Browsing Tag: Trip Report

Etihad Airbus A340-600 taking off - Photo: Jacob Pfleger

Etihad Airbus A340-600 taking off – Photo: Jacob Pfleger

Recently, Etihad Airways had a very attractive sale on business class fares between its European gateways and Australia, including codeshares with Czech Airlines from Prague. This was simply too good an offer to pass up, being the AvGeek I am.

Gear retraction on Etihad A340 - Photo: Jacob Pfleger

Gear retraction on Etihad A340 – Photo: Jacob Pfleger

As I booked via the Etihad website, I was able to partake in the online upgrade auction system. This program is a fairly recent initiative introduced by Etihad Airways, along with other carriers. The program sends out an email approximately a week before the flight, inviting business class passengers to bid on unsold seats in the first class cabin, as well as business class seats for those in economy.  Bids for a first class upgrade ranged from $600-$1500 (USD) for the Abu Dhabi-Sydney flight. I bid $1000, as I was celebrating my birthday and thought it would make a nice present.  Bidders are advised of the outcome 48 hours prior to the flight. The system is still in the trial stage; I only got an email T-24 hours, advising that my bid had been accepted.

Upon arriving at the combined first and business class terminal at Abu Dhabi, I was greeted by a porter who took care of my luggage and escorted me to the first class check-in area. Unlike conventional check-in desks, the first class area is set up like a classy hotel, where you take a seat at a desk with an agent who processes your booking. The whole process took no more than five minutes and I was on my way to the first class lounge.

Even in The Bahamas, the view is always better with AirlineReporter! - Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter.com

Even in The Bahamas, the view is always better with AirlineReporter! And no, I did not end up vandalizing the hotel – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter.com

Recently, the Nassau Airport Development authority in The Bahamas opened a new $83.5 million terminal to serve all non-US international destinations, as well as ’œFamily Island’ domestic travel (a new US-preclearance terminal opened a few years ago).  AirlineReporter.com was invited by the Bahamian Ministry of Tourism to come tour the new airport and view the sites and some new developments in Nassau (including the $3.5 billion ’“ with a ’œB’ ’“ Baha Mar development project).  Note: While I was a guest of the Ministry of Tourism on this trip, all opinions are my own.

In this part, I will cover the “experience” of getting to Nassau, as well as the amazing cultural exchange opportunity I was afforded on the night of my arrival.

A view from the Singapore Flyer. Photo by Blaine Nickeson.

A view from the Singapore Flyer. Photo by Blaine Nickeson.

INTRODUCTION

Maybe it’s not to the extent of the regular contributors to this site, but I’m an #AvGeek.  I love planes, airlines, and miles.  But given my busy career, two toddlers, and a wife who thinks I’m crazy, I don’t get to participate in nearly as many adventures as I would like.  My wife’s come a long way in supporting my habit; I think it may have had something to do with flying her to Europe this spring in Lufthansa First Class on miles.  Maybe that helped lead to the amazing adventure I had recently.

I live in Denver, and I fly United Airlines (UA).  There has been lots of local media coverage about the introduction of UA’s DEN-NRT flight, operated by the 787 Dreamliner, which started on June 10th (unfortunately that flight had an issue after having to divert back to Seattle).

This is a big deal for DEN, not so much because of the Dreamliner, but rather it’s our first nonstop to Asia.  A few weeks ago my wife casually opened a can of worms, stating, ’œI looked at booking you on that Dreamliner flight for Father’s Day, but it was just too expensive.  I know you really want to fly on a 787, and also need to re-qualify for your status-thingy.’  I, of course, sprung in to action trying to take advantage of this moment that was sure to be fleeting.

Long story short, I scored a ride on the (re)inaugural ANA 787 Dreamliner flight from San Jose (SJC) to Narita (NRT).  To make the ticket cheaper (this logic fails me) I continued on to Singapore.  Final routing was 19,000 miles; DEN-SJC-NRT-SIN-HKG-SFO-DEN, or about 39 hours in the air during a 77 hour period.  Yes, I’m crazy, but it was worth it.