British Airways, Air France, Delta, American, Continenetal, Virgin Airways

ACKKK! So I’m very seriously considering doing a Contiki tour of England and Scotland in September. The biggest thing I need to know is when my next surgery will be and if I’ll be good to travel by then. I picked the date of the tour, but haven’t booked or anything.

Here’s my problem, picking an airline. I had originally thought I would just do the Scotland tour, but it’s so short and I would miss the first couple days with tourmates, making it harder to get to know people, I know this because I’ve done the “join a tour late” thing already. With my original plan I thought I would try an economy plus ticket for flying, probably with British Airways. Obviously depending on the price, but it really didn’t seem like that much more money and I would hopefully be better rested when I got to Scotland. But, to add on the England part of the tour is more then the cost of the upgrade of the plane ticket, so now I’m not sure if I’ll just do economy or if I’ll go with the economy plus.

So I started my search, and I’ll admit that even the economy tickets are a little more then I expected for September, though it is early for plane tickets. But I noticed to take Delta/Air France was about $200 cheaper. So I looked, Air France does offer economy plus (but with a different name) and the prices were still reasonable if I decided to fork up the money. Problem – I have to fly through Paris.

The tour starts in London but ends in Glasgow but I was thinking of going back to Edinburgh for a day, maybe two to meet up with some other friends (though I’m not sure that will work out, it was a better idea when i was just doing Scotland).

Here are my route options –
with British Airways (American is the same except part American flight and part BA flights and not economy plus)
JFK to LHR (Heathrow)
EDI to LHR to JFK

With Delta
JFK to LHR (no economy plus service)
EDI to Paris to JFK (Air France)
EDI to Amsterdam to JFK (with KLM)

Air France
JFK to Paris to LHR
EDI to Paris to EDI

Continental
EWR to LHR
EDI to EWR

Unless someone from outside of NY is coming with me, then I’m not going to Newark Airport, it’s just too much of a pain to get to and to make someone take me to and pick me up from.

Lufthansa is also an option, but then I’m connecting through Frankfurt, and they are a bit more expensive then British Airways and Air France, but they are in a better alliance then Air France, one that I would like to earn some FF miles on.

With Delta, American/BA I get a non-stop flight to Heathrow, with Air France I have a connection both ways. All flights force me to connect coming home.

So questions I have to ask myself –
How important is economy plus?
Do I want to fly an American based airline?
Do I want to fly with Delta, an airline that’s getting beaten over the head for poor redemption of miles and I’m not sure their alliance will help me much in the future.
Is $200 worth an extra stop over in Paris going to London?

I don’t have the answers to these questions, but I think I’m getting a headache thinking about it. I hate to make my flight choice based on frequent flyer miles, but I do like the idea of knowing that my miles are going to a good alliance to build up miles so I can hopefully fly free one of these days, maybe even in first class.

I should say that I originally wrote this on a Thursday and went to do some editing after and when I looked at the flights, the prices were all a lot closer (within $100) between BA, Air France and Lufthansa.

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