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 →
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.
After a lot of last minute switching, my trip to Europe ended up having a 23 hours in Rome. So after a stressful day and night, I got up early to head to YVR to catch a quick shuttle flight to SeaTac in a little prop plane (Dash 8). The flight was short and fairly uneventful, although the cloud cover coming in to Seattle was impressive and I felt like we were stuck in a cloud… But we eventually broke free and landed. After a fairly long layover in Seattle, where I visited both the United Club Lounge in Concourse A and The Club at the south terminal, it was time to head off to Frankfurt.
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 →
I arrived back in Auckland mid-day and was once again greeted by my friends parents at the airport and went back out to the Beachlands. After a quick visit, some puppy cuddles, and dropping my bags, I was back on the ferry to head into the city. I did some more general site seeing, got my mugs from Starbucks and met up with my friends for a nice dinner at Hector’s. Hector’s is great because they have a number of veggie and vegan options and promote healthy and sustainable dining practices. It’s also quite a nice space, being inside the Heritage Hotel. It wasn’t particularly busy on a Friday night, but it was a great chance to catch up and enjoy some time with my friends. I caught a late ferry back to the Beachlands and went to bed fairly quickly as my flight was early early early the next morning.
As my flight back from Auckland was supposed to be part of my awards ticket, I had to find an alternate flight for the trip back to Sydney. One of the cheaper options was to fly on LATAM (formerly LAN), a South American airline. Typically airlines are only allowed to fly to/from the countries they operate in; however, in some instances, they continue their flights on to a 3rd country. These are called 5th freedom flights and can sometimes be a lot of fun to fly. I remember getting to fly a big Qantas plane (perhaps even a 747) from San Francisco to Vancouver when they flew SYD-SFO-YVR-SYD. The bonus of these flights is that while they are relatively short, they are usually on the latest and greatest of the airline’s long haul product. It’s like taking the airline for a test drive before committing to a 9 hour flight.
If you can’t tell from the title, I’ve been a bit swamped recently. A lot of it has been work related, but I haven’t gotten much down time either. Between a quick wine pick up trip to Seattle, puppy-sitting my bestest puppy, taking part in “bike to work week,” and generally trying to catch up on life, I’ve had limited time to put all my recent trips to paper (not sure I can really say paper… keyboard?)… and I’m still trying to catch up from August 😮
I am hoping to make some serious progress this weekend, and maybe get a post up this week, but I’m making no promises. I though I would share a few pictures from my recent trips to tide you over. Enjoy!
So I’ve got another crazy trip coming up! If you’ve known me for any amount of time, you would not find this shocking. The surprising part is that I’m actually spending a whole 6 days in Stockholm! The crazy part is just they way I get there. I never spend that much time in one place, so it should be fun! I’m going to visit a friend who just bought a house there (although I really don’t need a reason to visit) and I managed to get a fantastic deal on airfare!
I arrived at KLIA 1 and made my way up to the departure levels. I found the airport was a bit confusing, with not a great deal of signage. I didn’t have any luggage to check so I didn’t bother trying to find the check in counter and instead wandered around until I saw a sign that said “International Gates.” Heading down the escalator, I found the passport control at the bottom and was quickly through to the terminal area.
I had booked a ticket in Premium Economy, not looking forward to the long overnight flight being in a tiny seat, but had been notified a few weeks before I left that there had been an aircraft change from KUL to HKG and I had been bumped to business class… Score! This meant I had Lounge access for my trip, which is always a plus! At KUL this got me access to both Malaysian Airlines Golden Lounge, and the Cathay Pacific Lounge. I found the Golden Lounge just past security and went up the escalator to the entrance. The lounge staff suggested I should try the satellite lounge since that is where my flight was departing from. I had a few hours before my flight, and I would have liked to check out both lounges, but didn’t feel like arguing and head off towards the satellite terminal.
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 →
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).