72 hour round the world journey enroute from Chicago coming right up — feedback needed!!

Yesterday I shared a dilemma I was facing in regards to how to get to Chicago this weekend for the Chicago Seminar Do. Revenue fares are crazy expensive, at this point close to $1,000 roundtrip, so I started thinking of creative alternatives.

US Airways charges just 90,000 miles for business class to North Asia, and since it’s presently possible to generate US Airways miles for ~1.1 cents each, that means I could get enough miles for a business class ticket to Asia for ~$1,000, not much more than I’d pay for a roundtrip between Seattle and Chicago. Then I’d just have a stopover in Chicago on the way out, and continue to Asia from there.

The itinerary will have a very simple purpose — I want to review as many new products as possible. I did a very similar trip in January, and managed to sample Brussels, Austrian, Turkish, and LOT business class for the first time.

Anyway, I have a couple of different itineraries on hold, and it seems I have a few decisions I need to make so that I can finalize the itinerary shortly.

I’d love to know which products you guys would most like to read reviews of, as I’ll decide which routing to fly based on that.

The options include:

LOT 787 business class. In January I was booked to fly the 787, though unfortunately due to the groundings at the time my flight got swapped to a 767. As some of you may recall, my flight on their ratty old 767 left a LOT to be desired. That being said, the 787 has a new fully flat seat, so it would be interesting to see how the experience compares. Given that I’d be flying in October instead of January, hopefully the “crunchy seasonal salad” would be a bit more varied. Who knows, maybe I’ll even get a “free one way” to Iceland if I include LOT.

LOT_Salad
“Crunchy seasonal salad” on my last LOT flight

Air China 777 business class. Air China has a fairly new fully flat business class product which doesn’t seem to get much action. As long as I don’t have to listen to the air traffic control communications it seems like it could be a fun flight.

EVA AIR HELLO KITTY 777-300ER ROYAL LAUREL CLASS. Disney is supposedly the place that dreams come true for kids. Hello Kitty themed EVA Air 777s are where dreams come true for me! EVA started Hello Kitty service to Los Angeles last month, and I’m really wanting to try the service. Now in terms of the seat the flight will be identical to the one I took from Taipei to San Francisco a few months ago, minus the kitty flair of course…

If I do fly the Hello Kitty plane you can bet I’ll be stocking up on duty free goodies to give away on the blog.

ANA 787 business class. So I’ve really wanted to fly the 787 and ANA has direct service to Seattle on it. It would be both a new plane and a new product for me (in ANA business class I’ve only flown their old product). But the issue is that I’m having to choose between ANA 787 business class and the EVA Air Hello Kitty service, since those are my two options for getting home.

ANA_787_Business_Class

US Airways A330 Envoy Suite. As much as we give US Airways crap for not really being a “premium” airline, they’re actually the airline that first featured a reverse herringbone business class product, which I consider to hands down be the best business class hard product out there. I believe US Airways’ version differs slightly from those offers by American, Cathay Pacific, and EVA, so I’m curious to see how the seat itself and of course the service compares.

Swiss A330 business class. So I’ve only flown Swiss in first class longhaul (reviews here, here, here, and here) and never business class. On one hand I’d really like to try it, on the other hand I believe the hard product is very similar to the ones offered by Austrian and Brussels, both of which I’ve tried.

Anyway, it’s up to you guys to decide which products I fly. I’d be curious to know which product you’d like to read about most, which you’d like to read about least, and whether you’d rather read about ANA 787 business class or EVA Air Hello Kitty business class, as those are the only two products that are mutually exclusive?

Comments

  1. Air China 777, as there is usually plenty of availability but I would hazard a guess that most folks avoid it.

  2. I think you owe it to yourself to try the Hello Kitty plane… but if not, my second choice would be US Airways A330 followed by Air China 777.

  3. I would vot for the US A330 or ANA 787. I was supposed to be on the ANA in the new business class in May but I missed my flight and was booked in United business… Depressed does not fully encompass how I felt and still feel. Also ive put my fmaily on the US A330 in business class multiple time and would be interested in your opionion on it. Great choice of routing by the way!!!

  4. I also vote for CA because of plenty of availability vs few reports out there. NH 787 has the staggered product right? We know how that is in general, and we know NH service, but it’s a new plane… It’d be my second choice.

    The Hello Kitty plane would make for a very niche trip report. ๐Ÿ™‚ We all know that you’re going to fly it sooner or later anyway.

  5. I would give CA a pass. Same hard product as UA in business. Bleh!
    LO is DEFINETELY worth a try. LX is similar to OS or SN, so not necessary. Fly BR to get an amenity kit for me! ๐Ÿ˜€

  6. US you spend most of your time on other domestic carriers. Give this a shot so you can compare to the other international services.

  7. Definitely interested in a report on Swiss Business class since I’m flying it for the first time in a couple of weeks between Zurich and Tokyo. Would love to be able to compare notes.

    Next would be ANA 787 Business Class..I had a flight booked originally between Seattle and Tokyo but cancelled it once the 787 was grounded.

    No interest in the other flights as I don’t envision I would ever fly with them but maybe I might based on your review. You’ve already got me flying Asiana F (2 flights) and I’m hoping to finally try LH F if they open up any seats closer to my departure date (10/30/13) to FRA.

    Thanks for asking for everyone’s input, Lucky. Really shows why you have such a loyal following ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. I an planning to be on Air China for like 20 hours in business over two flights. Only availability in short notice. I just need a good seat…. don’t really care about much else.

  9. Just flew ANA staggered business on a 777 from JFK-NRT. I’d definitely recommend trying to work their 787 into the mix. If you can grab a window seat that is next to the window (vs. the aisle like the one in the pic above), it’s VERY private. Almost suite-like ๐Ÿ™‚ I assume the big 787 windows would make it even more enjoyable than the 777.

  10. What about US to Europe, then connect to the ANA 787 (I think they still fly FRA-TYO?), then Hello Kitty back (don’t they fly via BKK to LHR or CDG?)? Swiss probably to finish it off.

  11. I vote for US Air and Swiss as they are both products I am likely to do in the future and am very curious about. But I have a feeling you are going to give the Hello Kitty some love instead. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. I vote for LOT, Air China and ANA as I might fly some of these. I will NEVER fly Hello Kitty

  13. My wife & I flew LOT business YYZ – WAW late August. 2-2-2 layout,rough fabric upholstery, OK IFE & meal service. Generally disappointing for a brand new aircraft. I’d try anything else.

  14. I flew the new Air China A330 in J earlier this year and it was one of the best int’l J flights I’ve had. Of course that was coming of the old Austrian J product which was the worst international J seat I’ve flown.

  15. Air China would have to be #1, then US Airways followed closely by LOT. I’ve done Swiss so wouldn’t mind hearing your perspectives either. With the ANA vs Hello Kitty battle, i have a hunch you’ll pick hello kitty, even though i’d rather you did the ANA ๐Ÿ™‚

    happy travelling

  16. one suggestion: the air china 777 business is good but the space aournd your feet is limited except first row. make sure you choose the first row seat if possible

  17. I flew J on Air China’s new 773 this summer on PEK-FRA connecting to FRA-DTW on old LH F. Their seats are the same as UA 2-2-2, but better than old LH F. Soft product is eh. Don’t know why you’d bother if you’ve flown UA J.

    But Air China in F on the 773, go for that.

  18. Could always look into flying somewhere within 700 miles of ORD, and then burning a 10K saver Y award.

    I do love miles and trying new products, but it seems silly to fly to Asia to get to Chicago, IMO..

  19. So the plan is to fly from Seattle to Chicago to Europe to Asia to Seattle? Wouldn’t that count as two layovers?

  20. As far as US Envoy goes, have you ever flown AC business? I think that’s the best hard product out there. I’d wonder if US Envoy is much different. Even if it’s not, that’s a good thing!

  21. @ Ed — I have flown Air Canada business class (and the similar herringbone seats offered by Air New Zealand, Virgin Atlantic, etc.), and I have to say that the reverse herringbone seats are quite a step up from them, in my opinion. They’re much more spacious.

  22. ANA 787
    Air China
    EVA Hello Kitty

    I’ve read LOT reviews and meh
    I flew LX Biz class on A330 and it was okay

  23. Most want to read about LOT’s 787, followed by US Airways’ A330. Having to choose between ANA and EVA’s Hello Kitty, I’d choose EVA.

    There’s a part of me which is saying don’t fly Air China due to my awful experience, but also a part of me that wants to read it since I’d like to read more reviews of premium class on Chinese airlines…

  24. Air China and USAirways. I thought that Swiss did not release F and J anymore. How come?

    And if fares are so expensive, why can’t you book AA using miles, No availability?
    Personally I think you are using this situation as an excuse to go around the world again ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. @ Jorge — Swiss doesn’t release first class award space to partners. They release some business class space — not much at all, but *some*.

    American doesn’t have any saver award space unfortunately, and I’m not redeeming standard miles on them.

    And you may have caught me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  26. US Airways!!!!

    No blogger ever flies on US airlines longhaul and reviews them!!

    Please pick envoy suite!!!!

  27. US Airways!!!!

    No blogger ever flies on US airlines longhaul and reviews them!!

    Please pick envoy suite!!!!

    We know ANA is good, and EVA as well. I am curious how the service and hard product is on US.

  28. Obviously Hello Kitty. Like you even had to ask!

    I like US Envoy, having experienced it twice (and planning on it again next month), but I have such a limited basis for comparison. Would definitely be interested to hear your perspective on that too.

  29. This is why a carbon tax is sorely needed — to reduce unnecessary or even frivolous travel.

  30. lol, awesome that you’re doing this. here are my votes in order of interest:

    Air China
    ANA
    Swiss
    US

    Don’t really care about hello kitty flight although it would be a hilarious trip report I’m sure

    Also, what routes do you see LX space? I never see anything TATL on LX in premium cabins

  31. Um, Lucky, as you know, with the North Asia 90K routing, you’ve got 4 long-haul segments: My choices: transatlantic: USAir, LOT. Eur-Asia: ANA, Air China. You’ve already flown Turkish, Swiss, Brussels, Aust., Luft., and USAir. SAS, Asiana? So it seems that USAir would be your only repeat, but I like them for safety and their new Envoy product. Air Canada is not bad either. EVA? I don’t consider them a mainline carrier experience wise on par with USAir or Quantas, so I’m very leery when it comes to their record of reliability. As for Asiana’s SFO fiasco I’m not so keen on them anymore, and I flew their J class two months before the SFO incident. Until the official report comes out, I’ve put Asiana at the Korean Air leeryness avoidance level.
    When I was looking to fly a daytime flight with Air China or SAS on my 90K award, having flown neither before, I chose SAS out of food quality, entertainment, service and safety considerations. Though the Air China flatbed looks nice. The good news is that J class Eur-Asia there’s plenty of availability all carriers. Happy travels.

  32. Since you are certainly the only blogger out there who has a full appreciation of the Hello Kitty option, I think it is your duty to report on it. Plus I think the swag that you can pick up will add some depth to your rubber duckie decor. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  33. Did LX J on both a330 and a340 on my trip to tlv recently. Seat and service are fine but nothing crazy. They are starting to show their age more than the newer Austrian and Brussels ones though. My other understanding is that LX J service wise is not quite as polished as the previously mentioned two class carriers as they still have an F cabin for their “best” customers.

    I think LOT would be more interesting to review as you can comment on the new plane as well (especially if you do the Hello Kitty flight home).

  34. Why can’t you try all of them:D
    For example you can fly ANA 787 from tokyo to Beijing and than with a CA 777 to Shanghai and than the other products for the longhaul trips…

  35. I suggest ANA 787 to tokyo and continue with garuda indonesia to bali or jakarta (if it’s possible, cause they have a brand new first class and i was wondering how it would compare to sq or mh)

  36. LOT 787. No thanks. LOT seems like a rather lackluster airline that struggles to qualify as mediocre, new airplane or not.

    Air China 777. I don’t have a strong opinion about Air China as of yet, but if the value and availability are there then I’d say go for it.

    EVA Air’s Hello Kitty. Even though I really don’t see the appeal it’s hard to say no since you seem like their target market. Well, after millions of young girls and adult Asian women.

    ANA 787. A new airplane operated by a top tier Asian airline? What’s not to like? Yes please!

    US A330. I don’t know enough about US to have a strong opinion here. Where I live US is just a series of tiny regional jet flights so I don’t really consider them when flying abroad. Or domestically for that matter.

    Swiss A330. No thanks! The airline that is best known for (1) clueless management rushing into self-inflicted bankruptcy followed by a sale to LH resulting in (2) the release of nearly no award space might as well be off limits for a points blog.

  37. Wowโ€”-so shocking that many responders are little Kitty fans. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I trust your judgment so pick any of those choices.

    BTW–Now that trips with Mom and Dad are complete, will you start taking your followers? We’ll e-mail you our travel availability. No contests, however–too tough to compete with Andrew B. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  38. Hello Kitty would be amazing but there’s something to be said for incorporating as many 787 segments as possible into one trip … think of all the fire-related puns you could make in the trip reports!

  39. You’ve been excited about Hello Kitty since word got out that it was actually happening.

    So why wait, just go for it! I look forward to THE FIRST Hello Kitty review!!!

  40. BR – Hello Kitty for sure. Souvenirs galore, not to mention an additional RIMOWA kit to give away on the blog ๐Ÿ™‚

  41. Eva Air, only because Eva’s my daughter’s name. But you have to dress up like one of the Hello Kitty characters…

  42. I never understood that Hello Kitty thing or why the fad lasted more than a few months. But it has made someone a lot of money and seems harmless, so I’m happy for them. Want a good deal on a Pet Rock?

  43. LOT 787 please – interesting to see if they really are as lackluster as rumor would have it (hope not, and that you have a surprisingly excellent experience)

  44. Flew LOT 787 in August WAW-Toronto, upgrade to premium economy. The overall experience was pleasant. Very good food. A big surprise how worn off the plane already was – clearly Boeing’s fault.

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