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Austin to Dallas to Amsterdam? Or Austin to London to Amsterdam?

Hi! I am looking for tips or insight into which itinerary you'd choose and why. They are almost the same price. Travelers are my husband and me, both late 30s, in September. We will be flying coach. Thanks in advance!

Option 1: All on British Airways
6:20pm Austin to London
9:50am Arrive in London (3 hour layover in London)
12:55pm London to Amsterdam
3:15pm arrive in Amsterdam

Option 2: All on American Airlines
12:00pm Austin to Dallas
1pm Arrive in Dallas (2h30m layover in Dallas)
3:30pm Dallas to Amsterdam
8:15am arrive in Amsterdam

Option 3: Condor Airlines (about $200 less but not including baggage fees)
9:40pm Austin to Frankfurt (1h30m layover in Frankfurt)
4:25pm Frankfurt (FRA) to Amsterdam (Lufthansa)
Arr: 5:35 pm

Posted by
2775 posts

I choose #1 hands down. 1. I always would rather transfer in Europe. There are more options for getting to my destination if something goes wrong. 2. BA is my airline of choice. They are much better than AA. I have never flown Condor. 3. BA is an easy transfer, staying in terminal 5, which is a nice terminal, for the flights I choose at least.

Posted by
268 posts

And if you choose #1 you have a good long stretch to sleep on the plane.
And the first stop abroad is in an English speaking country; this would make it easier for me to go through passport control etc.
And BA > AA. :0

Posted by
1095 posts

In my opinion, #1 is a much better choice.
In addition to what has already been said, you will arrive in the afternoon in Amsterdam. At least for me, that makes the jet lag transition much better. You can check into your hotel, walk a bit in the neighborhood, have a nice dinner, and then go to bed around 9pm or so. For me, that's easier than trying to stay awake all day ...

Posted by
1916 posts

Another vote for option 1 - plus you will stay airside at LHR so no border control until AMS.

Posted by
4734 posts

I was going to tell you what I thought, and why, but Wray beat me to it, and everyone else concurred. #1!

Posted by
4637 posts

I had bad experiences changing planes in Heathrow and was avoiding it like devil cross. Apparently it changed to better. Last time I was there terminal 5 was not opened yet.

Posted by
12558 posts

Ilja---that was years ago! T5 is large but they have plenty of time to make the transfer. And since it is all on one ticket with BA, they don't need tomstress if their inbound plane is late ( whichnin my experience is very rare with BA flights.

So another strong vote for #1. I really like the 6-7 pm departures and overnight flight on BA, with late morning arrival at Heathrow.

Posted by
19475 posts

You'll want to verify this, but bsed on my experience and some additional Googling I think you'll have to pay something like 25 GBP per person to select seats on the transatlantic legs if you want to do so more than 24 hours before your flights. The fee for the short hop may be substantially less.

As far as I know, AA does not charge for seat selection at time of ticket purchase. I have no idea about Condor.

Otherwise, I agree that Box #1 looks good.

Posted by
6 posts

Fred, that's interesting, because I actually just found a significantly cheaper Condor option booked through vayama (a site I've never heard of).

I am wondering how much more a premium economy seat would be on Condor... but of course for some reason can't check that on vayama and I'm afraid if I don't book through Condor I won't be able to purchase the upgrade. Condor, oddly, won't let me enter the same itinerary, I imagine because the AMS to Frankfurt and Munich to Frankfurt (return flight) is operated by Lufthansa.

The price difference between options 1 and 3 are fairly significant with this deal. Option 1 is $2500 for both tickets. Option 3 is $1900 for both tickets.

Posted by
136 posts

Hi!

Don't forget if you book via British Airways to join AARP and enjoy a discount. For something like $16, you can join and get these discounts: $65 each ticket for economy; $130 for premium economy; and $200 for business class. These discounts are good currently through March 2018.

And don't worry if you aren't "of age" - anyone can join AARP. I joined in late 2015 at age 42 when the discount was $400 for business class and flew like a queen! I am afraid that I have spoiled my husband and myself and going back to coach will be tough!

Happy Travels!

Posted by
8 posts

I booked the AA DFW-Amsterdam flight for our upcoming 21 Day BOE in May. My reasoning was less travel time and less chances for delay. I do not "fly well" (vivid imagination) so less taking off and landings work better for me. The big plus with the BA flight would be their amazing aircraft. AA not so much.
Diane

Posted by
19475 posts

I wonder whether the Vayama deal would result in your having separate tickets, with the second leg not being protected in the event the first leg was delayed and you missed the connection.

Posted by
6 posts

acraven, that's a good point. I don't know how I'd ensure this wasn't the case.

Another option, I guess, is to take a train from Frankfurt to Amsterdam, and then from Munich to Frankfurt for the return flight.

Posted by
3303 posts

I'd consider #3. Condor works, 1 free bag, marginal food. Condor normally codeshares with Lufthansa directly on their website. Like most (all?) European airlines seat selection is extra. And you'll get your Schengen stamp during a layover making better use of the layover time.

Munich: Condor flies from Munich nonstop to some US locations, Seattle for sure, and should also codeshare with Lufthansa Munich to Frankfurt to connect with Condor. Remember, Condor only sells one ways, so you can price the directions separately.

Funny, when you live in a Delta hub like me you get used to the SkyTeam world: Amsterdam and Paris, KLM and Air France and Alitalia. Airlines like BA and Lufthansa never come up. I used AA miles to purchase a ticket to Oslo and from where I live it was really a chore, have to transfer LGA to JFK by bus. 2 airlines offer nonstops to JFK but neither is in the One World alliance.

Posted by
1365 posts

I don't sleep well on planes but I always prefer to arrive at my destination late afternoons if at all possible and if a layover is needed, the least amount of time possible! So I would do number 3. Arriving at 8:30 AM would be awful for me and my reaction to jetlag. The layover in London would be difficult for me too since I don't sleep much while flying.
Arriving late in the afternoon allows you to get to the hotel and either go out for a nice dinner or to hit the sack! I try and stay up until 9 or 10 PM if at all possible and am successful most of the time. If I arrive early AM, I am a mess for several days and find it really difficult to make it to 9 PM to go to bed.

Posted by
3303 posts

Checking this morning, on the Condor website the Lufthansa flight connections show up as bookable on one ticket, at least for the Mon/Thurs days in September when they fly nonstop.

I noticed Delta offers flights for the same price as BA/AA and faster connections, and since Amsterdam is a SkyTeam hub you could consider that. BA/AA use London as a European hub.

Posted by
6 posts

Thank you so much for the help, everyone!
I chose option 3. The return was an open jaw out of Munich. So, for $920 all in, I am flying from Austin to Amsterdam, then returning out of Munich to Austin. I am happy with the deal and hope that Condor isn't horrible!

Posted by
1985 posts

Condor is my go-to airline for my trips. They're just fine. I know there are bad reviews of airlines out there - but there's bad reviews of most airlines once you get to looking around. Condor flies to Europe for a consistently fair price. Their food is fine. Their video choices are fine. I do usually upgrade to Premium Econ just because I'm getting old and rickety and increasingly uncomfortable on long flights - but I do that with all carriers as I find all Coach seats to be tough.

Posted by
6 posts

Valerie- thanks for the positive words. Are you aware if the exit row seats have any recline? I only fly southwest and their exit row seats do not. I did check seat guru and it doesn't say if they recline or not. I am willing to shell out the extra cash for the XL seat (more legroom- my husband is 6'3") but not if it doesn't have any recline (I have horrible back problems!).

Posted by
1985 posts

I think row 23 is an exit row that reclines with Condor but I'm not 100% sure. I buy row 6 of premium economy typically.

Posted by
12400 posts

@ mislisa....I flew Condor a few times years ago, found them to be satisfactory, no complaints. It would stand to reason that they since then have improved. I would have picked your final decision choice too. Munich is a great airport, flew out from MUC once to SFO.

You got a direct shot Munich to Austin...fantastic! And for that price too! I have to consider seriously Condor again.