1

I just spent one night at Le Meridien Chiang Rai, in Thailand for 4,000 Starpoints, and it was incredible. The property sits just 1.5 miles outside of downtown Chiang Rai, overlooking the Kok River.

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 8.08.23 PM

We arrived at the Chiang Rai airport from Bangkok at about 3:30 PM and took a $2 taxi to the hotel.

The open air lobby is beautiful. We were seated for check in and offered a refreshing beverage during the process.

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 6.37.03 PM Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 6.37.14 PMThen we were handed our keys and escorted on a short walk to a nearby building where we had a second floor room with a pool view.

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 6.38.37 PMThe spacious room had a comfortable bed…
Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 6.37.37 PM…a TV, desk, day bed…

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 6.37.32 PM…and several free bottles of water throughout.

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 6.37.57 PM

My three favorite parts of the room?

The sliding window that connected the tub and the bedroom.
Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 6.37.46 PM The welcome snack of fruit and chocolate truffles.Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 6.38.06 PM The balcony with another day bed that overlooked a beautiful tree, the pools, and the river.Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 6.38.12 PMScreen Shot 2016-01-18 at 6.38.19 PM Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 6.38.24 PMWe headed down to the pool for the afternoon, which was a few levels of infinity pools.
Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 6.38.47 PM Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 6.39.00 PM The pool was tolerable when the sun was out, but too cold when it hid behind a cloud. The pool is not heated and in January the average air temperature is only about 70 degrees because of chilly nights.

We ordered a drink at the pool, then went to toss a frisbee on a large grassy area where some other hotel guests were playing soccer.

When the sun set, we took the hourly shuttle from the hotel to Chiang Rai to see the night market. The shuttle costs 50 baht ($1.50) per person. It is convenient to take to Chiang Rai if you want to go to town right on the hour, so you don’t have to wait for a cab to be called to the property. There is no reason to take the shuttle back to Chiang Rai, though, because you can get a tuk tuk for 100 baht to take you any time.

After a meal of pad thai, some friend food, and bugs–yes, bugs–we caught a tuk tuk back to the hotel.

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In the morning, we were being picked up at 8:30 AM for two days of sightseeing and trekking, so we had an early breakfast at the hotel’s buffet.

The buffet is ridiculously expensive by Thai standards (449 baht), but quite cheap by hotel buffet standards ($12.)

We grabbed an outdoor table near the water and gorged ourselves.
Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 6.39.11 PM Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 6.39.31 PM I had bacon, pancakes, a pork belly stew, pineapple, and a doughnut.Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 6.39.37 PMNearly everything I had was delicious, especially the pork belly, which I made sure to get seconds of. The only misstep was the pancakes, which had hardened from sitting out.
Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 6.39.43 PM

The breakfast buffet is the most expensive meal I ate in Thailand, but it was pretty cheap by US standards and well done.

Bottom Line

I booked this hotel just a few days before arrival, and I didn’t spend much time there because of an already-booked tour leaving the next morning. If I had known how nice the hotel was and how welcome a change of pace the quiet setting would be, I would have arranged to stay longer.

This is a great hotel for $120 or 4,000 Starpoints per night (3,000 points pre night on the weekend.)

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

2

I recently redeemed 12,000 SPG points for one night at The Westin Singapore. It was my only night in Singapore, and I had wanted to stay at the Marina Bay Sands to enjoy their infinity pool on the 57th floor.

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As it turns out, a night there in mid-January costs about $400, but in my search for other options, I found that The Westin Singapore also has an infinity pool (not quite so) high above the city.

The Westin isn’t cheap either at 12,000 SPG points for one night, but I thought it would be a special treat, and Singapore is expensive for lodging, so I bit the bullet and booked The Westin Singapore.

We arrived at Singapore Airport at 1 PM and took an Uber straight to the hotel where we were accommodated with an early check in.

Check In

The hotel lobby is on the 32nd floor. When you enter the ground floor, you are put into an express elevator that has its last stop at the lobby. The lobby is a gorgeous open space with views of the city.

Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 5.20.33 PM The agent in the Gold elite line–a status I have because it is a free perk of the AMEX Platinum–informed me that I had been upgraded to a corner Sea View room.

While we waited for the check in and to be given our room keys, we were served our choice of two refreshing welcome drinks.

The Room

Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 5.25.03 PMWe took a second set of elevators up to the 39th floor. The room is spacious and beautifully appointed.Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 5.22.26 PMScreen Shot 2016-01-14 at 5.20.46 PM Ours featured several interesting views of construction of two new skyscrapers…Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 5.20.52 PM …the infinity pool four floors below…Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 5.20.57 PM …the marina and a tiny sliver of the Marina Bay Sands…Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 5.21.03 PM …a massive lot of shipping containers, and the sea.Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 5.21.09 PM The room had a king size bed, chair…Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 5.21.22 PM …work station, safe, flat screen TV…Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 5.21.34 PM …and a bathroom that featured a tub and shower with handheld and overhead shower heads.Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 5.21.43 PMScreen Shot 2016-01-14 at 5.21.49 PM Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 5.22.00 PM Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 5.22.06 PM Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 5.22.11 PM Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 5.22.16 PMThe room was stocked with two free bottles of water, which I squeezed into the tiny part of the in-room refrigerator reserved for guest use.

The Infinity Pool

The first afternoon we went straight to the pool to enjoy the views from the 35th floor rooftop.

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S for Scott in Singapore

I can’t compare it to the Marina Bay Sands infinity pool, but this was certainly the best pool I’ve ever been in. It was the highest, and had stunning views of downtown Singapore. I had a blast.
Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 5.23.00 PM At least until the rain came, but I even stuck around swimming in that for a few minutes.Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 5.23.07 PM Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 5.23.14 PMWe also went back the second morning and spent more time at the pool before we went to Chinatown and Little India. The pool was the highlight of the hotel. Unfortunately it is only open from 6 AM to 10 PM. The Park Plaza Bangkok’s roof top pool (review forthcoming) is open 24 hours. If they can do it, you can too, Westin Singapore. It’s not like you have a lifeguard on duty at any time, so your cost would be zero to leave the pool open all night.

The Rest of the Facilities

Just outside the pool entrance is the entrance to the spa and to the gym, which features several cardio machines that overlook the sea.Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 5.23.29 PM

In the lobby were two computers attached to a printer where I printed boarding passes, my Vietnam visa on arrival letter, and my Indian visa confirmation for free.

The Elite Experience

As a Gold member, I was allowed a late check out of 4 PM, which was perfect for my 7:25 PM flight, in addition to my early check in.

I didn’t have much contact with the staff other than check in and check out, but each time I saw one they were friendly and ready to help.

The Location

The hotel has a great location. It is just 50 meters from the Downtown stop on the Singapore metro, which can get your to Chinatown in two stops or Little India in five. Or you can walk to Chinatown in 15 minutes, Boat Quay in 20, or Clark Quay in 25. The Marina Bay Sands light show is also about a 15 minute walk.

We were just a few hundred meters from the Lau Pa Sat hawker center, which the Westin’s “Experience Specialist” recommended to me when I answered her welcome email a few days before our stay with a question about the best nearby hawker centers.

I also really liked the the Downtown station of the metro connects underground to the Marina Bay Link Mall, which is a several hundred meter long underground shopping area that lets you walk most of the way from the Marina Bay Sands to Boat Quay out of the heat and rain.

The Complaints

It is a bit annoying to have to take two elevators from the street to your room with a mandatory connection in the lobby area. This only adds a few seconds to the experience, but it was my least favorite design element of the hotel.

The taxi stand at the hotel is bad. One time I didn’t order an Uber–my mistake–and tried to use it. There are no taxis waiting, so the hotel employee calls one on his app. This adds a few dollars to the fare. I asked before he called one whether I could pay with a credit card, and he said I could.

After waiting 10 minutes, the taxi showed up. I said, “Clarke Quay, and I am paying with a credit card.” When we arrived, he said his machine was broken and he hadn’t head me say that I was paying with one, which ruined my carefully made plans to leave the country with exactly zero cash. He also claimed that the guy who used an app to call for a taxi had indicated I would be paying in cash.

I don’t know how exactly to apportion the blame between the driver and the hotel, but I am annoyed at the hotel on this one.

In any case, use Uber or walk 100 meters to the taxi stand of the office building next door. Taxis wait in line for that stand, so you will get one quicker and without the charge for having called the cab.

Overall

The hotel was great for my needs–a place to spend one great night in Singapore that is close to everything and had an awesome infinity pool.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

Thai AirAsia 3207
Bangkok (DMK) – Chiang Rai (CEI)
Depart: 1:55 PM on Sunday January 3, 2016
Arrive: 3:15 PM
Duration: 1:20
Aircraft: Airbus A320
Seat: 21D (all economy plane)

Are low-cost carriers safe? Are the flights on time? How much leg room is there? Do you really have to pay for water? Can you get around the high baggage fees? What entertainment options are there?

I don’t fly Emirates First Class or Thai Business Class for all my flights. On short hops, I usually book the cheapest ticket I can. Within Europe and Southeast Asia, that is almost always on an ultra-low-cost carrier that offers a dirt cheap fare and then charges for everything like seat selection, food and drink, baggage, even using a credit card to purchase your ticket.

When I figured out where I wanted to go in Thailand, I searched Wikipedia for each city’s airport(s) to figure out which airlines fly the routes I wanted. Then I went to each airline’s website to search for the all in ticket price in Thai baht, which is often a bit lower than just searching in dollars on Kayak. (Purchase with a credit card with no foreign transaction fees like the Citi Prestige® Card.)

It turned out AirAsia was cheapest on all three routes I wanted to fly–Bangkok to Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai to Krabi, Krabi to Singapore.

AirAsia’s fares include one carry on, not to exceed 7 kg (15.4 lbs), and one personal item. Seat selection, checked bags, and food cost extra.

Seat selection starts at 70 baht ($2), but I am a cheapskate, so I didn’t select one.

Checked bags start at 300 baht ($8.50) for 15 kg (33 lbs). Even though I knew my carry on would weigh more than 7 kg and that checked bags cost a lot more at the airport, I decided not to pay for a checked bag, hoping I could sneak my overweight bag on board.

I did pre-book two meals for myself and my friend, since most entrees are under $4, and I thought we might not have had a chance for lunch before the flight.

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 11.17.52 PMAirAsia, like all low-cost carriers, flies out of DMK airport in Bangkok instead of BKK where Thai Airways is based. DMK and BKK are about the same distance from central Bangkok, though BKK is more convenient because you can take a train there. We took Uber to DMK, which is a flat 570 baht ($16) from the city. I had already checked us into the flight and printed our boarding passes, so I aimed for us to arrive at the airport 75 minutes in advance, which ended up getting us to the gate more than an hour before the flight.

AirAsia allows online check in up to 14 days before departure. I waited until my three flights were all within that window and checked in for all three at once. For some AirAsia flights, you have to pay a fee to check in at the airport instead of online. You can see whether your AirAsia flight has such a charge here.

Checking in online had the advantage of allowing me to avoid any AirAsia employees until I had my boarding pass checked at the gate. Since my bag was overweight, I was only too happy to avoid the check in counter with its scales.

At check in, my bag was not measured or weighed. Lesson learned: if you check in online and print your boarding pass, you should be able to skirt carry on baggage weight restrictions.

Our flight took off from a remote gate, so we boarded a bus, and we were driven to the plane.

As I mentioned, I was too cheap to pre-book our seats, and we were assigned an aisle and a middle seat about 2/3 of the way back.

Rows are squeezed together on AirAsia’s planes. Seat pitch is 29″, which means 2″ less leg room than United, American, and Delta economy. My legs firmly dug into the seat in front of me, but this is much less of a problem if you aren’t 6’4″. And for 61 minutes in the air, I can handle a cramped seat.

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 8.57.12 PM

Immediately after take off, the pre-booked meals were served. I had ordered fried rice with chicken satay and green curry chicken. Each was served with a free 100 ml water and small note pad.
Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 8.57.45 PM

The meals are pretty small. I would describe them as a light lunch. They are about half what I would normally eat, but I am a bit of a glutton. Most people would be satisfied with the portion.

I was surprised that the chicken satay also had shrimp and fish on top of the rice. I don’t like seafood, so that became my friend’s meal. I had half a satay, and I thought it was delicious. (It’s no Malaysia First Class satay, but what is?) She said the shrimp was sweet, which doesn’t sound like the right adjective for shrimp, but she did eat the whole meal.
Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 8.57.57 PM The green chicken curry was mediocre. Not long ago, I had a theory that all Thai food was of the same quality because I was always equally satisfied with my curries in the United States and in Phuket, but I have had varying quality dishes on this trip, and this was on the low end. I did eat it all though. It wasn’t that bad.Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 8.58.08 PM

After the pre-booked meals, the flight attendants offered food and drink for purchase. Even water costs money.

There are no entertainment options on board. In 2016, I think that’s a good thing. Not having TV monitors saves weight, which means the plane uses less gas and the fares are lower. Bring your own book or load a few TV episodes onto your phone, tablet, or computer.

My friend and I were joking that this rectangle on the back of the tray looks a bit like a television. I have no idea what it actually is, but it is of course not a television.
Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 8.57.23 PMThat didn’t stop me from worriedly saying to a flight attendant, “Excuse me, my TV isn’t working” or her from trying to plug in her USB. (We’ve got Dad jokes for days.)Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 8.57.31 PM

We touched down a few minutes ahead of schedule in Chiang Rai, and deplaned through a real gate. We were on the curb in a few minutes and at Le Meridien Chiang Rai 15 minutes after that.

Bottom Line

Fly low-cost carriers in Southeast Asia and Europe. They are cheap. You give up a little in comfort, but the cost savings on a short flight are too tempting to pass up.

The flights are just as safe as with any airline, since all airlines have to follow strict government regulations.

The biggest concern is that low cost carriers often fly a route only a few times a week, so that any delay or cancellation can leave you stranded for a long time. Luckily on this route, AirAsia flies five times a day, so any cancellation could be easily re-accommodated.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

4

Thai 647
Central Japan International Airport (NGO) – Bangkok (BKK)
Depart: 12:30 AM on Friday January 1, 2016
Arrive: 5:10 AM
Duration: 6:40
Aircraft: Boeing 787-8
Seat: 15F Royal Silk (Business)

Last month I booked myself Thai Business Class for 36,000 LifeMiles + $47 to get from Japan, where I spent five days, to Thailand to meet my friend.

I woke up the morning of my flight in Kyoto and took a train to Nagoya. Unfortunately all the sites I wanted to see in Nagoya were closed for New Year’s Eve. I still enjoyed a lot of walking around the city and stopping for chicken katsu to compare it to how the dish is served in Hawaii. After sunset, I watched Star Wars at a Nagoya mall, and then five hours before my flight, I was pretty much out of things to do, so I took a train to the airport.

Unfortunately Thai Airways only opens check in two-and-a-half hours before its flights in Nagoya, so I was stuck sitting on the floor of the airport with free wifi for about two hours. (I had checked in online hoping that I could print my boarding pass, get through security, and wait in the lounge before the flight. Unfortunately, although I was checked in, I couldn’t get a boarding pass without a passport check at the check in counter.)

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.34.31 AMBy the time, check in started, over 60 people were in line.Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.34.36 AM After check in, security was a breeze, and I headed to the Star Alliance lounge, which was a long, narrow room with seating by the windows…Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.34.43 AM …travel quotes on the wall…Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.34.50 AM …a second, less comfortable seating area…Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.34.58 AM …and a buffet. The buffet had takoyaki (octopus balls), pasta, rice balls, sushi, sandwiches, croissants, and cup of noodles.Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.35.15 AM Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.35.26 AMScreen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.33.28 AM Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.35.33 AM There was a self-serve bar that included beer, wine, liquors (Japanese and Western), and some sort of whiskey-based drink on tap.Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.35.40 AM Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.35.46 AMBoarding was slated to start at 11:55 PM, but I didn’t leave the lounge until almost 12:15 AM. I was happy to see that there was a separate boarding line for Business Class and a separate boarding door from the jetway, so even though I boarded when the main line was 100 people long, I was at my seat in just a few seconds.

As I entered the plane, I was greeted by a flight attendant with a big smile and a deep bow, very different than the non-greeting one expects from American airlines.

Thai Business Class on the Dreamliner consists of 30 seats spread across five rows in a 2-2-2 configuration. I chose a middle seat, so that I had aisle access, and I wasn’t blocking anyone else’s aisle access. I didn’t want any disruption to my sleep on such a short redeye.

My seat was in the last row of Business Class. When I arrived, my pillow and blanket were on the seat, my headphones were in the little cubby by my headrest, and my slippers and the amenity kit were by the footrest.Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.36.20 AM Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.36.29 AMScreen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.33.12 AMScreen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.33.20 AMI sat down and stretched my legs out to the ottoman under the television. Unfortunately, the Thai Dreamliner has the tiny foot cubby that many Business Class beds have. It can be a tight squeeze that is less than ideal for lounging and sleeping, but it isn’t a total deal breaker for me.Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.36.43 AM

The television was working from the moment I got on the plane until the moment I got off. This is the way that all entertainment systems should be, but somehow in 2016 some systems don’t work until you are airborne. I started watching an episode of Modern Family with the hope that I would be asleep before it finished.

The flight attendants were a flurry of activity before take off.

First, one attendant brought a tray of apple juice, orange juice, Veuve Cliquot champagne, and water. I went with a water. I prefer when orders are taken individually, which United manages to pull off in Business Class, but at least Thai gave us a pre-departure beverage.

Next, another flight attendant brought a piping hot towel, which was refreshing right before bed.

Later, a third flight attendant brought the menu, artfully presenting it by bending down and opening it for me to the page of entrees.

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.36.51 AMThe menu read as follows:Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.37.01 AMScreen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.37.30 AM

The drinks menu read as follows:Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.37.37 AMScreen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.37.44 AMScreen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.37.51 AMI asked the flight attendant if the meal would be served after take off, and she said that it would be served 90 minutes before landing, which was 6 AM Japan/4 AM Thailand time, which makes the chicken, fish, and sushi a little strange but very welcome, since I am not a big breakfast guy.

I ordered the chicken, but I specifically asked not to be woken up for the meal. I said, “I will take the chicken if I am awake, but please do not wake me up.”

Right before take off, the captain welcomed us to the flight. He even made a few cute jokes about the fact that we were taking off at 12:30 AM on New Year’s Day. He said we could ask a flight attendant to check bad spirits though they would not be delivered to us in Bangkok, and that we would be flying to Bangkok but also to prosperity and a happy new year.

We took off at 12:40 AM. I was exhausted, so as soon as we left the ground, I put the seat into bed mode and curled up under the blanket on the fully flat bed.

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.32.55 AM

The plane was a bit cold, but with my jacket and the blanket, I was comfortable. The medium-sized pillow was also comfortable for sleeping.

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.03.23 PM
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gR9fhagkepE

I was very happy with the bed overall. I wish it were a little wider than 21″ and that it didn’t have a cubby for the feet, but at 6’6″ long and fully flat, it is a solid bed. I fell asleep immediately.

I was awoken 90 minutes before landing by a flight attendant pushing a cart full of food, despite specifically requesting not to be woken for breakfast. I consider this a major problem. Airlines need to develop a 100% accurate system, so that premium cabin passengers are woken for or allowed to sleep through meal service. Maybe all airlines should copy the system Avianca uses: you are given a sticker to put on your seat if you want to be woken for the next meal. If you don’t use it, you aren’t woken.

Luckily, I was so tired that I fell back asleep immediately.

I woke up at 6:30 AM Japan time, meaning I got about 5:45 of sleep. Flight attendants had put water and immigration forms at my seat while I slept. Twenty minutes later, I had to put the bed back into its upright position for landing, and we were on the ground at 7:02 AM Japan time/5:02 AM in Bangkok.

During the last bit of the flight and the taxiing I watched the first half of another TV episode, though it was frequently interrupted by announcements being made in three languages (English, Thai, Japanese.) It got me thinking, what flight has announcements in the most languages? Does Emirates flight from Hong Kong to Bangkok have announcements in English, Arabic, Thai, and Cantonese?

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.33.03 AM

I didn’t have any use for my amenity kit during the flight. Here’s what it looked like:
Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.37.57 AM Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.38.05 AM

After the Flight

I really wanted to hit the ground running on the first day, since I only had the weekend in Bangkok before flying to Chiang Rai. My friend was arriving to Bangkok at 11:30 AM, so I had about six hours to kill, and I wanted to get the rest of my full eight hours of nightly sleep.

The Bangkok airport has a hotel where you can rent day rooms, but they are $122 for six hours. You can get a nearby hotel for much cheaper. Look for hotel employees inside the airport on the arrivals level just to the right of exit door 4. Tell them how long you want a room and negotiate a price with them. They should be able to get you an immediate shuttle to the hotel, and then you can get a shuttle back though possibly not on demand.

I thought I could get a room for about $15 – $20, but the best offer I got was $30 (all negotiations were in baht, but I am converting them for ease) during my first round of negotiations with the employees. I walked a few feet away to airport information, which had a list of hotels in the vicinity, which I called with my new Thai SIM card (also available inside the airport on the arrivals level.) Many were sold out, and the others wouldn’t go below $33.

I went back to the bullpen of hotel employees and struck a deal for five hours for $25. Ten minutes later, a shuttle took me 10 minutes to an acceptable hotel. I slept a few hours and used wifi for a few hours before returning to the airport.

Between the flight and the airport hotel, I got a full night sleep and felt great on day one in Bangkok, during which I visited the Golden Mount temple, walked through the downtown area, and threw a frisbee in Lumphini Park before a delicious Thai dinner and a trip to the rooftop pool at the Park Plaza Sukhumvit.

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.39.02 AM

Bottom Line

My experience flying Thai Business Class wasn’t perfect because check in started too late, and I was woken up when I had requested not to be woken up.

However, overall I had a positive experience. The bed was comfortable, and I slept over 90% of the flight, with the rest spent watching TV. Thai’s flight attendants provided excellent service, and I arrived ready to immediately tackle Bangkok.

Because I slept so much, I didn’t get as many pictures as usual. Check out this tour of the Thai Dreamliner for more.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

7

United 903
Honolulu (HNL) – Tokyo (NRT)
Depart: 11:50 AM on Saturday December 26, 2015
Arrive: 4:00 PM on Sunday, December 27, 2015
Duration: 9:10
Aircraft: Boeing 747-400
Seat: 13J BusinessFirst (United confusingly calls Business Class “BusinessFirst.” The real First Class is called “Global First.”)

Because I was flying international Business Class, I had free access to the United Club, which is right above Gate 8, the gate we were using, at Honolulu International Airport.

Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 7.00.24 AM

I left the United Club at about 11:15 AM, ten minutes after boarding started. Because United has dedicated lanes for Premier Access passengers and because the 747 has a dedicated boarding door for First and Business Class, I was able to skip past the crowds and board easily.

While a nice international airline would greet premium cabin passengers at the door (and escort First Class passengers to their seats), the United flight attendant at the door stood silently as I walked past. I headed for the stairs in the middle of the Business Class cabin. This would be my first flight flying upstairs on a 747!

I chose to fly upstairs for the novelty and because the Business Class cabin on the main deck has an ultra-crowded 2-4-2 layout. Upstairs is just 2-2.

Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 7.00.35 AM
Main Deck Business Class on United 747-400

I was very happy I chose to fly up top. The 2-2 layout felt much less crowded, and I had a view into the cockpit while we were on the ground.Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 7.00.42 AM Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 7.00.50 AMUnfortunately, the overhead bins upstairs are tiny. My laptop bag barely fit.

Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 7.01.11 AMMy backpack definitely didn’t fit, so I stored it in the closet near the top of the stairs with several other carry ons.
Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 7.01.02 AM

If you have a window seat, there is some additional storage between your seat and the window, but I had an aisle seat, specifically seat 13J, a rear-facing aisle seat.

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Every seat in Business Class was taken, so I was in close quarters with a stranger for the entire flight, who had to climb over or past me whenever he needed to access the aisle. United Business Class is not the most private Business Class out there.

At my seat when I boarded were slippers, headphones (not noise-canceling), a pilow, and a blanket. Before takeoff, I was also brought an amenity kit, a menu, and immigration forms. I was impressed by the flight attendants working the upper deck. They were the most polite of any flight attendants I have encountered in Business Class on an American airline.

The menu read as follows:Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 7.01.37 AM Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 7.02.01 AM Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 7.02.10 AM Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 7.02.23 AM Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 7.02.38 AM

Oddly, the wines were not listed on the menu, just long descriptions of what Old World and New World wines are. I ordered Tamale-filled Chicken Breast.

The amenity kit was very nice. I liked its size and feel. If I didn’t already carry Emirates and Avianca amenity kits filled with my toiletries, I would have kept this one for permanent use.

Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 7.04.01 AMThe contents of the kit were standard with Cowshed branded lotion and lip balm.Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 7.04.13 AMBefore take off, I reclined the seat and selected a movie from the long list of available movies and shows. I love when the entertainment system is available on the ground.
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I don’t love the little cubby where your feet go when relaxing or sleeping in United Business Class. It feels very cramped.

Finally before take off, the flight attendants served a pre-departure beverage in the classiest way possible. Instead of a tray with pre-poured water, juice, and champagne as is standard on many airlines in Business Class, the flight attendant took our orders and brought them two people at a time. I appreciated the personal touch, and the larger drink selection that this method makes possible.

Once we took off, I used the intuitive seat controls to put the seat into bed mode, which is how I watched my movie until lunch was served 45 minutes after take off.

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The meal service started with warm nuts and a drink of our choice.Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 7.03.07 AM

Next the appetizers came out. The salad was pre-plated, but the flight attendant offered two types of dressing that she ladled on and optional crutons that she poured on. A bread basked was offered, and I chose garlic bread. The other appetizer had a Japanese feel with sushi and sashimi.Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 7.03.14 AM

The salad was fine, the garlic bread was great, and I don’t eat seafood.

For the main course, I was very happy with my tamale-filled chicken. It is an inventive take on the classic tamale.

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While my plates were cleared quickly, I couldn’t really eat at my own pace, as I had to wait for the whole cabin for the next course to start. After the main course came the cheese and fruit course with port.
Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 7.04.35 AM I enjoyed the plate of cheese and also partook in the sundae cart.Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 7.04.46 AM I went with chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and cookie crumbs. Nom nom nom!Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 7.04.55 AM After the meal, I was ready for a nap, so I put the seat back into bed mode.Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 7.05.17 AMScreen Shot 2015-12-28 at 7.05.06 AM

I slept for two-and-a-half hours, so the bed was a success. It could stand to be wider that 20″, longer than 6’4″, and have more foot room than the cubby. But I did get a good nap on a plane at 6’4″ tall, so I have no complaints.
Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 7.03.25 AMWhen I awoke, the flight attendants had put a snack cart in the cabin with fruits, candy, chips, sandwiches, and fruit/cheese plates. The turkey sandwich was delicious.Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 7.03.45 AMI continued to watch television shows until 90 minutes before landing when breakfast was served. This is a very odd thing to serve at 2:30 PM in Japan/7:30 PM in Hawaii.Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 7.03.53 AM

We landed thirty minutes early, got to the gate 15 minutes early, and I got through immigration and customs in 15 more minutes. I was in Tokyo at my hostel about two hours after landing and made it to Shibuya Crossing on my first night.

Bottom Line

Bed

Very tall people will be cramped, and many may find the foot cubby uncomfortable, but overall it is a comfortable enough flat bed.

Entertainment

Large selection of movies and TV shows on demand. Noise-canceling headphones would be fancier, but I can’t say I noticed the difference.

Service

The friendliest, most service-oriented flight attendants I have found in Business Class on an American airline. Maybe the service culture of the East Asian airlines has rubbed off on this route.

Food

Edible and plentiful. You’ll generally get better meals on the ground, but I can’t complain about solid, free, unlimited food that ends with a sundae bar.

Suggestions

Fly upstairs to feel less crowded. Grab an aisle seat if you get up a lot and a window seat if you get up rarely because unfortunately one person in each pair of seats always has to climb over his seatmate to reach the aisle.

Overall

This is flight is an amazing value for 40,000 United miles + $5.60 in Business Class. (Economy is 25k miles.) I wouldn’t splurge for First Class, which is 62,500 miles each way because United First Class is barely better than United Business Class.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

2

AeroMexico 29
Buenos Aires (EZE) – Mexico City (MEX)
Depart: 11:30 PM on Wednesday October 14, 2015
Arrive: 7:15 AM on Thursday, October 15, 2015
Duration: 9:45
Aircraft: Boeing 787-8
Seat: 3F and 4F (Business Class)

I headed to the gate while boarding was underway, but AeroMexico has a dedicated line for Business Class, so I was able to breeze past the line and onto the plane.
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I wasn’t greeted at the door, and I found my own way to my seat. The seats had a blanket and medium-sized pillow.

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AeroMexico has its Dreamliner Business Class cabin laid out 2-2-2, so I had chosen a middle seat to have aisle access and to not be blocking anyone else’s aisle access.

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I was originally in the third row with a person next to me. After take off, I moved to the fourth row, which was empty for a little more privacy.

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 12.38.15 PM
View of the Cabin

I had my own overhead bin, so there was plenty of space for carry ons.

The main thing I didn’t like about the seat was the tiny cubby hole under the TV for my feet. I don’t like the tight squeeze when sitting or sleeping.

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 12.37.57 PM

I did like that the television was mounted in view, so it was usable during take off and landing (as opposed to the TV on Avianca’s Dreamliner). The entertainment system was also available on the ground, so the time before take off flew by as I finally got a chance to watch Fresh Off the Boat

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 12.38.06 PM

The only complaint I have about the entertainment system is that it plays several ads, a few before the safety video and a few more after takeoff, which interrupted my viewing. The TV and movie selection was broad, and I watched a few episodes of Fresh Off the Boat and the movie Aloha.

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 12.39.06 PM

At the seat there is a USB socket, universal socket, and headphone jack.

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Low quality noise canceling headphones are provided.

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Seat controls are intuitive.

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A touch screen remote controls the television.

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Before take off, the flight attendant brought by a tray of orange juice, water, and champagne. I had a glass of champagne. The place to put your drinks is shared with your seatmate, so ours was a bit crowded.

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 12.38.58 PM

Another flight attendant passed out immigration forms, menus, and and an amenity kit. Here was the menu for the flight which featured dinner and breakfast.

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Here was the amenity kit.

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The Aquascutum branded kit had an eye shade, socks, comb, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, ear plugs, lotions, and lip balms.Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 2.59.44 PMI haven’t used anything in the kit, so I can’t speak to the quality there, but I like the size and feel of the kit itself, and I may continue to carry my own toiletries in it.
Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 3.00.04 PM

After take off, the dinner service started. The cheese and nut plate was good. It would have looked fancier if the crackers had been served out of the package.

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 12.40.03 PM

The salad, main course, and bread from a bread basket were served together. I went with the grilled tenderloin of beef, which I had low expectations for (plane steak!), and it wasn’t very good. The vegetables and potatoes were much better.

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Dessert was a small raspberry cake, which was the perfect size and good enough.

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After dinner, I started to plan my (intentional) daylong layover in Mexico City. I decided to pay $22 for the 110 MB of data that I could use during the duration of the flight.

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 12.40.58 PM

The speed was very good, and I was able to research the top sites in Mexico City and plan an itinerary for myself.

About four hours into the flight, I decided to brush my teeth and go to bed. The bathroom had two innovations I liked. One is that it had the standard very large window you find on all 787s. During a day flight, that would have been cool.

The second is that the toiled flushed if you closed the lid or put your hand near the blue button. Flushing public toilets is gross, so those are nice improvements.

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 12.40.33 PM

I went back to my seat and put it into flat bed mode.

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The bed was wide enough at shoulder level, but very narrow for my feet.

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 12.41.29 PM

I would estimate the bed was 6’3″ long because my 6’4″ frame was just scrunched at the top.

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However I managed to sleep very easily for about five hours waking only during the descent.

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 12.41.47 PM

I slept through breakfast, which was no problem for me because I was excited to eat on the ground in Mexico City.

Bottom Line

I had an ideal flight in AeroMexico Business Class on the 787 Dreamliner.

Food wasn’t that good. Service was the bare minimum. But I got to watch TV and movies from the moment I got on the plane, and much more importantly, I slept comfortably. That’s all I was looking for on my flight to the Chicago Seminars.

When you find AeroMexico Business Class between the United States and Southern South America for 45,000 Alaska miles or 62,500 Delta miles one way, book it.

I will have future installments on my time in Mexico City, the immigration process in Mexico, and lounges in Buenos Aires and Mexico.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

5

I recently flew in Business Class on the Avianca 787 Dreamliner from Los Angeles to Bogota. After spending a little over a week in Hawaii as a brief interlude between the summers of Europe and South America, I flew United First Class to Los Angeles and connected to Avianca Business Class to the Colombian capital. The entire award cost only 27,500 Asiana Miles + $38.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 1.48.42 AM

The most notable thing on the Honolulu to Los Angeles redeye was that its Economy Plus rows were so empty that I actually left my First Class seat for a full row of Economy Plus because I find sleeping on three economy seats much more comfortable than one domestic First Class recliner. I slept about four hours on the flight.

I arrived in Los Angeles on a half night’s sleep, and unfortunately it wasn’t the smoothest transfer. LAX has a terrible design, such that very few terminals are connected airside. I had to leave terminals 7 and 8 where United is to catch a free bus to terminal 2 where Avianca is.

United had been unable to print my Avianca boarding pass in Honolulu, so I went to the Business Class check in line. The line wasn’t moving. It turns out the computers at the desks were down, so the flight attendants were taking passengers’ passports to a back room and emerging with hand written boarding passes. I’d never seen that before!

I spent about 30 minutes in the line, and the computers finally started working in time to get me a printed boarding pass. Then I had to re-clear security, since I had exited United’s terminal.

All of that greatly limited my time in the Air Canada Maple Leaf lounge, which I got into for free with my Avianca ticket and would have gotten into for free also as a Priority Pass member, which comes free with my Citi Prestige® Card.

The Air Canada lounge offers a weak continental breakfast. I left the lounge at about 9:30 and got to the gate with boarding underway. There was no separate boarding lane for Business Class passengers, so I was delayed a bit getting onto the plane.

Avianca 85
Los Angeles (LAX) – Bogota (BOG)
Depart: 9:55 AM on Tuesday September 22, 2015
Arrive: 7:10 PM
Duration: 7:15
Aircraft: Boeing 787-8
Seat: 7A (Business Class)

Once on the plane, I was very impressed with the Business Class layout in a 1-2-1 configuration that gives all seats direct aisle access. There are 28 Business Class seats in seven rows.

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 11.20.54 AM

I had a window seat, which had a pillow and blanket.

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The television is built into the seat in front at an impossible to view angle without releasing it and rotating it toward you.

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 11.21.21 AM

Unfortunately the television needs to be stowed for take off and landing, so you can’t enjoy the entertainment system the whole time you are on the plane. I don’t know why any planes are designed such that you can’t enjoy the entertainment system the whole time you’re on the plane. What a no-brainer.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 2.14.47 AM

During boarding, there was a repeated series of ads and this music video, which is my current favorite Spanish-language song and doubles as a great tourism video for Colombia.

Under the television is the ottoman, which was too far away for me to comfortably rest my feet while sitting, and I’m 6’4″.
Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 11.21.46 AM

Next to the seat is an arm rest that is also where you’d place a drink or anything else you want to keep at hand. Above that is the large window that is one reason I prefer to fly 787s over other planes.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 2.14.37 AM

Also next to the seat is a remote control for the television, a light, the intuitive seat/bed controls, headphone jack, USB plug, and universal plug.

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 11.27.58 AM

 

On the other side of the seat, next to the aisle, was a small storage cubby built into the seat. I used the overhead bins instead.

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 11.31.36 AM

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Before take off, flight attendants offered water or champagne from a tray. I went with the less fun option because I was planning to get my other half-night of sleep after take off.

After take off, flight attendants brought an amenity kit and shoe bag.

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 11.31.08 AM

 

The amenity kit contained the standard socks, eye shade, ear plugs, lip balm, toothpaste, toothbrush, and lotion. In addition, it contained a sticker to put on your seat if you wanted to be woken up for the meal service. That is a simple and brilliant invention because even some of the best airlines occasionally wake you up when you asked not to be or vice versa.Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 11.31.25 AM

 

I actually always travel with two amenity kits full of my own toiletries. One is the Emirates amenity kit I just got (which replaced a Cathay Pacific amenity kit) and the other is an Avianca Tumi amenity kit that I got a while back, which is identical in size and material to this one. It’s a perfect size for my needs.

As soon as we took off, I put the seat in bed position. I was hungry, so I figured if I was still awake when the meal service came around, I’d eat. If I was asleep, I’d make do with the snack later on.

 

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 3.16.12 PM

I immediately fell asleep and woke up about four hours later over Guatemala.

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 11.28.34 AM

 

The bed is adequate. I’d call it very good if I were 6’1″ or less, but at my height I was a bit scrunched. I also don’t like the cubby hole for the feet, which is a tight squeeze. But the point of the bed is to be able to sleep. I got all the sleep my body wanted, so the bed passed the test. By any metric besides comparing it to a bed in my house or a bed in Cathay Pacific First Class, the bed is excellent and easily worth the premium in miles you’d pay over an economy redemption.

Pretty soon after waking up, the end-of-flight snack service began with a table cloth placed over the spacious table.

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 11.28.41 AM

 

From a cart in the aisle, we were served a ham and cheese sandwich, peanuts, and a drink. I went with water again.

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 11.29.04 AM

 

The main course would have been a lot better, four courses with chicken, steak, or ravioli as the main course and a dulce de leche cheesecake for dessert.

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Bottom Line

Avianca Business Class on its new Dreamliners is a very comfortable way to get from the United States to Colombia, within South America, or from South America to Europe.

The bed is flat and adequate for sleep. The entertainment system, when you can access it, has solid television and movie options. The service is a bit bare bones, but no worse than on American airlines.

I arrived rested in Bogota with a smile on my face.

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 11.32.35 AM

 

Post Script

Avianca breaks drivers. My driver arrived in Bogota in two pieces.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 3.24.11 PM

After six weeks, the issue hasn’t been resolved, but I am hopeful that the saga ends soon. I’ll have a full post on it when it does.
Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 3.24.26 PM

 

I don’t carry any other woods, so my round in Buenos Aires last week was with all irons. Good thing the course wasn’t too long.

 

 

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

7

Last month I flew from Houston to Honolulu in United First Class. I had booked the award with 30,000 Singapore miles because Singapore miles have access to the same Saver award space on United flights as United miles do, but Singapore charges fewer miles. You can get 50,000 ThankYou Points (which transfer 1:1 to Singapore miles) from the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card which offers 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 7.36.03 PM

I was still jetlagged from flying in from Dubai just three days earlier, so I woke up at 7 AM and headed to the airport, arriving 2.5 hours before my flight. I love that Houston-Intercontinental has a Panda Express that is open even at breakfast time, so I feasted then headed to my gate. Starting an hour before departure, the gate agent began making announcements that the entertainment onboard would all be streamed to our laptops, tablets, and phones, so we should download the United app or United media player before boarding.

United 253
Houston (IAH) – Honolulu (HNL)
Depart: 10:00 AM on Sunday September 13, 2015
Arrive: 1:18 PM
Duration: 8:18
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200
Seat: 3A (First Class)

Finally boarding proceeded on time, and I was in Group 1, since I was flying First Class. Once on the jet way, First Class had a dedicated boarding door, which is nice if you don’t board at the earliest possible moment. You’ll still avoid being stuck in the economy line as people board.

Seat

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 8.00.46 AM

United flies several types of planes to Hawaii. I flew the 777-200. The 777-200 Hawaii configuration on a lot of the planes is 2-3-2 in First Class and features large recliners with tons of leg room. This is the second best way to get to Hawaii on United (as long as you aren’t stuck in the middle seat in First Class) because these seats have 15″ more leg room than normal domestic First Class on United.

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The best way is on a flat bed. All United 767-400ER flights to Hawaii feature flat beds in a 2-1-2 configuration, and some 777-200 international configurations feature flat beds in a 2-4-2 configuration. You can see whether a United plane features flat beds on the seat map. All flights from Newark and Washington-Dulles, one daily flight from San Francisco, and some flights from United’s other hubs feature flat beds. Here’s my review of United First Class on a 767-400ER from Honolulu to Newark.

The worst way to fly United First Class to Hawaii is on a plane that is equipped with only standard domestic First Class recliners because you have 15″ less leg room than I had on my Houston to Honolulu flight.

After take off, I tried to make myself more comfortable. The seat reclines a long way, but it doesn’t go anywhere near flat. When fully reclined, it’s awkward to put your feet on the ground, so the seat has a foot rest. Unfortunately my foot rest button was broken, so I couldn’t use the foot rest.

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 8.01.09 AM

 

I found the seat very spacious and comfortable enough for reading and watching TV, but I couldn’t fall asleep at all. Mind you I had some pretty terrible jet lag at the time and had been napping every afternoon, but I passed the eight hour flight unable to sleep because the seat just wasn’t conducive to sleep, at least not without the foot rest.

Food

Before take off, the flight attendant came down the aisles offering us three choices for lunch and asking for our top two.
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We were also offered hot nuts and a drink.
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After take off, a three-course lunch was served. I chose a delicious pretzel roll from the bread basket, and I loved that the salad was more than just lettuce with a single tomato like on a lot of airlines. I appreciated the cucumber and couscous to liven things up.

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for the main course, I got my top choice which was the Indian vegetarian dish. Mixing the peas, rice, and sauce was delicious but i was hesitant to try the white cubes, which I figured were either cheese or tofu. I asked the flight attendant what they were, and she had no idea. She conferred with a colleague and still didn’t know. I think it is pretty terrible to serve food and not know what it is.Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 8.01.35 AM

After lunch, a cart of mango sorbet and after meal drinks was wheeled through, but I abstained.Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 8.01.44 AM

There was more food throughout the eight hour flight. For the entire flight after the meal service, a snack basket was in the front galley. There were some great choices, and I had a fresh banana at some point.Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 8.01.51 AM

Finally two hours before landing, we were served cream of mushroom soup and a chicken focaccia. Both were serviceable though not as impressive as the hot steak sandwich served by Emirates. And I’m sure I would have preferred the not-free sandwiches for purchase in economy.Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 8.01.57 AM

Entertainment

I have the United app on my phone and downloaded the United media player on my laptop from the terminal to be able to stream entertainment to my devices. Importantly, at least in First Class, there was an outlet at every seat, so I could keep up with the power-draining nature of streaming entertainment.

In addition to entertainment on your own devices, United offered free tablets in First Class. These were big, heavy, and had way fewer movies and TV shows loaded onto them than were available for streaming to your own device, so these should be your back up plan.

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I thought the selection of TV and movies, all for free, was very good, though I did get some playback errors that were annoying. Hopefully as it becomes easier and cheaper to stream content, this improves.

Bottom Line

I paid 30,000 Singapore miles + $5.60 for a First Class flight from Houston to Honolulu. I got there on time, got two free checked bags, and I was fed and entertained along the way. That’s all I can really ask for, so I feel like I got great value for my miles.

However, if possible, you definitely want to fly a United plane that features flat beds in First Class to get to Hawaii.

You can get 50,000 ThankYou Points (which transfer 1:1 to Singapore miles) from the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card after $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. That’s enough for a roundtrip to Hawaii with one way in First Class.

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

4

Trip Report Index

I have broken my 16 hour flight from Dubai to Houston into four parts because I had over 200 photos and several videos from the flight. This section covers the ono grindz.

There are only two possibilities: either you will overeat when flying Emirates First Class or you have much stronger willpower than I do.

I filled up in the lounge in Dubai and got on the plane full. Immediately I was face-to-face with a personal snack basket in my suite.

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The Snack Basket is in My Left Hand

I resisted because none of the premium brand snacks were to my liking. That was about the only food I didn’t eat on the flight.

Before take off, I was given a menu (which I’ve reproduced in full at the bottom of this post), and the flight attendant explained the dine on demand concept. On Emirates flights, First Class passengers can order anything any time. Forget about carts rolling down the aisle on their schedule. Everything is on your schedule.

I decided to have after I woke up about 10 hours into the flight, but before that I snacked relentlessly. At the First Class bar between the two shower spas up front, there were sandwiches and fruit. I’m not sure what we were supposed to do with a whole pineapple, but I had and enjoyed the vegetarian sandwich.

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While I was at the Business Class Bar before and after my main meal, I took advantage of the snacks there–finger sandwiches, olives, mixed nuts, arare, and fruit skewers.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.48.44 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.45.42 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.41.17 PM

And near the end of the flight, a few hours after my main meal, I ordered the steak sandwich off of the snack menu.

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It was ridiculously good. I’ve decided melted cheese is my favorite food.

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But the star of the food was the main meal. When I woke up from my nap, I asked for it be served in two hours and for the flight attendant to grab me from the bar when it was time.

She found me two hours later and told me she was ready if I was.

The large table is elegantly set for your main meal with linen, real silverware, and nice plates.

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The first course was caviar and a salad. Caviar is served with the typical accoutrements of egg, onion, those little pancakes (probably not their real name), and lemon. It’s also apparently customary to drink a shot of vodka with your caviar, so I asked for a shot of Russian Standard Imperia.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.46.28 PM

As you can tell, I wholeheartedly endorse drinking vodka with caviar.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.46.47 PM

😉Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.47.12 PM

For the appetizer, I asked for a cream of mushroom soup and the Arabic mezze. The soup was very good, and I didn’t even notice that the Arabic mezze never came because I was, at no point on the flight, hungry. I’ve included a picture of the impressive mezze from the review of my flight from Zurich to Dubai.
Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.47.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.12.35 PM

For the main course, I ordered achaari murgh because I love Indian food. I’d never had this plate before, but it was delicious as I’ve come to expect from Indian food and from Emirates.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.47.43 PM

For dessert, I ordered the glutton’s trio: the fruit plate, the cheese plate, and the chocolate tart. Amazingly there were two other deserts I didn’t eat.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.48.02 PM

Do I rally need to tell you how delicious dessert was. It was perfect, sweet with a crust that balanced the chocolate perfectly.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.48.12 PM

When I was eating my main meal, I was the only passenger eating, which meant that the flight attendant had her full attention on refilling my drinks–water and vodka pineapple–clearing my plates, and bringing my next course. I like to eat quickly when I’m eating alone, so I was happy that she kept up with my pace.

One thing that frustrates me when eating in Business Class on a plane with a big cabin is that the meal service usually moves way too slowly for me. There is no such concern in Emirates First Class.

Room Service

One thing I love about Emirates First Class on the A380 is that the remote control in the armrest can also act as a telephone to call the galley, complete with “Calling Room Service” on the screen.
Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.47.49 PM

Unfortunately on both of my Emirates flights last month, I tried multiple times to call the galley and got no answer.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.47.55 PMI’m not sure if it was a technical glitch or I was being ignored. It seems like the service is more convenient for flight attendants because it saves them a trip to your seat.

 

Bottom Line

 

The food is awesome in Emirates First Class, and there is too much of it. You can have anything, any time, and it’s all very high quality.

How to Fly Emirates First Class for Yourself

Alaska Airlines charges 90,000 Alaska miles one way in Emirates First Class from the United States to Dubai or 100,000 from the United States to Europe, Asia, or Africa via Dubai. (Or vice versa since I flew Zurich to Dubai to Houston.) You can stop in Dubai as long as you’d like on the award.

You can get Alaska miles by opening the Alaska Airlines personal and business cards, which each come with 25,000 bonus miles, no spending requirement, and an immediate $75 annual fee. Both cards are churnable every few months, and you can have several open at once. You can even open multiple personal cards at once. You can also transfer SPG Starpoints to Alaska miles at a 1:1 rate with 5,000 bonus Alaska miles for every 20,000 Starpoints transferred.

You can book Emirates award flights on alaskaair.com as outlined here. You will pay (low) taxes plus a $12.50 per one way booking fee. There are no fuel surcharges on the awards.

Menu

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

18

Trip Report Index

I have broken my 16 hour flight from Dubai to Houston into four parts because I had over 200 photos and several videos from the flight. This section covers roughly half of the flight that I spent at the onboard bar.

After waking up, I headed to the bathroom. There are three bathroom exclusively for First Class passengers, a toilet behind the cabin in the galley area and two shower spas in front of the cabin. If they’re both open, I head to one of the shower spas when I need to use the bathroom because they are so much nicer and more spacious.

Between the shower spas at the very front of the top deck is the First Class Bar. It is set up with all the First Class liquors, wines, some soft drinks, and snacks.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.39.27 PM

Here are close ups of the display and brands including the Dom Perignon 2005 champagne. The selection is extensive!Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.39.36 PMScreen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.39.42 PMScreen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.39.51 PMScreen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.40.00 PM

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The First Class bar is entirely self-serve, and there is really no place to sit down or hang out, so it is rarely used. When it is used, people are just grabbing a snack or a drink and heading back to their seats.

I prefer to hang out in the Business Class bar, which is where the action is. The Business Class bar is open to First and Business Class passengers. If you’re a First Class passenger heading there, I recommend tipping off a flight attendant to what you’ll be drinking, so she can bring back the superior First Class liquors and wines.

The Business Class bar is at the very back of the top deck, behind Business Class, so I walked through the half-full (at best) cabin to get there.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.40.07 PM

The Business Class bar is a small half circle that is always staffed with a flight attendant. The counter is covered with snacks, and liquors are displayed behind the bartender.

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On both sides of the plane are curved couches where you can hang out any time and where you have to sit down and buckle up if the seat belt sign is turned on.

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I started with a glass of Dom Peringon, which had been brought back for me.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.40.37 PM

The Argentine bartender (what are the odds!) had a Polaroid-style camera at the bar and offered to take a picture of me. I asked a Romanian flight attendant to write something in Romanian on the card, so I could snap a picture and send that via Whatsapp to a friend in Bucharest.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.41.02 PM

The flight had free wifi that was too slow to load web pages but fast enough for iMessage, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger. The flight also had a cellular network. Because I have T-Mobile’s free international data plan, I turned Airplane Mode off to see if the cellular data would be free. I was immediately met with a text message telling me that I was roaming and data would be absurdly expensive, so I put my phone back in Airplane Mode and used the free wifi.

The bartenders, a Brazilian Business Class passenger, and I had a blast for the next few hours. The bartenders rotated every few hours, and I learned that they have some control over whether they are assigned to the bar. The bartenders as a group definitely self-select for outgoing people, so I wouldn’t mind being the only passenger at the bar and just talking to the bartender. If more passengers are in the bar area, though, it becomes even more fun.

One reason I love the bar: you know how American airlines are at great pains to remind you that all alcohol you consume on board must be served by a flight attendant? That rule either doesn’t apply to Emirates, or Emirates flouts it.

First I invented the Dom Piñon, which is one part Dom Perignon and one part pineapple juice.
Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.43.30 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.43.55 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.44.17 PM

It seemed like a good use of $170 champagne.

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Then I made a vodka soda for my Brazilian friend. I know that a shaker is an inappropriate tool for the job, but it was fun to use.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.45.10 PM

Next a Thai passenger came to the bar and didn’t know what he wanted, so I had another customer for my Dom Piñon.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.46.00 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.46.10 PM

The hours flew by while we goofed off in the back. Occasionally the fun would be interrupted by turbulence that would require us to sit on the couches and buckle up or a flight attendant having to prepare a drink that someone ordered from his seat.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.48.44 PM

But mostly we just ate the fruit, nuts, and finger sandwiches; drank Russian Standard Imperia vodka pineapples and Dom Piñons; and discussed Houston, Dubai, travel, books, and the best nightlife in Argentina. Flight attendants representing 20 countries and 17 languages came through, a copilot stopped by for a (non-alcoholic) drink, and I had as much fun as I would at a bar anywhere in the world that was full of other interesting travelers.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.41.17 PM

It just so happened this bar was 41,000 feet up, full of free top shelf drinks, and let me pour my own drinks.

Bottom Line

I spent about seven hours at the bar on the back of the top deck of the Emirates A380. It was an enjoyable way to meet interesting people, both crew and fellow passengers. If you’re an extrovert, this definitely beats hanging out in the suite and watching movies.

Stay tuned for reviews of the food and shower.

How to Fly Emirates First Class for Yourself

Alaska Airlines charges 90,000 Alaska miles one way in Emirates First Class from the United States to Dubai or 100,000 from the United States to Europe, Asia, or Africa via Dubai. (Or vice versa since I flew Zurich to Dubai to Houston.) You can stop in Dubai as long as you’d like on the award.

You can get Alaska miles by opening the Alaska Airlines personal and business cards, which each come with 25,000 bonus miles, no spending requirement, and an immediate $75 annual fee. Both cards are churnable every few months, and you can have several open at once. You can even open multiple personal cards at once. You can also transfer SPG Starpoints to Alaska miles at a 1:1 rate with 5,000 bonus Alaska miles for every 20,000 Starpoints transferred.

You can book Emirates award flights on alaskaair.com as outlined here. You will pay (low) taxes plus a $12.50 per one way booking fee. There are no fuel surcharges on the awards.

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

Trip Report Index

I have broken my 16 hour flight from Dubai to Houston into four parts because I had over 200 photos and several videos from the flight. This section covers roughly the first half of the flight and my review of the suite and related amenities.

Emirates 211
Dubai (DXB) – Houston (IAH)
Depart: 9:05 AM on September 10, 2015
Arrive: 4:25 PM
Duration: 16 hours, 20 minutes
Aircraft: Airbus A380
Seat: 4K (First Class)

This is it. This was my throne for 16 hours from Dubai to Houston.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.32.54 PM

I was the last First Class passenger to board, and I was met at the door with a smile and escorted to my seat in the last row of First Class. Emirates has four singles seats along each side of the plane and three rows of double seats in the middle for 14 total First Class seats. I’d recommend the middle seats if you’re traveling with a companion and a window seat otherwise.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.33.36 PM

I have flown in the first, last, and middle rows, and I see no difference because dining is on demand, and the cabin is quiet throughout.

As soon as I sat down, I was offered any drink I’d like. I chose the specialty lime mint non-alcoholic drink, which was refreshing and tasty.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.33.52 PM

For the 20 minutes until departure, I re-familiarized myself with my suite while flight attendants came through the cabin offering their standard pre-departure service. The suite itself is blinged out with wooden finishes and gold accents. In front of the seat is one of the largest TVs in any commercial First Class, a small vanity with spa products, and a drawer with a writing kit.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.32.05 PM

When you get to your seat, there will be a snack basket. It is taken away before takeoff and brought back after take off until just before landing. None of the snacks appealed to me, but there is enough to eat on the flight, including sweets galore. The front of the suite also has two light fixtures and a fresh flower.
Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.32.21 PM

You store your carry ons underneath the television. There are no overhead bins in First Class. Don’t worry; your carry ons don’t take up any of your leg room. I’m 6’4″, and my feet are well short of my bags. Next to my bags, you can see the inflight magazines, safety info, and headphones.
Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.32.27 PM

The noise canceling headphones get the job done, but they are not Bose like some airlines offer in First and Business Class.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.35.31 PMAlso underneath the television is a universal plug and two USB plugs, so all your devices can be charged throughout the flight.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.35.38 PM

To the side of the seat, along the window is a mini-bar.
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Mine offered still and sparkling water, pineapple juice, and three Pepsi products. I’ve said before that the mini-bar is flash over substance. None of these drinks are chilled, so to drink one, I’d have to ask the flight attendant for ice, which kind of defeats the purpose of having the drinks at your seat.

Next to the mini-bar is a touch screen tablet that controls the main television. The television itself is also a touch screen. Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.33.08 PM

Or you can control the television from the remote in your armrest.

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Overall the suite is fantastically designed. I don’t really get the mini-bar, but I have no complaints–A+.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.33.46 PM

Before take off, the flight attendants are a flurry of activity. You will be offered newspapers, magazines, a guide to the shower spa, beverages, Arabic coffee and dates, an amenity kit, pajamas, and slippers.

The amenity kit is Bulgari branded and very large.
Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.35.49 PM

Along the sides, it has pouches for the brush/comb, deodorant, and toothpaste.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.35.59 PM

Inside, it also has a razor, shaving cream, tissues, and a box of Bulgari products.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.36.07 PM

I’ve gotten compliments on the smell of the body lotion.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.36.13 PM

I kept the amenity kit as my new traveling toiletries kit for the next few months, jettisoning a smaller Cathay Pacific amenity kit in Hawaii.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.36.19 PM

The pajamas are very comfortable, and I changed into them and the slippers right after take off and wore them for the rest of the flight.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.36.57 PM

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.40.44 PM

To me, wearing pajamas the whole time harkens back to slumber parties growing up and heightens the fun. The more I think about it, the more I like the comparison because both Emirates First Class and sleepovers as a kid have:

  • more food than you should eat, but it’s so delicious
  • more fun activities than you can do at once, so you’re constantly shifting from one to the next
  • Woo-hoo, no parents! Woo-hoo, no work!

I skipped the Arabic coffee and dates, but that is an impressive, two-flight-attendant presentation.

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.03.49 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.03.55 PM

Just before take off, I had this photo of all my “stuff” snapped.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.34.00 PMTake off is impressive to watch out the window or on your TV, which features the tail camera.
Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.36.25 PM

After take off, I was ready for bed because I had been up all night, and conveniently it was about midnight in my destination city. I asked the flight attendant to make the middle seat next to my seat into a bed because the cabin was only about half full.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.38.02 PMThe Emirates First Class bed is 7’2″ long and 1’11” wide. It could definitely stand to be a little bit wider like Cathay Pacific and Malaysia Airlines First Class, but overall, it’s a very nice bed with comfortable bedding and a large pillow.

I used the touch screen to close the doors of my suite and then conked out.
Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.37.05 PM

I went to bed right after take off.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.37.19 PM

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I woke up about six hours later over Estonia.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.37.40 PMScreen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.39.21 PM

I find the Emirates A380 First Class bed to be acceptably comfortable, but it isn’t my overall favorite. It’s less than two feet wide, while Cathay Pacific’s First Class bed is three feet wide. That’s the difference between feeling a bit cramped and feeling like you have all the space in the world for me.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.39.03 PM

Upon waking up, I continued sporting some amazing bed head and my pajamas for the rest of the flight.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.37.30 PM

Other than when I was sleeping at the beginning and eating later in the flight, I didn’t spend much time in the suite, preferring to hang out in the bar and shower spa.

I didn’t take much advantage of the over 600 TV and movie options on board, which is definitely one of the best offerings in the sky.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.38.55 PM

I did play one racing game briefly with the handset in my arm rest while I waited for my meal, and it was better than the standard card games and chess usually available on flights.

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Overall Impressions of Suite

I love the Emirates First Class suite. I think the color choices are very attractive, the TV is the best in the world, the snack and mini-bar options are unrivaled (though unnecessary), the sliding doors are practical and fun, and everything is comfortable.
Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.38.39 PM

I do wish the bed were a little bit wider, but overall this an upper echelon seat and suite.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.38.47 PM

Stay tuned for reviews of the second half of the flight that cover the bar, shower, food, and service.

How to Fly Emirates First Class for Yourself

Alaska Airlines charges 90,000 Alaska miles one way in Emirates First Class from the United States to Dubai or 100,000 from the United States to Europe, Asia, or Africa via Dubai. (Or vice versa since I flew Zurich to Dubai to Houston.) You can stop in Dubai as long as you’d like on the award.

You can get Alaska miles by opening the Alaska Airlines personal and business cards, which each come with 25,000 bonus miles, no spending requirement, and an immediate $75 annual fee. Both cards are churnable every few months, and you can have several open at once. You can even open multiple personal cards at once. You can also transfer SPG Starpoints to Alaska miles at a 1:1 rate with 5,000 bonus Alaska miles for every 20,000 Starpoints transferred.

You can book Emirates award flights on alaskaair.com as outlined here. You will pay (low) taxes plus a $12.50 per one way booking fee. There are no fuel surcharges on the awards.

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

16

Trip Report Index

After my stopover in Dubai, I had a 9:05 AM flight to Houston in Emirates A380 First Class.

Wanting to enjoy the Emirates First Class Lounge and having stayed up all night anyway, I arrived at the airport almost exactly four hours before departure.

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.21.25 PM

I followed signs for First Class check in and had my boarding pass quickly.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.21.42 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.21.52 PM

The people movers to the A gates of Emirates’ Terminal 3 are a slow process, but I got to the lounge by 5:30 AM, meaning I’d have about three hours to enjoy the offerings before boarding.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.22.01 PM

Here’s what’s completely unique about the Emirates First Class lounge in Concourse A of Terminal 3 in Dubai: The lounge takes up an entire level that is directly above the main floor of the concourse. And you board from the lounge via an elevator directly onto your jet bridge. (The Business Class lounge, which I didn’t check out is one floor above the First Class lounge and also boards via elevator.)

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.24.10 PM
View of the Main Level of Concourse A from the Floor Above (First Class Lounge)

I entered the massive First Class lounge and handed the agent my boarding pass. She scanned it and welcomed me to the lounge. That’s it. She didn’t give me a rundown of the lounge, which I think the agents should, because the lounge is massive and offers a lot that you might not know about if you aren’t told or you don’t take the time to explore.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.22.08 PM

The first thing I wanted to do was get my bearings, so luckily I found a map of the lounge underneath the departures board.

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.23.35 PMThere are also signs like this throughout the lounge to direct you where you want to go.

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With my bearings set, I decided to check out the Cigar Bar and Quiet Lounge before enjoying breakfast in the Fine Dining area, followed by a free massage in the Spa.

Just walking through the lounge to follow my checklist, I passed several sitting areas, which are completely empty at 5:30 AM and probably empty all the time because they aren’t near food or drink.
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I also passed really high end shops. These aren’t your standard Duty Free Shops hawking big bags of M&Ms.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.22.23 PM

The shops are mostly selling watches, perfumes, and bottles of alcohol to dekamillionaires. I thought this display of alcohol from $600 to $3,000 per bottle was expensive…

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…until I saw this $13,000 bottle or Martell 300. I won’t even pretend to know what Martell 300 is because I paid $100 in taxes for my First Class ticket.

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I passed through the Business Center, which is stocked with computers, coffee, tea, and dates.
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Next I stopped into the Cigar Bar because I love the Cigar Bar in the Lufthansa First Class Terminal, and I like to smoke 10 cigars per year. When I saw the selection of famous Cubans on offer, I made a mental note to return after breakfast.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.24.16 PM

My last stop before breakfast was the Quiet Lounge, which is the one part of the lounge not up to par. With how much space there is in the lounge, and the fact that some First Class lounges offer private rooms for resting, I’m surprised Emirates puts so many day beds into one room.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.24.25 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.24.36 PM

Finally I made it to the Fine Dining area. I took a seat on a leather chair near the entrance and was given a menu.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.24.45 PM

You can either order menu items a la carte or just hit the buffet.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.24.49 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.24.55 PM

Other than eggs cooked to order, I think everything else on the a la carte menu is on the buffet. I don’t care for eggs, so I just went to the buffet.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.25.00 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.25.07 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.25.13 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.25.18 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.25.27 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.25.34 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.25.40 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.25.51 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.25.58 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.26.03 PM

I loaded up on the Indian curry, hash browns, baked beans, tomatoes, fruit, hummus, pita, veggies, and a cinnamon roll. I ordered a still water, which was brought along with a bread basket. The bread basket is a complete waste, since there is a huge bread section on the buffet, and I had already selected pita and a cinnamon roll.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.26.11 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.26.21 PM

The vegetarian Indian curry and the fresh fruit were real highlights for me, so I went back for seconds of those.

I took a walk through the Fine Dining area after eating.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.26.27 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.26.33 PM

One cool feature is that there is a view into the kitchen.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.26.40 PM

After I left the Fine Dining area I decided to keep heading the direction I had been going to get to the end of the lounge, passing more empty seating areas along the way.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.26.46 PM

At the end of the lounge is a huge seating area with a smaller buffet, a bar, and a magazine selection.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.26.51 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.26.56 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.27.03 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.27.09 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.27.15 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.27.21 PM

There are a few things on this buffet that aren’t in the Fine Dining area like the finger sandwiches, so it is worth checking out both areas before eating.

Now that I had seen one end of the lounge, I decided to go get my 15 minute free massage from the spa that is just outside the entrance of the lounge. On my way, I passed yet another bar and seating area. I hope you’re getting the idea that the lounge is humungous, and you can definitely find a space that suits your needs.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.27.28 PM

I exited the lounge, and a few meters to the right was the entry to the “timeless spa,” which has a big sign out front advertising free treatments.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.29.04 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.29.10 PM

As a First Class passenger, you have five options for a 15 minute massage. I went with the back massage.
Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.29.19 PM

For reference, here are the paid options, which are quite expensive.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.29.33 PM

I was anticipating lying face down on a table, but instead the back massage is on one of these bad boys.

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.29.50 PMI asked the masseuse if I should take off my shirt, and she was rather adamant that I shouldn’t.
Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.29.43 PM

I don’t go out of my way to get massages. This one was fine, which is about as highly as I thought I would ever rate a massage until a few years ago when I got a free hourlong massage at the Bangkok Airport because I was flying Thai First Class. That massage was amazing, and I couldn’t believe how quickly the hour passed. This 15 minute massage was underwhelming by comparison, but if you’re more into massages than I am, it could be a nice treat.

After the massage, I returned to the lounge and went to the Cigar Bar to spend the rest of the time before my flight on my laptop while smoking a cigar.

I selected this lovely couch and started charging my electronics.
Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.30.07 PM

The waiter brought the cigar selection. I had texted my cigar-expert friend asking him which one to choose but hadn’t hear back, so I went with my best proxy for quality: “I’ll take the most expensive one.”Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.30.15 PM

This was a mistake. It turns out that everything in the Emirates First Class Lounge in Dubai is free at all the bars and restaurants except the cigars. Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.30.56 PM

I guess it’s my fault for not knowing that the cigars were for purchase. There is a menu at the bar area that shows their prices. But I had no clue. I assumed they were free since everything in the lounge (except things obviously in shop areas) is free, Lufthansa has a free Cigar Bar in its First Class Terminal, no one told me the cigars cost money, and no one brought me the cigar menu when I asked for the cigar selection.

In any case, I was brought a bill for 125 AED ($34) for my cigar. I didn’t mention my surprise and just paid it–no need to ruin a great experience by disputing a bill that is small potatoes in the long run. But be warned: the cigars aren’t free.

I did enjoy my cigar and accompanying drink, and the Cigar Bar was a fine place to write for an hour or two. With about 45 minutes left before my flight’s departure, I left the Cigar Bar to sit closer to my gate (which, remember, is inside the lounge) in order to hear the boarding announcement. Much to my surprise, a last call announcement was made for my flight right as I sat down, so I headed to my gate.

All the other First Class passengers on my flight had hear the announcement and assembled, but there was no gate agent. A few minutes later she showed up and let us know that not only was it not last call, but we couldn’t even board yet. I slipped back into the Fine Dining area because it had the closest couch to my gate and wrote for another 20 minutes before we actually boarded.

When it was boarding time, I had my boarding pass scanned, then I road this elevator down one level to my jetway.

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I didn’t check out the shower rooms or the Le Clos wine shop in the lounge, but be aware those exist if you want to shower before your onboard shower or want to buy expensive wine before your flight.

Bottom Line

The Emirates First Class Lounge in Concourse A of Terminal 3 in Dubai is a marvel. According to Wikipedia, it is the largest First Class lounge in the world. The food is great, the alcohol is expensive, and boarding a plane from an elevator is novel.

The biggest areas for improvement would be individual rooms for napping and having the agent who scans your boarding pass give you an overview of the lounge offerings, spa offerings, and the fact that the cigars aren’t free.

Next time I would spend at least two hours in the lounge and probably more to enjoy the food, massage, and amenities just as fully as I did this time. I would skip the $34 stogie though.

I slightly preferred my trip to the Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt a year and a half ago. A Porsche to the plane is a little better than an elevator, I liked the buffet a little better, the cigars were free, and the you can take a bubble bath before your flight.

I also slightly preferred my ground experience in Bangkok as a First Class passenger because the hourlong massage was killer, and nothing is better than Thai food.

So I’d rank the Emirates First Class Lounge in Dubai as my third favorite lounge overall. Where would you rank it?

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

4

I’ve come to Colombia four times in the last year, and one thing I’ve learned is that leaving Colombia is a lot like redeeming Arrival miles.

Every time you redeem Arrival miles for travel, you instantly get 5% of the points you just redeemed rebated back to your account.

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Used to be an instant 10% rebate, now 5%

I don’t turn down free miles, but I do find this “lock in” annoying. If it just cost 95 Arrival miles for every dollar of a travel purchase you wanted to remove from your statement, you could run your Arrival miles balance down to zero. Since it costs 100 Arrival miles per dollar, but then you get 5 miles back, you can never run down your balance to zero.

Leaving Colombia is the same way. If you book a one way award to Colombia, which I have on three of the occasions, you pay the Colombia Resident Exit Tax at the time of ticketing.

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Then, as an American staying in the country less than 90 (I think) days, you are entitled to a refund when you board your flight exiting Colombia. If they just gave me $35 back each time, that would be great.

But instead, the last two times I’ve left the country, they’ve given me 74,000 Colombian pesos. (First, that’s annoying because 74k pesos equaled $31 last time and only $24 now, but this post isn’t about that scam.) What’s annoying is that the pesos are like a lock in to come back to Colombia.

Give me my dollars, and please let me run my Arrival miles and Colombian pesos balances down to zero, Barclaycard and Colombia.

 

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

10

Trip Report Index

  • Emirates Lounge Zurich
  • Emirates A380 First Class from Zurich to Dubai
  • Emirates Lounge Dubai
  • Emirates A380 First Class from Dubai to Houston

Emirates 88
Zurich (ZRH) – Dubai (DXB)
Depart: 3:35 PM on September 8, 2015
Arrive: 11:45 PM
Duration: 6 hours, 10 minutes
Aircraft: Airbus A380
Seat: 1A (First Class)

I was the last passenger to leave the Emirates Lounge in Zurich, and I was the last to board in First Class, about 20 minutes before the scheduled departure. The plane was not at its normal gate, so there was no boarding on the upper level.

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I boarded the lower level and was directed up the front stairs.
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At the top of the stairs, I was met by a flight attendant and brought to my seat. She hung my coat, and welcomed me to the flight.
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I had a window seat. Emirates A380s have four window seats on each side and three pairs of middle seats for 14 total.

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The middle seats have a divider to put up if you are traveling solo and to put down if you have a companion.

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The biggest (only?) downside of Emirates First Class is that there are 14 seats. Cathay Pacific First Class has only six on its 777. The seats and suites could stand to be a little bit wider, but really I am just quibbling. I had plenty of space, and I got amazingly personal attention.
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There were only six First Class passengers on the flight, so I didn’t get to see how service would be with a full cabin, but I expect Emirates flight attendants can handle it gracefully. Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.03.18 PM

After I was seated, another flight attendant arrived quickly with a tray of drinks, and I selected a glass of champagne.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.02.07 PM

As I sipped, I reacquainted myself with the First Class Suite on the Emirates A380. The suite doesn’t have a lot of storage space, but it is big enough that you can put your bags at the front of the suite and not have them in your way.
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In the front of the suite are a large television, a few lights, a lighted mirror, a flower, a snack basket, and a drawer with a writing kit. Everything has gold accents.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.02.28 PM

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The snack basket is one of the funniest things to me about Emirates First Class. It’s at your seat when you board, then taken away before take off, then brought back until just before landing. (Un)fortunately it didn’t contain anything I wanted to eat.
Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.02.34 PM

To the side of the seat is a minibar. On this flight, it contained three sodas, still and sparkling water, and pineapple juice. It’s pretty cool to have a minibar inside your suite, but to me, it’s a gimmick more than it’s useful. Every drink in the minibar is best served chilled, but the minibar is at room temperature, so to actually drink something from the minibar, I’d need to call a flight attendant for ice. If she’s coming with ice, then she might as well just bring the drink.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.02.40 PM

Next to the minibar is a small monitor. I usually find the small monitor much more convenient to control the television than the remote control that is in the armrest.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.02.45 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.04.14 PM

As I inspected my throne, a flight attendant came by with an eye mask and slippers. No pajamas or amenity kit was distributed on the six hour, afternoon flight, which is a bit of a bummer.
Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.02.52 PM

Another pair of flight attendants appeared, offering dates and Arabic coffee.

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During the flurry of activity before take off, flight attendants also brought a selection of newspapers, magazines, a lightly scented hot towel, and a fast track pass for Dubai immigration. Finally the snack basket was removed, and we rumbled down the runway.

Once airborn, the captain informed us that the flight attendants represented 24 nationalities, and we would be cruising at 41,000 feet, which means that I would be showering about eight miles up in the air.

After take off, I was brought a drink–vodka pineapple–and canapes.
Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.05.03 PM

A flight attendant brought a leather-bound menu and explained that in First Class, dining is on demand. I could order anything at any time. I had eaten a lot in the lounge, so I planned to wait until near the end of the flight to have dinner.

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.05.28 PM

I ordered my meal and asked it to be served two hours before landing. I asked to take my shower right away.

Emirates First Class passengers on the A380 get to take one shower per flight. During the shower, you get five minutes of water, but you can be in the bathroom as long as you’d like. Since there are two bathrooms with showers at the front of the upper deck and up to 14 passengers, you should reserve your time in the shower as soon as you know when you’d like to shower. Here’s a video tour of the Emirates shower spa from a few years ago. It hasn’t changed.

My shower was very refreshing. In my mind, the shower time is very useful and not a gimmick. I’m glad Etihad has added showers to its A380, and I look forward to showering on one in January.

When I came out of the shower, the self-serve bar in front of First Class was set up. I’ve never used it, nor seen anyone use it because all the action is at the Business Class bar.
Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.08.33 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.08.39 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.08.40 PM

Behind Business Class is a bar that is open to First and Business Class passengers. It is staffed with a bartender for the duration of the flight. If you are a First Class passenger headed back there, tip off a flight attendant what you’d like to drink, and she’ll bring back the fancier First Class liquors for you.

I asked a flight attendant to send back a bottle of Russian Standard Imperia vodka to the bar. (The Business Class vodka is Grey Goose.)

I walked back through the upper deck and snapped a picture of Business Class, which looks nearly as comfortable as First Class, just not as private.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.08.53 PM

The Business Class bar is a blast. The flight attendants have some control over whether they are assigned there, so they self-select for outgoing, fun people.

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.09.49 PM

I got behind the bar to mix a few drinks and mug for the camera. While American airlines make a point of announcing that you can only drink alcohol served by a flight attendant on board, Emirates has no such rule. First Class passengers can pour themselves a drink up front near the showers or at the back bar.

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Emirates has a green-amber-red system for flight attendants to track your drinking and make sure you aren’t over-served. Somehow I stayed green, according to the bartender, which leads me to believe it is based more on your behavior than on how many drinks you’ve been served.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.09.29 PM

When I got tired of standing at the bar, or when the Fasten Seatbelt sign was illuminated, I sat on one of the benches in the bar area.

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.09.13 PM

I spent most of the flight in the bar, talking with the bartender and other passengers.

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.09.08 PM

When we were two hours out of Dubai, I headed back to my seat for dinner. Before going to the bar, I had asked for turndown service, so I returned to find my seat like this.

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.10.34 PM

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I wasn’t tired, so I didn’t attempt to sleep. (Wait for my Dubai to Houston trip report for my thoughts on the bed.) A few minutes later, the first course of my dinner was served: caviar and a bread basket.
Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.12.03 PM

The caviar came with all the traditional sides. I continued my streak of only eating caviar on planes.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.12.14 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.12.27 PM

After I finished, the flight attendant cleared the caviar and brought me the mushroom soup.

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.12.45 PM

It was tasty, but the star of the appetizers was the Arabic mezze, which came after the soup. There were about a dozen options, but none better than the hummus.

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Next came the main course: beef fillet with lemon risotto.

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Why did I order a steak? Steaks on planes always disappoint me. I should have audibled when I asked for it to be cooked medium, and the flight attendant informed me that they can’t guarantee that because it’s pre-cooked and just heated up onboard. The steak was well done and not tender at all. The risotto was fine, and the mashed potatoes, which I had ordered from the section at the end of the menu of additional side options, were the best part of the entree. I only ate half because I was stuffed.

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.12.58 PM

But, as my niece says, I was full for dinner, not full for dessert, so I had all the desserts and a cheese plate brought to me. The berry dome was a hit for me.
Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.13.18 PM

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After dinner was cleared, I watched a few TV episodes on the big screen TV. The selection of TV shows and movies, over 600 total, is unreal.

We touched down in Dubai on time and taxied to a remote stand.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.13.42 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.13.46 PM

First Class passengers were offloaded first, and we had a blinged-out bus ride to the terminal. Somehow the bus ride took about 15 minutes.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.13.54 PM

When we finally got to the terminal, immigration and customs were a breeze. As I exited customs, I used this trick to get a free chauffeur ride to my hotel–the Radisson Blu Dubai Deira Creek.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.14.11 PM

Overall

I went into the flight with very high expectations, and they were exceeded. Flying economy is uncomfortable, boring, and a chore. Flying Emirates First Class on the A380 is comfortable, fun, and luxurious. You want the flight to last longer.

I spent a few hours talking to interesting world travelers and drinking top shelf liquor at a flying bar. I took a shower eight miles up. I was served a multi-course meal with more food than a person should eat in a day.

What’s not to like about Emirates First Class?

Here’s how to book Emirates First Class with miles.

Select menu pages:

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

6
  • Emirates Lounge Zurich
  • Emirates A380 First Class from Zurich to Dubai
  • Emirates Lounge Dubai
  • Emirates A380 First Class from Dubai to Houston

Last Tuesday I flew from Zurich to Dubai in First Class on the Emirates A380. As with all premium cabin international tickets, including award tickets, I got lounge access as part of my ticket.

Emirates operates lounges in many of the cities that it serves including Zurich. (In other cities, you’ll have access to another airline’s lounge.)

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I love high-end lounges because they have free food, drinks, and comfortable places to work and shower, and Emirates Lounges are high-end lounges. Emirates begins check in in Zurich four hours before the flight, and I got to the lounge more than three hours before my flight.

The Emirates Lounge is just above the normal Emirates gate, E52.

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It is open to First and Business Class passengers, but I was the first person into the lounge. The lounge agent welcomed me warmly and asked if I would be using the internet.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 5.57.34 PM

Unfortunately the internet situation at the Emirates Lounge in Zurich is terrible. You have to sign into the airport’s wifi with the code given to you by the agent. And then every hour, you have to get a new code.

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.00.37 PMI imagine this is the Zurich Airport’s fault and not Emirates’ fault, but it is annoying.

After check in, I took a lap around the lounge, and lap really is the right word because the seating sections of the lounge are like the outside of a rectangle with the bathrooms in the middle.

Along the right is the quiet seating area. I would have preferred to work here because the rest of the lounge got annoyingly loud between conversations and phone calls, but I didn’t see the silver towers of outlets, so I couldn’t work here and charge my devices.
Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 5.57.41 PM

The quiet area has this relaxing water feature and floor-to-ceiling windows.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 5.57.49 PM

The back section has a business center…Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 5.57.54 PM

…a seating area…Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 5.58.01 PM

…the magazine rack…
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…a TV tuned to CNN…Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 5.58.14 PM

… and a bar area with snacks.

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I worked in this back section because I found a free tower to charge my devices. The tower has American sockets.

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The left side of the lounge has the buffet, dining room, and floor-to-ceiling windows. You might also notice the doors in some of these photos, but unfortunately they cannot be opened to access the open air balconies that surround the lounge.
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The bar is stocked with mid-shelf liquors. You’ll get better stuff on the plane in Business Class and even better stuff in First Class.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 5.58.29 PM

There are sodas, juices, and beers. I was happy to see pineapple juice to make my favorite cocktail.

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The buffet was very impressive for a lounge that serves only one flight at a time. For meat options, Emirates offered chicken schnitzel, beef stroganoff…Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 5.58.42 PM

…sea bass, and veal sausage.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 5.59.05 PM

Vegetable options were also extensive.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 5.58.49 PM

The vegetable curries with lentils and the vegetarian lasagna caught my eye.
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There was also a cold buffet the featured desserts, fruits, cheese, and arabic mezze.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 5.59.28 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 5.59.36 PM

To another side, there was green pea soup and bread.

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 5.59.22 PMI went wild for my first meal of the day.
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I actually ate almost all of it. I really loved the chicken schnitzel and Indian-style lentil curry. The vegetable lasagna was skippable, and the potatoes were downright bad, which shocked me because I love potatoes.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 5.59.54 PM

I even got seconds of my favorites.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.00.17 PM

I spent a few hours working, which was interrupted by the aforementioned internet system. A boarding call was made in the lounge, and I stopped by the bathrooms on the way out to get a look at the offering. The shower stalls were modest but clean and contained all the essentials. Of course, First Class passengers get to shower on board, so I had skipped these.

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There was a problem with the normal Emirates gate, so we had to walk about five minutes to the other end of the terminal to board.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.01.01 PM

Bottom Line

The Emirates Lounge in Zurich is a great place to get a delicious meal, have a few drinks, and even take a shower. It is not particularly well designed for work, since you have to get a new internet code every hour and because of the lack of charging towers in the quiet section.

The lounge was nicer than my accommodations in Zurich, so I spent as much time as possible in it. It’s not an iconic lounge though like the Lufthansa First Class Terminal or Emirates Lounge in Dubai, though, so if you’re having a blast in Zurich and aren’t hungry, you can skip it entirely.

 

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

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