Business class (or almost) Europe to US

Old Sep 29th, 2022, 10:05 AM
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Business class (or almost) Europe to US

We're planning a trip to the US (from Italy) six months from now. My husband has always had trouble sleeping on the return (overnight) flight, and as he gets older, the discomfort increases, and leaves him wiped out for days. We used to fly business class on our return, flying into Milan, but that's no longer possible now that Alitalia has bit the dust. Also the trip home from Milan by train was very tedious. (For some reason, the business fares to Rome were considerably more expensive. )

On our last trip to the US, in December 2021, I found reasonably priced business class fares on the return Delta flight, (JFK to Rome FCO). After this experience, my husband says he wants to always fly business on the way back from the US. On the way over, economy is fine, although I usually get the equivalent of Premium Economy.

The airport (Ancona) near our home has a Lufthansa connection in Munich, which is a very convenient, (and less tiring) itinerary for us, because we have a long train ride, and infrequent trains, from Rome to Le Marche. For this next trip, I checked for Lufthansa business class flights, but they're really very expensive. I suppose we could consider other airlines, flying from Rome, or maybe some other airport on central or northern Italy.

I'm looking for advice on relatively inexpensive Business class fares from Europe to the US, preferably on Lufthansa from Munich to NYC. Also any advice on upgrading on one leg only. On the Lufthansa site, it seems you can upgrade to Business on one leg if you reserve a seat on Premium Economy. I had also read (I don't remember where) that this upgrade could be had for as little as €300. It doesn't seem to be true.

I would be grateful for any help. If there's no good solution to this, I'd also like to know how comfortable Premium Economy is for an overnight flight.
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Old Sep 29th, 2022, 08:41 PM
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I am no help with tickets, but wonder if you have considered just going to a hotel when you land and get a good night’s rest before going on home? I know it might seem crazy when a train journey would get you home in a few hours, but as we get older, our bodies do not cooperate. We used to fly into Germany (dirt cheap flight perks) to visit family in Switzerland and France. We used to just catch a train from the airport as soon as we landed. Out last trips, we stayed in Germany before catching the train the next day.
We used to fly to the Caribbean with a layover in Miami. By time we drove to the airport for a flight time before anybody should be vertical, had the flights and layover, then drove to our family, it was a killer day. Now we stay over in Miami for a nice dinner and hotel both coming and going. It adds time and cost, but we are not wiped out on arrival. Just going to Miami, we can take a later flight too, so we don’t even start off as wiped out. If you have to fly from Rome, spend the night before there. Anything to make the trip more tolerable.
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Old Sep 30th, 2022, 08:38 AM
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I guess it depends on what you call "really very expensive." I just checked the 30-day fare calendar on ITA (the Google-owned flight search site, not the airline) and a business class round trip on United or Lufthansa from Ancona to NYC via Munich for the period starting in mid-April is US$2309, which really isn't that bad. (The United flights are codeshares operated by Lufthansa.) On Expedia, there are also options costing around $1530 round trip, but with intermediate stops in Charlotte NC, using American Airlines widebodies for the transatlantic portions. (The route would be AOI-MUC-CLT-EWR and v.v. on the return.) A couple of extra hours in transit might be worth $800 per person; it would pay for a couple of pretty great nights out in NYC, or a decent hotel upgrade. As I say, bookable on Expedia right now.

Generally trying to split classes of service (one class one way, another on the return) is a recipe for overpaying. What tends to happen is the airlines basically charge a one-way fare in each direction, and when you consider that the one-way business class fare from Newark to Ancona is $2500 (yes, more than the round trip) you can see that this approach isn't usually worthwhile. Now you could phone Lufthansa and see if they have the ability to split the class of service on a ticket, but my guess is that it won't end up saving you much money, if any, and giving up the benefit of the more comfortable seat, lounge access, expedited security etc. that comes with business class would be a waste. Remember too that because of prevailing winds, westbound transatlantic flights are longer than eastbound, sometimes by an hour or more.

Hope this helps.
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Old Sep 30th, 2022, 10:12 AM
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Lufthansa.com allows you to split the fares. Do a search for a Premium Economy roundtrip and you will see the PE and business fares for each way.

I did a search for AOI-NYC, March 29 -April 11, and the business class basic fare was 2400. Business class seating on all four segments going via MUC.

The search for PE showed 417 with economy on AOI-MUC and PE for MUC-JFK. I chose that and for the return I had s choice of 980 for PE or 1200 for business class. Chose the latter for a ticket price €1617.

I did notice a couple of fares that were slightly cheaper in both classes; Might be a long connection time. You should be able to get any of those fares with a Munich stopover of up to 24 hours.

The have three fare options in each class, eg €1200, €1300, €1400 business

Last edited by mrwunrfl; Sep 30th, 2022 at 10:15 AM.
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Old Oct 1st, 2022, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by mrwunrfl View Post
Lufthansa.com allows you to split the fares. Do a search for a Premium Economy roundtrip and you will see the PE and business fares for each way.

I did a search for AOI-NYC, March 29 -April 11, and the business class basic fare was €2400. Business class seating on all four segments going via MUC.

The search for PE showed €417 with economy on AOI-MUC and PE for MUC-JFK. I chose that and for the return I had s choice of €980 for PE or €1200 for business class. Chose the latter for a ticket price €1617.

I did notice a couple of fares that were slightly cheaper in both classes; Might be a long connection time. You should be able to get any of those fares with a Munich stopover of up to 24 hours.

The have three fare options in each class, eg €1200, €1300, €1400 business
Thank you very much! I don't see the fares you show. Maybe it's because when I select Premium Economy or Business, it automatically sets that option also for the tract AOI-MUC and MUC-AOI. This is a very short flight, on dinky little plane, where Economy is as good as you'll get. I'm using the Lufthansa Italian site. Is there some way to get Economy on that short leg in both directions?

Thanks again for your help!

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Old Oct 1st, 2022, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Sassafrass View Post
I am no help with tickets, but wonder if you have considered just going to a hotel when you land and get a good night’s rest before going on home? I know it might seem crazy when a train journey would get you home in a few hours, but as we get older, our bodies do not cooperate. We used to fly into Germany (dirt cheap flight perks) to visit family in Switzerland and France. We used to just catch a train from the airport as soon as we landed. Out last trips, we stayed in Germany before catching the train the next day.
We used to fly to the Caribbean with a layover in Miami. By time we drove to the airport for a flight time before anybody should be vertical, had the flights and layover, then drove to our family, it was a killer day. Now we stay over in Miami for a nice dinner and hotel both coming and going. It adds time and cost, but we are not wiped out on arrival. Just going to Miami, we can take a later flight too, so we don’t even start off as wiped out. If you have to fly from Rome, spend the night before there. Anything to make the trip more tolerable.
When flying through Rome, we always spend the night before our outgoing flight in Rome, partly because a late-arriving train in the morning might make us miss our flight. Unless our destination is on the east coast of the US, we also spend a few days (in both directions) in the NY area, where one of my daughters lives. In this case, our final destination will be Indiana, but we've already planned to break the journey in both directions at my daughter's house.I've never considered spending a night in Rome on the way back. The flights tend to arrive early in the morning, and most hotels have check-in in the early afternoon. We could usually be on a train sooner, and maybe sleep on the train.

Anyway, I think that, with the help of others, we'll be able to find a reasonable fare with Lufthansa, so we won't have that connection in Rome.

We live in a rural area in Le Marche. The train from Rome is single track beginning at the Umbria border. It's one of the few single-track railways left in Italy, and no one seems to be in a hurry to upgrade it. That means that any sort of problem in either direction can create havoc with the schedules.

Thanks very much for your suggestions!
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Old Oct 1st, 2022, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Gardyloo View Post
I guess it depends on what you call "really very expensive." I just checked the 30-day fare calendar on ITA (the Google-owned flight search site, not the airline) and a business class round trip on United or Lufthansa from Ancona to NYC via Munich for the period starting in mid-April is US$2309, which really isn't that bad. (The United flights are codeshares operated by Lufthansa.) On Expedia, there are also options costing around $1530 round trip, but with intermediate stops in Charlotte NC, using American Airlines widebodies for the transatlantic portions. (The route would be AOI-MUC-CLT-EWR and v.v. on the return.) A couple of extra hours in transit might be worth $800 per person; it would pay for a couple of pretty great nights out in NYC, or a decent hotel upgrade. As I say, bookable on Expedia right now.

Generally trying to split classes of service (one class one way, another on the return) is a recipe for overpaying. What tends to happen is the airlines basically charge a one-way fare in each direction, and when you consider that the one-way business class fare from Newark to Ancona is $2500 (yes, more than the round trip) you can see that this approach isn't usually worthwhile. Now you could phone Lufthansa and see if they have the ability to split the class of service on a ticket, but my guess is that it won't end up saving you much money, if any, and giving up the benefit of the more comfortable seat, lounge access, expedited security etc. that comes with business class would be a waste. Remember too that because of prevailing winds, westbound transatlantic flights are longer than eastbound, sometimes by an hour or more.

Hope this helps.
Thanks for your help. I checked the round-trip business fares, and it is a little more expensive than splitting the fare class. Not much, though, so it's tempting.

I'm using the Italian site of Lufthansa, and the order of flights is AOI-EWR, EWR-AOI. There are no business class flights for less than €4500 round trip on that site. I think I'll have my daughter check to see if she can get a better price on the US site.
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Old Oct 1st, 2022, 09:33 AM
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We might be looking at very different dates. Can you be a little more specific?
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Old Oct 1st, 2022, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by bvlenci View Post
Thank you very much! I don't see the fares you show. Maybe it's because when I select Premium Economy or Business, it automatically sets that option also for the tract AOI-MUC and MUC-AOI. This is a very short flight, on dinky little plane, where Economy is as good as you'll get. I'm using the Lufthansa Italian site. Is there some way to get Economy on that short leg in both directions?

Thanks again for your help!
No and you don't want to do that anyway.

I took a look at booking two tickets, an economy roundtrip from AOI and split PE/BB from MUC. Saw 1200 for the BB JFK->MUC fare which was the same as BB JFK->MUC->AOI. The total price for the two end-on-end tickets was more than the one split fare ticket.

I used the Lufthansa Italian site and got the split fare ticket price of about 1603 EUR per person for two. You are sort of getting a free upgrade on the MUC->AOI segment.

I see the AOI flights are on a CRJ with 2 by 2 seating. In "business" class they block the seat next to you, so you could sit across the aisle from each other with the blocked window seats being empty.
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Old Oct 1st, 2022, 01:50 PM
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IDK if you can get the 400/1200 split fare on your travel dates. I did see shorter connection times on the dates I chose. 55 m and 1 hr 5 min, maybe a bit too short
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Old Oct 1st, 2022, 03:30 PM
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When I said "no" above I really meant that I did not see a way to get do it online.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2022, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Gardyloo View Post
We might be looking at very different dates. Can you be a little more specific?
I don't have specific dates. I want to arrive in New York no later than the 6th of April and leave no earlier than the 12th. I'd like to remain in the US for about 12 days.

I have a plan to surprise one of my daughters for a big decade birthday. We'll arrive in NY, spend a few days with my other daughter there, then we'll all fly to Indiana, where the birthday daughter lives. The latter will be expecting her sister, will go to the airport to pick her up, and find us there too. After the birthday, we'll return to NY, and remain there a day or two so my husband can rest up for the transatlantic flight.

Unfortunately my daughter's birthday this year coincides with Easter, and probably various spring breaks, which is may be pushing up prices for my possible dates. I checked prices for the month on Google Flights and didn't see any wriggle room that would help me.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2022, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by mrwunrfl View Post
No and you don't want to do that anyway.

I took a look at booking two tickets, an economy roundtrip from AOI and split PE/BB from MUC. Saw 1200 for the BB JFK->MUC fare which was the same as BB JFK->MUC->AOI. The total price for the two end-on-end tickets was more than the one split fare ticket.

I used the Lufthansa Italian site and got the split fare ticket price of about 1603 EUR per person for two. You are sort of getting a free upgrade on the MUC->AOI segment.

I see the AOI flights are on a CRJ with 2 by 2 seating. In "business" class they block the seat next to you, so you could sit across the aisle from each other with the blocked window seats being empty.
SeatGuru Seat Map Lufthansa

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I see what you're doing. In real life, I wouldn't risk buying separate tickets. Ancona airport is small, and flights are not always on time. On rare occasions flights from there have been cancelled due to fog, in which case we've been taken by bus to Pescara.

I think I'll try to do this by phone. I'm going wait a few weeks before booking to see if prices will go down.

Munich Airport is pretty well laid out for connections. I've made connections there in less than an hour. I prefer a short connection. However the dates I chose, there was a significant savings with the godawful early departure from Ancona, and a longer connection time.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2022, 09:48 AM
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Those fares look good to me, especially the 417 euro for the outbound flight.That is the lowest fare at that time, other days it is over 900. All fares offer "Rebooking without fee (fare difference may apply)". That might mean they would refund the difference if rebooked at a lower fare. or maybe just a credit.
Fully refundable price for the split fare: 1.923,74EUR
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