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Flying From UK To Oz Via USA  
User currently offlinen729pa From UK - England, joined Jan 2011, 432 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 1 month 3 weeks 2 days ago) and read 4765 times:

I'm planning another trip to Australia next year from LHR. As a QF FF you can guess who I'm intending to fly with. I know I can book a flight with QF via the US, for example LHR-JFK-SYD....LHR-JFK is on BA, then pick up the Qantas flight to Sydney.

Seemingly silly question, but is this a good idea going via JFK?

Normally I fly via SIN or in the "old" days when QF had several routes from LHR, via HKG. But this time I fancied something different. If I want to go to BNE for example I can even change at LAX for another QF flight from there.

I guess I'm not entering the US, only transiting through it......a good idea or a bad one?
The last time I went to the US, it was on Pan Am, that's how long ago it was!

I dare say the LAX-SYD or BNE sector will be one long featureless flight, compared to flying over the Far East, but how do you feel when you arrive in SYD. From LHR via SIN, I can sleep for hours, so tend to suffer very little jet lag, but this is a slightly longer route and with more time zones, how can I expect to feel? (assuming I get a good peaceful flight of course)

I know NZ does the LHR-LAX-AKL which is similar in principal but I just wondered what the general thoughts where, particularly transitting JFK, is there anything I need to consider or be aware of?

I'd be interested to know if anyone else has done this route too for example.

Thanks in advance

13 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineplaneguy727 From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 1251 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (2 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 4737 times:

When you transit via the US you will need to clear US customs and immigration. There is no sterile transit area. This will involve claiming your luggage and rechecking. At JFK British is at T7, Qantas at T8. This will require using the airtrain and clearing security again.

What about doing BA to DFW and connect to QF from there? Would still require the customs/immigration steps, but might make it more interesting?



I want to live in an old and converted 727...
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25860 posts, RR: 22
Reply 2, posted (2 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 4728 times:

Quoting n729pa (Thread starter):
Seemingly silly question, but is this a good idea going via JFK?

Unless you're actually visiting the U.S. I would avoid a routing where you're only connecting there due to the immigration/security hassles and having to claim your bags etc.

Or if you decide to do it, why not connect from BA to QF at LAX rather than JFK to avoid the extra stop?


User currently onlineRoseflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9697 posts, RR: 52
Reply 3, posted (2 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 4711 times:

I'd avoid the extra JFK stop if possible. You can fly SYD/MEL/BNE-LAX-LHR. The transit in LAX is 6 hours or more eastbound, but is fairly reasonable westbound.

The westbound flights are really good for jetlag. If you can force yourself to stay up on the LHR-LAX segment, you can then sleep the LAX-SYD flight away and you should feel somewhat reasonable. Eastbound it is a double redeye with you stuck in an airport terminal (or stopping by the famous In N Out) when your body clock tells you it is the early morning hours.

LAX is not a particularly nice airport to transfer through. You don't have to switch terminals with BA & QF combo. You would have to go through immigration in the US as well as customs.

Prices tend to be high connecting through the US because no airline other than Air New Zealand is offering any discount through tickets. UA stopped issuing discount fares for SYD-LHR/FRA, so the fare you end paying is the same as buying a SYD-SFO and then a SFO-LHR ticket. Delta doesn't offer any SYD-LHR discount fares either.



If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineRyanairGuru From Australia, joined Oct 2006, 5906 posts, RR: 5
Reply 4, posted (2 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 4707 times:

Quoting n729pa (Thread starter):
I guess I'm not entering the US, only transiting through it......a good idea or a bad one?

I'm sure many people would say bad, but I have connected international-international through the USA before and it wasn't a big issue. If anything it gave me something somewhat interesting to do during the layover. Also it means I can go outside and get some fresh air, which is something I desperately want after 14 hours in a tube. At SIN and HKG I get to admire said air through nice shiny windows.

Quoting n729pa (Thread starter):
I dare say the LAX-SYD or BNE sector will be one long featureless flight, compared to flying over the Far East, but how do you feel when you arrive in SYD.

Well it's featureless in as much as there is nothing to see out of the window, but otherwise there is no noticeable difference between LAX-SYD and SIN-LHR. And it really is nothing: the runways at LAX end in the Pacific Ocean ... and the runways at SYD and BNE end in the Pacific Ocean! If the winds are going the other way you might get a loop over the city but that's it.

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 3):
If you can force yourself to stay up on the LHR-LAX segment, you can then sleep the LAX-SYD flight away and you should feel somewhat reasonable.

I agree, I've never had a problem sleeping on LAX-Aus. Admittedly you've got another 5 time zones as well but when coming from the East Coast I work on the basis that if I stay awake until I leave LAX (23:30 is 02:30 ET) then I will sleep pretty much the entire way until breakfast save for a few trips to the bathroom

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 3):
You don't have to switch terminals with BA & QF combo

Actually BNE departs from T4 rather than TBIT, although it takes all of 30 seconds to walk from one to the other. There is a bus, but it's going back to that fresh air thing again!


My advice is do it, it could be fun. If you haven't been to the USA for a long time it would be good to go through there again. US airports aren't anything on HKG and SIN, but so long as you expect that you'll be fine



Worked Hard, Flew Right
User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 26022 posts, RR: 50
Reply 5, posted (2 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 4692 times:

What time of year do you plan to do this ?

Whether its winter snow or summer thunderstorms, the weather could make your trip more complex via JFK.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineYankeesFan From United States of America, joined Aug 2012, 216 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (2 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 4681 times:

Wouldn't you do this? LHR-LAX-SYD on UA?


I hope you stand by your promises Obama. I will be really mad if you don't
User currently offlinemad99 From Spain, joined Mar 2012, 611 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (2 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 4677 times:

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 2):
immigration/security hassles

agreed

Also, you will need an ESTA even if you transfer only. The ESTA costs 15 usd and you can do it on the web page.

I've seen web pages that look like ESTA pages but are not and charge more than the 15 so be careful.

Once you do the ESTA process you've only done the application so you need to check back to see if everything is correct.
On my last flight i was held in ams and not allowed to board because the ESTA was not accepted (my second esta to date). In the end i was allowed on but nerve racking ..

I pay more to transfer in Europe and avoid the us unless i'm going
.


User currently offlineqf002 From Australia, joined Jul 2011, 2994 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (2 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 4660 times:

I have done this, but it was many years ago and we were actually stopping in the US en route. I certainly don't see why you shouldn't, even if the immigration experience through the US is nothing like as good as Asia...

It's worth noting that QF will only very rarely show you options via the US when you do a search for flights between Australia and Europe, so you either need to use a travel agent or navigate the online multi-city booking system (which can be temperamental at times). The prices that come out are sometimes absurd as well, because these itineraries are sometimes sold as 4 individual flights rather than being treated as a LHR-SYD flight as the Asian routing QF ones are.

Another interesting QF routing (if you're going to BNE) could be LHR-DFW-BNE...

Quoting YankeesFan (Reply 6):
Wouldn't you do this? LHR-LAX-SYD on UA?

UA is dismal to Australia when compared to every other airline flying the route, especially in Y.


User currently offlineYankeesFan From United States of America, joined Aug 2012, 216 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (2 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 4646 times:

Quoting qf002 (Reply 8):
Quoting YankeesFan (Reply 6):
Wouldn't you do this? LHR-LAX-SYD on UA?

UA is dismal to Australia when compared to every other airline flying the route, especially in Y.

Well that's the only option from LAX or SFO if he wants to stay on one airline. Otherwise good luck.



I hope you stand by your promises Obama. I will be really mad if you don't
User currently offlineaklrno From United States of America, joined Dec 2010, 973 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (2 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 4621 times:

Will you be doing this before or after March 2013? There will be a big difference at LAX around then. The security and airside facilities at the Bradley building (TBIT) where Qantas is changes completely. The old airside facilities will get a well deserved demolition. The experience (even with the need to clear customs and security at LAX) should be much, much better. One A380 sized gate is now open and it looks like a great place to sit before your flight, but before March the odds are your gate will be in the old building. After March I think the old gates close.

AFAIK the opening is on schedule, but I don't know if it is the beginning or end of March. Check lawa.org/laxdev for some photos (click on the photos tab.)


User currently offlinen729pa From UK - England, joined Jan 2011, 432 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (2 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 4577 times:

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 5):
What time of year do you plan to do this ?

Hopefully May June sort of time.

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 2):
Or if you decide to do it, why not connect from BA to QF at LAX rather than JFK to avoid the extra stop?


It was purely an QF BA are not very generous with their miles, AA are slightly better, so hence my original idea was to fly as shorter a route as possible with BA, then pick up the maximum points from with QF from there. I enjoy flying QF (and I'm only talking about Y class too, nothing fancy like F or C).


Quoting qf002 (Reply 8):
It's worth noting that QF will only very rarely show you options via the US when you do a search for flights between Australia and Europe, so you either need to use a travel agent or navigate the online multi-city booking system (which can be temperamental at times). The prices that come out are sometimes absurd as well, because these itineraries are sometimes sold as 4 individual flights rather than being treated as a LHR-SYD flight as the Asian routing QF ones are.

Yes I'd noticed that. Oddly enough I think it was last year when I was putting a trip together some odd routes came up including over LAX back to LHR, even NRT back to LHR and from PER over JNB on SA. You have put each stop in to get the correct flights SYD-JFK-LHR for example. Oddly enough you can't seem to be able to select a JFK-LHR flight the same day as the QF one arrives in JFK even though there's plenty of time. If multicity each stop actually sometimes the fares are only GBP100-200 difference, that's based on a multicity Australia/NZ search.

I was looking at following the British & Irish Lions Rugby team in Australia, coming down for the 3 test series in BNE, MEL and SYD at the end of June. I normally come down in May as that tends to be cheaper and I can cover more ground/flights than in the high season. Trouble is with a possible 30-40,000 rugby fans also coming down for the Lions tour, the difference in fares and hotels between May and June is noticable. This is also partly why I was looking at an alternative route rather than via Far East ,,,..sorry Middle East now isn't it!...whilst sticking with QF too.

I thing I find odd about the QF multicity search is that you look one day and get a fare £4123 and the next day you pick the same route and get £1172.




Thank you everyone for your replies so far, it's really been very helpful and I had my suspicions about JFK, but I didn't know about not having the transit facility, ie you have to clear customs/imigration ....makes transitting the US a bit more tricky especially at the larger gateways like JFK. That's been very useful to know.

"Planeguy727" thank you especially for the detailed information.

"mad99"....another thing to worry about, I agree

Maybe I'm destined to see Dubai for the first time after all! I think someone said above, it's one thing to have to go through all this to enter the US, when that is your intended destination, but perhaps not worth it if you're just passing through. Something for me to think about!

[Edited 2012-10-05 10:46:57]

[Edited 2012-10-05 10:48:26]

User currently offlinesomething From United Kingdom, joined May 2011, 1633 posts, RR: 21
Reply 12, posted (2 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 4569 times:

You didn't make clear what exactly compels you to fly through the USA. Just the itinerary, flight time, schedules, price, mileage accrual etc. For milage accrual, you might want to do try LHR-MAD-SCL-SYD on IB, LA and QF. It's probably also the most interesting routing. For convenience, I'd go on the QF A388 LHR-SIN-SYD. There's also LHR-NRT-SYD on JL. Or LHR-AMM-BKK-SYD on RJ and QF.

Going through the USA isn't the worst thing to do, but I think in terms of airlines, aircraft, miles, price, convience, schedule etc. you can do much better than that.



..sick of it. -K. Pilkington.
User currently offlinemad99 From Spain, joined Mar 2012, 611 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 4391 times:

I almost didn't go to jfk last week because even though i did the ESTA (second one) a few weeks ago it wasn't accepted. I provided the printed ESTA doc off the web but Delta had to ring the us and after an hour and a half they let me on the plane.

You should check to see if its been accepted before you go...


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