Last year I ran a giveaway sponsored by American Airlines whereby a lucky reader got to join me on a free trip to Helsinki (to be clear, the prize was the trip to Helsinki, while having to endure my company for nearly three days was the unavoidable punishment).
Reader Andrew B submitted a hell of an entry for the contest and ended up winning based on your votes.
Now, the thought of going on a trip with someone I had only previously met in blog comments was mildly terrifying. Though I lucked out, because Andrew was awesome, and we had a lot in common (I’m boring and he’s into
bored board games… kinda the same thing, right?).
Anyway, Andrew was in Seattle this past weekend visiting friends and we hung out for a couple of (intense) nights. Eventually we decided it might be fun to do a US Airways 90,000 mile business class award to North Asia together. Andrew has a bunch of US Airways miles he wants to redeem and I’m always looking to review new business class products, so I’m game. Especially now, since we only have a couple of weeks remaining to redeem US Airways miles for travel on Star Alliance carriers.
With that in mind, I agreed under the condition that Andrew will share his thoughts here, much as he did on our trip to Helsinki, since I find him to be pretty damn hilarious. So I’ll turn the “mic” over to him. We’ll go with whatever you guys decide (to the best of our ability).
Losing My North Asia Virginity: What Product(s) Should I Review?
Andrew B here again — the dude who got to go to Finland thanks to the power of internet memes.
So, here’s the deal. I’ve been loyal to US Airways for quite some time (primarily because they are the largest carrier at DCA, my nearest airport). I only fly about 25,000 miles a year, and I’ve found they treat their low-tier elites pretty well (I get upgraded more than half the time, and on domestic flights over 16 hours long I even get meal service). Despite Lucky’s advice to “earn and burn,” I’ve been mindlessly stockpiling Dividend Miles like a doomsday prepper hoarding ammo. With US Airways’ exit from the Star Alliance just a couple weeks away, I wanted to burn some of my miles on a 90k business class trip to North Asia, as Lucky has done many times.
Lucky even agreed to come along for the ride, on the condition that I write a guest post about the experience. So I wanted to see what you guys thought might be good products for me to review. You’ve heard Lucky’s perspective on many of these, but I may have a different take on them, as someone who hasn’t done much international premium travel and will likely be in awe of the luxurious touches, such as free cabin pressurization and a complimentary second checked bag so I can bring along my board game collection (I’m only half joking). Which of these do you think I should try?
LOT 787 — Last year, Lucky’s plans to try out this product were thwarted, so this might be a good chance for him to try it again. Truth be told, it does seem like a really nice hard product, and I would love to take my first 787 flight, but there are some potential drawbacks. For one, I’m something of a picky eater (they pretty much know me by name at all local Cheesecake Factories — I love that place because of the dictionary-sized menus), and I have heard less-than-stellar things about LOT’s catering. Also, Warsaw isn’t quite at the top of my list of cities to visit.
ANA 787 — If I were to pick, I would love to try out this product. I’ve also never visited Tokyo. Ever since I was a child, it has been my dream to buy all of life’s necessities from vending machines and sleep in a coffin-like capsule (who needs the Park Hyatt, right?), and I’m pretty sure Japan is the only place where I can accomplish both of those goals.
Lufthansa 747-8 — Basically I’d love to fly this, but the odds of finding availability are about as slim as the chances of winning a free trip to Finland.
Ethiopian 787 — Could be a fun exotic choice, although they may have a staffing shortage after one of their pilots recently left the airline for personal reasons.
[EgyptAir 777 -- WE AREN'T EVEN INCLUDING THIS IN THE POST BECAUSE THERE IS NO EFFING WAY I WOULD EVER DO IT. MY MOM WOULD MURDER ME.]
Swiss — My feelings on Switzerland? Pretty neutral. (Get it?) But seriously, Swiss looks like a gorgeous product and one I’ve been itching to try.
Asiana — People always rave about Asiana, but from my perspective it doesn’t look too intriguing. Maybe I should give it a try, just to see what the fuss is about?
Thai A380 — I love the A380, and have heard amazing things about Thai. Plus I would REALLY like to learn once and for all how to pronounce and spell the name of the Bangkok airport (Suvburnbighghtnti?). Political stability has been a bit iffy in Thailand lately, though…
EVA — It seems like every other post on this blog is about Hello Kitty. So doing a trip on one of EVA’s Hello Kitty-themed 777s might be redundant, as you guys have already read about that experience on here ad nauseam (perhaps even ad vomitum). Although I’m sure I would enjoy luxuriating in the softness of Kitty-themed toilet paper at first, anthropomorphized felines aren’t really my thing.
Air Canada — I would giggle with glee every time a flight attended said “eh?” or “aboot.” Also, their new 787s are coming into service soon in the coming months!
Whether I end up flying to Asia on a five-star carrier or on the back of a rabid pterodactyl (actually, please don’t make me do that), I’ll try to have an interesting and entertaining report for y’all. So, comment on what product(s) you think we should try out!
And now, this really cute corgi dressed as a lawyer has a question for all you miles and points experts: