Non-stop as in, I do not leave airports or sleep in hotels. For five days. Yes, this is what I consider fun and no, I do not need to be institutionalized.
I am halfway through a 31,770 mile trip around the world, writing to you from the Qantas First Class Lounge from Sydney where I am relaxing after a wonderful breakfast and spa treatment.
People ask me why I travel and though it is usually to get somewhere, I find it amazing that after more than a decade of intense flying I still love to fly just for the pleasure of flying. This is one of those trips.
I left Friday afternoon for Tokyo, scheduling in substantial layovers at each airport to ensure that if inflight Wi-Fi did not function, I would have time to complete requisite work before boarding my next flight. So 11hrs to Tokyo, 5hrs in NRT, 7hrs to Singapore, 3hrs in SIN, 4hrs to Hong Kong, 11hrs in HKG, 8hrs to Sydney, 10hrs in SYD, 14hrs to Dubai, 2hrs in DXB, 8hrs to London, 4hrs in LHR, 7hrs to New York, 5hrs in JFK, then 6hrs to LAX. How’s that for a long weekend?
US Airways has really cracked down on Dividend Miles routing rules lately, but back in the “looser” days, I booked a trip to Hong Kong with a return via Australia. I flew the LAX-LHR-HKG outbound last autumn and am on the return this weekend. Next up is 24 hours in Qantas First from Sydney to London via Dubai. I am apprehensive that the flight will not have internet, but I also had no internet from LAX-NRT on Friday and managed to catch up in the ANA Lounge in NRT.
A lot of premium cabin travel is coming up in the next year — Emirates, Etihad, Qatar First Class will be highlights. I am flushing my miles much more than I ever have because I see the writing on the wall — I believe that premium class redemptions, particularly in first class, will become much more difficult than they already are. There will still be ways to travel in first class, but not with the ease in which we can now.
Think about it: Alaska has essentially pulled the plug on Emirates first class, United asks for 110K miles one-way to Europe or 120K one-way to Asia to travel on a partner in first class, Delta does not even let you redeem points for three-cabin first class, British Airways is devaluing its chart (and AA will soon follow, I am positive), and airlines like Singpaore, Lufthansa, Swiss, and Air France are reserving premium space only for their own members, in some cases only their elite members.
But there is still time to redeem and flying first class remains an incredible aspirational treat — we will walk through how this is done as the trip report unfolds.