Who Wants To Pay For My Etihad Residence Ticket? No, Really!

Kickstarter Link: The Etihad Residences

Recently Etihad Airways unveiled their new Airbus A380 aircraft, which they’ll start flying later this year between Abu Dhabi and London.

While they’re far from the first airline to take delivery of the A380, they’re doing something that has never been done before, by introducing The Residence, of which there will be one per flight. The Residence is a 125 square foot, three room suite, which simply looks unlike anything we’ve ever seen in commercial aviation.

The Residence Bedroom

And it comes at a price.

A really, really high price.

Specifically, over $20,000USD for a one-way ticket between Abu Dhabi and London.


Unless you’re into falconry, have maids’ quarters in your home, your private jet is being repaired, and qualify for one of the “special” titles when signing up for an Etihad Guest account, chances are you can’t afford it.

Etihad Guest titles

And I sure as hell can’t.

Despite that, I’m the only person that has independently written reviews of every single A380 first class product currently in service, and have self-funded every one of those flights using miles:

Air France A380 First Class
British Airways A380 First Class
China Southern A380 First Class
Emirates A380 First Class
Korean Air A380 First Class
Lufthansa A380 First Class
Malaysia Airlines A380 First Class
Qantas A380 First Class
Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Class
Thai Airways A380 First Class

Asiana and Qatar Airways will be taking delivery of their A380s over the coming months, and I already have flights booked in both of their first class cabins.

So naturally I totally gave up on ever trying Etihad’s Residence product, because I’m not going to even try and pretend there is a reasonable way to redeem miles or credit card points for something like this.

However, within a day of posting about the new product, I received over a dozen messages/comments/emails from readers suggesting I start a Kickstarter campaign to fund a review of the Etihad A380 Residences:

I think you should try a Kickstarter campaign to raise the $20K. I know I’d pay a couple bucks for the review. You have 16K Twitter followers. It should be possible.

+1 to […] Kickstarter idea.

Here’s another vote for the kickstarter idea. I’d certainly pitch in; though, I’d be happy with a review of the First Apartment. And with the money saved Lucky could try out Transaero’s Imperial Class! What a review that would be!

I’d chip in $100 to a Kickstarter campaign.

Let me be clear upfront:

This is totally f*cking ridiculous.

I’ve done a lot of crazy stuff in my flying “career,” including six transpacific flights in five days and eight flights back and forth to Brazil over 10 days, but even suggesting this as a possibility is the most ridiculous thing yet.

That being said, I do what I can to listen to my readers, so I figured we’d give it a try. It’s totally ridiculous and there are so many better ways you can spend your money. At the same time, people spend money on entertainment all the time, and if this is something that you think would amuse you…

If a few thousand people pitch in the cost of a movie ticket we’d certainly be there. But you shouldn’t contribute based on that, or on doing something for me, or for any legitimatish reason.


And my feelings won’t be hurt if you don’t. This is quite possibly the most ridiculous Kickstarter campaign ever, and I figured it would be entertaining if nothing else.

Kickstarter is basically a website that helps you fund creative projects. You set a “fundraising” goal, and if it’s reached the project is funded, while if it’s not reached then no one pays a dime.

So I’ve set up a Kickstarter campaign, which runs through May 31, 2014. You can contribute any amount you’d like towards the project, though you won’t be charged until (or if) the project gets funded completely.

There are “Rewards” for contributing at certain levels, and while I don’t actually expect this to get beyond the $5 mark, if this actually happens I’ll be mailing postcards, hosting dinners, and organizing other fun stuff around this flight.

So, if this is something you’d like to contribute towards, you can check out the page on Kickstarter. If it gets funded by the end of the month, awesome, and if not, that’s awesome too!

Update: One of the cool thing about Etihad Residence is that they allow a guest at no additional cost. Kickstarter has specific rules about not having entries associated with any sort of contests. But stay tuned, if this works out I’ll have something really fun regarding the second seat. 🙂

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

More articles by lucky »


  1. “I sure as hell can’t” (afford this) is an absolute bold faced lie. If you want to be accurate, it would read: I could, reluctantly, afford this, and could conceivably make it a decent business investment in the process with generated interest and tax deductions.. but why would I want to pay for this myself If I can get you all to do it for me.

    You’ve been honest about many things here, but I don’t think you’re honest about this.

    Do you want to go on record as saying there is absolutely no way you could afford this?

  2. I pledged $10. There seems to be an idea that every dollar that goes into this is a dollar that doesn’t go to normal charity. I travel full time without a job so I have to watch every penny, but it’s easy for me to make up the $10 by just staying a few days in a hostel that is a little cheaper or not splurging on a nicer meal here and there. No charities will be harmed! I also definitely would love to help fund sending Lucky on a space flight when it becomes available.

  3. @Lucky – I would just like to inform you of EVA Air receiving new Boeing 777-300ERs. There is a different colored Rimowa amenity kit and a new Premium Economy Product on them as well. They are flying between Taipei and New York/Los Angeles.

  4. Mike 213: ethics is a foreign word with little meaning.
    Steve 216: who knows, maybe I’m getting a cut?
    Sky 214: I am, but just stating facts.
    Matt 217: stayin’ cool – always am.
    Mikeowave: wow, trading down for not quite sure why or for what purpose.
    Virender 221: Amazing, succinct post and legit follow up question. Couldn’t have put it better but doubt we will see an honest reply.

  5. @CT (#208) Your racist/ethnic message is disgusting. I’m sure glad you have the freedom to express your disgusting message, but I need to point out that your comments are reptilian. Please don’t pretend to endorse my comments; your approval is neither wanted nor earned.

  6. In honor of CT’s passion for hatred, I pledge to donate $1 towards Lucky’s endeavor for every hateful comment CT makes.

    Lucky is up $14 so far 😉

  7. Another donation thanks to CT. Looking forward to the report, Ben. Thanks for all your previous help with my questions over the past few years.

  8. I’ve contributed $10 for two reasons:

    1. I get plenty of value from this blog, and this is a fun idea
    2. The critics on here are being ridiculously serious and showing zero sense of humor or intrigue

    If people don’t like the blog so much, why are they wasting the time commenting. Ah well, I’m sure it’s helping you thicken your skin even more @lucky.

  9. Colleen: thanks for your kind words but my comments are not racist, they are not hateful. The comments are merely a statement of fact. If it’s not free, it’s of no interest and if you can’t grasp that by now, then there’s not much else to be said. I did not endorse your comments, simply replied to them.

  10. To me, this comes down to the fundamental question: does one have any shame?

    Ben makes well over $100,000 annually from these endeavors. Whether he will admit to that or not, I say that with a high degree of certainty. And good for him, he has done a marvelous job of providing products and fostering a market of products that people highly value in addition to traditional traffic based revenue streams. With absolutely no pretense: good for you Ben. A job well done.

    With this being said, I find it rather shameless to pursue this idea for someone in his situation. I think it’s been predicated on several factors that are simply not true. Clearly the fact that people are wiling to do this demonstrates a high worth and following, that many hold him in high esteem and appreciate his business. If you all did not know already, your patronage has proven very lucrative for Ben, and a sort of obligation in this venue seems a bit absurd.

    So ultimately when looking at this, even transcending ethical questions of the UAE or money spent elsewhere, the decision of someone in Ben’s position to pursue this simply does not feel like the path of a righteous man in my view. It feels to me like funding a business expense of a very successful and capable business when it is not necessary. I’m sure he will find much greater benefit from this venture than his 8 hours in this suite. Ultimately, an unbecoming proposition.

    I also caution that the result of this will come to define you into a kind of infamy more than it ever should. Clearly it is a polarizing issue with strong feelings on both sides. But is this something you wish to be defined by by a wide swath of people?

  11. Its amazing how quickly Lucky is able to generate a ton of donations when charities struggle with fundraising every day. I wonder how many of the donors here give so willingly to charity. I for one would rather give my money to someone who does something that really helps people. Helping a 24 year old kid fly the most luxurious first class product in the world only helps one person. The campaign is just another sign of the sad world we live in.

  12. Wow, this post is still on fire!

    **runs to get more popcorn**

    Lucky – I believe you that this kickstarter project was started as a joke. But I think the whole thing has crossed a line… folks blatantly insulting you and amount of donations, both.

    All that being said, if this happens, we want extensive video reviews of the product as well.

  13. And it’s up to $7601. Let’s say Ben does make 100k per year. Big f’n deal! Plenty of households that read this blog make 100k per year. 20k on one purchase is 20% of your annual income. One who makes 100k a year cannot afford a 20k airline ticket…so that’s where we come in.

  14. I seriously don’t know what everyone’s problem is. It is as they say, a free world. Lucky can do what he wants and if people want to donate any money towards this endeavour they can too – after all it’s their money.


  15. I find all this back and forth absurd. Lucky has made it very clear that he loves airplanes, aviation, & traveling. He has been passionate about how grateful he is to have turned a hobby into a profitable living. We should all be so lucky. His business (not his blog) does a great job of getting folks premium use of hard earned miles when they don’t have time or knowledge to do it on the own.
    This past fall my girlfriend and I went to South East Asia in business class and I can honestly say that without Ben’s advise I could not have put the trip together so smoothly. There was a flight change about 60 days out and because of what I had learned was able to secure Singapore regional 777 business class. Here is the kicker. Even thou his business does this for people he gave me the knowledge to do it myself. How many business owners do you know that will show you how to do something yourself and not need to hire them?
    I really suffered very badly during the recession. Divorce, lost house, even a mild heart attack. But I still had my 250,000 miles from business trips with the hope that I would be able to use them for something very special and hopefully if someone came into my life again. And Ben who is much younger helped me because of his blog and his sharing of his accumulated knowledge.
    So he goes on a over the top luxury trip supported by readers. Have you ever bought a $5 or $10 magazine for a article or two you desired to read. The magazine makes money and sells ads. Did you ever buy a drink for a friend that gave you some good advice. Also yes there are other more needy missions in this world but have any of you ever bought a fancy meal you didn’t need, fancy bottle of wine, a fancier house or car than you need. It is a complex world. Try to enjoy it and if you don’t agree with Lucky don’t be hurtful simply choose to not read his blog. Over all he is pretty together for a 24 year old and he has often said that the way he is doing things today may very well change as he ages. So lighten up plus you all know that he will give us a great trip report. Plus all the big magazines will cover this from a press kit sent to them from the airlines PR firm. With Ben we get our own doing a trip report directly for us.

  16. @ Seth — And I don’t think anyone here disagrees with you. You absolutely should donate money to charity rather than towards this flight. Along the same lines, some people are chipping in $5-20, which is less than the cost of a trip to the movie theaters. And most people don’t say “hmmm, should I donate to charity or go to the movies?”

    So don’t disagree at all, you’re absolutely right. But I’m not trying to compete with charity here.

  17. Ben, I’ll donate $1,000 if you use HH and wear a Pope costume on the flight. Then the damn butler will address you as His Holiness and kiss your foot.

  18. Chris – thanks for the review however I’m well versed in the topic, programs and the miscellaneous details. There is general consensus in the frequent flyer programs world (airlines and card issuers) that there’s been an increasing level of “promotion abuse” and one source promoting these things are travel blogs.
    Abuse might be incorrect term but that’s what it’s referred to. Poorly thought out promo’s loaded with loopholes waiting to be exploited is a more accurate description than abuse. What my argument relates to is the constant con-artistry promotion to churn this card every “x” months, among other shady propositions like the Alaska Airlines buy and fly scam and the same type of scam with US Airways.
    So, did AX make their recent changes? Why has Chase begun to clamp down on multiple bonuses with multiple cards (churning)? Because they’ve finally realized what it’s costing them.
    Why does AF and LX severely restrict first class award travel to their own elite members? Why does LH still hold back awards for first class seats when there still might be one or two still open? Because these airlines want to reward (via mileage award or airport upgrade) their own loyal paying customers, instead of a more likely than not, frequent flyer whose miles are from any other source than in-flight. Lastly, why have the latest “revenue based” programs evolved? It’s not too hard to figure out, right? And to be sure, there’ll be some further evolution on the revenue based deal (like awards based on flight miles earned vs other sources) but that’s not immediate. As far as calling out family members, sorry Chris, but that was brought up by someone else. If enough avid, rabid followers pay his way for that absurd 8 hour flight, Great. Just that everyone should know they’ve been taken for a ride. Hope they’ll cherish that postcard or personalized photo or whatever junk is passed out. Sadly, they will.

  19. Absolutely agreeing with Lucky here. This is entertainment. If you are willing to pay $15 to watch the awful Spiderman 2 in the movies, you can pay $15 to read about the most epic 8-hour commercial flight there is.

    If not, just bugger off to another blog.

  20. This is very entertaining indeed. Not to burst anyone’s bubble, but I do hope for folks pitching in, it’s money above what you would already have given to charity before this one 🙂

    Just a thought.

  21. The suckers who gave ben $500 : You folks do realize that Ben is being compensated quite well from running this blog by credit card companies. He is no longer the struggling “college kid” . That was so , so many years ago.

    If you only knew….

  22. Ben when’s the last time you helped others with all the miles and points you have? The classy thing to do in this situation would be to donate this money to a charity and pay your own way. You obviously make enough if you are living in 5 star hotels every single night (200 per night= ~60000 per year)

  23. I’m with Danny_L. @Ben, it will be great if you can donate the money that’s over $25,000 goal to charity.

  24. @ Ben
    What happened to the Kuwait Airways flight, a couple months ago? Did you take it?

  25. Why not go one better and let one lucky Kickstarter contributor be the one who gets to fly and do the review?

  26. Lucky – you have a serious addiction to live with the rich and famous.

    This idea originated in your mind and the “let’s support Ben” scam is just that. Didn’t you also plant “reader comments” on your blog last month urging us to make donations of 100 – 150K miles to your account? It was something like ” this is the least we can do to support Ben” BS. Be a man. You aren’t a kid anymore fresh out of college disovering the world. I wonder how much $ you have seeded on this kickstarter to make it look like we are eagerly donating!

    I will buy a ticket and take my wife for the longest Residence flight they offer in the first week and write a kickass review to be sure its seen by all.

    C’mon, full disclosure dude. How many of these “reader comments” are YOU writing in support of yourself?

  27. I don’t see nearly as much outrage over people dropping thousands of dollars on alcohol, tobacco, and firearms, among numerous other useless stuff that only benefits the user. At least this benefits thousands of readers in addition to the user. Comparing this to charity is like comparing apples to aluminum siding. They have literally nothing to do with each other.

    And @Tyler,
    Are you out of your mind? If he gets $25k, it is because people want to read the report, not because they want it to go to charity. I’m roughly 100% positive that if he were to pull a bait and switch he would be a defendant in a few lawsuits. Above that $25k, sure, but not below that.

  28. People asked, how is donating this kickstarter project different from paying 10 bucks for a movie ticket or monthly subscription to Netflix? Simple, but you have to understand these business models first. Running a successful blog already established steady revenue streams, and self-fund this trip would be business investment.
    Business ethics classes are offered in business schools for a reason.

  29. Poor Ben. Not too long ago, he had no clue if he should store or sell his IKEA furnitures. Then he moved into hotels. Up to today he has not really shared any hotel info. This guy is a drama queen. Some of his stories are absurd and way to ridicules. What happened to the true frequent flyer blogger. Ben you have changed AND became greedy. Make your money without me. It’s time to delete you !!!

  30. I am not donating BUT i did signup for 4 credit cards using Lucky’s links today. What I wanna know is how are you going to pick the 2nd person that goes with you and is cuddling mandatory?

  31. @Jason,so how is donating to this kickstarter project different from paying 10 bucks for a movie ticket or monthly subscription to Netflix?

  32. I am not sure if I can say this a different way but here goes;

    1. I accept Ben is running a business and hopefully is making a profit.
    2. I currently do not pay for to read this blog.
    3. The credit card links are usually can not take advantage of them so
    4. I get to read this blog for free.
    5. I therefore choose to “spend” the money to read this review. The money is not coming from my charity donations but from my spare income.
    6. I almost see it as a business transaction.
    7. I choose to give the money, if you do not want to do as Lucky says do not.
    8. I have that right, i think it is a fun way to spend my money.

  33. CT: Don’t you have anything better to do than be an anonymous pedant and possible cyber bully?

  34. Awwww. Look at all of this. I go to bed for a few hours, and have the joy of seeing how our little baby thread has grown.

    I may need to up my donation. I don’t think I’ve contributed enough for the entertainment I’m already receiving.

    And Ben hasn’t even bought the ticket yet.

    Ben – Ignore the crazy. This is gonna be awesome.

  35. @Lucky- What you are trying to do and what you are doing are completely different things. I guess its more of a value proposition. Sure I spend $15 on a movie ticket rather than give it to charity, but I understand that the money I spend on the ticket is good for 2 hours of entertainment and is but a drop in the bucket of a large industry that supports thousands of people and is a large part of our economy. To me it seems ridiculous to spend any money on a blog posting that will take 15 minutes to read and sends one person on a ridiculously luxurious trip. But I guess others have different priorities.

    One thing I do not buy is your false humbleness and meekness. You repeatedly state how crazy it is to ask everyone to fund your trip and seem to show discomfort with the idea. If you were really and truly uncomfortable with the idea, you wouldn’t go through with it. What you are asking for is incredibly audacious and I think you recognize how selfish it is. The rewards to you far outweigh the benefits anyone will gain from this scheme. That is the definition of selfish behavior.Sure some here seem to be condoning that behavior by rationalizing it as only contributing a few bucks, and they are free to do so, but that doesn’t change what the behavior is.

    Is selfish behavior illegal? Absolutely not. But selfish behavior is not looked upon kindly and I think this scheme is going to affect how a lot of people look at you. Perhaps maybe in the future you should try to do some good for someone other than yourself or your parents. You’ve seen a lot of the planet, but its clear you have a lot of learning to do about the world we live in.

  36. Cool idea. This blog has easily kept me occupied at work 100 hours over the last few years. Is that worth $10 or $25 of my money, I think so. How often do we spend $50 (or more) on a meal that’s only going to provide 90 minutes of enjoyment. Or a few thousand $$ on a one week vacation. Sure I’d rather be on vacay than at work reading Lucky’s blog, but entertainment is entertainment; and its not as though he’s putting up a paywall in order to fund this trip, donations are 100% optional.

    To the haters: I understand, i’m jealous too.

  37. How pathetic. You can’t get a seat using your usual methods and are too cheap to shell out hard-earned, honest cash so you’re relying on the charity of strangers on the internet. It is precisely this kind of people that Etihad had hoped to keep out of their topmost product, but sadly the dregs still get through.

  38. Alex. I’m sure your boss would be thrilled to know he paid you for 100 hours of work that you didn’t do as you were reading a blog. Now I see why so many are saying what Ben is doing is OK. No personal responsibility at all.

    Seth, you nailed it with your post above.

  39. Everyone who visits this site benefit from the entertainment of reading the blog entries, enjoying hotel and airline benefits by using the tips and even satisfaction that your distastes were met with agreement from others. I can imagine the ROI for using tips alone is in the seven figures.

    I’m sure Lucky would have incur lots of costs just fly this flight (e.g. position flights, hotels, other transportation).

    From a marketing standpoint, this is genius. I bet other bloggers wish they had the idea or guts to put it together first. I don’t think Lucky is aiming to get volunteer of the year award for going after his dream of flying this flight. He is a travel blogger who is trying explore world of aviation for us.

    It’s amazing that his job is also his passion. Not many people can say that at any age. I don’t know why people are being negative over being supportive of the idea. Why judge people on how to spend their money. The time spent back and forth on arguing the meritd could easily be used on giving back to community.

  40. @JetAway- Sorry you’ve got the wrong Seth. I’m not the wanderingaramean and I don’t know Lucky; however, I have been reading this blog for a long time. I am certainly reconsidering whether this blog will be a part of my morning rotation anymore though.

    To those of you out there who say that contributing $5, $10, $20 is the least you can do for Lucky after all he has provided you, you fail to consider that you already provide Lucky with payment for the info on this blog. Sure you don’t pay out of pocket with money, but everytime you access this blog you are generating traffic to this website. Without the number of daily visitors to this website Lucky would not have the ad revenue that he does, he would not have the affiliate links he posts, he would not be a member of the BoardingArea network, and he would not appear in search engine results near the top. We don’t pay Lucky in money but we do pay in driving traffic to this website.

    You owe Lucky absolutely nothing. Without the readership, this blog would not be a viable business venture. Think about it. Lucky is able to live a very comfortable lifestyle flying around the world in first class and staying in 5 star hotels and all he does is write a few blog posts per day. I’m not saying that running a blog is not time consuming, but its not exact rocket science. We all enjoy reading this blog, but Lucky is compensated more than generously by all of his readers because if he did not have any readers he would not be able to write this blog or live the lifestyle he does.

  41. For what its worth, I offered Lucky free nights at the Taj Palace Mumbai and/ or Taj Mahal Hotel New Delhi using my points that are set to expire. It was my little contribution for all I benefit from this blog. He did not accept my offer.

  42. Lucky, if this campaign is truly just for the benefit of an independent blog review and not for your own personal benefit of being able to fly in the Residence, then there is a simple solution: If the Kickstarter campaign succeeds, give BOTH seats to interested blog readers (I’m not one, but plenty of others seem to be interested) and do not travel yourself. Then have them both independently review the product. If you really want to fly too, use miles for an Apartment ticket on the same flight (if made available for redemption). That eliminates any conflict of interest.

  43. Why not just do what you have done in the past and put this on mom’s credit card??

  44. @Fflyer #294 – you certainly can’t be serious. Do you really expect your employees not to spend 100% of every day on work? You don’t allow them to take a few minutes to surf (whether its Lucky’s blog, cnn, espn, personal email)?? Can they not spend 2 minutes having a soclal discussion with a colleague? What about a quick conversation with their spouse or child? Sounds like you run a pretty rough ship, glad you’re not my boss. I’d think people work better when allowed a few short breaks/escapes during the day as opposed to being pushed to 110% every second of every day.

    I’m not paid by the hour, I work until my work is done in a satisfactory manner and expect the same from those who report to me. Some days that means I work 9:30-5 with a little bit of downtime; other days i’m powering through for 10-11 hours.

    But to your original point, I don’t see how it’s unethical to do some occassional websurfing at work, and i dont think its unethical to crowdfund for this flight.

  45. digdoug , why didn’t he accept your contribution?
    I think Lucky should raise the money, then send TWO lucky readers on this vacation and he stay home, or fly somewhere else. Let them write about it.
    To me, that would show a ton of class!
    What do you think?
    PS I am concerned about giving money to the UAE, also.

  46. Well, if nothing else, the proposal itself has turned into a fascinating social experiment. I don’t know if you’re taking votes, Lucky, but I guess I would just say this disappoints me and I find it tacky. I would pay a small subscription fee, and I have used your links, but this feels a bit different to me. I didn’t post yesterday, because I was a bit surprised by the overwhelming support and wanted to reevaluate whether I was being a stick in the mud or fuddy-duddy. (There is probably a generational element here. It’s a good bet I am older than your average reader.). Anyway, I will keep reading and I appreciate all the assistance provided to me and other travelers. I am not, I don’t think, a “hater,” but just thought some comments from the minority might be appropriate.

  47. Comments read like the Real Housewives of Ben’s Blog LOL. Lotta thin, PC skin in America these days. This is a blast!!! Go for it man! I’m in.

  48. How about the extra seat going to the highest backer? Someone might be willing to pony up a couple thousand. Heck, if you want to let the second passenger buy the ticket and you be the ‘companion’ might be willing to spend a few thousand.

  49. These comments are simply fascinating. To all those people harshing on Ben, I have a question and a comment.

    Question: If, once a year, Ben made a non-hard-core request for donations, just a “hey would you consider throwing a couple of bones my way for all I do” — something that many other websites do, including those that have advertisers — would you view it as negatively as you do his Kickstarter campaign? I mean really.

    Comment: Whatever you think of the Kickstarter thing, the personal attacks against Ben are both insanely out of line and massively uninformed. He’s a good guy, not a scam artist. From time to time he blows it on this blog, something he’s not afraid to admit. He pretty much lets comments go unmoderated, something almost unheard of in the travel blogosphere. To be sure, I have not always agreed with him. For example, I think he continues to underestimate the extent to which being comped affects his reviews as well as the extent to which his being a well-known travel blogger affects the treatment he receives. I’d love to see him go incognito much more often. Despite all this, I simply don’t see this Residences thing as the crime against reputational humanity some people apparently see. I just don’t.

  50. I personally would feel better about this if you were sending two people who are not yourself to do the research and trip report. Even then, I’m not sure if asking your readers to fund your business without providing a share of the profit is very cool. I can’t find a way to like it so far.

  51. Lucky—What a crazy, awesome idea!!! I am in. Thanks so much for entertaining me with your blog over the past year and helping me with my questions in the “Ask Lucky” section. I know you will reach your goal.

  52. @Aaron- I don’t doubt that Lucky is a fine person. I think he is just naive. I think he has blurred the lines between his personal life and running a business. Lucky isn’t thinking of this trip as a business expense. He is thinking about it as a personal experience which he can use as material for the blog.

  53. I’m confused. He wants other people to pay for his business expenses? That’s silly.

  54. Seriously you want people to pay for your own business expenses?????? I guess you would always donate your sperm for more money. What a bitch!

  55. This initiative does seem a little weird…

    1. You say you can’t afford it – really? If anything just put it on one of your dozens of credit cards!

    2. You are going to review a product which not one of the readers of your blog will ever use, so it’s hard to find any value in doing this, other than for your own pleasure

    3. $20,000 for any 8 hour experience is pretty obscene, especially given the state of inequality on this planet.

    4. You are directly funding a government with a pretty terrible record of human rights abuses.

  56. LOL anyone who contributes to this is a huge sucker.

    Lucky you’ve done some pretty brazen things in the past but this is really crazy.

  57. I, too, am on the “pretty appalled” side. If a blogger wants readers to pay for content, there is a well established subscription model to replicate. I find the entire notion of hundreds of readers chipping in over $20K for a first class joy ride on an airline with ethically dubious ownership and management a pretty heinous “game”.

  58. I’m sorry you’ve reached such a new low.

    It’s not enough that you make a living writing about zipping around the world in LH F and hocking credit cards. Now you’re begging for something completely unworthy of a donation.

  59. @seth – there are lots of people who have jobs that “blur the lines” between business and personal. I frequently get to play golf at some of the best courses in the US as a part of my job. It is incredibly fun, but it is still part of my “work.” Jobs don’t have to be miserable. Your’s may be, but Ben’s certainly isn’t and this is just another great example. It is easy for someone who works a miserable job to be outraged that Lucky gets to take the coolest flight in the world as his job, but that’s just life. His job is to take flights and stay in hotels and report on them. He’s dependent on that to earn a living. If he wants to make a little more by trying the most extravagant flight offered, then good on him. But just because it’s extravagant doesn’t make wrong or make it a personal trip. You don’t get readership and a following reviewing economy class and LaQuintas.

    And seriously, all of you critics claiming to know what Lucky is thinking (@Seth) or how much he earns (@mike and @virender) – just stop it. You know neither. You just look foolish.

  60. I kicked in.. why not.. I read the blog everyday and have used it as a resource many times…. besides I’ve written very short trip reports and they are quite quite time consuming to do… it’s not an easy thing and Lucky does it well… can’t wait


  61. @BenR-Follow your own advice. You have no idea if I hate my own job so don’t speculate that I do.

    The issue isn’t Lucky enjoying his own job. Its that Lucky is asking people to finance his adventures for so very little in return in the name of so-called business. Its great that you get to play on wonderful golf courses, but you don’t ask your clients to pay for that ability directly. You sell a product or service and if your business is successful enough you can play the course. If Lucky really wants to produce this blog post he should focus on making his business successful enough to be able to afford that business expense. If the business doesn’t have the money he should seek a way to get the revenue. Asking people to donate for basically nothing in return isn’t running a business its asking for charity and it is distasteful.

  62. @seth

    I think you’re absolutely right to say that “Lucky isn’t thinking of this trip as a business expense. He is thinking about it as a personal experience which he can use as material for the blog.” But I don’t see how this “has blurred the lines between his personal life and running a business.” What am I missing? As long as his taxes are kosher, I really don’t see the problem here.

  63. Chock up another vote for “tacky”, and I think @Seth in the earlier comments articulated the points against this very well. While I suppose some people might find your trip reports useful, I don’t see how you can justify having readers pay directly for you to take fantasy trip that perhaps 0.1% of them could take themselves. There’s no integrity or value you in this.

    I found you the least offensive of the travel bloggers and I often used to your affiliate links to support this blog. No longer. Just man up and pay for the trip yourself.

  64. Folks who say this is a waste of money are right if they have a strictly utilitarian ethic. But, heck, most of us want to have some fun. After all, the US is founded on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This trip clearly falls into the pursuit of happiness, along with the work, of course 😉
    I can’t afford this trip, but I’ll enjoy tagging along vicariously. Thanks, Lucky, for giving me a chuckle most every day and for changing my view of airline travel. I can aspire to the occasional business class or first class trip, and thanks to your reviews I know which airlines and planes have the seats and service I want. You’re doing me a service, helping me to spend my miles wisely, and showing me it can be good natured fun.
    You clearly enjoy flying. That element of wonder and joy are oh-so valuable.
    Your scheme is outlandish enough to get my support. Enjoy!

  65. I’ll have to go with #156 about not wanting to give money to Ethiad/UAE government. But when its time to Kickstart for your ride in a spaceplane, I’ll contribute then 🙂

  66. @Seth

    “Its great that you get to play on wonderful golf courses, but you don’t ask your clients to pay for that ability directly.”

    Of course you don’t do it directly; you do it indirectly so that everyone can pretend that somehow “marketing” has redeeming value. This is somehow better?

  67. A buddy of mine is in a coma in China and his family needs to get him home–FIRST CLASS not needed. Please help if you can. Really…priorities people. This makes me ill. But, please donate to my friend Jon he really NEEDS to get home

    Bring John Home

  68. @Aaron S.- It is marginally better, because there is no donative element. The client bought something from the business and helped them be successful. Here Lucky is basically asking for a handout. It is taking an ethically questionable practice and making it even more questionable.

  69. @Aaaron S- To your earlier comment, this isn’t a legal question. Everyone acknowledges that nothing Lucky is doing is illegal. It is an ethical and moral question. Lucky states his main reason for asking donations is so he can write a blog post. That is a crock. We all know Lucky is a plane enthusiast who wants to ride every product. Lucky has also gotten used to a certain lifestyle and wants to enjoy luxury without having to pay much out of pocket. By contributing to this scheme you aren’t supporting Lucky’s blog business, you are supporting his hobby of travelling luxuriously for free. I don’t know about you but I don’t give handouts for people to fly in first class. I give handouts to people who can’t afford food or medical care.

  70. Asking readers to pay for your $20,000 ticket because you’re too cheap to buy it yourself. Only in America.

  71. This is a wonderful example of not being able to see the forest from the trees, both for Ben and the funders.

    There have been several thoughtful and important questions raised by myself and others lately and I do hope he finds the time to address them

  72. I just pledged and I wish you luck. I think you will make it, and I look forward to reading how many bottles of champagne they allow you to consume on this flight, heh heh heh. I have laughed aloud many times reading your stories so I appreciate the opportunity to express my appreciation. Thanks!

  73. @Virender- I took look forward to seeing what Lucky has to say. Its pretty hard to justify this expense as a real business expense. In the grand scheme of things, a post about this trip will not have a meaningful effect on this blog’s revenues. This trip is purely about Lucky’s personal wishes.

  74. The page-view counters for BoardingArea blogs must be overloaded! Brilliant PR stunt! Methinks someone at the House of Miles must be ROTFLHAO…

  75. Well, based on the internet buzz this is generating, he’s certainly going to create some interest in his blog. Whether that interest is positive or negative, of course, remains to be seen…

  76. @ Virender – yes, all the arguments against are “thoughtful and important” and all the support for is “not being able to see the forest for the trees.”

    Just when you think this can’t get any funnier, it blows your mind!

    While Ben, in Sicily, watches the kickstart kick and kick.

    I love the Internet.

  77. Wow – closing in on $10K! Just pledged $15. Rather amazed by how much time some are willing to spend on here expressing their moral outrage.

  78. People are free to do as they wish with their money, but IMO, this just doesn’t smell right.

    The fact is you are now running a business. You do trip reports, you try different products, you go on every A380, not simply to entertain us, but because ultimately it brings you revenue, and allows you to live your lifestyle as you do.

    Therefore, paying for this trip should be another business decision. If it will drive more traffic to the site, and greater revenue to you, then it is worth it. If you’ve made the business decision that it is not worth paying for, it just seems unsavory to ask your readers to pay for it.

    My $.02; obviously others are free to feel differently.

  79. Lucky, I click into your blog every morning before work starts to see whats the latest deals,etc., out there in the aviation world. What you are doing here is basically panhandling under the pretense that your readers asked you to. Like others have said, if you find it “f*cking ridiculous” as you say, then why in the hell are you making a post in your blog about it and also starting your panhandling on kickstarter?

    Also, why do you need $25K when only $20K is needed for this indulgence? What is the extra 5K for?
    If your project gets fully funded (and I am assuming it will), could you please go ahead and change your blog to “one panhandle at a time” to accurately fit the content of your blog ?
    You are entitled to do as you wish and other readers are entitled to donate to your self-indulgence, and you might be doing this shameless act to make your business better but this is definitely below you. I can’t believe the number of readers on here supporting this and labeling the people offering a difference in opinion as “haters”.

  80. Whoa, whoa, whoa

    Check out the pizza in motion link at 301 above

    While everyone is criticizing Ben and whether he is confusing business and personal (which is a comparatively silly argument as Aaron S. has pointed out) we now have as a result of the controversy an airline PUBLIC RELATIONS person going on record saying:

    “Good thing I’m tweeting from my personal twitter account! I’m a professional and know how to separate my opinions from my job.”


  81. @Rachel- EXACTLY. Lucky isn’t asking for business funds. He is asking for strangers to support his lifestyle. Not illegal but incredibly distasteful and tacky. I really want to hear Lucky respond to Rachel’s comment.

  82. The biggest problem with all of this is that Lucky has now blown his cover with all of the publicity this stunt will receive. He is like a non-anonymous food critic dining at a restaurant. Eithad will expect him on the flight and know he is writing a review. The treatment he will receive might be even more over the top than a normal rich person might get. (Haha, I chuckled just writing that.) I do think this is a real concern on some the treatment he receives at other airlines and hotels. Savy companies probably know who he is and flag him as a VIP for special treatment. See the Air France A380 review for an example of when this might have happened.

  83. Long time since I have seen so many people with their panties in a twist. I think it is a awesome and funny idea and I will be sure to make my contribution to the campaign. It is all in the name of travel isn’t it? I find it even more ridiculous that people are now bringing up charity when this has nothing to do with it. I am sure Ben makes his charitable contributions just like the rest of us and outside of work. This is nothing but business!

  84. I cant believe you are pretending to be so naive and cheeky about it being “totally ridiculous”. Yes it is.

    You are begging for money for an expense you can pony up yourself. I use your links to apply for 4-5 credit cards every few months. That is what? $500-1000 for you? Multiply that by thousands of readers.

    I am truly disgusted you are not satisfied with the revenue you already get from us and you come here pretending you cant pay for this out of your own pocket.

    This is a business. You invest, you produce your content and enjoy the ad revenue, affiliate income and coup up your initial investment. In return you get to be on luxurious trip.

    You have lost my 4-5 apps every 4 months.

  85. @SOLTATIO- THis is not business. If it was business Lucky would pay for it with business funds. Read comment #346. Lucky doesn’t want to psy for it himself so he is asking you to pay for it. Do you just hand money to businesses for nothing in return.


    If it is business, then it should be a business expense the business itself makes. How can you go around begging money for a business expense? Doesn’t even make sense.

  87. @ Rachel from 346

    You hit the nail there.

    If he think this is a ridiculous expense, why ask his readers money for it?

  88. I guess all of the people on their moral high horses have never seen a movie or read a book because they don’t “improve the world”. Also, they have never been in an automobile or plane or had a delivery because using gas also supports governments with human rights abuses. Get over yourselves!

  89. @ Seth: I think you should really find something better to do with your time than ping-pong between here and Gary’s blog with negative comments about the enterprise.

    IMHO a lot of people (in particular those with an own blog) are now badmouthing this because someone else had a great unique idea before them. I actually have to give Gary credit for showing class in this matter.

    @ Tom: I think it won’t matter much in terms of service improvements and attention for various reasons. First of all, the average person who books this ‘apartment in the skies’ probably doesn’t want to see anyone for the entire 8 hours (of of which are probably 7:15-7:30h effective time to use it (not even talking about sleeping). The reason to book this, again for the target group, is privacy. And then there is the argument if the review is merely for entertainment (as it certainly is for me – I think it will be an awesome thing to follow) rather than a resume of what not more than a handful of readers (if at all) will ever experience.

    All you guys who bring the argument ‘the money could be used better for charitable purposes’ – I can just laugh at you. Go to the next Four Seasons in your city and tell that to the people who rent the Presidential Suite This is an ENTERTAINMENT project, just like seeing a movie or buying a magazine. Get a life!

  90. @Buddha- You’re cherry picking my quote. I stated you owe Lucky nothing because you already provide him with something. Those who claim they are giving lucky a few bucks to compensate him for all the benefits he provides them dont realize that they have already compensated Lucky many times over.

  91. I don’t remember seeing too many complaints like, “You should donate to charity instead” when people Kickstarted a Veronica Mars movie. I’m sure that cost way more than $20K.

  92. @Seth Yes,thought that was clear. No offense meant.This whole thing is pretty distasteful IMO

  93. I’m simply awestruck by the condescending, communist lunatics who think there’s anything remotely inappropriate about this idea. I suppose it stems from the word “donation,” which creates a parallel in their minds between spending $5 for this and giving the same amount to cure cancer. This is more like buying a movie ticket.

    And spare us the anti-gay dog whistles, such as sneering about Lucky’s “friend.” It’s repellent.

  94. I will happily contribute $50 to your cause. It’s the least I can do – my wife and I have taken 3 around-the-world trips on Asiana/Thai/Lufthansa first, plus Australia in Singapore Suites, and Bali in Cathay first, and I owe most of that to your wonderful advice.

  95. Peter: “cause”? Really? Cancer is a cause. World hunger is a cause. Flying first class, not so much.

  96. For all of those who are harping on Ben’s unethical business practices, it’s important to note that everyone who is contributing to this campaign is also (whether they like it or not) making a business decision:

    Benefits – Costs = Profit

    If profit > 0, you will contribute. This is no different than a break-even analysis conducted by thousands of businesses every single day. If you will get zero benefit from this, obviously you will not contribute. If you calculate that your derived benefits will outstrip your potential contribution amount, then you will contribute.

  97. Why not crowdfund a luxury trip?
    The only problem with Lucky is he states in his blog that he refuses to pay money for First Class on an airplane. He has never done it before, and actually prides himself about the fact that he has never paid money for flying up front.
    If he can’t get it with miles and points, he just doesn’t get it.

  98. Just a lighter tone comment:
    Can’t say right or wrong but those that pledged for a review for Etihad’s new superduper class most also fund Ben’s next crowdfundproject of reviewing Emirates new superduperdelux class. At least we have new reads and comparison plus also a good insight in human behaviour and desires 😉

  99. Your blog has helped me book a trip of a lifetime, a seat on CX first class for 15 hours, paying very little. Heres 10 bucks, not for charity, but to make a contribution in return to the blog so others can get to read about your experience.

  100. In for $50 – and if you meet your goal, you should auction off the second seat and donate all of the auction proceeds to a charity. Win win.

  101. I think this is a great idea. Over the years, Ben has written many excellent and detailed trip reports. I plan to contribute $10 in support and look forward to reading his future review of the Ethiad Residence.

  102. You should give away the 2nd seat to your highest contributor as an incentive to reach your goad quicker. I’d donate $1,000 if I knew I’d be getting the 2nd seat. LMK

  103. Lucky: Go for it.

    There are WAY WAY too many people in this world today who should have absorbed a few concepts at their mother’s knee:
    1. Freedom
    2. Private property.
    3. “Mind your own damn business for once in your life”
    We see this in constant obnoxious political comments like “You didn’t earn that” and the ubiquitous pressure to take other people’s wealth and redistribute it. The problem seems to me to be getting worse all the time.
    I do think, though, Lucky should take an Orthodox Jewish/Hassidic rabbi on this trip as his guest. And film everything.

  104. Let the hater’s hate. I give plenty of money to charity. The money I pledged came out of the entertainment category. Hope you have a good flight.
    I was also going to mention the hypocrisy of some of those being offended, and what they choose to do with their money, but they’d miss the point on that too….

  105. I’ll cover the remaining $10K if I can film a porno in the Residence:

    10,000 ft and 10 Inches


    I Ream Jeannie

  106. The biggest problem about this is both Ben’s business and personal life gain massively from this without providing a real return to funders.

    This post alone has created massive buzz to Ben’s blog. That buzz directly turns into revenue for Ben through ads, affiliates, and his award booking service.

    If/when he finally posts the review, he’ll once again gain huge traffic that turns into revenue for years.

    For years, when people search “etihad residence review” Ben’s review will pop up on Google and turn into more traffic and revenue for his business.

    By funding this trip, you are not a
    customer, you are an investor in his business but unlike real investors, you get no ownership stake or dividend or compensation for you to fund his business venture.

    If Ben was an ethical businessman, he would pay for this trip himself out of the revenues from business. His business will grow from this stunt so he should not be financing his business venture with donations from readers.

    Like any business, he should be using his own profits.

    What he is doing is highly unethical. I’m a strong believer in free market capitalism. Nothing he is doing is illegal but it is very unethical.

    Finally, he’s obviously getting massive personal gain from getting to experience this type of luxury trip on your dime.

    Ben, I’ve learned a lot from your blog but I find this very unethical. Comparing this to buying a movie ticket is not even remotely the same thing as what you’re doing.

  107. One more thing.

    Everyone comparing this to a movie ticket is way off.

    When you pay $10 for a movie, you’re enjoying something others cannot if they’re not willing to pay $10.

    Ben is not selling you a review. If he made his review privately available only for people who paid $10 or more, then this would be comparable to a movie ticket.

    Truth is Ben plans to publish this for free meaning it’s not a product, it’s a marketing ploy.

    I work in content marketing. I see exactly what this is.

    Ben will make a killing off you guys funding his marketing initiative(and his own joy ride).

    It’s simply unethical for Ben to expect his readers to finance his own marketing and personal leisure without getting a real product in return.

  108. Ben, as a long time reader, I’ve got to say that I’m disappointed that you’re actually going through with this.

    Question: If you can’t see the value in paying for this yourself, why pawn the cost off on your readers? But hey – as long as it’s not your money, it’s ok. Right?

    I use your CC links on occasion, but no more.

  109. I was going to donate $10 but thanks to all the haters out there, I chipped in $50!
    Good luck, Ben and I hope this succeeds.

  110. @Uncle Bobo, did you read the kick starter site? Lucky posted exactly what each person would get from him if the person chooses to give him money for this endeavor:
    $1 or more- virtual high 5
    $50 or more- postcard
    $500 or more – dinner

  111. Funny, some of the commenters in his defense are highly compensated travel bloggers.

    This whole deal is really perverse. Rather than asking for a free press trip as a travel writer, he begs from his readers.

    It would be different if he were still a college student, and this was post #20. But he’s a professional travel writer and afiliate marketer now,

  112. One weekend I bing-read all your first-class/business-class reviews, and this is so hilarious and ridiculous that I will gladly throw in $10.

    For those of you who think this is a horrifying/unethical use of Kickstarter and not “an idea to change the world”, please realise that Kickstarter is 90% consumptive/trite crap.

    On a semi-related note, if I’m the “winner” of the second seat, I think these have potential as a fab “Residence Couture” outfit 😉
    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/368701796/disco-ball-dance-pants?ref=category (the great news is it’s already backed, so guaranteed availability!!)

  113. “I’ll cover the remaining $10K if I can film a porno in the Residence:
    10,000 ft and 10 Inches”

    Best comment so far!!

    Ofcourse they might need to gut out the cabin after that lol

  114. “I’ll cover the remaining $10K if I can film a porno in the Residence:
    10,000 ft and 10 Inches”

    Best comment so far!!

    Ofcourse they might need to gut out the cabin after that lol

  115. wow..congrats!this idea is crazy good :D..and you shouldn’t feel bad at all about doing this! I don’t understand all the comments about how unethical it is..Those who say ‘I like the blog but I don’t like the idea’ are just hypocrites…

    Lets be honest , at the end of the day,there is not ONE ‘reasonable’ reason to fly almost any premium cabin unless you have a company that pays you and you actually have to fly to do “business” or you are so dirty rich that you’re not bothered if you spend tens or hundreds of thousands this months.In that case of course you would fly “first” ..

    But what you see when reading this blog is that this guy flies for passion.And that is the same reason why me in 10 years (i’m only a student now) ,or sooner hopefully, will be saving my money to fly business/first.

    Last year I won thanx to a FB competition a C-class return flight with OS (VIE-JFK).It was my first longhaul flight and i still remember well ,how awesome it felt to win my dream trip.

    I honestly hope that you’ll make it ! And though I will pledge only in the virtual high 5 category I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you!

    Good luck 🙂

  116. Ben, count me in.
    As for all the tosses on here, if you don’t like what he is doing shut the hell up, this is his own blog and he can do what ever the fuck he likes.
    Who gives a rat arse about his tax etc. Mind your own business.

  117. Though I can’t contribute, I sincerely hope you get the desired $25000 even though with only a few days left that really doesn’t seem viable.

    CT, Michael and others, please either speak with at least a little sense, or just fuck off.

  118. Ben, do it again. Now its a much better period in the year. PLUS, you are really growing as a blogger. I got addicted to reading you last month and it`s pretty my everyday routine.

    Do it again. I will help you out 🙂

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