Introduction: A Mess Of A Trip

Filed Under: Delta, Thai

Welcome to my next trip report, covering a trip I took with Tiffany that included travel in Delta’s new business class, Thai’s first class, and a review of the new Park Hyatt Bangkok. Unfortunately this trip ended up being nothing at all like what we were expecting, due to a variety of factors.

For reference, here’s the itinerary we initially booked:

Here’s what we changed the itinerary to the day before departure:

And here’s what we ended up changing the trip to after departure:

Let me explain…

Planning the trip

Tiffany and I don’t get to travel together as often as we’d like, but when we do, we usually plan crazy trips. They always start off innocently enough, but then take on a life of their own. This trip started with some simple planning. We’re both going for status with Delta this year, and have been wanting to try Delta’s new A350 business class suites, which feature doors.

Delta’s new A350 business class

The fare had a one week minimum stay requirement. We knew we didn’t want to stay in Beijing that whole time, so we figured we’d instead go somewhere from Beijing. That’s when things got crazy…

Booking flights

Let me share the flights in the order in which we booked them, rather than the order in which we flew them. To start we booked the following in business class, for just over $2,000 roundtrip per person:

2/13 DL3943 Toronto to Detroit departing 6:15AM arriving 7:35AM
2/13 DL189 Detroit to Beijing departing 12:50PM arriving 3:10PM (+1 day)

2/20 DL188 Beijing to Detroit departing 5:40PM arriving 5:20PM
2/20 DL1821 Detroit to Toronto departing 8:35PM arriving 9:51PM

We left the ticket alone for a while, and then planned the following insanity for our six days in Beijing, all on miles:

  • Beijing to Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne in Malaysia business class
  • Melbourne to Bangkok to Hong Kong in Thai business & first class

We left it this way until the day before we were going to leave, and then realized that this was plain ridiculous. We were even on separate flights from Beijing to Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne, since Malaysia typically only makes one business class award seat available on these routes. We’d be on the ground in Melbourne for a total of one day, which isn’t exactly ideal.

So last minute we decided to rebook our trip to something that had us on the ground for more time. This was booked the day before we were scheduled to depart. We booked the following in addition to the above Delta itinerary:

2/14 MU2071 Beijing to Bangkok departing 7:00PM arriving 11:15PM [Business]

Cost: 40,000 Delta SkyMiles + $91.40

2/17 TG606 Bangkok to Hong Kong departing 4:00PM arriving 7:45PM [First]

Cost: 35,000 United MileagePlus miles + $47.60

Thai’s 747 first class

Booking hotels

This itinerary gave us three days on the ground in Bangkok, and three days on the ground in Hong Kong. While I’ve been to both of these cities before I thought this would be fun for us:

  • While Tiffany and I have both been to Bangkok, it has been many years since I’ve spent a significant amount of time there
  • Hong Kong is one of my favorite cities in the world, and Tiffany had never really been before, so I was looking forward to showing her around

The hotel booking process was also pretty ideal here, as Hyatt hotels in both cities had Points + Cash availability:

Pool at the beautiful new Park Hyatt Bangkok

We were traveling over Chinese New Year, so paid rates would have been insane ($500+ per night at both hotels), making this a great deal.

Then the flu happened

As if this trip wasn’t crazy enough already, I ended up getting the flu while on the trip for the first time ever. I felt as sick as I’ve ever felt for much of the trip, and at first thought I was just exhausted, but then eventually realized I had the flu. Obviously this turned our plans upside down, since I didn’t want to fly while feeling sick and contagious (not to mention I wasn’t a great travel companion).

I started to feel better and the doctor also thought it was safe for me to fly (since I was past the point of being contagious, allegedly), so we ended up booking the following to get back to the US (I knew I needed to be responsible and do a nonstop flight to the US, rather than the four segment routing we had planned):

2/20 CX882 Hong Kong to Los Angeles departing 4:35PM arriving 1:00PM [First]

Cost: 70,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles + $88.21

Cathay Pacific’s 777 first class (picture by Tiffany)

Bottom line

As you can see, this trip was almost nothing like what we were expecting. This is the second “big” trip in a row I’ve taken with Tiffany where I got really sick, so I feel terribly for her. On the plus side, I’m grateful I was with her, because she took amazing care of me in helping me feel better.

I’m sad we didn’t get to try some of the products we were hoping to and also didn’t get to do much exploring at all, though I guess we’ll have to plan a make-up trip.

I also regret that I’ll be keeping this series fairly brief. I’ll be reviewing:

  • Delta A350 business class and the SkyClub in Detroit
  • The Park Hyatt Bangkok
  • The Thai Airways first class lounge Bangkok, and Thai Airways first class to Hong Kong

I won’t be reviewing:

So I apologize for the lack of installments in those areas.

Anyway, thanks so much for reading, and for making these trips possible!

  1. Mate, you don’t need to apologise for getting sick. Most people (and you’re not most) would have just enjoyed the trip as much as possible and not have even bothered reviewing anything.
    I admire your commitment!

  2. Lucky,

    I think you should do a sweepstakes or charity auction where one blog reader gets to go with you on one of these bonkers trips. Show up at the airport one morning and see where the points take us! It would be quite an experience…

  3. My sick day is laying in bed watching television. Lucky’s sick day is flying CX F. Jabs aside, being sick on vacation is probably one of the worst things ever.

  4. Lucky- if you don’t mind me asking. What was the final outlay of points and $$ with all of the changes. Were you able to work with delta for the flight home or did you just eat the cost? Etc.

  5. @ Jeremy — I might try and do a separate post about that, actually. Some of the changes to the award tickets were covered by our elite status with whatever program, and then some other fees were waived given the illness. The only problematic tickets were the DragonAir flights between Hong Kong and Beijing — the BA rep told me they’d cancel and refund the Avios, but two months and dozens of phone calls later they’ve yet to do so.

  6. @Tiffany. I’m glad to hear some of the fees were actually waived due to Ben’s illness. So often, people make the decision to travel while ill to avoid change fees. Top elite status aside, are airlines normally accommodating in such situations?

  7. @ JoeMart

    It is called the Premium First Flu..only First Connoisseur gets it..


    @Lucky is really lucky to always have you when he is sick..the CX pic is just perfect..that is how you convey premium luxury travel!
    Next time @Lucky should take care of @Tiffany or just be fit!

    I cannot wait to read the next installments!!

  8. Why is Hong Kong favourite cities? Overcrowded and overpriced.

    I guess you don’t care when using points.

  9. Agree with that sweepstakes/charity auction suggestion lol.

    That aside, I love the way you plan trips. The spontaneity is infectious. I just did something like that:

    All in J for just over $5000 (revenue tickets) and spread over 3 months:

    Well Lucky, Tiffany you’ve definitely gotten me hooked to this thing. Hope that one day I’ll bump into you “on Air”.

  10. I’m really looking forward to the review of the new Delta Cabin. Especially since one of my good friends usually works this flight on a regular basis and was one of the launch Flight Attendants for this flight and plane.
    And I’m sorry you got the flu, nothing worse! I spent 36 hours in my hotel room in London last November.

  11. It sounds like you had to throw away the return Delta ticket. Would it have been possible to get a partial refund if you were able to provide a doctor’s note?

  12. I would hope anyone who travels would receive their annual flu vaccination (unless contraindicated). I hope you received some Tamiflu (antiviral) as soon as possible (due to the flu vaccines somewhat dreadful effectiveness rate this season).

  13. @ Weymar M Osborne — We didn’t really throw it away (though were prepared to, because that’s sometimes how life works). Delta gave us vouchers for the residual value of the tickets, which is common in these types of situations. The vouchers can typically be applied to a future fare less a change fee, but you can often get the fee waived/refunded with medical documentation.

  14. @ Weymar M Osborne @Tiffany – I had a similar situation happen to me and my family recently and was able to get the entire cost fare refunded by Delta without a cancellation/refund fee. They required me to send in medical documentation to their Customer Care department and processed the refund within about 2 weeks – surprisingly fast IMO. Even better, I had booked via Chase Travel (not the best redemption, I know) so all the points were redeposited back into my account.

  15. Whatever happened to the 10 years of OMAAT celebration with readers? I wanna hang or even travel with Lucky & Tiffany! I think that’d be super fun, do a trip with readers and document it all!

  16. @schar, look at some of the idiots, no doubt all Republican, who comment on this blog. If you were lucky, would you want to travel with them?

  17. That’s a tough break. Your lifestyle by nature puts your immune system at risk.

    Park Hyatt Bangkok looks cool though – look forward to hearing about that.

  18. Just wondering what the extra 125$ for the Park Hyatt Bangkok was for. It doesn’t look like a good deal to me since for 125 cash alone (never mind the points), you can get an entry level room at many 5 star hotels there. Not the Park Hyatt admittedly, but enough for the Westin or Conrad.

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