a380

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

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: , , , | 6 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: , , , | 2 Comments

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

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

Booking An Award Redemption On Singapore Airlines

Booking An Award Redemption On Singapore Airlines

Introduction

Once I had secured the dates for the trip to Seoul it was now time to find the most extravagant way to get back at the cheapest price. There are many airlines I want to try but at the top of my list for the past 7 years has been the Singapore Airlines a380 Suites Class. It’s one of those white whale redemptions that are really hard to come by. They pretty much block redemptions with partner’s mileage programs so getting a seat is really really tough in any premium cabin let alone on the a380. In my entire life I’ve been lucky enough to do one round trip in Business Class to Bali and two First Class redemptions to the Maldives on SQ. All were with United miles and were just lucky redemptions or computer glitches. But in all three cases none were on the a380, two were on the 747 and one on the 77W. These are still some of my favorite flights, and I still feel that way even after flying Lufthansa and Asiana in First Class last December.

Now you can get seats with miles from Avianca, Air Canada, Lufthansa and a few others, but for me not having miles in these accounts and not having much interest in buying miles to make a booking, the best way was a credit card transfer partner. In my case I have miles/points with Chase and American Express, both are transfer partners to Singapore Airlines direct and after getting an amazing sign up bonus a few years back with Amex of 100,000 points it was finally time to use them. Currently SQ only fly’s five routes to the US, two of which have this aircraft, LAX-NRT-SIN or JFK-FRA-SIN. So I went looking for space on those two routes. Now for me the easiest way to find space on SQ is on their site, yes you can use the ANA tool too and it works well, but I only wanted specific routes and a specific carrier the SQ site was tops for me.

Here’s what you do to check award space. First of all you need to create an account on their website. It’s free and valid for 18 months if you don’t have any activity in the account. If it expires before you credit miles to the account or transfer some in, then make a new account, they don’t care. Continue reading

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

Around The World In First On a380’s (Singapore & Emirates) And A Side Of United For Fun

 

Introduction

Booking An Award Redemption On Singapore Airlines

BOS-SFO- United First Class Boeing 757

BOS-Seoul- United Global First Boeing 744

Seoul-Tokyo Narita –Asiana Business Class Airbus 320

Hilton Narita

Tokyo Narita- Shanghai PVG – ANA 787 Dreamliner Business

Shanghai PVG-Singapore – Singapore Airlines a380 Suites Class

Shearton Towers Singapore

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

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

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

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

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

Sheraton Inchon

Seoul – Dubai -United Global First


Capture

Around the world and then some

In June of last year thanks to The Fight Deal and Flyertalk I was notified of an amazing First Class mistake fare to Korea. United Airlines had published a fare from Boston to Seoul through the end of schedule and had pretty liberal routing rules as long as you flew over the Pacific on United. This fare was not cheap at $1700 per person, but it was an A class fare. This meant that you could cancel at any time for no reason and get a 100% refund plus earn a ton of status and redeemable miles due to the fare class bonuses, and it was in First Class!! There are times of year where a coach ticket is more on this route then what I paid for First Class.

Of course my mantra is book or hold and then take 24 hours to decide if the trip is worth it or not. Even though it was 100% refundable spending 5K for three of us to fly to Korea was a little above my spending threshold, I knew if I was to go the whole family would come too. On these mistake fares you just have pull the trigger and then cancel in 24 hours to get a full refund (disclosure US based airlines are required to let you cancel but if you book though a third party beware of their cancelation rules, they might be different). In any event I found dates that worked, basically we were full up for vacation in 2014 so I just found a pair of dates in March that worked. I consulted the boss on any dates that may not work for her and away I went to book. I chose to book for two weeks, so as to actually maximize or time away from home and then went about deciding if we wanted to go anywhere else besides Korea in that time period. Continue reading

Categories: a380, Around the world, Travel, Travel Blog, Trip Report | Tags: , , , | 17 Comments

Review: Asiana First Class ICN-LAX a380

Review: Asiana First Class ICN-LAX a380

The culmination of our trip was flying Asiana’s new Airbus a380. The plane was delivered in August or September and they started using it for the Seoul-LAX sector in October. We had initially booked our flight on the three class 777 that Asiana used to fly this route, but during the summer they announced the switch over to the a380. I was over the moon, this meant two a380’ s in First on this trip and a brand new plane to boot. At the time of our trip Asiana only had two a380’ s so it really was a treat to be able to fly one of the grand birds.

We were very well rested for our 10 ½ hour flight from Seoul to LAX. We had an 8 hour layover in Seoul and just lounged around the lounge, getting back into non-vacation mode. About 45 minutes prior to our flight and agent for Asiana met us at the lounge and escorted us to the gate. This was a nice touch. They were in the mix of boarding, but he just walked right up to the ticket reader scanned our tickets and escorted us to the plane, and handed us over to the cabin crew. Pretty damn cool. I tried not to look at the people starring at us wondering why we were getting special treatment.

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On board signage at door 1L. The only people that get to see this are the 12 First Class guests and Asiana crew. everyone else boards via a different door

Introduction

Cashing in my last 300,000 United miles

American Express Centurion Lounge San Francisco

Flying First Class on Lufthansa Seattle-Frankfurt

Rubber Ducks, Cured Meats and VOSS – Lufthansa First Class Lounge Frankfurt

Flying First Class on Thai Airways also on the a380

Thai Airways Domestic Business Class -Bangkok to Koh Samui

Conrad Koh Samui Amazing Hotel, Less Then Amazing Service

The Cutest Airport in the world – Koh Samui

Asiana Regional Business Class- Bangkok to Seoul

Asiana First Class Lounge- Seoul Inchon

Asiana a380 Seoul to Los Angeles

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

Review: Thai Airways Frankfurt-Bangkok First Class On The a380

Introduction

Cashing in my last 300,000 United miles

American Express Centurion Lounge San Francisco

Flying First Class on Lufthansa Seattle-Frankfurt

Rubber Ducks, Cured Meats and VOSS – Lufthansa First Class Lounge Frankfurt

Flying First Class on Thai Airways also on the a380

Thai Airways Domestic Business Class -Bangkok to Koh Samui

Conrad Koh Samui Amazing Hotel, Less Then Amazing Service

The Cutest Airport in the world – Koh Samui

Asiana Regional Business Class- Bangkok to Seoul

Asiana a380 Seoul to Los Angeles

Visiting Thailand and the island of Koh Samui

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Here we go.

Let me just say that after an incredibly great flight on Lufthansa in First, I was looking for an equally good experience on Thai Airways. This was my second time experiencing Thai in First Class, but for both my wife and I our first time on the upper deck of an a380. So I was really looking forward to the experience. If you’re curious how I booked these tickets and how you can too, click here. Continue reading

Categories: a380, Airlines, Around the world, Food, Thai Airways, Travel, Travel Blog | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

Auckland for the weekend

So last weekend I had the opportunity to head to Auckland New Zealand for a quick three night holiday. After spending more time in Sydney this summer then at home I needed a change of scenery. Due to the last minute nature of this trip my options were limited as to where I could go plane tickets were just too darn expensive. Although I’ve had an interest in New Zealand I’ve been more interested in the South Island, where Christchurch and Queenstown are located. But that that being said going to Auckland was something I was looking forward to doing and had a great time while there.

Knowing that I have someone at home to vacation with it’s odd for me to plan a solo vacation, so even thought I was looking forward to the trip I hadn’t done much else then book a hotel, flights and get a travel book. So based on my lack of preparation, I didn’t do too much and could have done tons more but I still had fun. Below are a few highlights from the trip, and picture to go with it.

The War Memorial Museum in Auckland was erected in the 1800’s and does a great job of giving the visitors a feeling of what New Zealand’s past was like with floors dedicated to Maori, the history of the country and its involvement in wars. I found the Maori culture beautiful and the songs and games fun to watch. They remind me of Hawaiian Islanders distant cousins, which they are. It was also interesting to see a very different perspective on WWII and other wars from a side other than America. Even though an Allie, they had a larger role in the Pacific Theatre and I feel what we learn in school, is mostly about Japan (the A-Bombs), Pearl Harbor and then mostly Europe. So getting a change to see what they went through was interesting, and get an idea of how these wars affected others not just us.

I also went to Cornwall Park and One Tree Hill one of the 52 volcanos in Auckland alone. Once tree hill, which no longer has a tree on it, due to vandalism, was a sacred place for the Maori and the land was given to the city to preserve over 100 years ago. The views were amazing and seeing the rolling green hills and wild sheep was just great. And for you U2 fans the song “One Tree Hill” from the Joshua Tree album was about a Maori rodie for the band who passed away in a car accident, and the song is about the Hill and about their friend.

The other really fun part of my trip was the flight home on Emirates Airways on the Airbus A380 the worlds largest passenger aircraft. As you’ll see from the pictures it’s a full double decker plane and I was fortunate to sit upstairs in Business class. The seat and privacy were amazing, it’s hard to believe that they make seats like this for a plane, when most of the time we’re stuck like sardines. Although the service was not that great the seat, entertainment and rest of the flight experience were better than I imagined. I mean how can you complain about a walk up bar and lounge for crying out loud. I know complaining about service while sitting in a lie flat seat drinking 15 year old scotch, makes me seem like some kind of snob. But hey if I don’t have anything to complain about what am I going to BLOG about?

Categories: a380, Travel | Leave a comment

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