My friend and I had decided on squeezing in a full day at Disney World, which meant we ended up crashing at a hotel close to the resort in order to make the most of the day. Most professional organizations have discount travel programs (mine does), so I checked through the discount travel site to see what I could find and got a fantastic deal on the new Red Lion hotel in Orlando/Kissimmee, right outside the main entrance to Disney World… and they had a shuttle to and from the resort! All in all it ended up costing about $70 US for the night, while the price of the room on most regular travel sites was about $200+!
I had done a bit of research into the hotel and it had been recently bought and updated by Red Lion and reviews generally looked okay so I wasn’t particularly worried. Also, we were driving up from West Palm Beach that evening so we weren’t going to be spending a whole lot of time there anyways, so as long as it was clean it would be okay. Continue reading
Of the United States that is. Okay, so technically it’s not quite true since I actually flew from Vancouver, but we’ll just go with it.
One of the things I’ve always found a bit funny/strange is that most of the time it can take longer to travel within North America than it does to travel to Europe. There are very few direct flights from the Pacific Northwest to Florida and exactly zero from Vancouver, so you’ve always got to stop somewhere. I had a pretty direct route this time, YVR-DFW-TPA. One stop only! This was key since I tend to have really bad travel luck and had to get there by 4pm Friday.
The good thing about travelling west to east is that usually you can catch a redeye flight. The bad news is usually you have to catch a red-eye flight. I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with domestic (North America) red-eyes in that they’re rarely long enough to get a good chunk of sleep, even if you can manage to grab a nap, but you also don’t lose a full day travelling and waste a day of vacation. The flight to Dallas left just after 11pm and was 4 hours long… Just enough time close your eyes and get comfortable(ish) before you’re starting your decent. But I had a limited schedule and not a whole lot of extra time to waste, so the red-eye it was. Continue reading
After landing at Seatac airport I had about 4 hours to kill so I decided to visit both the United Club in the main terminal and The Club at the south terminal. The United Club was almost empty as there were not many united flights leaving around the time I arrived. It’s a petty small lounge but it’s got a nice seating area, a limited bar and food area, coffee maker, newspapers and magazines… Pretty much everything you’d expect in a United Club lounge. I had a drink and settled into a chair to charge my phone and hop on the wifi. Though the airport has free wifi, I find that typically lounge wifi will be faster and has much longer time limits, if any, before you have to reconnect.
After a few hours relaxing in the quiet lounge, I moved over to the south satellite terminal, hoping on the train for the quick trip to the gates. Upon making my way to the gate area I headed over to The Club lounge to wait for my flight to board. This lounge was much busier, but I managed to find an empty seat and settled in to wait. This lounge had a larger selection of food, and more drinks options, including mixed drinks which they would make for you and bring to you at your seat. I grabbed a few snacks and a drink or two while I was waiting. The lounge had large windows looking out onto the Tarmac and if you grab a bar seat by the window, you can watch the dance of planes. Continue reading
So by the time I was finally getting my flights all sorted there was almost nothing left for a transpacific flight in business class; in fact, the agent who was helping me couldn’t pull up anything at all on their system. I was finding one transatlantic flight with availability: SEA-FRA on Lufthansa, but that meant getting to Seattle first.
There were some schedule changes that made my original flight a bit more onerous, so I ended up switching to a single stop in Chicago and then on to Istanbul. However, when I was printing out all my documents, I realized that my visa didn’t start until the 9th (the day I was supposed to arrive) and now my flight was scheduled to arrive the 8th… Lesson learned: get the visa for a day or two before you arrive in case your flights/schedule changes. Continue reading
As I mentioned, I’m going to go over a few older trips while I’ve got a bit of down time… First up is my trip to Istanbul and Dubai in October of last year. I’ll be posting this in a few parts.
- Introduction and planning
- Air Canada YVR-SEA Economy
- Lufthansa SEA-FRA Business
- Lufthansa FRA-FCO Business
- A day in Rome
- Turkish Airlines FCO-IST Business
- Istanbul not Constantinople
- Emirates IST-DXB Economy
- Dubai, city of concrete and sand
- Turkish Airlines DXB-IST Business
- Turkish Airlines IST-lAX Business
- Air Canada LAX-YVR Business
Introduction and Planning
The impetus for this trip was getting rid of my Aeroplan points as I was not flying Air Canada enough to accumulate very many and it was likely that I would lose my status after that year. When looking at redemption options I had more than enough for a round trip business class ticket to Europe but not enough to get all the way to Dubai to visit my friend 😦 But with a little creative thinking I did have enough points to get a one way trip for each! I would just need to buy a short hop between Dubai and Eastern Europe (wherever I ended up going). After looking through the Europe 2 options, I decided that Turkey would be a great place to go because it was on my “list” and it was fairly close to Dubai (as far as Europe goes).
Okay, so I might have done a bit of a bad thing. I bought another airline ticket. I know this doesn’t seem bad, and it was a really good deal, so I should have just gone for it, right? Well I did.
If you’re thinking of heading over to Europe in the fall, there are some great business class deals! Most of them seem to be on KLM/Delta/Air France and are about $1500-$1700 CAD round trip, which is an AMAZING deal for business class. It usually costs just that much to do a last minute upgrade both ways. So I’m heading to Stockholm to see my friend’s new house! and perhaps meet up with some other peeps along the way.
When I’m not travelling (yes, it does happen occasionally), I’m usually planning my next trip, which includes scouring the internet for deals, looking at award space on airlines, and generally just keeping my eyes open.
My upcoming trip in July was pretty much an accident… a happy, once-in-a-lifetime type accident that kind of fell into my lap. This trip involves 4 airlines, 8 countries, 12 cities, and 75 hours of flying (as of right now anyways).