Best way SYD/SFO

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russ

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Hi

I need to fly SYD/SFO three or four times per year. I want to fly J class and get a decent seat. I would appreciate any suggestions you have to make the trip as painless as possible.

Options I've looked at:
  • QF: The LAX/SFO transfer adds hours and hassle to the trip , plus the supposed lie-flat seats have quite a bit of sag in them.
  • UA: This goes direct SYD/SFO, but the 777 has a 2-4-2 configuration. Ye gods... there's no way I would want to be stuck in the middle section of that! Yes, I understand that I could select a seat in the side sections, but as we know, there is always the chance of being shuffled around
  • NZ: Not direct, but I assume that transferring at AKL is easier than at LAX. The 777 seating looks fabulous! Has anyone done this route with NZ?
  • Hawaiian: I don't want to be woken up in the middle of the trip to transfer in Hawaii

Any suggestions or options I've missed?

Thanks
 
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Mattg

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Hmm, not sure if you can really get much better than Qantas J on this route! If it's the connections you don't like then that's where United's service comes in handy... except that it's United...

Have you considered Virgin to LAX, connecting to their partner Delta? You could also fly Air Canada, connecting in Vancouver. If it's a good J seat you're after, you could always fly CX, although the stopover in HKG would add to the travel time.

Of the options you have suggested, I would have thought the QF option would be nicest, followed by Air NZ via AKL.
 

eastwest101

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If you are really flying J (Business Class) then you will see that SYD-SFO on the B777 has apparently six, yes 6 different versions of B777-200s including one with the dreaded 2-4-2 minature coffins. When I looked at the UA site that appears to be what they are selling SYD-SFO at the moment, for $8K return no less which is a pretty good indication that there are no sensible or competent competitors for direct flights between Australia and SFO. I origionaly thought you were joking about the 2-4-2 config in business class on UA but apparently thats what they run. :rolleyes:

A lot people avoid flying through LAX and will go to almost any length to avoid this, thus eliminating Qantas, Virgin Australia, Delta, Fiji Airways and United Airlines via LAX. But if you love long lines, rechecking baggage, delays, misconnections, and an uncomfortable short flight after a long transpacific then go via LAX.

For a proper J class seat - I would suggest looking at flying Cathay Pacific via HKG, Singapore Airlines via SIN or maybe even look at the Air New Zealand options via AKL or even Air Canada via Vancouver, Hawaiian Airlines may be an option via HNL. I know this is a bit out of left field but maybe have a look at JAL via Tokyo? Regarding JAL - as far as I can see the SYD-SFO all look OK at 26hrs but all the return legs the other way SFO-SYD all turn into 42hr horrors. Even Korean Airlines may not be such a silly option if the connection times line up ok. All of these possible options rely on sensible but not overly optimistic connection/transit times which can sometimes work great in one direction but not in the other.
 
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BAM1748

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Considering what LAX is like and missed connections and lines of people, I would try it on UA for a trip considering you are doing it several times per year. Why wouldn't you?

The many hours saved will mean you will have been to your hotel room and now be down the street snacking before your connecting flight has left LAX which to me is the better option. Always less chance of lost luggage when flying direct.

QF would have the best J class across the South Pacific, but I'm happy to miss that to save what could be many hours if you miss a connection and some bad weather.

Rather than connecting through LAX to SFO I always consider driving from LAX to the Bay if I have the time.

Matt
 

Cool Cat Phil

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This thread is more reason for QF to reintroduce the SYD > SFO sector.
Demand is there, sadly spare aircraft isn't :(
 
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RooFlyer

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If you are going to do it 3 or 4 times a year, I'd go United (did I actually say that? :shock: ) to see how it goes. Flying direct into SFO has so many advantages over going via LAX or any other stop over that it demands a go.

I confess I one did United's 2-4-2 J in a 777 (I think) , but only from NRT to HNL, and lived to tell the tale.
 

LACE

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I've flown NZ SYD-AKL-SFO and transferring in AKL was easy. Was on the 747 though which thankfully they are now retiring as the lavatory situation was pretty terrible. Even on the 747 and 777-200 the seats were great for sleeping, the mattress really makes a difference and the herringbone layout means everyone has aisle access which is a huge plus. I imagine the 777-300 is even better.
 

OzEire

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Add my -1 for LAX transit (going from J seat luxury to 'coach' as the only option on a CRJ or Metro !!!)

+1 for AKL transit if you can't face UA direct
 

rioter

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I do this flight many times through out the year. The transfer at AKL is much less stressful and usually only an hour and 99% of the time the airnz J product is fantastic. I usually get more sleep on that flight than on virgins.

Transferring at AKL is a matter of walking through a security checkpoint and straight into the lounge. Where as in LAX i usually end up with a 3 hours connection.
 

Limewood

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This thread is more reason for QF to reintroduce the SYD > SFO sector.


I was on the 1st SYD/SFO Q flight all those years ago (yeah I'm old :) ), was bumped from J to F, had few drinks up in the 747 bubble with none other than Bob Jane.

In regard to getting from OZ to SFO have done it via HKG few times, the latter is a fascinating city too, its a longer flight but so enjoyable on CX.
 

AviationNZ

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+1 for the NZ option via AKL. It is only a quick transit of 60-90 mins which you can pop into the lounge. Far easier/less stressful than via LAX and a lot quicker than via Asia.

The 773 now operates to SFO which is a fantastic 1-2-1 setup, and one of the longest beds in the sky at 6' 6".
 

rioter

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I was on the 1st SYD/SFO Q flight all those years ago (yeah I'm old :) ), was bumped from J to F, had few drinks up in the 747 bubble with none other than Bob Jane.

In regard to getting from OZ to SFO have done it via HKG few times, the latter is a fascinating city too, its a longer flight but so enjoyable on CX.

Heh. I was on the last syd->sfo. It was practically empty. Asked the lounge about an upgrade and was told 'not to waste my points' and told me to wait and moved my seats and i suspect blocked a row of 4 out in economy.
 

Maca44

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NZ via AKL to SFO in J is a great product, and probably my first choice.
CX via HKG then SFO would be my second choice and most people who travel frequently are aware of the really great J product on CX.
I am travelling to ORD next week, and travelling SYD-HKG-ORD on CX in J.
It's a really great alternative to avoid LAX, but when QF flew into SFO that is the route I used.
 

Ozgirl

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What about United on the 787 from Melbourne?

If not I would do United direct to SFO.
 

seanpodge

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I transferred at AKL a couple of years ago on two separate bookings (MEL-AKL on EK, AKL-SFO on NZ) which meant going through baggage claim, immigration and check in and it was still at least twice as goods and quick as LAX. Would choose AKL over LAX every day of the week.

If we take money out of the equation, I'd go with the NZ option. If time permitted I might also look at going via Asia on SQ, CX, OZ, KE, et al.
 

AviationNZ

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I transferred at AKL a couple of years ago on two separate bookings (MEL-AKL on EK, AKL-SFO on NZ) which meant going through baggage claim, immigration and check in.

Obviously this was only because of the two bookings on different airlines, but if russ books a through ticket with NZ, there won't be any need to go through baggage claim, immigration, etc as you remain air-side.
 

smeacs

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If money isnt the problem why not try all of these options over the course of the near future, at least you get some variety ?

Also AKL is very easy to transfer through.
 

aaflyer

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This thread is more reason for QF to reintroduce the SYD > SFO sector.
Demand is there, sadly spare aircraft isn't :(
Leisure demand was there. I used to fly this route frequently and found as a Gold Frequent Flyer, I would get a lot of upgrades. I can only guess that I was probably one of the higher elites on board based on that, meaning that the SFO segment would be very price sensitive.

If it's not a matter of time, I would be going Cathay Pacific via HKG. It's the best business class seat i've ever flown in (leaves Qantas for dead). HKG is also a brilliant airport to transit, with great lounges to kill a few hours.
 

seanpodge

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Obviously this was only because of the two bookings on different airlines, but if russ books a through ticket with NZ, there won't be any need to go through baggage claim, immigration, etc as you remain air-side.

Absolutely correct.
 
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