Most Europe trips using miles from a Star Alliance program like United are going to take two stops in each direction when departing the West Coast.
You’ll often have to fly Los Angeles to Houston or Chicago, or even Toronto, Montreal, or Calgary (often in coach), before catching a transatlantic flight. You’ll land in a European hub and catch connecting service to your European destination. That’s pretty grueling, although you do what you have to do to use miles sometimes (especially when travel dates are pretty firm). And I’d say three flights in business class is usually better than two flights in coach when covering that much distance.
Fortunately, there’s a new ‘stealth’ option to use to go non-stop from Los Angeles to Europe, with good business class availability on the days it operates.
Ethiopian launches service Los Angeles – Dublin next month (with continuing service to Addis Ababa).
- The flight operates three days a week, Monday/Thursday/Saturday
- It’s operated by a Boeing 787, so a great new aircraft.
The first 787s that Ethiopian took onboard came with angled flat business class seats. That’s competitive with what you’ll get on some Los Angeles – Europe routes like Air France’s evening LA – Paris flight onboard the Boeing 777.
Even better this year they started taking on 787s with a flat business seat, making it even better.
Either way you’re looking at six-across seating in business class (the same configuration that United offers on their 787s).
The flight has award availability for two passengers in business class every Monday and Saturday in July except for July 11. The Thursday departure doesn’t have two business seats available, unfortunately.
When the flight first comes into the schedule, return availability isn’t as good. However, booking far in advance you’ll find that the flight is available in both directions most every day that it operates with at least 2 business class award seats each way.
Of course, once you’re in Dublin many European routes require two flights as it isn’t a Star Alliance hub. Fortunately though United partners with Aer Lingus (you can’t check award availability at United.com, try the Qantas frequent flyer website though it isn’t always a match) and they’ve got an extensive route network from Dublin which allows you to make a one-stop connection. Ryanair offers many cheap flights from Dublin as well.
This isn’t Emirates first class onboard an Airbus A380 with shower (and heated floors). But it’s one of the best ways right now to get from the West Coast to Europe non-stop in business class using United (or other Star Alliance) miles.