Heading South to… America? South America that is – Part 2

August 2017

Continuing on my journey to South America… I had just left the lounge I believe. The reason I was sitting in the international terminal was that the inbound flight was actually from Australia.  This meant the flight would have an international configuration! woohoo!  Business class with lie flat seats FTW!  I made my way to the gate and as it turns out boarding has already commenced.  I made my way on to the plane, settling in to my pod for the next few hours.  Although LAX-MIA is considered one of the “transcontinental” routes, not many of the flights have the international business class product.  I was lucky that this itinerary happened to be on one of the few flights that had the lie flat seats so I could get a nap. Continue reading

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Heading South to… America? South America that is – Part 1

August 2017

A lot of people are surprised when they find out the long list of countries I have visited doesn’t include South America. I just had never really had the opportunity or chance to visit… until recently, that is.

Periodically, American Airlines has really good sale fares to places like PTY (Panama) and SJO (San José, Puerto Rico.) I was debating how I was going to requalify for MVP Gold when I saw the sale pop up again, this time to Bogotá. I have always wanted to go to South America and this would allow me to see what AA transcontinental service from LAX to MIA was like (since it’s designated as a premium service for North America). I managed to find an itinerary I liked and booked my round trip ticket from LAX. Now I just needed to get to LA… Continue reading

Back to North America: NYC edition

Maybe Liechtenstein – Part 6 (March 2017)

Before leaving Switzerland, we spent a night out by the airport as we both had morning flights the next day.  We arrived at the Radisson Blu hotel and checked in for our last night in Switzerland.  I was looking forward to the stay as they have a huge vertical wine library in the center of the hotel.  After finding our room, which faced the inner courtyard (and the wine), we made our way down to watch the acrobats fetch requested bottles from the tower.  It’s actually a neat thing to watch and would suggest having a glass or two if you ever find yourself at this hotel or have some extended time at the airport (since it’s outside security.)

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Wine bar at Radisson Blu (Zurich Airport)

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Paris, tu m’as manqué!

Maybe Liechtenstein – Part 1 (February 2017)

This trip started way back when I thought I would need a ticket back from Europe in March. I found some award space on American Airlines from Zurich to NYC to LAX and home. As it turns out, I ended up not being in Europe, so instead of cancelling the ticket I looked for a flight to get me over to Europe instead. I lucked out and found a points flight from Vancouver to Paris! It’s been so long since I have spent more than a day in Paris, I took it as a sign and booked it on the spot! And then I was able to tag on a flight to Zurich on the same ticket which made it easy to get back home again.

Unlike many of my trips, this one involved a direct flight 😮 Air France YVR-CDG on a 777-200 with the new business class! These seats are reverse herringbone seats so they’re nice and private even though they’re not entirely sectioned off. I was able to score a single window seat (the seats are arranged 1-2-1) which made it even better!

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5 Tips for Maximizing Your Points

I get asked often how I travel so much, but really there’s no simple answer to that.  It’s a combination of many things: keeping an eye on flight deals, searching message boards, taking crazy routings, and last but certainly not least, using points.  Points tickets have allowed me to make some spectacular trips, but I do spend a great deal of time trying to optimize them.

For many years I was a loyal Aeroplan customer, part of the Star Alliance network.  However, after continued devaluations of the program, and the fact that United was the partner in the US, I made the jump over to Alaska Airline’s Mileage Program.  Although the program is not part of an alliance, they have many great partners you can redeem on.  I feel that this program is the best for me in terms of point redemption opportunities, but everyone is different. Continue reading

3 ticket, 6 fights, and 56 hours…

In order to get a good deal on tickets, I’m willing to fly a bit out of the way; okay a lot out of the way.  My flight home from Sweden was not only long, but ended up being longer than anticipated.

The journey started out decently.  I found a cheap flight to Istanbul on AtlasGlobal which arrived late on the Saturday night, with plenty of time to make my connection.  Since these were two separate tickets I wanted to allow for a lot of time in case something went wrong; luckily, it didn’t.  AtlasGlobal is a discount carrier based in Turkey, but they are much better than any other “discount” airline I’ve flown, such as EasyJet or Ryan Air.  The flight from Stockholm to Istanbul was on time, and fairly pleasant.  With free food, free drinks, and a row to myself, it was a lot better than many flights in North America.  I will say that someone was allowing their children to run up and down the aisle, jumping on seats.  Some people just have no clue.  I was close to saying something, but then the drink cart came by and blocked them in the back of the plane for a while… and the wine also helped. Continue reading

Heading to Stockholm

So if you remember from one of my previous posts (Stockholm for a Whole Week!) I had a trip planned to visit my friend in Stockholm; well I’ve finally gotten around to typing up our adventures!

Firstly, the trip over went fairly well.  I made all my connections, got to check out a number of lounges and made it to Stockholm just under 24 hours later 🙂  My voyage started bright and early (well not really that bright) in Vancouver as I had booked a separate ticket down to SFO to start my international trip.  Luckily I was upgraded on my SEA-SFO flight (thanks Alaska!) and got a few other surprise things (free Starbucks card!) which made this a great start to my trip.

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The long road home… via Japan.

My original plan was to fly home from Melbourne via LAX.  I was very excited because I’d manage to score a first class ticket on Qantas!  Unfortunately, with my change in plans, I ended up having to cancel the ticket 😦  So instead, my flight home ended up taking me back through Japan on Japan Airlines (known as JAL), luckily in Business Class.  the best part about it is that you get to skip the lines at the airport! Continue reading

Musings from 36,000 ft

Sometimes there are moments when you travel when stuff just hits you. Running back and forth to another continent for a weekend is fun, but it can also be stressful. I’m not sure why, but on my recent flight back from London, I had one of those experiences. And I wrote about it it the moment
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It’s been a roller-coaster weekend when it comes to my emotions, but I have to say the capper is happening right now. I’m currently speeding 36,000ft above the earth at over 900 km/h over the coast of Greenland. Most would say this is an odd place to have a “moment,” and generally I’d agree. I’ve flown over this spot likely tens if not a hundred times, but this is the first time it’s had an impact. Continue reading

New Zealand… South.

So after my short stop in Auckland it was off to Queenstown!  I actually booked these flights only a few days before since I wasn’t sure what the plan would be until I met up with my company peeps in Sydney.  There wasn’t a whole lot of price variation, so I booked a Jetstar flight on the way down and Air New Zealand on the way back to Auckland.

I would compare my experience with Jetstar to be similar to my flights with Easyjet.  I had to pay extra for a checked bag (since I had so much in my little carry-on it didn’t meet weight restrictions they have in New Zealand and Australia) and a seat, so I chose to buy the “Starter Plus” package which included the checked bag, seat selection, $10 in flight voucher, Qantas points, and no change fees for date, time, and name up to check in.  While those last two weren’t particularly great, I still used the first three!

After a long ride to the airport, I checked in for my morning flight without any major problems and went through security… WITH MY COFFEE!!!!  I was convinced I would have to throw it out, but I guess domestic flights in NZ aren’t that picky!  Hooray!!  I didn’t have all that much time before the flight so I just went to sit at the gate and wait for boarding.

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