Walkabout: Central Park Songdo, South Korea 

I had an unexpected overnight in Seoul, South Korea, while jaunting around the world. After securing a hotel on the day of arrival, something my OCD would never allow me to do. I had a free morning to explore prior to my flight home. Since I had not even planned on being in Korea, I had not researched anything to do, although the DMZ it tops on my list. Sadly, there was just not enough time to o that.

I stayed in the Songdo area which is a 10 year new International Business District, that was wholly built on 1500 acres of reclaimed land from the Yellow Sea. Across from my hotel was a really beautiful green space called Central Park, that apparently covers 10% of the IBD. It’s surrounded on three sides by majestic modern skyscrapers and the sea on the last side. Running down the middle was a meandering river, tons of hiking trails and just a lot of open space.

I had a great time wandering the park and enjoying a chilly 40• March morning.
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Panorama of the park from the central bridge Continue reading

Categories: Asia, Photography, Travel, Travel Blog, Walkabout | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Mission Accomplished: First Class RTW on A380’s- Emirates Dubai to Seoul, My Final Flight

TRIP REPORT INDEX: AROUND THE WORLD IN FIRST ON THE A380

Sadly all good things must come to an end, scratch that, it would be nice if they didn’t. This was my last flight of my a380 around the world trip. And I was a little sad about it for sure. I had three count them three great flights on Singapore Airlines on their a380’s and one amazing flight thus far on Emirates and now I was about to embark from Dubai to Seoul.

After about a seven hour layover in Dubai in their glorious terminal three lounge I headed for the plane. When departing from T-3 in first class you have the opportunity of boarding from it. There are gates on the fourth level in the lounge, once your boarding pass is scanned you take an elevator down two levels and walk to your plane. The only other people on this level are other guests heading to their flights also in first. Once you make your way to your plane you board on the upper deck turn left and head to your seat. You know you’re living the good life!!

 

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My coach for the next 8 1/2 hours

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Categories: a380, Around the world, Emirates, Travel, Travel Blog, Trip Report | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

It’s A Lounge It’s A Terminal It’s A Lounge- Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai Terminal 3

TRIP REPORT INDEX: AROUND THE WORLD IN FIRST ON THE A380

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The main entrance to the First Class Lounge Terminal 3

After a wonderful flight from San Francisco I had a little wait in Dubai. I had landed a little after 7 PM and had a glorious departure to Seoul at 2 AM. Yeah was I psyched!! Really I was not, this was a crummy time to have to hang around the airport or the city. I could have left the airport for 4 hours or so, but I’m not sure what I could have done after say 10 PM. I’m sure there’s stuff open, but I really didn’t do much research, and wasn’t in the mood to just wander around. Now if it was earlier in the day I would have for sure done that but with that late of a departure, I knew I would be tired soon and didn’t want to “find something to do”. The alternative was get a hotel either in the airport or outside, but again for the short duration, I was not keen on spending upwards of $150 USD for a bed. Continue reading

Categories: Airport, Emirates, Lounges, Travel, Travel Blog | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Put Up Your Dukes American vs United Transcontinental Service To Boston

As part of my larger epic around the world trip spanning 6 countries and over 42,000 miles ,I had the opportunity to fly United in domestic first class from Boston to San Francisco and American Los Angeles to Boston. Since both carriers for the moment offer similar airplanes on the routes narrow body Boeings and Airbuses, I thought I’d do a comparison of the two airlines.

Now to be fair United will be utilizing their PS Transcon 757’s for a few months later this year on the BOS-LAX route which will definitely be a leg up on AA or anyone else for that matter, but for now they offer the same product, here’s a good write up on what UA will be doing if you’re interested (thanks to Rocky on Doublewides fly for the review).

 Seat

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Ok so this is not the best picture of the seat, but it is a GREAT picture of my beautiful daughter in an AA 737 first class seat.

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Categories: American Airlines, Travel, Travel Blog, Travel Tips, United Airlines | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Get Your Sunglasses, There’s Gold Ahead-Emirates First Class A380 SFO-DXB

TRIP REPORT INDEX: AROUND THE WORLD IN FIRST ON THE A380

Put on your sunglasses and strap on your seat belt folks, this is going to be a blingy post for sure. A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of flying Emirates flagship First Class Suites on their Airbus A380 from San Francisco to Seoul connecting via Dubai. Yes this is the loooong way for sure, but I was in the midst of my quest for flying the a380 around the world and was on my second to last segment of completing my mission. Although this trip in and of itself was an RTW in that I was continuing on from Seoul to San Francisco later in the week, on the more conventional Pacific crossing. I’ll share those details in a future post.

A few weeks prior, I had started my journey in Seoul and connected to Singapore Airlines in Shanghai and made the circuitous journey back to Los Angeles on their a380’s via Singapore and Narita, Japan.

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Check in

 

My trip started out with ease at the First Class check in desk at SFO, 2 ½ hours prior to departure. Continue reading

Categories: a380, Around the world, Emirates, Travel, Travel Blog, Trip Report | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Hanging Out With Jay-Z; Singapore Airlines Suites A380 NRT-LAX

INTRODUCTION:

Ok so after two flights in the past 24 hours on Singapore Airlines in Suites Class on the A380, this was my final leg flying SQ 12 from Narita, Japan to Los Angeles. I really had a great flight from Singapore and was excited for the last leg and getting home to the family. But let’s just cut to the chase did I rub elbows with Jay-Z’s bettter half? Sadly the answer is no, she wasn’t on the flight :(. Yes he was, and no I didn’t hang out with him. He did acknowledge my presence when we were deplaning in LAX, but that was really it. The suites are so darn private I only noticed him  a few times when I walked past his seat, and when he walked by mine to use the facilities. Next time I’m hoping to see Beyonce damit!

After a short layover in Japan, I re-boarded the plane and was greeted by the purser and staff and escorted to my seat. I was immediately asked for my drink order and my luggage was again stored in an empty seat, this flight was 7-12 so I didn’t have to squeeze my roller under the ottoman.

I’ve got to be honest by this flight I was a little tired. I had flown 17,000 miles  and 7 segments in five days and spent two short nights in hotels. I was ready to head home, but also ready to enjoy my time on this flight. I guess what I’m trying to say is this, I was tired of taking pictures and just wanted to enjoy the flight, so if you want to get a more detailed review of the seat and service please check out the last review.

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Ahh the usual pre-departure drink

 

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Categories: a380, Airlines, Around the world, Singapore Airlines, Travel, Travel Blog, Trip Report | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Hot Towels and Champagne Singapore Airlines Suites Class A380 SIN-NRT

 INTRODUCTION

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Singapore Airlines First Class Check in

After a short but restful night at the Sheraton Towers Singapore, it was time for the long but ever so exciting journey home via SQ 12 SIN-NRT-LAX. After a short cab ride from the hotel I was dropped off at the First Class check in. I had no idea that this even existed at Changi Airport, on all my other travels on Singapore in First Class I’ve always been a transit passenger, so I’ve never had the chance to use this entrance let alone know it existed. It’s located right before Terminal 3 and there are signs for it, but just let your driver know and they’ll hook you up.

Even at 7 am there were staff out front ready to help you with your luggage and escort you to a check in desk. Here they would take your bags, check you in and print all necessary documentation. All of this is done in a quick, painless and welcoming environment. It was definitely a nice way to get checked in. I know other airlines have similar services, but I’ve never had this luxury before. Continue reading

Categories: a380, Airlines, Airport, Around the world, Singapore Airlines, Travel, Travel Blog, Trip Report | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Review: Sheraton Towers Singapore

INTRODUCTION 

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After my stupid good flight on Singapore Airlines from Shanghai to Singapore, I had about 12 hours to kill before heading out on SQ 12 Suites Class to Los Angeles. I arrived at about 10 PM and could have easily slummed it at the airport. The lounges are open 24 hours and there’s a transit hotel and a Crowne Plaza connected to Terminal 3. Besides these hotels Singapore is chock full of 5 star properties that run the gamut of hotel chains. I was trying to stay on a budget of sorts and based on cost would have used points or cash depending on how expensive the hotel was I would end up staying at. In this case it came down to how much time I would actually have at the hotel and how much it would cost, and decided that the Sheraton Towers Singapore on cash was the best way to go. I really wanted to stay at the Conrad or W Sentosa Island, but they were both too expensive anyway you sliced it (cash, points, or cash points).

After a quick cab ride I was quickly greeted by reception at the hotel. It was quiet at reception, but there was a wedding going on one level up and you could tell people were having a really great time. I had requested a Sweet Suite Upgrade. As a Starwood Platinum who stayed 50 nights with them in 2014, I get 10 confirmable upgrades. These can be used and will confirm up to 5 days out from arrival. At the four day mark I received an email letting me know I had been upgraded to an Executive Suite. This is my fourth year as Platinum, but the first year I’ve qualified on nights and gotten the 10 upgrades, so I had no idea how good a deal this could or would be. In this case once I got there I was assigned my room and quickly went off to get some shut eye. On a side note, I’ve almost gotten upgrades as a Platinum, so I’m hopeful that the Sweet Suite Upgrades will actually get me an upgrade when I haven’t previously. Continue reading

Categories: Hotels, Starwood Hotels, Travel, Travel Blog, Trip Report | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Trip Report: Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Class Shanghai-Singapore

INTRODUCTION

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There she is

After flying 12,000 miles traveling from SFO-LAX-BOS-SFO-ICN-NRT-PVG, I finally was getting ready for the penultimate part of my trip, the beginning of my around the world trip in First on Airbus a380’ s. In this case I was starting my journey in Shanghai, China flying Singapore Airlines Suites Class to Singapore. From there I’ll fly back to Narita and then onwards to Los Angeles, all on SQ a380’s. Needless to say I was incredibly excited, sure I’ve flown a handful of a380’ s previously, but getting a chance to fly on my favorite airline in their flagship Suites Class, was the cherry on top of the sundae.

I arrived at the gate about 10 minutes prior to boarding and there were three boarding lanes (sorry I didn’t get any snaps) one for coach, business and then suites. The former two had healthy lines but suites was empty, which was expected since the cabin was only 3 of 12. This definitely was going to make for a really nice trip. Besides that, since they have different boarding doors with 1L exclusively for Suites guests once you get on board you only see your fellow guests and the staff working the cabin. In my case it felt like it was 2 ½ crew to one guest, not bad huh? Continue reading

Categories: a380, Airlines, Around the world, Asia, Singapore Airlines, Travel, Travel Blog, Trip Report | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Trip Report: ANA 787 Dreamliner Narita – Shanghai

Introduction

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There she is, my first time….on a Dreamliner.

 

I’ve been on a whirlwind trip over the past few days. To recap I started in Boston and flew First Class on United Airlines to Seoul via San Francisco. I then flew Asiana short haul Business Class to Tokyo Japan overnighted there at the Narita Hilton. So today I was flying my first 787 Dreamliner. I had the pleasure of flying ANA, the launch customer for this new class of plane created by Boeing. I’ve never tried hard to fly this plane, but sine its first revenue flight in October 2011 I’ve really wanted to check it out. This plane is groundbreaking in that it’s made of multiple composite materials, has a more open feel due to the Sky Interior, larger windows with gradient shading feature and also boasts a cabin pressurization of only 6000’, normally planes are pressurized at a higher level than that. This is supposed to make people feel more refreshed when flying long distances. Additionally with its increased fuel efficiency new long thin routes were hopefully going to materialize.

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Categories: Airlines, ANA, Around the world, Asia, Travel, Travel Deals, Trip Report | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

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