A380 Extravaganza: Introduction

In late December I first shared my plans for this trip on the blog. There were a couple of things that motivated this trip:

  • Singapore Airlines started opening up saver award space in Suites Class on the Airbus 380, which is probably the most coveted product in the sky, so I was desperate to try it.
  • I flew Emirates first class from London to Dubai a couple of weeks prior due to a rebooking from British Airways, and was just blown away by the shower… and the amount of faux-gold in the cabin… and the room service phone. I had to do it again.

There are some cheap premium cabin fares out of Colombo, Sri Lanka that allow you to travel on Emirates (or a number of other airlines), so I decided I could combine an outbound in Singapore Suites with a return on Emirates and British Airways in first class. This would not only allow me to experience Singapore Suites for the first time, but also experience the ground services offered by Emirates in Dubai and British Airways in London, both of which I’ve yet to experience (along with more firsthand experiences of their in-flight products).

In addition to the flight from Seattle to San Francisco (which I booked using 7,500 British Airways Avios and won’t cover with this report given that flying with Alaska is little more than a “nice” bus ride), I booked the trip in three parts:

Part 1:

01/15 Singapore 1 San Francisco to Hong Kong departing at 10:50PM and arriving at 5:50AM (+2 days) [Suites Class]
01/17 Singapore 1 Hong Kong to Singapore departing at 8:00AM and arriving at 12:00PM [Suites Class]

Cost: 91,375 Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles + $ 325.50 taxes/fees/fuel surcharges

Part 2:

01/18 Cathay Pacific 711 Singapore to Colombo departing at 9:00PM and arriving at 10:15PM [Business Class]

Cost: 20,000 British Airways Avios + $53.63 taxes/fees/fuel surcharges

Part 3:

01/19 Cathay Pacific 710 Colombo to Singapore departing at 12:45AM and arriving at 7:00AM [Business Class]
01/19 Emirates 355 Singapore to Dubai departing at 9:35PM and arriving at 1:00AM (+1 day) [First Class]
01/20 Emirates 5 Dubai to London departing at 4:30PM and arriving at 8:15PM [First Class]
01/21 British Airways 49 London to Seattle departing at 2:30PM and arriving at 4:05PM [First Class]

Cost: Premium cabin fares between Colombo and most destinations in North America are very reasonable, so I’d suggest doing some Googling or reading comments section of this post for details. I wish I could spell it out though I’d get a) yelled at by a bunch of people and b) sometimes it’s better not to make things too obvious.

Here’s the itinerary on a map:

Picking the actual flights was very much a process. Originally I had wanted to take SQ11 from Los Angeles to Singapore via Tokyo instead of SQ1 from San Francisco to Singapore via Hong Kong, given that the former has a far superior meal service and I like the fact that it’s two longhaul flights vs. one ultra-longhaul and one short-haul flight. That being said I far prefer the 12PM arrival time in Singapore of SQ1 compared to the 3AM arrival time of SQ11. Though most importantly a friend of mine was working the Hong Kong to Singapore portion of SQ1, so it would be a great opportunity to catch up with her.

As far as the Emirates flights go, initially I had planned on routing through Hong Kong and flying Hong Kong to Bangkok to Dubai to London on Emirates, though after reading some reviews online it occurred to me that the Hong Kong to Bangkok flight had a pretty crappy meal service, while the Bangkok to Dubai flight only served breakfast, which is something I try to avoid on planes whenever possible. Instead I decided to book Singapore to Dubai to London, as both flights were dinner flights with a “proper” meal service (and I care about that simply because I’d rather report back on a decent in-flight meal than eggs and cereal).

I’ll cover my hotel decision making process in the each individual post, but that’s roughly the “shell” of the trip.

As it turned out the trip had some ups, downs, and dizziness due to excessive drinking. As a matter of fact I think I’m still getting over the hangover from my Singapore to Dubai flight

And as much as I’d like to call that the worst flight ever due to how much I drank, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to repeat it, especially if I had the same crew.

Anyway, sit back, relax, and enjoy the report, and if you have any questions please let me know. I’ll try to post an installment a day (+/- one per day). šŸ˜‰

As always, all comments/questions are welcome!

Filed Under: Awards, British Airways
  1. I like how you broke down the trip so we can see exactly how it was put together, I think you said you used a travel agent to book part of this trip? If so how did it benefit you?

  2. Many thanks Ben! Looking forward to it! What kind of a deal did you get for the BA leg LHR to Seattle?

  3. Don’t you mean Emirates Suite class as well? Or is that how they describe their suites? Their other non-suite FC seats are nothing to brag about….

  4. I really like the breakdown and details of taxes/fees plus miles for the legs. Good detail that makes things more realistic. Great post. Keep up the good work!

  5. With apologies for being dim, I still don’t get why you did the Colombo , Sri Lanka/Singapore r/t with the immediate turnaround…How exactly did this make the total trip fare come down? And, since you were there, why not stay for a day or two?

  6. Can’t wait to see the whole trip report since we are taking the same route to Maldives next month. LAX-SFO-HKG-SIN-MLE-CMB-DXB-LHR-LAX on SQ/EK/BA all first…

  7. @AC Taht DXB-LHR-LAX is the “conventional” way to best use the low fares. Lucky took it one step further (for little to no added cost) by adding CMB-SIN in as the first flight, thus allowing him TWO showers šŸ˜‰

  8. @Ari, I know we can route to SIN but my partner won’t have none of that since “one shower” is enough. After all, it is more than 30 hours home even it is the “conventional” way.

  9. @ VeryGoodPoints — Ditto! And this fare wasn’t $5K+…

    @ Sunny M — It can be tough to book a complex ex-CMB fare without a travel agent, so I figured that was the best option.

    @ blueline7 — That was included on the ex-CMB fare.

    @ wwk5d — While they are “suites,” they’re marketed as first class, while Singapore specifically markets the product as “suites class.”

    @ hsw25 @ BBTBphile — Thanks!

    @ John — The fare is only valid out of Colombo and not out of Singapore, so I had to position myself in Colombo in order to take advantage of the fare. I had originally planned on spending two nights in Colombo though was ultimately forced to push my trip back by two days, so in this case had to do a direct turn. That being said I have plans to visit Colombo in March.

  10. Looking forward to the report Lucky. Maybe you’ll cover this later on, but would be interesting to hear your thoughts on what is a better overall F experience – EK or SQ. Or for that matter, how it compares to your beloved LH.

  11. OK – I may be dense, but I looked in the comments section of the post you linked to and see nothing on ex-Colombo fares.

  12. @Lucky, Is BA somehow a codeshare partner with Emirates ex-CMB? I don’t follow…I am familiar with ex CMB fares, but how does purchasing an ex CMB flight translate into an ex CMB flight on two (I thought) unconnected carrier such as BA and EK?

  13. @ PL — That’ll be coming with the individual installments, I promise. šŸ™‚

    @ Eric — Whoops, I linked the wrong post. Should be fixed now.

    @ blueline7 — CMB fares are actually published by American. You can fly any of a number of airlines, and one of the few requirements is that the transatlantic flight be American coded (meaning either on American metal or an American codeshare flight).

    @ Scott — Banking the Cathay Pacific and British Airways miles to American, while I’m banking the Emirates miles to Alaska. I believe I earn 150% miles for most of the segments.

  14. Was this a flying “trip” mostly or did you get to rest your head and see some sites as well. I think I see a London stay?

  15. @ Heather — The primary reason for the trip was to try the various products/airlines, though I spent a couple of days in Singapore, a night in Dubai, and a night in London along the way.

  16. Ah, I see. At first I thought I was reading the dates wrong lol! Cannot wait to hear about drunk flights. I got a little bit tipsy on my Delta LHR-JFK but didn’t feel light and happy unfortunately. I am getting old. Can’t handle my champers anymore!

  17. I am also very confused how to ticket CMB to SEA by CX/EK/BA? And why CMB to SIN is business class not First class since these three segments are issued in one ticket?

  18. @ Sean — There’s no first class between Colombo and Singapore on Cathay Pacific, so that’s why I flew business class. While the fare is published by American you can fly any of a number of carriers.

  19. I know you’re avoiding spelling everything out here and the primary purpose of the trip is to try out different products, but can you explain a little more about how the economics of the trip works out to the point where you and many other would take advantage of the ex-CMB fare over and over again.

    Its my understanding that you’re only getting about 7CPM on the CMB-SEA legs and you’re spending a hack of a lot more miles just positioning yourself there.

  20. @ spkg — I wouldn’t in my wildest dreams justify this as a “mileage run,” because there’s nothing efficient about redeeming a bunch of miles to position for a mileage run that’s not eve good on a cent per mile basis.

    That being said, for those of us “addicted” to premium cabin travel, it’s tough to beat the value for this when you consider that you can both earn miles and try new products. It’s not something I’d do over and over for the heck of it, but I do plan on doing another one on Malaysian once they join OneWorld, since routing on them is an option and I’d like to fly their Airbus 380.

  21. Lucky, as the ex-CMB fares have been discussed in length why can you not tell us what your fare was and how you booked it? These fares are around 2100 USD for a one way. Trouble is often the routing and getting the right carriers. Using Matrix I seem to not be able to get my desired flights (nor do I get “your” flights).

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