I apologize for the break that this blog has taken over the past few weeks. It’s been an eventful run, and not related to travel or parenting at all. Work took over my free time for a while and I managed to score a case of “walking” pneumonia around the same time. I’ll get back to doing this more regularly over the next week as things hopefully quiet down at the office and I polish off my giant bottle of cough syrup.
I’ll pick back up tomorrow with our Florence trip report, which is now long, long overdue. But for now, let’s talk holidays – specifically some unique flying opportunities. As airline schedules transition to “off peak” from the US to some international destinations, they will often fly those aircraft domestically for a short time where capacity is needed, or as one time positioning flights to move the aircraft on to another international route. From now through the holidays, you may have the opportunity to fly a domestic route on a Boeing 747 or Airbus A330, for instance!
FlyerTalk contains good information on these schedules. For instance, this thread contains a wiki with Delta domestic widebody opportunities – including the 747, 777 and A330. US Airways appears to be flying widebodies between its hubs closer to Christmas, with some decent evening westbound and redeye eastbound A330 flights on the schedule.
Please keep in mind that equipment swaps on these routes happen, and probably often. It may be tempting to buy a first class fare or upgrade using miles or instruments, but I’d only advise doing that if you’re ok with the price even if a plain old domestic A320 shows up at the gate. Also be aware that these flights are generally catered the same as a domestic first class flight, not an international business flight – so you may have a lie flat seat, but sauce-coated rubber will still be on order. Also unlike international flights, late evening or redeye flights may not have a meal service at all up front. I do know that US Airways generally does not turn on the In Flight Entertainment system – something about licensing or maybe a flimsy excuse to not provide it. You’re essentially getting a nicer seat on a bigger plane, if that plane shows up, and that’s all. Even in coach, there’s something very cool about a domestic route on a big, two aisle jet.
With that disclaimer-laden paragraph, we plan to fly the A330 between Philly and Phoenix during our Christmas travel. I am considering upfaring to First on the redeye return since the price isn’t bad for that segment, but I’m concerned that the reverse herringbone business class cabin may not be the right configuration for 2 adults and a toddler. Even though it’ll be late and she’ll sleep, we’d still want her within reach. We might stick to coach, but I’m pretty excited to get on a widebody for a domestic trip.