trying our luck with getting the upgrades with miles for the return leg. If not, we spent 600€ too much by going for an upgradable Y-fare.  
We're also planning a stopover in LA for 2 nights, since my future wife has never been to US. Last time I was in LA was in '95 and all I can remember is traffic jams, but she wants to see Hollywood  

I think this will be a marvelous trip and I am really looking forward to the South Pacific, which is a long held dream of mine.


User currently offlinetravelR From Australia, joined Sep 2010, 94 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (3 years 9 months 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 5063 times:

Quoting DrStrange (Reply 10):
We booked our itinerary now. It's going to be J from LHR to RAR and Y all the way back. We're trying our luck with getting the upgrades with miles for the return leg. If not, we spent 600€ too much by going for an upgradable Y-fare.
We're also planning a stopover in LA for 2 nights, since my future wife has never been to US. Last time I was in LA was in '95 and all I can remember is traffic jams, but she wants to see Hollywood

I think this will be a marvelous trip and I am really looking forward to the South Pacific, which is a long held dream of mine.

Good luck with the upgrades for the flights on the way back   . NZ have brilliant service so you shouldn't be disappointed with their service. LA is not too bad now. I went last year and traffic jams are still there but it is LA after all! You should try and visit Santa Monica beach. It is pleasant there and gets you away from traffic jams.

The Cook Islands should be great as heard really good things about them. Would love to go to South Pacific one day. Funnily enough they are on my door step but have never been.

Cheers,

Rob



You can never travel too much in your life!
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