January 6, 2018 at 12:30 pm NZST #3891
I’m looking to fly back to the UK to visit my mother sometime around March/April/May (does not really matter exactly when).
The Finance Minister is being very resistant to splurging for anything above Economy, something that is almost enough to stop me going, as I hate Economy and find it generally uncomfortable to the point of being torturous on more than one occasion (Economy on Emirates was the last) the seat caused me such pain every time I moved that I almost wept and so I would much rather not fly it for long haul.
She found a very cheap flight on China Southern, $1200 return. The route is a bit convoluted (AKL-CAN-AMS-CDG) then Eurostar to London. Obviously that is Economy and the next cabin up is $5000 return.
Air NZ is $3000+ return in Economy on the same dates, but I do have a recognition upgrade (one) and Koru, as well as Silver Airpoints. However double or more for the flights just to get to use those is a bit steep. PE is over $6000.
Anyone have any thoughts on China Southern or any other suggestions?January 7, 2018 at 10:28 am NZST #3892
There’s a few issues here:
1) Aircraft type I think is a key factor flying long haul Y.
2) I’m a fan of flying west to the UK. It’s generally cheaper and I like the potential for a Perth or Asia stopover.
3) If you don’t like EK’s A380? economy then you may need to look into the points game where you buy frequent flyer miles from American, Alaska, Avianca life miles or transferring from SPG to airlines so you can pay for a premium cabin seat for sometimes a third of the price. eg I bought AA miles and know I can book QF business class all the way to Perth for ~ $633 one way and an economy fare on sale is ~ $419 on NZ. Not much more. J outright is around $1400 early. Loads of reading required although point hacks is advertising Frequent Traveler University in Brisbane, a weekend course in April that discusses these programs. I’d love to go but can’t commit and think it’s unlikely I’d attend but am already invested in this method. It’s the award search and availability that is the sticking point with this method but can be worth it.
There are also airlines that allow you to bid to upgrade per sector, so pay for economy but maybe upgrade the main long haul flight.
4) Your flight schedule. Flying Y is more tolerable during the day although the downside is it eats into your time away vs flying overnight and not paying for accommodation. But that’s a personal choice and dependent on airline schedule.
5) Some airlines allow you to purchase a comfort seat in economy like the seat next to you as well.
Personally when it comes to economy I think an A380 or A330 (2-4-2 layout) provides a better ride.
I like EK’s A380 especially if you can get the exit seats.
The other airline I’d look into is Qatar’s A380 who fly SYD MEL with PER to start in March. Upper deck economy in particular has a 2-4-2 layout with extra storage bins by windows but looks synonymous with PE. In general you need One World Ruby status to select these seats but I did read if you show up early to the airport and ask nicely there is a chance you can get these seats. I’d actually like to try these out myself. Qatar do have sales on as well and I’m sure they just finished one ~ $1600 return in Y.
Singapore also have a similar layout but only on certain versions of their A380s. Otherwise their economy on their A380 is supposed to be roomy ( as far as economy goes) but I never find SQ that cheap.
I’m not sure if it’s on all A380s but have seen a seat in row 68 or 69. It’s an aisle seat on the left hand side of the middle row of 4 seats that has the seat missing in front so good leg room?
You could also look to see if Scoot have any Scootbiz seats on sale. Basically a PE style seat. It’s Singapore airlines LCC arm. They fly out of the Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth to Singapore. I think they have some Scoot in silence and Stretch seat available and you can pay to upgrade if seats available in Scootbiz. It’s a 789 medium to long haul flights. Only flown them once but happy to add them to a list of carriers I’d fly.
– However I would eat and drink what you needed to prior to the flight as onboard isn’t amazing and even water I think you need to pay for, so I’d sneak you’re own bottle into your bag.
– I don’t think their on time performance is great meaning I’d leave plenty of time for connections. I flew them SIN-SYD and had an onward ticket to AKL booked via Air NZ (but VA flight) because NZ had the better last minute change policy. Worked out perfect, we departed SIN on time and arrived into Syd collected bags, went to bathroom then VA’s check-in opened. I think connection time was ~ 4hrs but I had the mindset if we were delayed leaving I could change my flight online to the next flight with fare difference. Most of the time everything runs on time so I was gambling a bit but knew the pitfalls.
Free airport wifi at Changi and I think for 24hrs when you sign up with their app. There’s high frequency TT flights home as well out of Sydney so easy enough changing to the next flight. I like back up plans for when things go wrong and I try not to book the last flight of the day, make sure there’s one or two flights up your sleeve. You’ll need to check the schedules as well for Scoot. Used to be day flights from Gold Coast, Syd and Mel to SIN but red eye from Perth but may have changed. Personally I was happy with seat for an overnight flight. Onboard Wifi is great. Food a bit meh but we ate dinner prior then slept so no biggy.
If you were flying to Singapore I would stop there overnight and not connect the same day if flying Scoot just in case. It’s not worth the stress of missing the onward connection especially med-long haul and the frequency of departures for airlines isn’t the same as say TT crossings out of Syd.
Air Asia is another one with the angle premium bed which I hear you can upgrade at the airport if seats available. I’m personally not keen on Air Asia but have friends that happily fly them.
Norwegian fly I think LGW to SIN. Also a LCC but have PE. If you get in at the right time these seats can be cheap but like other airlines their prices will go up closer to your dates.
Personally I’d be travelling in a westward direction and try and break the trip up if Y all the way in one go is going to break you. Maybe stopover in Singapore?
Fly Australia to connect to Scoot / Singapore / EK / QF as it’s not far up to Singapore from there. Stop, then I’d fly a Middle eastern carrier EK / EY / QR as it’s about 6-7hrs max to ME then another 8hrs or so to LHR or wherever you’re flying so medium haul.
You’ll need to look at scheduling for the best connections.
You could hop via MEL to Perth and catch a long haul carrier from there to the UK. I think I flew NZ to Perth then caught Qatar but there was a decent layover so I grabbed a car to store bags and shot out to Swan Valley wineries then returned for flight. But then your main long haul is Perth – Doha, the rest are all medium haul flights. Doha is also easy to transit as is MEL.
Etihad also has the option to bid to upgrade. I did this AUH-PER from economy to business and it all seemed pretty easy. I was flying off peak and knew it was a sale fare AUD $900 Perth – Rome return so figured it must be light loadings. Had economy row to myself on way over so really got lucky with that trip. I found some formula last year that gave advice on what to bid for an upgrade. It’s just a guideline really and it’s up to you. Note it is only for one sector but useful if its successful on your long haul sector.
I guess if you wanted to use your RU you could try it NZ to Hawaii and then fly the shorter hop to mainland US. But you still have to get to the UK. I guess you could fly to the east coast US for ~ 4.5-5hr? then transatlantic to the UK. I don’t like the chances of it clearing AKL-LAX or LAX-LHR and you have to be happy your seat like if it doesn’t come through.
I don’t know much about China Southern although I would probably look at the Airline Ratings website, Tripadvisor should have reviews. There will be something on you tube as well. You’ll be able to check the aircraft by searching google flights for your route.
It’s a long trip and you’re weighing up your time to get there, your comfort, cost of accommodation if you choose to stopover and general price (oh and sanity!). At the end of the day seeing family is important.
This is just based on my own experience or reading around the carriers I know I enjoy. I’m curious, was it EK’s 777 or A380 you flew in Y and was it an exit seat? If it’s an A380 exit seat you didn’t enjoy then I don’t like your chances of enjoying any other airlines Y (except QR upper deck). Breaking up your trip sounds to be the best bet.January 7, 2018 at 10:41 am NZST #3893
Just found this. You could fly Y to MEL, transit to Perth easily tolerable. Then hop this Madrid flight and catch a cheap flight to UK. I’d definitely build a stopover for a real cheap bed either in Perth or Madrid (separate tickets are the biggest risks so either stopover or have a massive layover with a great back up plan).
I did land in Perth once and felt tired with a 6-7hr layover so jumped on my hotels.com app and booked a place close to the airport ~$100 to sleep. Pick up and drop off included. I didn’t regret it at all. Not flash but just needed the bed.January 7, 2018 at 2:54 pm NZST #3894
Thanks for the comprehensive replies!
The EK flight I had so much trouble with was a 777 from SYD to DXB via BKK.
I can only describe the problem as feeling like the gluteus muscles were adhering to my pelvic bones and then, when I moved, peeling away again. Agony. Genuine tears in the eyes agony.
Cheapest Y on Air NZ at the moment is code share SQ via Canberra and SIN. About $450 cheaper than Air NZ metal via LAX.
It’s a shame it’s so hard to mix class on the same booking so you could book business or PE on long sectors and Y on medium etc.January 8, 2018 at 8:31 am NZST #3895
I flew China Southern back from China of all places, they were very good, and the staff is keen to impress. I would be happy to fly with them again.January 18, 2018 at 3:43 pm NZST #3960
AFF sent this out on their email. Seems like a great deal to get to London! They fly from Auckland and are bringing in their new A350 March I think with PE that looks good. The TT carriers are timing their upgrades and frequencies for when Emirates departs the AKL Tasman routes.
If you can’t get the deal out of Auckland then just hop a cheapie to Oz.
I havent flown China Airlines but am pretty sure once they get their A350 to NZ I’m keen to try them. They’re Skyteam and I’ve yet to figure out where to credit points.January 18, 2018 at 3:48 pm NZST #3961
Ends 31 Jan.
p.s. Editing on phone didn’t seem to bring up full screen to editJanuary 18, 2018 at 10:11 pm NZST #3962
Thanks for posting that! I booked PE from AKL to LGW for NZ$2400 return.
It’s all A350 too.
Great pricing, too good to pass up. Air New Zealand want more than that one way…January 19, 2018 at 1:47 pm NZST #3967
I’d love to randomly book that 🙂 It’s an amazing deal. It’s ~$1200 NZD AKL-LAX in PE when on sale and that’s only half way to your destination. Cathay has a sale on now also but it doesn’t even come close to these prices.
At least you can look forward to it now instead of dreading it.April 13, 2018 at 12:51 pm NZST #4393
You might find the free wifi promo for your flight useful. Only glanced at the article but should be good AKL all the way through to LGW. Follow the links and have your ticket # and reservation # handy. If you may fly them again you could download their app. Looks a lot better and more functional than I expected.April 13, 2018 at 3:34 pm NZST #4394
Well spotted! I did do it and have got 24hrs of free wifi. Thanks!
Downside is it only works once, so on the return I won’t get it, but it’s a nice perk to have at least once!
Not long to go now. The flights will be a little arduous, at around 14 hours to Taipei and then the same again to LGW with only a few hours on the ground in between to stretch the legs etc. Priority Pass will find me a lounge though I expect.April 18, 2018 at 9:10 pm NZST #4419
You may want to eat well on the ground rather than relying on F&B in the air and bring along your own devices with movies and charging cords etc.
Given your travel time is so long you could also wander back to economy to have a play with the seat eg recline, leg room, width, to see if it’s something you’d find comfortable long haul another time. I did try this with Etihad but crew told me to tell a little white lie to the Y crew that I was looking for a friend. Felt like a right criminal! Plane was pretty full and it was dark with people asleep so hard to spot a spare seat. Then when I did find one I wasn’t long there and the FA came by and asked if I found my friend….umm….no? haha. So didn’t really form an opinion on the seat but hey fun times.
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