This is a follow-up to my post yesterday about business class availability on Swiss around the dates I'll be traveling next spring. After thinking on it some more, I realized that after a long week working at a trade show, it was*really* going to suck waking up at 5AM to catch a flight from Zurich to Copenhagen followed by a 3 1/2 hour layover. Also, there's the novelty aspect to consider: I really liked SAS business class, but I do this so infrequently that I should take the opportunity to try different products when I can. While my cocoon in 9H on SAS would have been a great way to get from Europe to San Francisco, that connection was really eating at me now that Swiss popped up with some availability on a direct flight. Here's what I did. Feel free to weigh in to let me know what I did right or wrong, or how you would have handled this change. First, I checked the seat map on Expertflyer and found four throne seats still available. Most of them are blocked, I assume for Swiss elites, so my options were limited to the back part of the business class cabin. (From one review, I read that those seats in the back of biz aren't great, since they're close to the bassinet rows in the economy cabin. Hopefully it's not too much of an issue.) After verifying throne availability, I was ready to make the change, but I was really worried that whatever rep I spoke to on the phone wouldn't be able to put me in one of the seats I wanted. Plus, I did NOT want to call Aeroplan's contact center to change my flight. The reps are nice, but god dammit if it doesn't take an hour to get through to someone.
So, with all that in mind, I transferred 55,000 Amex points to my Aeroplan account and booked the ticket on Swiss before canceling the original SAS booking. I figured that if I called in and couldn't get the seat I wanted, I could keep both open and decide my fate at a later date. It also meant that no matter what, I would have 55,000 less Amex points and a stash of 55,000 Aeroplan miles. That's not a huge problem for me, though, since I use Aeroplan a lot, so I'm quite sure those points won't languish for very long. I called Swiss and got a rep on the first ring, and he happily confirmed my second choice seat (the first choice - 7A - is blocked for people traveling with infants). After that, I canceled my original SAS booking with a couple clicks. Also, as a bonus, I found out that the new Aeroplan fees don't apply to tickets booked before December 6th, so it was only 90 CAD to cancel - whereas it would have been 150 if I wanted to cancel the new booking I just made.
Whew! So there you have it - a very boring, windbaggy walk through my decision process in crafting an itinerary that's still 6 months away. Still, though - Swiss! I'm pretty excited - the throne seats on the 777 look awesome, and I'm excited to get to the airport early and hang out on the terrace in the business class lounge.