Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2015: 290,939
2014: 363,407
Total: 1,212,540






Waiting My Whole Life to Fly Business Class — Just to be Disappointed

Delta Air Lines Boeing 767-300ER.

Delta Air Lines Boeing 767-300ER – Photo: Thomas Becker

For my birthday this year, I planned a trip to Ireland, Scotland, and England, and since Delta had no award availability in coach, I decided to splurge and spend 62,500 Alaska miles to fly business class (since re-branded Delta One) for the first time ever.

My leg was from Atlanta (ATL) to Dublin (DUB) on flight DL176, which was operated by a Boeing 767-300ER. I have been watching, for years, others flying in a premium product and I was jealous. When I was a poor graduate student, I couldn’t really justify the expense in miles or money, but now it seemed like it would be worthwhile.

I was so excited that I planned my trip far in advance and I was looking forward to this flight for nine months. But when the time came, I have to say that I was a bit disappointed, as it just didn’t live up to my expectations.

Continue reading Waiting My Whole Life to Fly Business Class — Just to be Disappointed

OneJet – The New (Private Jet) Airline Nobody Has Heard of… Yet

OneJet's gate area reminds me a lot of Delta's new Sky Club at ATL's F concourse. Check my ride outside the windows: a Hawker 400 - Photo: Dan Phalen

OneJet’s gate area reminds me a lot of Delta’s new Sky Club on ATL’s F concourse. Check my ride outside the windows: a Hawker 400 – Photo: Dan Phalen

Would you believe me if I told you that for under $300 you could fly aboard a posh executive jet? It’s true, thanks to the folks at the promising new upstart airline OneJet. Here’s their [very compelling] pitch: Due to airline consolidation and the resulting proliferation of hub-and-spoke networks, business travelers between many medium-sized city pairs are without non-stop service. Enter OneJet and their seven-seat Hawker 400s: For slightly more than a two-legged economy ticket with the other guys, passengers can ride direct, in style, aboard a modern lavish business jet.

When I first learned of OneJet via my friends at Milwaukee’s General Mitchell airport I was cautiously optimistic. I immediately began researching the company, its leadership, and business model. Far too often in this cutthroat industry with historically razor thin margins, things which seem too good to be true, simply aren’t. Or at least they don’t last. Imagine my surprise when I learned that OneJet has a cast of longtime industry veterans on board as their leadership and advisory team. Big names like Fred Reid, who after being being the president of Lufthansa went on to lead Delta and later become the first CEO of Virgin America. And not just airline leaders, but governmental leaders as well.

Boarding from the ramp. The carpet was a nice touch! Photo: JL Johnson

Boarding from the ramp. The carpet was a nice touch – Photo: JL Johnson

John Pistole, former TSA administrator, and John Porcari, former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Combine these diverse industry leaders with others, each bringing decades of experience from other airlines, and it’s tough to discount what they are trying to do. 

OneJet had attracted my attention and I needed to know more. There’s no better way to get to know an airline than to experience it first-hand. Their inaugural flight between Milwaukee, WI and Pittsburgh, PA was in just one week; a few hours later I broke down and bought my $283.10 ticket…

Continue reading OneJet – The New (Private Jet) Airline Nobody Has Heard of… Yet

Flight Review: Cathay Pacific Business Class Flying Across North America

Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER at JFK - Photo: David Montiverdi | Flickr CC

Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER at JFK – Photo: David Montiverdi | Flickr CC

Recently, I needed to get from New York (JFK) to Vancouver (YVR) and, surprisingly, it was not easy to find a flight that didn’t include a crazy set of layovers and several hours of travel time. I was not expecting to find a non-stop Cathay Pacific 777-300ER option — done!

- Photo: Katka Lapelosová

Preparing for the flight out of New York in Cathay business class – Photo: Katka Lapelosová

The flight is special, since it is a transcontinental, but is operated as an international flight, since the stop in Vancouver is part of a longer hop to Hong Kong. Because of this, the flight lands in YVR at 1am, which means you should do some planning on getting to your final destination, since options will be limited.

It’s not a long flight – only about five-and-a-half hours – but it doesn’t mean one can’t enjoy the premium experience.

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Flight Review: Taking TAP Portugal’s Business Class to Lisbon on an Airbus A330

My TAP A330-200 (named Bartolomeu Dias - reg CS-TOR) sitting at Lisbon - Photo: Katka Lapelosová

My TAP A330-200 (named Bartolomeu Dias – reg CS-TOR) sitting at Lisbon – Photo: Katka Lapelosová

Recenty, I was booked to fly on TAP airlines from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to Lisbon Portela Airport (LIS). On my way there, I flew on their Executive product (aka business class) and on the way home, I flew in economy.

Photo: TAP

TAP Executive cabin – Photo: TAP

At the airport, I looked for a priority line, but did not see one, so I waited in the standard line. Upon check-in, I was provided with a green sticker on my boarding pass, which indicated I was to receive an expedited security clearance. There was no discussion of whether I had lounge access and the ticket agents did not seem to know — actually, different agents told me to go to different lounges.

I was a bit frustrated, but it was only an hour until my flight anyway, so I decided to relax in a secluded part of the gate with the economy passengers. Checking out TAP’s website, I was able to confirm that I had access to the Lufthansa’s Business Class lounge in Terminal B.

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Flight Review: Eva Air Royal Laurel Business Class on a Boeing 777-300ER

Eva Air Boeing 777-300ER.

Eva Air Boeing 777-300ER in flight – Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren | JDLMedia

Another week, another flight. This time my adventure started at Los Angeles International, with a ticket in hand on EVA Air to Taipei. The occasion? To give the carrier’s Royal Laurel (RL) business class a good, thorough testing.

With no line present at the Royal Laurel Desk, check-in was quick and simple. A staff member escorted me to the lounge, managing to whisk me right past the hulking mid-day security line. This does not appear to be a normal procedure for RL passengers, though the premium line looked to have a 15-minute back-up.

EVA utilizes the finely appointed Star Alliance lounge in LAX, thanks to being part of the alliance since mid-2013. Time was short on this visit, though long enough to snag a finger sandwich and a few deserts.

Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren | JDLMedia

Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren | JDLMedia

Boarding began on time, and I quickly squirreled away my bags above my seat: 1A. A selection of juices and water was on tap for pre-departure drinks. I went with apple, my new favorite as of late.

Continue reading Flight Review: Eva Air Royal Laurel Business Class on a Boeing 777-300ER