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To your topic and question. Do you belong to a specific frequent flyer program you accrue miles in even with an occasional flight or credit card use? A trip to DXB
is a long ride so you would first want to consider your investment in a ticket paying you rewards for its use. Living in Chicago, a logical choice of program would likely be UA
and their alliance programs provide travel options on the LH
flight options. DL
and its SkyMiles partners AF
/KL also offer DXB
service including DL
's nonstop service via ATL
and they offer Economy Plus/Comfort options such as UA
Do consider cost and schedule convenience. Your first international trip should not involve multiple plane changes, long lay-overs and oddball routings for the sake of a cheap ticket. Part of the experience is the flying and travel involved and it can be a sorry start to a vacation if you're beat half to death when you arrive.
Think best fare, schedule convenience and least likely scenario of flight delays/disruptions with multiple plane changes particularly if you have limited travel time. 2 days are taken up just traveling to and from, and factor in time changes and recovering from jetlag.
You have said that UA
offers the best fare and schedule. Two important considerations decided almost for you right there. As suggested by Roseflyer, buy up to UA
Y+ (you saved $$ on the ticket right?) for the added legroom and seat comfort. Also budget for bag fees roundtrip and that glass of wine or beer the 2 of you have with dinner on board.
Now where are you money-wise in comparing the choices on AA
/LX or DL
/AF/KL? Keep in mind with these 3 airline programs you'll accrue miles for your trip so factor in who most likely you'd fly with in the future.
I am not sure I'll be as quick to rank traveling Y class as miserable in every experience. Many factors can contribute to an unpleasant experience with delays, crying kids, less than delicious meals, and the potential for a crew with a like attitude; however, no two flights are alike and many can be routine, almost ho hum pleasant experiences. Not to speak of getting you to a new and exciting place to visit. As my beloved Grandmother told me "Stop your complaining. You'll never know the difference a hundred years from now." Or my favorite "This too shall pass."
is getting a lot of bad press right now. It is a difficult time for UA
and its people, but I would not rule them out as a serious contender for your business. There are good people at UA
working everyday to make their airline a success, and in time they'll overcome many of their merger-related shortcomings.
You will not fly in the lap of luxury to DXB
if you don't buy it, but you're not strapped into a 1945 troop transport riding in bucket seats either. You're not going to get Filet Mignon and Champagne in Y so don't expect it.
So vote with your wallet. What airline will you likely fly with the most (even a new one you pick for this trip) in the future? Does that airline offer you the BEST VALUE for your money (even if a bit pricier) for schedule convenience, service, and reputation for reliable operation? That criteria certainly includes UA
Good Luck with your plans. Let us know what you book,
P.S. Not sure flying EK
all those miles offer any reward as they do not code-share or partner with any US based airline.
watch what you want. you may get it.