Tag Archives: aeroplan

Swiss Miss?

As I work my way through becoming a certified “blogging expert” – which is totally a thing – one of the things I never know about is whether stuff I happen upon will be of interest to you, my loyal reader(s). Hyatt mistake price at a mediocre hotel in Paris? OMG LOL OMFG!!!! Tons of availability in first class from New Zealand to the US? Snoozeville. So, with that in mind, here’s something:

Swiss just loaded a bunch of business class availability from Zurich to San Francisco next spring. I found out because I have a bunch of Expertflyer alerts set for the day I’m flying home from my trade show in Germany in June. Here’s United’s calendar for that route (some of those days with availability are for mixed cabin awards on other carriers, but most of them have direct availability on Swiss):

swissmiss

As far as my situation is concerned, I’m trying to decide whether or not to change my current itinerary, which is in business class on SAS via Copenhagen. There are some pros and cons to changing. Pro: no connection, no 7AM flight from Zurich to Copenhagen followed by a 3-hour layover, and the direct flight on Swiss would give me time to check out the awesome-looking terrace in the Swiss business class lounge. Con: Aeroplan’s new higher change fee ($150 CAD). Plus, I’d have to call Swiss customer service to pick a seat, since there are only a limited number of “throne” seats, and all but three are currently filled on the day I need to fly – and it would suck if I went through the hassle of calling Aeroplan to change my flight only to find out I had to *GASP* sit next to a stranger. Plus, I’m booked in 9H on my SAS flight, which, as you’ll know as a loyal reader of my blog, is my favorite seat on the plane. I think it’s worth the shitty itinerary in exchange for 11 hours in 9H on SAS’s A340 vs. rolling the dice on Swiss. That said, I also have a bunch of alerts for first class awards back from Europe on that day (Swiss via ZRH, which I know is unlikely, as well as Singapore and Lufthansa via Frankfurt), and I’ll jump through all manner of hoops if any of those become available.

So there you go – is this interesting to you? Is it rare for Swiss to release so much award space? Does that calendar not really count as “so much,” since there’s only availability on around half of the days? Who knows, but if I help just one person fly back from Europe in luxury, then I’ve succeeded at life.

All Mixed Up

I’m intrigued by Aeroplan – in general, it offers a user-friendly way to search for Star Alliance awards, and business class awards to Europe are 45,000 miles each way. That’s a favorable comparison to United, which charges 57,500 miles for their own flights and 70,000 miles for partner flights. The problem I keep running into with Aeroplan is only seeing availability for goddamned mixed cabin awards that no rational person would ever spend miles on. I realize this problem isn’t specific to Aeroplan, since they’re just reporting availability from across the Star Alliance network. It’s just as bad when searching availability on United, and although you sometimes have the option to exclude mixed cabin awards from showing up in the list of flights for a specific date, you can’t view an availability calendar that has been filtered to get rid of mixed cabin awards. That means that you have to sift through date after date of available flights to find a single cabin award – and if you live in San Francisco, you may never find it.

Hey wait a second, here’s something funny. I went over to Aeroplan to pick a random date in order to find a representative example of how annoying mixed cabin awards can be, and I found this:

sas

SAS partner availability in business class?! I’m definitely filing this away for future consideration. SAS’s new business class cabin looks super nice, although everything I’ve heard suggests that SAS almost never releases partner award space. I also have a soft spot for SAS, since I love their livery… even though the one time I flew them, I was on a plane that looked like it had been in service since the 1980s.

This image doesn’t totally do the livery justice, since my favorite thing about it is the “misty morning gray” color scheme. Especially when it’s contrasted against an airfield full of nondescript white European planes.

 

SAS new business class seat

Okay, back to my irritation over mixed cabin awards…

Here’s a good one: 45,000 miles for a 1 hour flight in “business” (which on an intra-Europe flight means a coach seat with the middle seat blocked off and maybe a meal) and a 12 hour transatlantic flight in Economy. What a deal!

mixedcabin1

This is my favorite: an itinerary that shuttles you all over Europe on short hops (again in “business”) before plopping you into the economy section of a long haul flight. I’d maybe splash out 45,000 miles for this award if it had a few more connections, but as it is, it seems a little too efficient.

mixedcabin2

To be honest, I don’t really care about all this anymore, since all I can think about is booking a business class award on SAS. Petty annoyances will just have to make way for my genuine interest.

Requisite question designed to spur a flurry of responses in the comments section: How much did it suck the last time YOU flew a mixed cabin award?