The Return Of The “Pure” Review Trip…

The Return Of The “Pure” Review Trip…

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While different people read OMAAT for different reasons, I know many enjoy airline and hotel reviews. I wanted to provide an update on that, especially in light of recently becoming a parent.

Why I haven’t taken many “pure” review trips lately

As longtime OMAAT readers know, back in the day I’d take many trips purely for the purpose of generating flight and hotel reviews. The journey was quite literally the destination, and often I’d just fly nonstop for several days, trying to review as many new products as possible.

Earlier this year I committed to writing more trip reports (and I think I’ve done that), yet that came more in the form of longer trips with various destinations, rather than whirlwind review trips.

I haven’t taken so many review trips since the start of the pandemic, primarily for a couple of reasons (and this doesn’t even factor in the past six weeks, where parenthood got in the way of travel):

  • For much of the pandemic we saw so many international travel restrictions, testing requirements, etc., that the logistics made a trip like I’d do in the “good old days” nearly impossible; you couldn’t really visit a handful of countries in a few days, in light of testing and other requirements
  • Many airlines scaled back inflight service significantly during the pandemic, and reviewing an airline when the service is likely to change shortly is of limited value; as I’ve explained, review trips are a big commitment, both financially and in terms of time

Fortunately things are looking up in that regard. Travel is largely similar to how it was pre-pandemic in terms of restrictions, and most airlines have resumed their pre-pandemic inflight service.

I’m excited for more of these kinds of views!

My plan with review trips going forward

With the above out of the way, I wanted to share my approach to review trips going forward:

  • My goal is to take at least one review trip each month; that doesn’t include trips with Ford and/or our son, which would be in addition to that
  • Since we have a six week old baby, my goal is to review as many things as possible in as short of a period as possible; this will consist exclusively of points hotels, and will mostly consist of flights booked with points (in some cases I’ll pay cash for a ticket if there’s an interesting angle)
  • Ford and Miles (and Winston… we can’t forget about him!) will stay home for these trips, and with the help of family, everything should be okay

For these trips, I’ll be reviewing them with the same format as back in the day:

  • Before the trip I’ll share the basics of what I booked
  • During the trip I’ll share some initial impressions of the major airline products I’m reviewing
  • After the trip I’ll be writing a full trip report, with an introduction, and a review of each flight, airline lounge, and hotel I stayed at

I’m getting older and it has been a while since I’ve taken one of these fast & furious trips, so I’m curious if I still have the stamina that I once had, or if I need to slow down (in many cases I don’t stay in a hotel for several days in a row). I’ll be sharing the details of my upcoming review trip shortly, and I think it’ll include some products that y’all will find interesting.

We’ll see if I can still handle this pace of travel…

Bottom line

With travel restrictions having largely been eased, it’s once again practical to transit many countries in a short period of time (well, for the most part). I’m excited to once again resume full-on review trips, where I’ll try to cover a lot of ground (literally and figuratively) in short periods of time.

Now that I’m a father, leaving home gets harder and harder, but at the end of the day this is part of my job (and for that matter, I also really enjoy flying).

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  1. stlsch02 New Member

    Thank You
    Jesus

  2. Greg Guest

    I always enjoy your thorough trip reports. Looking forward to them.

    However, I strongly disagree with your statement "Travel is largely similar to how it was pre-pandemic in terms of restrictions, and most airlines have resumed their pre-pandemic inflight service."

    Business class travel service is not close to what it once was. Airlines seem to have scaled back service. Hard to sleep on long haul flights wearing a mask. Customer service lines are slow to...

    I always enjoy your thorough trip reports. Looking forward to them.

    However, I strongly disagree with your statement "Travel is largely similar to how it was pre-pandemic in terms of restrictions, and most airlines have resumed their pre-pandemic inflight service."

    Business class travel service is not close to what it once was. Airlines seem to have scaled back service. Hard to sleep on long haul flights wearing a mask. Customer service lines are slow to respond. Employee shortfalls have made many cancelled or delayed flights. Airport services can be horrible with poor baggage handling, huge security waits and delays filling the plane up with fuel. Stuck at airports for hours because of this, not being able to get into lounges, or lounges with very scaled back offerings or no place to sit. Bathrooms which are filthy.

    The list goes on. So I don't feel travel is anywhere near post pandemic travel and for one, I am still waiting for things to change. If this is the new normal, as an AVGeek, I am not flying long haul for a while. Definitely not doing my usual 100k++ miles a year.

  3. D3kingg Guest

    I’m facing a similar issue in my life but the recession is definitely a reason I’ve scaled back on flying. Also , the last six years of my life have revolved around being a travel junkie. Do I want to pursue other activities like dating and attending more social events ?

    1. UA-NYC Guest

      don't forget Capitol-storming when legitimate election results don't go your way, social event + like-minded meet-up two-fer!

  4. iamhere Guest

    I wish you would consider more of your audience when you post regarding your travels and/or miles and points deals. Keep in mind that you are doing this as your job or for your work. Most people do not have the same strategy as you. For example, most people get status with one hotel group or one airline and have one or two groups of credit cards for credit card points they are more geared toward.

  5. Big AL Guest

    Can we retitle this post to be

    'This blog is about to get boring cos I cant stop talking about being a parent and the next vacation report will be from a Days Inn in Alabama'.

    Start the music.

    1. Mike Guest

      it won't get boring because we will always have people like you showering us with their pearls of wisdom and wit.

  6. C Morris Guest

    I would like to see reviews for trips that include Miles and Ford! Give some perspective on travelling with children

  7. JohnHam Member

    Great news! Love these written trip reports (as well as on other blogs) and it complements the ones I watch on YouTube.

  8. Cheryl Barker Guest

    Congratulations Lucky!! i've had so much fun with my boys!

  9. Cas Guest

    You need an intern, buddy.

    1. WB Guest

      @lucky -
      I'd like to know when my job interview is scheduled for. You can send me an email at the email address I used for this comment :)

  10. David Diamond

    Looking forward to the new reviews, and new perspective. It’s been so long since one of these whirlwind trips, it’ll be interesting how your new (and very different circumstances) will change your perspective.

  11. Daniel from Finland Guest

    I'm looking forward to Miles' first review trip in, say, 13 years or so. Will he become a points geek as well? I'd say the odds are definitely there!

  12. T- Guest

    Good for you. Thanks for all you do. Have nice flights and enjoy your family.

  13. Ian Guest

    Although not sexy per se, I'd love some TATL premium economy reviews. It seems like airlines are constantly updating what service and experience this includes. Not to mention this is an area many airlines seem to be competing over.

  14. pstm91 Diamond

    Great to hear! Tired of sleepless nights already, huh? Lol.

    Can you incorporate your "10 photos" preview blogs like back in the day as well? I always found those super helpful when trying to simply find photos of products during my research phase of trips.

  15. R B Guest

    Awesome!!!
    I must say that reading your trip reviews is perfect "break" from work.

  16. Alvin | YTHK Gold

    Ben, can't thank you enough for being the one who got me started on writing my own trip reports many years ago...make sure you get yourself on a lie-flat seat (i.e. enough rest) every once in a while! See you in the sky!

  17. JB Guest

    Some products that would be nice to review:
    - Bamboo Airways 787 Business Class
    - Vistara 787 Business Class
    - Starlux A330neo
    - Etihad A350-1000 Business Class
    - Kuwait Airways A330-800neo Business
    - Air Uganda A330-800neo Business
    - Gol 737MAX Business Class from MIA/MCO to Brazil (that would be fun)
    - ITA Airways A330/A350 Business Class
    - Azman Air A340 Business Class

    + Air India new 777 (ex Delta) Business Class when it launches service

    1. Rafael Guest

      and Azul Business Class (first A350 flying to Brazil right now!)

    2. JohnHam Member

      Yes! Needing in ITA review

  18. Alonzo Diamond

    Cheers, looking forward to the effort.

    1. Ann Guest

      "Review trips" are also a good business expense tax write off ;)

  19. DMNYC Member

    @Ben , how did I miss that you and Ford have a baby?! Congratulations!

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pstm91 Diamond

Great to hear! Tired of sleepless nights already, huh? Lol. Can you incorporate your "10 photos" preview blogs like back in the day as well? I always found those super helpful when trying to simply find photos of products during my research phase of trips.

4
Ian Guest

Although not sexy per se, I'd love some TATL premium economy reviews. It seems like airlines are constantly updating what service and experience this includes. Not to mention this is an area many airlines seem to be competing over.

3
Never In Doubt Guest

His name is his destiny!

2
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