Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
Rumpymuffin

Premium Economy to South America? Please Help Me Decide

Recommended Posts

My DH and I hope to join the Radiant Rhythms cruise from Rio to Buenos Aires in February 2020 -- that is, if premium economy airfare or its equivalent is available. According to our travel agent, which specializes in alumni cruises, this involves submitting a custom air request, which costs $175 per person plus the cost of the upgrade. Have any of you flown premium economy to South America? What was the extra cost, and was it worth it in your opinion? Did the application process go smoothly? Is there anything I should know before submitting a custom air request? Thanks in advance for sharing your experience.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Rumpymuffin said:

My DH and I hope to join the Radiant Rhythms cruise from Rio to Buenos Aires in February 2020 -- that is, if premium economy airfare or its equivalent is available. According to our travel agent, which specializes in alumni cruises, this involves submitting a custom air request, which costs $175 per person plus the cost of the upgrade. Have any of you flown premium economy to South America? What was the extra cost, and was it worth it in your opinion? Did the application process go smoothly? Is there anything I should know before submitting a custom air request? Thanks in advance for sharing your experience.

 

The $175 fee does not apply until you and Oceania have a meeting of the minds as to what your flights and dates will be.  

Submit your request without fear.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unless O is offering Premium Economy as the published airfare included for your cruise, there is more than the deviation cost to consider. The charge for any fare type not initially provided is O's contracted cost of THAT actual ticket and not the difference between what was provided (economy) and that ticket (e.g., bizclass). In essence then:

 

While O's unpublished bizclass (or PE) tix may be cheaper than DIY, you need to remember that you paid a higher cruise fare to get the air. So, any comparison would need to be between your DIY bizclass price and O's bizclass price plus the value of the air credit (had you DIY) plus the deviation. This would be true for premium economy as well (if your cruise deal wasn't published as premium economy).

 

Of course, you could pay the deviation and price difference (in the same class of service) for your desired itinerary and then try to upgrade with the airline using your FF points. However, the fare basis contract codes used by O are probably going to be non-upgradable.

 

At the bottom line, O deviation that includes a higher class of service is seldom (if ever) cheaper than taking the O air credit and DIY. Call the O air department folks and they will tell you the same.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You might also want to do some advance research on Google Flights (or something similar) as to the carriers and their equipment/seating options for flying down to South America.    Your PE choices might only be a little more legroom and a standard economy seat, rather than more of a domestic first class seat which some carriers are starting to use for PE.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are on the Radiant Rhythms and booked our own air taking the air credit. 

Neither of us sleep well regardless of cabin so have opted for C+ on Delta. Our worst long haul flights have actually been in Business but I do understand your query.

Different airlines offer different classes but most of what I saw were not premium comfort options.

Where are you flying from and what are the airlines that offer convenient service? Before you contact Oceania check it all out on ITAMATRIX, Kayak, or a site like Expedia. That will give you a starting point.

Do join us. The Roll Call is very slow but should get going soon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
51 minutes ago, alcpa1 said:

We are on the Radiant Rhythms and booked our own air taking the air credit. 

Neither of us sleep well regardless of cabin so have opted for C+ on Delta. Our worst long haul flights have actually been in Business but I do understand your query.

Different airlines offer different classes but most of what I saw were not premium comfort options.

Where are you flying from and what are the airlines that offer convenient service? Before you contact Oceania check it all out on ITAMATRIX, Kayak, or a site like Expedia. That will give you a starting point.

Do join us. The Roll Call is very slow but should get going soon.

 Buisness???? Really! We are fortunate to fly first and buisness and have never had a problem!  Came  back on Alaskan Air from Maui recently  in Premium economyb and it was a flight from HeLL in a bulkhead. Never again.

Denise😊

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Other posters have touched on this but I'd like to write it large: "Premium Economy" varies widely from airline to airline and even within airlines from plane to plane. Go on Google Flights (I actually prefer ITA Matrix) and use tools like Seat Guru to make sure you know what you're getting.

 

One thing we have found to/from S. America is that Copa Airlines' Business class fits our needs and is pretty reasonably priced. They do fly out of ORD. Now 'Business' can be almost as misleading/wideranging a term as 'Premium Economy', and to be sure, Copa is Business-Class-Minus. No lie-flats (recliners with lots of space), no privacy from your seatmate, no wi-fi, meh food, meh IFE. For us, the value comes in the big recliners and the price point -- and we're OK with the rest. Service has always been friendly. The flights all hub-up in PTY for an hour or two, so there are no super-long flights.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Shawnino said:

Other posters have touched on this but I'd like to write it large: "Premium Economy" varies widely from airline to airline and even within airlines from plane to plane. Go on Google Flights (I actually prefer ITA Matrix) and use tools like Seat Guru to make sure you know what you're getting.

 

One thing we have found to/from S. America is that Copa Airlines' Business class fits our needs and is pretty reasonably priced. They do fly out of ORD. Now 'Business' can be almost as misleading/wideranging a term as 'Premium Economy', and to be sure, Copa is Business-Class-Minus. No lie-flats (recliners with lots of space), no privacy from your seatmate, no wi-fi, meh food, meh IFE. For us, the value comes in the big recliners and the price point -- and we're OK with the rest. Service has always been friendly. The flights all hub-up in PTY for an hour or two, so there are no super-long flights.

 

I actually discovered this not too long ago myself.  Copa is introducing a lie-flat product on its new 737-MAX 9 jets.  Here is a link:

 

https://www.copaair.com/en/web/us/boeing-737-max-9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

We flew Copa business class Buenos Aires - Denver with a stop in Panama City, Panama in February. Think of Copa business class as a no-frills domestic first class. Nothing special about it but it's much, much better than coach. The additional benefit is complimentary access to the Copa Air Club in Panama City.

 

We booked Copa business class again for our Denver - Buenos Aires flight this coming December. $2,104.95pp. Air credit from Oceania was $1,150.00pp. Easy decision.

Edited by Rob the Cruiser

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If they are not offering  a special  for PE  I would book your own flights

it will probably work out better in the end

 But do compare  what Oceania  can get you & what it will cost to DIY  before you commit

JMO

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not much more to add than the good advise above.

 

Oceania included air will be Economy and you will not normally know your flights until 45-days before departure. Could be connecting with long layovers and likely overnight to South America.

 

Find out how much the Oceania air credit is and research booking your own flights in a Class that you feel is priced right for you.

 

We booked our own flights to Lima and return from Buenos Aires. The per person price difference for Delta Comfort+ was $700 and Delta One (lay flat seats) was $1,200. We chose Delta One for the 7 hour flight to Lima from ATL and the 10 hour overnight from BA to ATL.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing to absolutely remember:

 

Be sure of what you would be getting with any kind of "comfort" or "plus" or "premium" ECONOMY product.

 

Various airlines provide various products - and it is easy to conflate what each provides.  Some have standard economy seats with some extra pitch between rows.  Others have a dedicated "premium" product with different seating than standard economy.  And some have both.   Some provide additional/different ground and inflight services beyond standard economy.  And none provide a convenient way to compare products versus competing carriers.

 

Adding to all this potential confusion is that cruiseline agents often have no real understanding that these products are different on different carriers.  Or what the product involves - they just work from the script in front of them.

 

Caveat emptor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/8/2019 at 5:20 PM, StanandJim said:

The $175 fee does not apply until you and Oceania have a meeting of the minds as to what your flights and dates will be.  

Submit your request without fear.  

Jim, is that still the policy?  Our travel agent (an Oceania specialist) told us that was not the case when we booked our May Barcelona to Rome cruise in February.  (Cincinnati already is a substantial extra sum for Oceania  booking your flight.) So we took the air credit and booked ourselves.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, CintiPam said:

Jim, is that still the policy?  Our travel agent (an Oceania specialist) told us that was not the case when we booked our May Barcelona to Rome cruise in February.  (Cincinnati already is a substantial extra sum for Oceania  booking your flight.) So we took the air credit and booked ourselves.

it was still the case this year

You pick the flight/routings you want  or you can let Oceania  pick them 

if you agree with what Oceania  gives you  then you pay the deviation fee

If you are flying from a NON gateway  city then there is an extra fee

also some flights you choose may have a surcharge  but you do not have to accept them ..just keep working with the air dept to get one  that suits you

 

Gateway cities are listed in the T & C

https://www.oceaniacruises.com/legal/promotion-terms/

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When we did the Lima-NYC cruise in 2015 we looked into Copa and nearly booked with them, but in the end we used FF miles.  We used AA at the time:  LaGuardia to Miami, Miami to Lima.  We were in business class.  I wouldn't do a long flight (like the second leg) in coach anymore, although for the flight to Miami we wouldn't have minded coach.

 

I don't recall exactly, but I believe that we decided against Copa primarily for comments such as you've seen above where it isn't "really" business, but that wasn't the deciding factor at all.  When we realized we had enough miles for the AA flights, we opted for a known quantity.  From what has been said above, I wouldn't hesitate to use Copa for the right itinerary -- as long as you know what you are really getting.

 

Mura

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe some people are confusing two different terms.

 

First, if one flies out of a non Oceania gateway city, Oceania has an additional upcharge for that. In my case, if I use Nashville it’s $99 each way or $198 additional costs. If I use EVV Evansville, IN it’s $199 each way or $398 additionally.

 

The above rates are set and part of my contract fare. Northern KY Airport or Cinn has such a fee. 

 

Then if One does a deviation, that is an additional $175 plus any routing upgrades. The deviation fee and or routing upgrades are the fees not charged until accepted.

 

So utilizing O Air from Nashville with a deviation I would have $198 + $175 + any routing upcharges. Since we always fly in early that $373 upcharge most often makes O Air non price competitive, so we take the air credit . Plus doing so gives us greater control on ticketing and seat selection.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

+1 for pinotlover

 

We have used Oceania air for 1 of our 9 cruises. Their SOP is for you arrive at the airport by 2 PM for a 6 PM departure and a return flight after 12 noon on the day of arrival.

 

Non-gateway city adds $99 USD each way each person. Want to arrive a day or 2 early or stay over a day or 2 after is another $175 USD each person. Really not going to take an 8+ hour flight overseas, cruise and then come right back home.

 

Book your own air, arrive at least a day early and can usually board by 1 PM for lunch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, Shawnino said:

Other posters have touched on this but I'd like to write it large: "Premium Economy" varies widely from airline to airline and even within airlines from plane to plane. Go on Google Flights (I actually prefer ITA Matrix) and use tools like Seat Guru to make sure you know what you're getting.

 

One thing we have found to/from S. America is that Copa Airlines' Business class fits our needs and is pretty reasonably priced. They do fly out of ORD. Now 'Business' can be almost as misleading/wideranging a term as 'Premium Economy', and to be sure, Copa is Business-Class-Minus. No lie-flats (recliners with lots of space), no privacy from your seatmate, no wi-fi, meh food, meh IFE. For us, the value comes in the big recliners and the price point -- and we're OK with the rest. Service has always been friendly. The flights all hub-up in PTY for an hour or two, so there are no super-long flights.

I’ll second this.  Our flight on Copa, this past February was great.  Not lie flat, but a much better seat than domestic first on US airlines.  Service was very good.  

 

If you have some United miles, you can get creative. We paid one way to PC business on Delta and stayed a few days.  Then flew Copa business to Santiago on miles.  Miles back UA business from BA.  Actually,  the best service was on Copa. We might have been lucky with the best flight attendant we’ve had in the past few years.  But, after that flight,  we decided Copa business would be our “hack” for getting to South America cheaply if we go there again. 

Edited by buggins0402

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Mura said:

 LaGuardia to Miami, Miami to Lima.  We were in business class.  I wouldn't do a long flight (like the second leg) in coach anymore, although for the flight to Miami we wouldn't have minded coach.

 

Just to point out - that "long flight" from MIA to LIM is only 22 miles longer than the distance from JFK to SFO.  And a shorter flight time than going westbound against the winds to SFO.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's all well and good but I don't do coach anymore on domestic flights of 6 hours or so either!  Maybe I would if they stopped reducing the pitch and width of the seats!  But I'm too old and decrepit these days to handle cattle car situations ...  For 2-3 hours I can handle it.

 

Mura

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many thanks to all of you who responded to my original post. You cool cruisers are a fount of helpful information and experiences! Thanks to you, I've begun researching DIY options for flying premium economy on a multicity trip from O'Hare to Rio and back to Chicago from Buenos Aires. Google Flights was new to me, and I've found it helpful. Those of you who cautioned that one airline's premium economy isn't necessarily the same as another airline's premium economy were right on; I've discovered such Premium Economy wannabes as Comfort Plus (Delta) and Main Cabin Extra (American).

 

Complicating my decision is the fact that tbe Boeing 777-200 (AA 973 from O'Hare to Rio) has two different layouts. Layout 2 has real Premium Economy, while layout 1 has only Main Cabin Extra. I'm going to call American and see if they can shed any light on the situation.

 

Thanks again for sharing your expertise! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Out of curiosity I checked one way flights on Copa Air for you.

 

ORD - PTY - EZE 

Business Class

$1,670.95pp

Edited by Rob the Cruiser

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/9/2019 at 4:45 PM, Mura said:

When we did the Lima-NYC cruise in 2015 we looked into Copa and nearly booked with them, but in the end we used FF miles.  We used AA at the time:  LaGuardia to Miami, Miami to Lima.  We were in business class.  I wouldn't do a long flight (like the second leg) in coach anymore, although for the flight to Miami we wouldn't have minded coach.

 

I don't recall exactly, but I believe that we decided against Copa primarily for comments such as you've seen above where it isn't "really" business, but that wasn't the deciding factor at all.  When we realized we had enough miles for the AA flights, we opted for a known quantity.  From what has been said above, I wouldn't hesitate to use Copa for the right itinerary -- as long as you know what you are really getting.

 

Mura

 

Totally agree..... long flights 6+ hours ( used to be 8+ some years back) now require for sanity and health Business lie flats , that is if you want to enjoy the first 2 to3 days when you arrive  Its not a luxury anymore

I think back to 17 hours flying to Singapore via Japan !!!     Even in first class recliners it was bad.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Rumpymuffin said:

Many thanks to all of you who responded to my original post. You cool cruisers are a fount of helpful information and experiences! Thanks to you, I've begun researching DIY options for flying premium economy on a multicity trip from O'Hare to Rio and back to Chicago from Buenos Aires. Google Flights was new to me, and I've found it helpful. Those of you who cautioned that one airline's premium economy isn't necessarily the same as another airline's premium economy were right on; I've discovered such Premium Economy wannabes as Comfort Plus (Delta) and Main Cabin Extra (American).

 

Complicating my decision is the fact that tbe Boeing 777-200 (AA 973 from O'Hare to Rio) has two different layouts. Layout 2 has real Premium Economy, while layout 1 has only Main Cabin Extra. I'm going to call American and see if they can shed any light on the situation.

 

Thanks again for sharing your expertise! 

Using  seat guru   you can type in the flight number ant it will give you the specific  model/ type of plane.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Hawaiidan said:

Using  seat guru   you can type in the flight number ant it will give you the specific  model/ type of plane.

Hi Dan, 

 

Would that were true! I typed in the flight number (AA 973) on Seat Guru, and it says the plane is a Boeing 777-200. It also says the Boeing 777-200 has two layouts -- one with Premium Economy and Main Cabin Extra, the other with Main Cabin Extra only. Unfortunately, it doesn't specify which version will lbe flying from O'Hare (ORD) to Rio (GIG) on February 11, 2020. It does mention that Layout 1 -- the one with no Premium Economy -- is the most common version. So it's not looking good, on that flight at least

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • 2019 Cruisers' Choice Destination Awards
      • Forum Assistance
      • SAIL-AWAY GIVEAWAY - Enter for a chance to win a 7-day Caribbean cruise for two!
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...