In late November of last year I asked you guys to decide where I should fly. At the time the option was between a Virgin Australia trip using Delta SkyMiles and a trip to Asia via Europe sampling several Star Alliance products using US Airways miles. The latter trip won by a landslide and I built an itinerary that would maximize the number of products I could try. I wanted to be sure to include Austrian’s new business class in the trip, since it’s one of the products I was most excited to try.
The problem is that there was a delay with Austrian’s new business class, so I kept pushing back my trip until Austrian actually had a reconfigured plane in service, ready to book on a moment’s notice. The problem is that they still don’t have a reconfigured plane flying, and I’ve decided that I’ve put this trip off for too long.
January will be a month of new airline products for me. Not only will I have an Airbus 380 extravaganza in a couple of weeks, but I also just ticketed a 90,000 mile US Airways business class award to Asia via Europe. Below is a small teaser of what you can expect (because after all the only way to route from Vienna to Istanbul is via Tokyo, right?).
In the end I decided to pull the trigger in part because I live in constant fear of US Airways devaluing their award chart. I was able to find a spiffy award which includes LOT’s new business class on their brand-spanking-new 787, Turkish’s new business class (I hear their lounge in Istanbul is one of the best business class lounges in the world — I’ve only visited their first class lounge back when they still had the product), Brussels’ new business class, and a flight that’s scheduled to be operated by Austrian’s reconfigured 777. Now, it’s anyone’s guess whether my flight will actually have Austrian’s new business class since the first reconfigured plane still isn’t flying, though I’ll continue to be hopelessly optimistic. Austrian is an airline I’ve always wanted to try even if it’s in their old business class, given that they have an onboard chef and iced coffee on the menu. What more could one possibly want?
There’s no such thing as a perfect award and as much as I had hoped to squeeze in more airlines, I’ve realized that trying most Star Alliance business class products will require at least two awards.
As usual the booking process with US Airways was especially fun, given that the rates desk had to manually calculate the taxes. I have Gold status with US Airways, so when it came time to issue the ticket the agent tried to charge me the Dividend Miles processing fee, which is waived for Gold members and above. When I reminded her of this she confidently told me that wasn’t the case. I asked her to check with her support desk, at which point she came back and said “well I ain’t used to talking to our loyal Gold members such as yo’self, you should’ve called the Gold line. How was I supposed to know not to charge the fee?”
Anyway, January should be a fun month full of pajamas and jetlag, so stay tuned! And until further notice you’ve gotta love US Airways. They charge 100,000 miles to travel from the US to Europe in business class, and 90,000 miles to travel from the US to Asia via Europe (with a stopover) in business class. That’s my kind of airline.