My wife and I are headed to Alaska this year for a land tour and cruise and would like to fly first or business class but what is most important is that the aircraft for the longest legs of our journey to and from have lay flat seats. How best do I go about finding out that information?
We also want to book our flight on points, while I will certainly need some guidance from the point/travel hack guru’s here at that time; what I need right now is help identifying the correct aircraft.
I would start with Flyertalk or seatguru. After a quick search it looks like many of the flights are narrow body aircraft. Don’t think you will find lay flat seats, but I could be wrong. Why the need for layflat?
Your best bet is probably to make the longest leg Miami (not sure where in Florida you are) to LA. I know at least on AA, they fly the nice new configuration with lay flat in business class on at least some of the flights on that. Same with JFK-LAX and JFK-SFO. Into and out of smaller cities it’s a lot tougher.
Necessary info is what points you are using. If Alliance specific that will make certain choices available. If alliance non-specific, there are other choices but cost in terms of points becomes a consideration.
If you are interested in earning and burning at the same time (i.e. flying on paid economy and upgrading to Business class) the alliance is again important.
All of that said the only routes you can really guarantee the flat seat are JFK/EWR - SFO/LAX. And maddeningly, substitutions occur on those routes sometimes too. Any other route is far too much of a crapshoot with repositioning flights like the 777s out of IAD to the west coast etc.
I would say very, very few of those routes. AA is running fully flat seats in their new Airbus on some flights. I don’t think UAL or Delta have matched yet. So like others have suggested check MIA - LAX or SFO and then fly up from there. Probably the best you are going to do if even that.
The only option out of FLL would be Jet Blue Mint, and then change carriers. If you do it on two separate tickets, you won’t be able to check bags through most likely.
Look for the 77W plane from LAX-MIA on American… Don’t expect awards to be available, you will have to use the UR points against a cash purchase. You may need to overnight in LAX given that the 77W is only running once or twice a day.
As I mentioned above the only regularly scheduled flights on proper business class seats is JFK/EWR to SFO/LAX. Any suggestion to ‘try’ other routes is just a recipe for disappointment.
You can use the Chase points on either Star (visa United), OneWorld (via BA), or SkyTeam (via KE) which gives you access to the premium transcons UA, AA, and DL offer.
You can book 330 days out so the points transfer and booking should be done at that point and no later. That said sometimes availability will change as your travel dates near and setting up an itinerary early you would be happy if you kept and then later changing if pennies from heaven occur is the best strategy.
My own 2 cents is that domestic anything is awful compared to international business or First and as such a waste of money/points. I would save the points and go somewhere overseas in style and when the long leg is 12+ hours. YMMV.