Great Business Class Fare: Manchester to Chicago From £1,236/$1,606 RT

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American Airlines has published some very attractive Business Class fares for travel between the UK and Chicago with the pick of the bunch being a £1,236 fare from Manchester at the end of December. Departures from London see a few reasonable fares too but it would probably be cheaper to fly up to Manchester and connect on to Chicago from there.

Finding The Fare

These are the parameters I used in the ITA Matrix search to narrow down the results to just oneworld flights (if you want to see results from all alliances simply ignore the “alliance oneworld” command):

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 17.17.10

The Rules

Thus doesn’t appear to be a “sale” fare as the fare rules don’t show any “book by” date…but there are a few other rules worth noting:

  • Tickets must be purchased at least 28 days in advance
  • Travel inbound must commence no earlier than the first Sunday after departure (i.e you need a Saturday night stay)
  • Maximum stay is 12 months.
  • No free stopovers


American Airlines operates a non-stop service between Manchester and Chicago for only part of the year – the service will not be operating between 9 January and 26 March – but, despite this, the availability for the good fares is pretty impressive.

The isn’t much available in July but things look good from August onwards with a fares of around £1,359 ($1,767) being available on almost all days….





…and the very best fare becomes available on Christmas Day:


There are a few days in early January where the fare is available too but, as the non-stop service ends on 9 January, I haven’t bothered to add a screenshot.

When the non-stop service returns at the end of March the great fare reappears….



Booking The Fare

You can book most of the fares through either American Airlines….Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 19.35.14

….or British Airways…


…and, if you’re going to credit your flights to American Airlines’ AAdvantage program, you should have a good think about which airline you’re going to book your flight through.

We don’t yet know what the earning rates will be for flights on American Airlines that are booked through partner airlines (American says we’ll be told by 15 July) but I explained in this blog post how I expect things to work and why choosing which airline to book through could be very important.

The Aircraft

American Airlines offer three different type of aircraft on the Manchester – Chicago route depending on the time of year. They range from the excellent to the mediocre to the “why are you paying for a Business Class  fare to fly in this piece of junk?”

Allow me to explain.

Between now and 4 October American Airlines flys one of their shiny new 787 Dreamliners on the Manchester – Chicago route and, while the Business Class seat isn’t quite as good as that found on the 777-300ER, it’s still very good (I reviewed the cabin here):

American Airlines Business Class 787-8 DreamlinerAmerican Airlines 787 Business Class Cabin

On 5 October American Airlines swaps out the 787 for a 767 (screenshot courtesy of ExpertFlyer)….


…and, while the Business Class cabin on the 767 has had a serious makeover…..

american-airlines-767-business-class - 03American Airlines 767 Business Class Cabin

…as I explained in my review when I flew in the cabin from New York to Milan, it’s not a cabin I’d go out of my way to book again…..although it’s still a lot better than Economy or Premium Economy!

The truly bad news comes on 30 October when the American Airlines swaps out the 767 for a 757 aircraft….and you should absolutely never, ever pay to sit in the Business Class cabin on the American Airlines 757 unless you absolutely have to or unless it’s spectacularly cheap (which this isn’t).


The route goes on hiatus until 26 March and, when it returns, the 767 is the aircraft that’s currently scheduled to operate it until the 787 reappears on 1 June.

London – Chicago Fares

Towards the beginning of this post I mentioned that there were some reasonable fares available for departures from London Heathrow – and there are – but they’re not as good as the Manchester fares and the availability isn’t as good either:

The fares worth mentioning are as follows:

  • July & August – From £1,551 (good availability)
  • November – From £1,577 (limited availability)
  • December – From £1,256 (around Christmas)


  • March – From £1,574 (availability limited to the last 2 weeks of the month)

Bottom Line

As far as Business Class fares from the UK go some of these are very good indeed and worth considering if you’d like to visit Chicago.

Personally I would avoid flying the route while it’s being operated by the 757 and I would do everything possible to book the 787 Dreamliner – it’s a great aircraft.

If you’re crediting your flights to AAdvantage make sure you think about what you’re going to earn (redeemable miles-wise and EQM-wise) before you decide which airline to book the flight through – you may even be ok to wait another 8 days to see what American Airlines announces on 15 July…but you do run the risk that the fare gets pulled.

I’m off to see if I can fit in a trip to Chicago before the 787 gets pulled from the route….I’m not sure how I’m going to explain the trip to Joanna but I’ll worry about that after I find some dates that work!

Featured image: Loaded Aaron via Flickr


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