I’ve flown Virgin America a handful of times from the Bay Area, but all of my flights have been to Las Vegas or San Diego and only in Coach. I was needing to head to Dallas and found a First Class fare $50 cheaper then any other airlines coach ticket, even Southwest!! Well what’s a person to do, fly in the back of the bus for more moolah or fly up front for less. Let’s think about it for maybe two seconds. I immediately bought my ticket to Dallas Love Field on Virgin America from SFO and away I went.
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).
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.
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.
My trip started out with ease at the First Class check in desk at SFO, 2 ½ hours prior to departure. Continue reading
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
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
Seoul – Dubai -United Global First
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
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.
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
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
Well it’s been almost nine months since I’ve flown United Airlines. Wow it’s hard to believe it’s been that long. The last time I flew them in March was for my third mileage run to Dubai in a six week period. Yes I know I’m nuts.
No I’ve not stopped traveling, are you crazy, and In fact another banner year with over 160k paid miles flown. Plus my wife and I are about to embark on an epic trip around the world.
Why no love for the former world’s largest airline? Well they just aren’t what they used to be. Tomorrow I’m taking a short haul up to Seattle in connection with a much larger trip from the Bay Area and it just feels weird to fly on UA. I’m hoping that the crew and flight experience are back to the good old days before the merger with Continental, but I don’t have high hopes. But you never know things can change, right? The crazy part, is I don’t miss them. I do miss my 1k status and better shot at free upgrades, and the friendly staff from years gone by, but all of that disappeared years ago. Plus I get way better treatment on American, Alaska and even Delta. What’s there to really miss?
I guess I’ll find out. Maybe.
As part of my trip to Dublin, I had the opportunity to fly British airways from London to Dublin and back. This was my first short haul experience on British Airways. In fact I’ve been racking my brain as to when I’ve flown them before, and I can only recall one flight about three years ago from Singapore to Sydney. If I flew them as a youngster when making infrequent trips to India, I’m going to have to guess it was 1980 or earlier if at all.
British Airways a320
Categories: Airlines, British Airways, Europe, Travel, Travel Blog, Trip Report
Tags: air travel, Airlines, Europe, Sightseeing, Travel, Where is rahul
The horror of it all, to have to sit in coach on an international flight. Am I sick? Ha just kidding. In my almost three years of flying American Airlines or one of its partners in the One World Alliance, this was my first international flight in coach on American. I think I’ve logged in close to 200k miles in that time mostly domestic but have had an opportunity to fly them to London roundtrip 2x and one time each to Santiago, Japan, Nicaragua, and China.
I was flying to Dublin for a very short weekend trip via JFK and London, and I played the upgrade lottery and lost. At the beginning of the day I started at number 10 on the list and by boarding had dropped to 15, they had three open business class seats and sadly I was not in one of those. But hey that’s ok, I had a chance to try out coach class on their newish Boeing 77W, their long range aircraft that they started delivery on early last year.
The back of the bus literally, 4 rows fro the back
Categories: Airlines, Airport, American Airlines, Europe, Travel, Travel Blog, Trip Report
Tags: air travel, Airlines, Europe, Photos, Travel, Where is rahul
We were finally in the Hawaiian Islands after a very long trip, but we had one last short flight to take. After landing in Maui we had 50 minutes to connect to our little Boeing 717 to Kona on the Big Island. If I’ve flown Hawaiian before it was so long ago that I can’t remember. I know I’d flown Aloha Airlines several times before they went out of business, but I’m just not sure about Hawaiian. It was a short trip, the flight is blocked out for only 32 minutes for this 84 mile jaunt but from wheels up to wheels down it’s only took 21. Continue reading
The vaunted group A, what a lucky duck I was.
Southwest Airlines is a carrier I LUV to hate. They are the nation’s largest airline by passenger volume and have a huge route network throughout the United States and earlier this year Mexico and the Caribbean. They serve 96 cities in 41 states and have over 3,600 departures per day. Overall this is just incredible, but the Greyhound of the skies is just not my carrier of choice, but when push comes to shove I have to suck it up and get in line like all the other cattle.