When you see “white unicorn” award space, like on the Delta A350-900 in business class, you have to take it. Thus set in motion a last-minute trip that includes Detroit, Amsterdam, Paris, and Tunis on Delta, Air France, and even the exotic Tunisair.
Tunisia Trip Booked: Business Class On Delta A350, Air France A318 +A330, TunisAir A330
Without notice, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club devalued its Delta redemption pricing during the pandemic. Flights to Asia, Africa, and India that were once 60K in business class suddenly more than doubled in price. My plans to fly from Los Angeles to Shanghai or Tokyo on Delta were not just dashed by the pandemic, but by prohibitive Virgin Atlantic pricing.
But Europe, for whatever reason, was spared (not initially, but it was a concession Virgin Atlantic made after much uproar). One-way nonstop trips to Europe on Delta remain 50,000 miles each in business class and if you are departing from the United States, there are no surcharges, just $5.60 in taxes.
From time to time, I see A330 award space to Amsterdam or Paris available with Virgin miles, but it has been years since I’ve seen A350 space…until now. When space appeared onboard the A350-900 with Delta One suites from Detroit to Amsterdam, I decided to plan a trip around it.
Where to? As much as I’d love to return to Amsterdam, the USA is considered a “high risk” country and it’s my understanding that 5-7 day self-isolation is mandatory. No thanks.
Immediately I thought of Tunisia or Algeria. Both are on my bucket list and both would allow me to take an exotic product (either a Tunisair or Air Algérie A330 on the return to Montreal). Prices to Algiers were sky high (not sure why), so I booked a ticket to Tunis instead.
Folks, a brief pause to say that you should take advantage of most status match opportunities, even if you cannot see at the time how or even if you will utilize the product. For example, I would have bought an Air France economy class ticket to Tunis via Paris had I taken advantage of the ITA Airways status match in December. It was quick, free, and easy. That would have given me lounge access in Amsterdam and Paris.
But no, I didn’t take the five minutes to do that and so I ended up burning miles to fly business class. The upside is of course the chance to fly in business class, including a lie-flat A330 from Paris to Tunis with a business class seat I’ve never experienced before. Plus, my first flight on an A318.
My stay is limited to Paris and Tunis for one night each because I don’t want to be away from my family any longer. That’s always the bitterstreet part of travel these days: trying to balance my quest to see the world and provide fresh blog content with my duties as a father and husband not just to provide, but to be present. I wish I could be in two places at once!
I’m so behind in trip reports that I may launch right into the report rather than provide previews, but we’ll see. I’m excited to sampling several new products! Let’s hope my experience on Tunisair will be better than that of Josh Cahill!
image: Olivier Cabaret / Wikimeida Commons