American Airlines 787-9 Premium Economy Class Dallas to Paris-Charles de Gaulle
Holiday Inn Paris Montmartre
Holiday Inn Strasbourg
ACE Hotel Paris Roissy
Air Canada Lounge Paris-Charles de Gaulle
American Airlines Main Cabin Extra Paris-Charles de Gaulle to Dallas
American Airlines Main Cabin Extra Dallas to Santa Ana/Orange County
While I do do a lot of my longhaul travel in premium cabins, I have absolutely no problem with flying economy if it’s a good deal. Sure, it’s not as comfortable as having a flat bed, but so long as the fare is good and I earn some miles with my preferred program I’m fine with sitting upright in a thinly upholstered seat for 10 or more hours.
This trade-off–sacrificing comfort for exceptionally good fares–isn’t one I haven’t had to make in a while, seeing as there have been a large number of great premium fare deals and we had tons of Alaska miles, meaning there was plenty of opportunity to do oversees travel in premium classes for reasonable prices. Therefore, it wasn’t necessary to pay attention to cheap economy fares seeing as we were fully occupied with trips resulting out of cheap first or business class tickets.
However, last fall, we had an almost entirely free travel schedule and there weren’t many good premium fare deals. This combination of an open schedule and a lack of cheap premium fares made us look more closely into good economy class fare deals. The best one of these (which we happened to find out about when we were in the Maldives) was a 400 dollar fare from the US to Paris in American Airlines economy.
This was a really good deal, especially considering we had been looking for an excuse to visit my relatives in Germany for a while. I’d also never visited Paris, and wanted to see if it lived up to the title of “best city in the world” that so many have bestowed upon it.The fair, booking into the cheapest fare bucket, only earned 25% of miles flown when crediting to Alaska, but it was a cheap fair and it was getting us where we needed to go, so the limited mileage earning wasn’t that much of a concern. Without much hesitation, we booked flights from San Diego to Dallas to Paris to Orange County (flying into SNA was cheaper than flying back to San Diego).
One thing did kind of bum be out though. The flights between Dallas and Paris would be operated by some of American’s brAAnd new 787-9’s, featuring their new premium economy product. American had announced that it would begin selling its new premium economy as a separate class on April 1, a week before our trip. If we were flying before that date, we would have been able to get premium economy free of charge, because the new class was sold as Main Cabin Extra (American’s extra legroom product) which is available for free to American and Alaska elites. It was unfortunate, but I was still excited about the trip, even if it did mean about 20 hours in American’s cramped 3-3-3 787 Main Cabin Extra product when I came so close to making go where few travel bloggers had gone before and fly American’s premium economy. Okay, maybe that’s overstating it a little bit, but, I mean, this, for free…
Then, the gods of air travel smiled on me. American announced that it would be pushing back its sale of premium economy as a separate class by one month, giving me the opportunity to fly premium economy on American for free. As soon as I heard the news we jumped on aa.com, found that tons of seats were available on the DFW-CDG flight but not on the return, and selected our seats in premium economy for our flight from Dallas to Paris. On the return, since premium economy was full, we selected seats in the first row of Main Cabin Extra.
In the end, our routing looked like this:
American flight 1445, San Diego to Dallas, dep. 2:55 PM, arr. 5:58 PM. Economy Plus, Airbus A321
American flight 48, Dallas to Paris, dep. 5:50 PM, arr. 10:05 AM (+1 day). Premium Economy, 787-9
American flight 49, Paris to Dallas, dep. 11:35 PM, arr. 3:00 PM. Main Cabin Extra, 787-9
American flight 2743, Dallas to Orange County, dep. 7:00 AM, arr. 8:01 AM. Economy, 737-800
Since our trip was only 9 days in length, we didn’t get to spend that much time anywhere. We decided to stay in Paris for two nights, drive to Munich to visit family (staying one night somewhere along the way since it’s a 865 kilometer drive), stay there for three nights, and stay somewhere for one night on the way back before spending a night in a hotel near Charles de Gaulle airport. For our stay in Paris (2 nights) we booked the Holiday Inn Montmartre for 150 dollars per night (including all taxes and fees ) conveniently located as a jumping-off point for our quick visit to Paris, being less than a half an hour by metro from most of the major sights in the city. The hotel was located in a nice residential area in the neighborhood of Montmartre, near the Sacre Coeur cathedral. It was a small hotel, with plain rooms all squeezed into a former apartment building, but it was a good value for the price we paid.
For our night on the road to Munich, we booked the Holiday Inn Express in Strasbourg for the bargain rate of 80 dollars all-in. On the way back, we booked the Holiday Inn Express in the town of Baden-Baden (very close to the German border with France) for 110 dollars. For our night near the airport, we booked the ACE Hotel Paris Roissy, a modern, more budget-type property just a mile less than ten minutes from the airport by car. We paid a rate of 75 dollars per night Nothing too fancy, but perfectly comfortable.
This was quite a trip. Getting to visit Paris for the first time, as well as flying American’s premium economy and being able to review it early was plenty to be excited about. I’ll be skipping reviewing the flight from San Diego to Dallas (the flight was exactly the same as the previous four times I’ve taken it)It was definitely a fun trip, though it did have some plot twists towards the end. Stay tuned, and, as always, happy travels!