Earlier in the month I booked a review trip that would have me flying Ukraine International 777 business class from New York to Kiev, Air Belgium business class from Charleroi to Hong Kong, and Hong Kong Airlines business class from Hong Kong to Los Angeles.
I was so excited about all three portions of this trip. Air Belgium is a brand new airline, I had never flown Hong Kong Airlines before, and I’ve only flown Ukraine International on their 767, so I wanted to check out their upgraded 777 business class.
Unfortunately there was a major wrinkle in the trip when Air Belgium announced that they’d be postponing operations by over a month, meaning that my flight was canceled. Rather generously (at least for a startup airline) they offered to rebook me in Cathay Pacific business class, or offered to rebook me once their operations commenced. I definitely still want to fly Air Belgium, and frankly the thought of a business class flight on Cathay Pacific didn’t excite me that much.
I decided to get creative, and started looking at ways I could fly between Kiev and Hong Kong in the limited time that I had, given how tightly I planned this trip. I found something that I think you guys will really enjoy, which I’ve now booked. I’ll fly:
- From Kiev to London in British Airways business class, which cost me 17,000 British Airways Avios
- From London to Ho Chi Minh City to Shanghai in Vietnam Airlines business class (with the first flight on the 787 and second flight on the A350), which cost me 80,000 Delta SkyMiles
- From Shanghai to Hong Kong in Cathay Dragon first class, which cost me 30,000 British Airways Avios (Cathay Dragon is one of three airlines I’ve yet to fly in first class, so this will allow me to knock that out, given that I had to cancel my Cathay Dragon flight a couple of months ago because I got the flu
So that portion of the trip will now look as follows:
Meanwhile the entire trip now looks as follows:
Obviously this wasn’t what I had initially been planning. However, there’s inherently some risk when booking travel on startup airlines, so of course I was going to make the best of it. I’m happy I was able to make this work, as I’ve been wanting to try Vietnam Airlines (and now I’ll get to try both their 787 and A350), and after my Cathay Dragon flight I’ll only have two more airlines I need to review in first class (Kuwait Airways and Oman Air).
As far as Air Belgium goes, initially I had a ticket booked from Charleroi to Hong Kong in business class, and from Hong Kong to Charleroi in economy. As compensation for the cancelation they’ll book me roundtrip in business class on my choice of dates. Here’s to hoping they actually launch in June, as planned.
Stay tuned, as soon I’ll have reviews of Ukraine, Vietnam, Cathay Dragon, and Hong Kong Airlines!
(Featured image courtesy of Long Nguyen)