Around the World

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


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Riding on the Upper Deck of an EVA Air Boeing 747 – In Economy Class

My EVA Air Boeing 747-400 in Seattle, after I landed

My EVA Air 747-400 in Seattle, after I landed

Typically, flying on the upper deck of a Boeing 747 is an exclusive affair. When the jumbo jet was first introduced, the upper section was a lounge for premium passengers. More recently, most airlines put premium seats up top. This means that most don’t have the ability to experience the upper deck. Unless you have the means, a job willing to pay, the miles to upgrade, or some extra luck, you’re relegated to the main deck.

However, there have been a few airlines that have configured their 747s with economy on the upper deck. Today, Air France, Virgin Atlantic, and EVA Air are the only ones to offer the option. With many airlines constantly upgrading their fleet, and the 747-400 thus being phased out, the ability to fly economy up top on the “Queen of the Skies” will soon be a thing of the past.

The upper deck of my Boeing 747-400

The upper deck of my Boeing 747-400

I recently had a flight home from Taipei (TPE) to Seattle (SEA) on EVA Air, and the airline kindly put me in business class (pretty much standard procedure when flying on press-related trips). At first, it didn’t fully make sense to them when I asked if I could give up my business class seat in the nose of the 747 for an economy seat on the upper deck. But that is exactly what I worked hard for; I was never as excited to fly in economy.

Continue reading Riding on the Upper Deck of an EVA Air Boeing 747 – In Economy Class

Flying a Thai Airways A380 in Royal First Class

Thai Airways Airbus A380 - Photo: Aero Icarus

Thai Airways Airbus A380 – Photo: Aero Icarus | FlickrCC

Airline: Thai Airways International
Aircraft: Airbus A380-800
Departed: Tokyo Narita (NRT)
Arrived: Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK)
Class: First Class
Seats: 1E & 1F
Length: About 6 hours

My wife and I recently embarked on a major bucket list trip to Thailand.  Since this was a rare sans-toddler trip, we decided to go all-out and burn pretty much all the miles and points we could get our hands on to fly some premium cabins.  We were fortunate enough to be able to scrape together just enough points (mostly thanks to being new homeowners) to fly to Bangkok in first class.  Our final leg of the inbound journey was on a Thai Airways A380 from Tokyo Narita (NRT) to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK).

Thai Airways' A380 First Class Cabin - Photo: David Delagarza | AirlineReporter.com

Thai Airways’ A380 Royal First Class cabin – Photo: David Delagarza | AirlineReporter

We arrived at Tokyo Narita on ANA’s new Houston to Tokyo service in first class which, in and of itself, was an amazing experience.  Our layover at Narita was about three hours long, during which time we availed ourselves of ANA’s First Class suite lounge.

Shortly after taking our seats in the lounge, a representative from Thai Airways found us, introduced herself, and asked if we needed anything.  We asked if she could look into the status of our checked bags, as we’d had a little bit of difficulty getting them checked all the way through to Bangkok.  She left with our passports, boarding passes, and bag claim tickets.  When she returned she had new boarding passes printed on Thai stock and she informed us that they had located our bags and they were all set to be loaded on the aircraft.  She also informed us that due to a late inbound aircraft, the flight would be about fifteen minutes late, and she would get us when it was time to board.  No problem, I needed a shower anyway. Is there any greater feeling than showering in the lounge between long-haul flights?

Continue reading Flying a Thai Airways A380 in Royal First Class

Business Class Review: Flying on a Qatar Airways 777-300ER Halfway Around the World

Tarmac de-planing from a Qatar 777-300ER in Doha

Tarmac de-planing from a Qatar 777-300ER in Doha

QATAR AIRWAYS BOEING 777-300ER BUSINESS CLASS REVIEW BASICS:

Airline: Qatar Airways
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Departed: Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)
Arrived: Hamad International Airport (DOH)
Stops: Non-stop flight
Class: Business Class
Seat: 4E, inside middle [but also sat in 1A bulkhead on a leg and 2F on another]
Length: About 12.5 hours

Cheers: Great service and the food was (mostly) delicious.
Jeers: The hard product is getting a bit dated.
Overall: After so many miles and so many hours, I was still ready for some more.

Caption

The business class seat on the Qatar Boeing 777-300ER. Notice the blue lighting.

Recently, I flew quite a few miles on a Qatar Airways Boeing 777-300ER in business class. Although my review will mostly concentrate on the leg from Washington Dulles (IAD) to Doha, Qatar (DOH), bits and pieces of my other legs, which were DOH to Bangkok (BKK) and then back towards home DOH-IAD will also make their way into this review. After flying over 17,000 miles on the product in a short amount of time, I think I got a pretty good feeling what it is all about.

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Is Flying the Uber-Low-Cost Carrier Thai AirAsia Worth It?

AirAsia Airbus A320 - Photo: AeroIcarus | Flickr CC

AirAsia Airbus A320 – Photo: AeroIcarus | Flickr CC

I’ll be the first to admit it.  I was naive.  I really didn’t think it could get worse than our low-cost carriers (LCCs) here in the U.S.   I mean, I’d suffered Spirit’s kneecap-busting 28-inch seat pitch.  I’d waited an hour-and-a-half to retrieve my bags from Frontier’s severely understaffed operations at DFW.  I’d paid for my carry-on bags, seat assignments, drinks, and everything else imaginable.  How bad could it be?

During our recent trip to Thailand, my wife and I wanted to travel from Krabi (KBV) in the south of Thailand to Chiang Mai (CNX) in the north of the country.  Although I enjoy different flying experiences, I certainly did not go looking to fly AirAsia. There are several operators offering tickets for this route; however, AirAsia was the only airline flying this particular route nonstop.  Wanting to make the most of our limited vacation time, we chose to take the shortest option.  The tickets were ridiculously cheap by U.S. standards – about $35 each.

My first hint of trouble came when I tried to check-in online the morning of our flight. I wanted to make sure that my wife and I had seats together and pay for our checked bags. When I logged on, I was able to make these selections, albeit with some trouble.  Getting assigned seats cost about 200 Bhat ($6) each.

Our checked bags would have been about 300 Bhat ($9) each. Not bad, and pretty much in line with what I expect from an LCC. But the problem came when I tried to pay.  Try as I might, I could not get the system to accept payment without error.  So, I tried – again and again – for nearly an hour before giving up. Oh well, I figured we’d get it resolved at the airport. Wishful thinking.

Continue reading Is Flying the Uber-Low-Cost Carrier Thai AirAsia Worth It?