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. in your post about Qatar you say “Unfortunately I’m not seeing any award availability whatsoever on the new A380.”

    so how did you book it? cash?

  2. Is there a link to it Ben?

    I spend hours a month reading you and sometimes bothering you with questions and it is the minimum I can do. I believe everyone feels this way. Lets reach this and Transaero!

  3. To bring in the real money, I think the highest level of reward for this endeavor should be “Lucky flies a one way long haul coach route of your choice, at his expense” (provided it’s bookable through miles, yadda yadda)

  4. Having just used one of your affiliate links I think I’ve already donated to the blog, but will chip in $5 if you dress like that MileValue kid during the flight – flip flops, shorts, hoodie, etc.

  5. I’m a big supporter and really appreciate what you do. But, if you can’t afford to do this by yourself, you shouldn’t go. Period. To start a kickstarter to help you fly in the most 1% first class in the world is glutenous, immature, and irresponsible. Shame on you and anyone that donates. As much as I’m a grinch about supporting charities for real causes, that is the only place where the money you and your supports raise should go. Period.

  6. There should be a contribution level that allows the backer to put the charge on his card … lots of airline spend!

  7. This is a great idea! I agree with the contest or raffle idea to raffle off the second seat!

  8. Aren’t you able to have a guest come on the trip for just taxes? I thought I read that somewhere. Now THAT would be a prize. Course Ben should auction that off for charity.

  9. 1) Why $25 000, when the cost is ~$20 000?
    2) Aren’t you planning on paying anything yourself? Seriously? Not even $1000 to fly Etihad Residence? Wow.
    3) If you reach the goal, will you fly (ultra) long haul economy and review thoroughly as a fun “thank you”?
    4) Will the second seat be given at random to one of the “backers”?

  10. I do not believe that this is irresponsible nor immature. Ben is being sincere about his chances of being able to afford the actual seat and has figured out a way to solve this situation and continue doing what he loves.

    I have no problem pledging a few bucks for a blog that I review at least 4 times a day and always has quality tips for us all. Furthermore, he is always willing to help when someone comments, not holding everything to himself. Even if the blog would start charging a monthly membership I would pay it, because this satisfies my needs for quality content on the thing that interests me the most. It is a way of giving back to Ben.

  11. @Sam +1


    It makes me cringe that you’re writing this post in such a way to make it sound like you’re doing this for your readers. Just be honest, you’re doing this for you. This is childish.

  12. If this all works out I was going to mention it afterwards as a surprise, but see the comment at the bottom of the post:

    “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.”


  13. @ Bjørn —

    1 & 2) The cost is about $21,000, and Kickstarter charges a 5% fee. On top of that since the pledges aren’t committed until the project is done, there’s a certain rate that fall through. I expect this will still cost me quite a bit of money out of pocket.
    3) Hah, I like that idea. Let me think about it.
    4) That’s prohibited per the Kickstarter rules, but I have something planned for the second seat that I can only announce once the campaign is done. 🙂

  14. Ben I’m assuming you’ll be paying with the ticket with your CSP earning 2x UR. That could be a giveaway…40k UR.

  15. I’m in. This has the potential to be the best review ever.

    We’re going to have to help you dream up things to ask the butler.

  16. @ David — I appreciate the feedback, and you’re certainly entitled to believe that. Trust me, this will cost me a lot out of pocket in the end, it’ll take a lot of my time, and it’s an eight hour redeye that I’ll meticulously be reporting on.

    I’ve flown nearly four million miles, and I can assure you that nowadays a majority of the enjoyment I get out of flying premium cabins comes through being able to share my experiences on the blog. That’s my true passion when it comes to premium cabin products nowadays.

    And like I said, there are much better uses of your money, and not suggesting anyone should donate.

    But it’s a fun experience, and I can promise the fun that will come from this goes far beyond me reporting on the flight.

    And if it doesn’t work out that’s totally fine as well.

  17. Lucky: “self-funded” ?
    “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.”

    That statement would actually mean something had those miles of yours not been generated via questionable mileage abuse schemes (us mint coins, abusive credit card churning to name but a few schemes) but by being an actual paying Psgr – although many posters here I’m sure will refute that statement of fact. And people wonder why mileage award programs have commenced with the devaluations and restrictions.

  18. @ Sky — Promise to do everything I can to make this as interactive as possible, though as you probably know Chase prohibits transferring Ultimate Rewards points to others’ mileage accounts. Have other plans, though. 🙂

  19. Lucky, i’m in. This is a great idea. You have my support! Would love to see you review this product.

  20. This is a fun idea, count me in. I think there are a lot of people who enjoy and have benefited from Ben’s advice and would be happy to help make this happen.

  21. Definitely pledging. This is the least we can do from what we’ve gained from reading such a concise and accurate blog. Ben is the only blogger I know that doesn’t write ‘just because’ all other blogs seem assanine compared to his.

  22. Lucky: how can you possible justify saying “this will cost me a lot out of pocket” if the herds pay your way? A lot of your time? A grueling 8 hour red eye? Talk about being a big girls blouse…get over it. And those four million miles you’ve flown….oh that’s right, you didn’t have to pay for even mile one. Just the type of frequent flyer all airlines want: a non-rev.

  23. First, I love your blog, however this is really tacky. You’re asking people to donate the cost of a new car, rent for a year, a house down payment etc so you can fly a 7 hour flight and review it for your readers.

    Complete waste of money, and just makes you look bad. Like I said, I love your blog and everything you do, but this is over the top.

  24. 400,000 in seat miles? Perhaps, but those are all (now be really honest) or 95% at least, are on free award tickets – not revenue tickets.

  25. Hi Ben you have got my backing! Pledged already. Yesterday I was checking the fare from my city to LHR and back on EY with the residence as the preferred option between AUH-LHR-AUH for travel in Jan 2015 the total fare came upto $46000/- for the return trip. YES 46K. I can never afford it nor will I travel in it even if I have that kind of money. I like your reviews and eagerly await your tweets hence I have pledged. All the best.

    Probably this is a very “first world” project which you are seeking to fund thru kickstarter, so be prepared for criticism!

  26. @ Patrick — Totally agree with you that it’s ridiculous and appreciate the feedback! And I also realize there are strong opinions on both sides here. I did this due to feedback I received, and my feelings won’t be hurt in the slightest if it doesn’t work out.

  27. The criticism here is bordering on the absurd. You’re clearly asking for money for a specific purpose and not trying to deceive anybody into thinking it’s a “good cause.”

    If people are going to enjoy a “Residences” trip report enough to pay $XXX to fund it, then who are some of these curmudgeons to criticize the process? If you don’t think it’s worth donating, then don’t!

  28. It’s so ridiculous I pledged $10. 😉

    Let’s start placing bets on how quickly he’ll raise the funds.

    I say 2 weeks. Tops.

  29. Ben, I think you’re a really smart, articulate guy and I read your blog with some regularity. I couldn’t care less about your trip reports, though. I really respect you though… because I think you are fully aware of how ridiculous and absurd your lifestyle is. And really, who could blame you for milking it for all its worth? Because this game isn’t going to last forever. But, you won’t be seeing a penny from me for this (and frankly I hope you don’t see a penny from anyone else, either).

  30. I usually subscribe to a “live and let live” policy with blog comments, but I don’t get the questions from CT.

    First, if you don’t want to read the blog, don’t.

    Second, Ben has been ridiculously forthcoming with how he flies and pays for it. I recall not one but two posts in January about how he generates the miles.

    Third, refer to 1 and 2.

    If the blog makes your eyes bleed, stop reading it.

    Finally, as someone who has been helped twice by PointsPros when I thought all hope was lost with a Delta redemption, kicking in some money is the least I can do.

  31. Re 1) Well, 21 000 + 5% = 22 000. What will you do with the potential $3000 extra? Wouldn’t it be more fair & honest to aim for $22 000 (including the 5%) and pay the difference yourself in case anyone’s payment fails?

    Re 2) “I expect this will still cost me quite a bit of money out of pocket.”. Well… you’re getting to try the single best product available on a commercial flight. It SHOULD cost you quite a bit. How much more will you make from the extra ad views, affiliate links etc. if the campaign is successful and you publish a review of Etihad Residence (and multiple related posts), that obviously will generate A LOT of traffic from mainstream media, other blogs, social media etc?

    I’ll probably contribute (as a thank you for the blog in general)… but I would prefer if you were more straight-forward in the process.

  32. @ Jonathan — Totally respect that, appreciate your feedback, don’t blame you a bit, and appreciate you reading! Safe travels. 🙂

  33. If you have 2 million Etihad Guest miles, you can redeem those for a Residence seat. However, knowing that EY Guest miles expire after 2 years regardless of activity (3 years if you’re an Etihad elite) even for above average business travelers earning 2 million miles is quite a feat!

  34. “This is totally f*cking ridiculous.” – This line right here had me rolling in laughter! I seriously hope that you get up to your $25,000 and I think you will!

    Absolutely unbelievable in a great way!!!!

  35. @ Bjørn — As I hinted at above, I also have plans for a second passenger (which will involve the blog), which will cost me quite a bit. This is my first Kickstarter campaign and I’m doing my best to be as straightforward here as possible. Trust me, if this happens I’ll disclose all the “financials” of the experience after the fact, and can promise not just that I won’t be making money off of this, but that it’ll be costing me.

  36. I think this is a great idea and sincerely hope it works. I would love to read a review of the experience, and quite frankly you write the best reviews. Good luck!

  37. Re comment #29: “…it’ll take a lot of my time…”

    Isn’t this your full time job?

  38. This is utterly ridiculous….but I’m in for $5 anyway. 😉

    I’ve certainly gotten more than $5-worth of benefits from this blog, so a little bit of giving back seems in order. Good luck, Ben. Or will it be Sheikh Ben? Baron Ben? I say go with Brigadier Ben…

  39. Ok so to be exact, you need 2,332,728 Etihad guest miles + 80AED to redeem that Residence ticket! Crazy, no?
    Anyway, I think this is a great idea and good luck! If you do do it (which I think you will), try to book it on New Year’s Day! Happy belated birthday as well.

  40. CT.
    Miles gained through credit card bonuses, hotels stays, credit card usage is all self funded. The airline enjoys the revenue from the miles the banks, hotels, and others pay them. It is not wrong for Lucky or any of us to take advantage of the credit card schemes. If we are able to secure a premium product using miles it was most likely going to be discounted or not sold. Airlines are very smart and stingy with premium awards. So yes if Lucky is using his miles. It’s self funded.

  41. This is probably the most ridiculous idea you have ever had……….ok ok I am in :-p

  42. @Lucky, I’m in for $15, but I think instead of inviting a blog reader you should honor the spirit of Etihad and invite someone with an honorific title: The Countess LuAnn de Lesseps.

  43. I’m in for $25 bucks. I think this is hilarious, the comments alone are worth the price of entry. Hope you get funded, Ben. Can’t wait to enter the contest and/or read all about it!

  44. @ Ben / #59:

    If you guarantee that this will be “non-profit”, and that all the extra campaign money, extra traffic income etc will in some way go back to your readers, for instance giveaways (NOT to US citizens only!!), I will pledge and support you.

    Have you contacted Etihad PR to try to get this for free or discounted?

  45. Still pondering this. Love your blog. But who would this “review” be for? It’s not like many (or any?) of your readers are going to be booking this service, and need advice on whether its worth it. And if/when Emirates introduces its competing product, would we need to fund that ticket too?(since there should be some comparison of the products)
    But on a diff topic — I would love to know if anyone can list their title as HRH, Baron, etc – and how that impacts on service. I’d suggest that for your next booking, you take a title, and see if that impacts service. I see that HRH Prince William recently flew in economy on AA. I wonder if crew addressed him by title and name when providing pretzels and diet coke?

  46. @ Bjørn — While I doubt they’d comp a trip in Residence, even if they did, I’d love to review this “independently.”

  47. @ elteetrav — No need to contribute, trust me! 🙂

    Ultimately I think there are a couple of different reasons that reviews are interesting. One is for them to act as a previews of what people can expect, and one is purely out of fascination. I watch The Food Network if I want to learn how to cook/know what something will taste like, while I’ll watch The Real Housewives because I want to be amused (and not because I’m hoping to be one soon).

  48. Bjørn: you’re right, he and many other know it too but it’s a typical trait to whine. And the extra $3k you mention…you don’t think any thing done “on behalf of my readers” is ever done for free, do you? That’s to cover the costs for the mysterious “friend” on the flights.

  49. @ CT — Man, you have a vivid imagination and sure do feel passionately about something that’s entirely voluntarily and that I’m encouraging people NOT to contribute to.

    I think I stated pretty clearly that the second seat will go to a blog reader if this gets funded, and not a “mysterious friend.”

    But you seem to know more about my life than I do, since according to you I’ve never paid for a mile either, so….

  50. When considering your costs, do you allow for the tax deductibility of the cash ticket as a business expense? And the valuation of the CC miles/points earned? Just curious as to the calcs involved in something like this.

  51. All of you who are bitching about this being a bad idea just don’t get it. This is lucky’s job. I think it’s extraordinarily creative. It should result in him making money (not on the ticket, but in increased exposure) – that’s what a job and business is for! and if someone wants to contribute to it, “invest” in his business with an expectation of a zero monetary return, then that’s their call, not yours.
    I’d bet all of us (whiners included) that if you could crowdfund a seat in the residences, you’d do it in a heartbeat. I would. But you can’t and neither can I. So rather than let Lucky do it and have a great time reading about it, you’re going to try to make it “right and wrong.” It isn’t right or wrong. It just is. Get over yourself.

  52. @CT / #77

    Obviously he makes a lot of money on the blog in general, and I don’t mind that at all. I don’t mind that people are successful. But in this particular case people DONATE money directly, which mandates a lot more transparency than the other sources of income in my opinion.

  53. @ Colleen — I won’t derive any tax benefits from this. The contributions go directly towards offsetting the cost of the ticket, so there’s nothing to “deduct.”

    As far as the miles for the ticket purchase go, have something fun planned for that as well. 🙂

  54. Don’t feel like you need to be defensive and respond to each criticism. Most of us get this and support it. Good luck! 😉

  55. Lucky, you need to not be too critical of yourself and instead let the whiners whine. You don’t need to explain yourself to someone who obviously does not back you.
    I love your idea, fully support you and I really hope it materialises.
    Btw, asked you a question on Kickstarter.

  56. If you don’t get it by now, you never will. Although I’m sure you do but are simply in denial. I didn’t actually see where you’re specifically asking people to NOT contribute. Oh, perhaps that’s one of those ‘between the lines’ deals. And since you’re graciously having an actual reader fly with you, I’m fairly certain your generosity will not include the ancillary miles for that person, correct? That is something you should mention in your contest fine print.

  57. @ CT — I think I stated my opinions quite clearly:

    “This is totally f*cking ridiculous.”
    “It’s totally ridiculous and there are so many better ways you can spend your money.”
    “But you shouldn’t contribute based on that, or on doing something for me, or for any legitimatish reason. Seriously.”

    If that’s too “between the lines for you,” then I’m sorry, we must be speaking different languages.

    Not sure what you mean by ancillary miles for the second passenger?

  58. Alright I’m in for a couple bucks. As ridiculous as this is (I wish people would pay for MY travel), it’d be an awesome read and you are extremely helpful in answering my various questions…

  59. I’m an 18 year old and I come from a significantly underprivileged background. Over the past few years, my parents and I have somehow managed to stabilise our situation with hard work and some luck and we’re somewhat well-off now, at least comfortably. I’m learning to appreciate the finer things in life and enjoy reading Ben’s blog because I’m an aviation enthusiast and love flying, love luxury and the things I never got to experience when I was younger.. but what on earth? This is completely self-entitled, over the top and arrogant. I’d be ashamed of myself if I did something like this. Ben lives in a fantasy world that’s completely out of touch with the real world and at 24, is more immature than most people my age. This is ridiculous and if anything – crazily delusional. I wish you all the best, though. Just don’t cry too much when your ‘lifestyle’ comes crashing down because it’s obviously unsustainable.

  60. You don’t deduct the cost of travel even though your livelihood is from this blog? If your income is from the TRs and blog postings (even if in indirect relation to CC referrals), any cost of plane tickets (hotel rooms, etc) should absolutely be deductible from your blog income. Am I missing something?

  61. @ Colleen — To clarify, what I’m saying is that even if it’s deductible, ultimately it’s deductible against income, which the contributions count as. That means if you get a $25,000 “contribution” and you spend $25,000 on a ticket, you come out even.

    So yes, it’s deductible, but against the contributions. I’m not a tax expert, but that’s my understanding, at least.

  62. Lucy

    As one of you UK readers can i see how absurd…… and brilliant this is. It is pleasure to back and you looking forward not only to the report but also to the dinner! Champers on me!!

  63. This thread is like an hour old and Ben is already 10% of the way there. $2600 raised from 55 people. Wow

  64. @Lucky

    Ben, since it’s only $30 more for the second passenger, can i please come along? Thnak you.

  65. Just in for 20 bucks. Someone here is being so mean. No one asking you to pledge. Is this some kind of jealous?

  66. This may ruin you – one trip in The Residences and you’ll never want to fly anything less again. Given that I travel between the US and Australia at least once a year in economy, I’m not sure that I would risk making that trip harder than it already is.

  67. Obviously we speak different languages, so in simple terms, how does your contest winner:

    1. arrive at point of departure
    2. return to point of origin

    Are you kicking in any miles from your million miles balances? If not, which is my belief, then your contest winner must either use their own miles or pay out of pocket for the pleasure.

  68. @ Mudba — Yep, and in turn I’ll have (at least) an equal amount in business expenses, so it should balance out in terms of taxes at least.

  69. While not a bad idea overall, why not just use your ‘connections’ to get an in with the EY public relations department and offer to review (unbiased) the product? At this point you are a respected reviewer of these products and I’d imagine EY would oblige. I’ve seen it on many blogs, just a thought.

  70. @ Chase — To be honest, I have a hard time imagining they’ll do a press trip of The Residence. Though even if they were, I do think readers would appreciate an independent review more, in this case.

  71. @lucky @mudba. Thanks for the clarification. I get it now. Didn’t realize kickstarter was taxable 1099 income. That’s one of the downsides of being a luddite, I guess.

  72. Hi Ben and gosh, thanks for the wonderful. Ah, maybe I’ll pass??? I know that you want to fly and review ever service available, but this one is over, above and beyond the products that we need to know about. While a few readers may be able to spend the necessary $42k necessary, I cannot imagine that any will ever do so. Again, ,thank you for the offer to participate in you Kickstarter program, but I will take a pass. IMO the Etihad Residence offering is a joke, probably from the marketing department. $42k for about eight hours of fluffing is a stretch, even for those who literally have money to burn. I’d like to see a follow up report after this service has been in place for a year – if it lasts that long. How many times has the airline actually sold this space? Have they even made=back their capitol costs to install the space? I’d bet a whole nickle that the results will be single-digit sales and not even close on the cost recovery question.
    Sorry, but you’ve simply just got to be kidding. This is not a service class about which your readers need detailed information. $42K? Otherwise, best wishes. Let’s get back to the ‘first world’ problems that matter. -NFZ

  73. @G: exceptional comments, too bad you’re in the minority on his site. Good things will come to you with your outlook and attitude!

  74. Ben — does the lucky blog reader who gets to accompany your on this flight also get (first class?) transportation from their home city to AUH or LHR on your dime? Or do they have to get themselves there first?

  75. @Lucky: yes. Will that be with cash (oops, sorry, should’ve said your favorite card) or miles? That should be part of the fine print.

  76. @ Kirby A — If it works out I will cover their travel to/from. I don’t voluntarily let readers/friends fly economy. 🙂

  77. Oh I agree – friends don’t let friends fly coach.

    Good to know your companion on this flight will be well taken care of. 🙂

  78. Since you mentioned falconry you might want to watch this clip, hilarious.”Fluffy goes to Saudi Arabia”

  79. Lucky – Most welcome glad that may be a party in London. Worth every penny/dime to read the review.

    CT – I am really confused, Lucky has been clear about his intent. More importantly no one is being forced to give. I am lucky to have disposable income. Sometimes I choose to give what money i have left (after charity donations) to random strangers, some months I spend it frivolously. Either way it is my choice and this time I choose to use some of it to give back something to Ben who has given my a year of fun reading. It is the same cost to me as year’s subscription to my favorite newspaper. Frankly either way it is my choice. I am sorry that you do not see that.

  80. @ Colleen: don’t worry too much about his tax filings. He’ll be sure to turn it into a “loss”. Don’t let the “innocence” fool you.

  81. @ Gene. People are stupid for contributing so they can read the review?

    I pay for Netflix so I can watch shows I like. I pay for a few magazines so I can read articles I want to read. Including car magazines that test cars I will never, ever drive.

    Why can’t I decide to pay a few bucks to read this review, for something that yes, I will never be able to afford.

  82. I’ve pledged, as I’d love to read the trip report, and have derived much enjoyment from your other reports over the years.

    Ignore the haters. Good luck!

  83. This is actually appealing. There are people on Kickstarter with dreams to start a business that will change he world. And there are people who want to fly in a premium cabin for absolutely no reason. What is this world coming to?

  84. This comment section is hilarious! *Although I didn’t make it through all of them so I’m sure this is redundant*
    I kicked in a few bucks, b/c why not? As most of you see it, it’s an entertainment expense. If I spend money on a movie or a book I don’t care if the publisher makes a profit. That’s a good thing! I give to charities as well, it’s not an either/or thing. If Lucky makes money from it (and I’m sure he will), that’s great! Even if the kickstarter doesn’t cover it all, I’m sure the readership boost will. And come on, we all come here 80% for the tips and 20% for the over-the-top ridiculousness of it all.

  85. I’ve always supported your blog, but your ego has arose. From your typical humility.

    1) None of your readers can aspire to this product, since there are no redemptions available ( and likely never will).
    2) there will be reviews posted by travel writers with organizations that reach the demo able to afford this luxury, so your blog readers won’t be in the dark about the experience.
    3) While we readers have enjoyed the efforts you put into reviews, you likely make a nice living from your affiliate activity, generated from the traffic to this blog. It’s unethical, in my opinion, to ask readers to pay for you to take a journey you have admitted you would never pay for or otherwise afford.

    Please reconsider this. Though the comments are weighing to the positive on this idea, the long term success of the work you build will impact your credibility going forward. You’ve succeeded into making a hobby a livelihood. Don’t make it into an entitlement; after all, your readers admire aspiration, but I’m guessing will come to resent entitlement.


  86. Can’t wait for this to go viral and blow up in your face. I can just picture the reddit thread and barrage of negative comments.

  87. While contests may be forbidden, setting up a 5k pledge for “Join me in the flight” isn’t. It’s a pretty good deal for both parts.

  88. Ben is the man.I am in.I wish I had your cojones at 24. We all profit from the information he shares on a daily basis so let’s send him on a trip. “Oh I already used your affiliate link is BS”. You may have but big deal you did it so you would get miles for yourself.Just because you won’t benefit you attack him. And, Lucky bring a friend bringing a reader/stranger on such an intimate flight is creepy.Can’t wait to read your trip report

  89. Neil S – I agree with all of your points.

    Strom – I almost agree with all of your points. Only difference is I come here 20% for the tips and 80% for the over-the-top ridiculousness of it all!! And it is brilliant and I hope this works and Lucky gets to fly so we can read the review.

  90. Ignore the haters, don’t even bother responding to them.

    I think you’ll raise the money. I’m going to make a contribution right now as well. You’ve helped me out several times on your “Ask Lucky” section, and I read your blog every day.

  91. Though I do find this to be in somewhat poor taste, my larger issue (and the reason I’m not contributing) is the precedent this creates. There will always be the next great travel experience and I don’t want to get in the habit of funding ultra-luxury experiences for travel bloggers. If this works, it won’t be long before Ben and other bloggers are asking us to chip in so he/she can go on a space flight, or spend a night in the Atlantis Bridge Suite, etc. It would be a tacky trend that could be avoided by choosing not to support this endeavour.

  92. I’ve been reading the blog for about two years. I haven’t decided whether I will contribute, but I wholeheartedly support the decision to run the campaign. Good luck Ben!

  93. Ben, you’ve kept us informed and entertained for many years, so I’d be happy to contribute. I’ll double it if you bring Mom or Dad along!

  94. Dude, with all your respect you make enough money as it is, why don’t you just open discoverit and chase slate and pay for it on your own. Just by posting that review and your affiliate links you will more than make up for it. Interesting how you become more and more greedy as time passes…

  95. Of course! You’re always so kind to answer questions to everyone in these comments and even my emails with random inquiries. Be happy to pitch in!

  96. @ Austin — I think that’s a perfectly valid concern, and to be honest all I can say from my perspective is that this isn’t something I plan on making a habit of it. And I would certainly hope that if any blogger did make a habit of it, people wouldn’t contribute (and even with doing it just once, I STILL don’t think people should necessarily contribute).

    At the end of the day this isn’t how I make my living, and I can assure you I won’t be making any affiliate income from this trip. So I’d be foolish to make a habit of it. But in this case readers requested I give this a shot, so I did.

  97. Ha! I love everything about this, especially the comments.

    Two thoughts:
    1) Completely agree you are uniquely positioned to compare this luxury to your other experiences, especially the other suite classes.
    2) This is your job; you will produce a thorough and thoughtful review (a product) from this that will have some very positive aspects, compared to the other review possibilities (comped by Etihad or ultra-rich dude or company paying your way).

    That said, happy to accompany you. Thanks for asking. (totally kidding)

  98. Pitched in a bit to help out. The information I’ve gained from this site has saved me many, many times that amount.

    I think it’s a bit unfortunate how much mindless hate shows up (some people raise valid, nuanced points, but others seem to just be on a vendetta). Of course, this is the internet, so it doesn’t really surprise me. It just isn’t enough for some people to politely voice their opinions, they have to make a fight out of it.

  99. Done!

    I’ve been reading your blog for several years. The knowledge that I have gained from your blog have resulted in experiences that I will treasure for a long long time. Contributing to the KickStarter is my Thank You.

  100. @ Eric — Totally respect and appreciate your opinion. Can only say:
    1) Totally agree, but I don’t think all forms of media have to necessarily be attainable. I watch Real Housewives because I want to be entertained and see an alternative universe for an hour a week. Totally agree this isn’t attainable for the average person (including me), though I don’t think that’s the intent.
    2) Sure, there very well may be, but will they be interesting? Here’s a review of British Airways’ Club World London City service from The Guardian:

    Do you find that interesting/informative in any way?

    3) I can’t argue with that perspective, and certainly respect it. But at the same time I’m not sure what’s unethical about this:
    — I launched this per the recommendation of readers
    — I’m explaining very clearly that this is totally ridiculous and am not even encouraging people to contribute… there are better ways people can spend their money

    So I really do appreciate the feedback, but please understand I’m not begging for this to happen. I’m trying out something that has never been tried before (not the product, but the form of funding it), and to me that’s interesting. People can tell me to my face that it’s ridiculous and they won’t contribute, and I support that decision (and even agree with it) 110%.

    But if someone wants to throw in the price of a movie ticket because they’d find it amusing, or whatever other amount, I’m certainly not going to tell them no. It’s not something I’ll make a habit of, and something I even feel sheepish about, but I didn’t come up with the idea either.

  101. what Justin #14 said! You could make spend on a 100k card with one transaction 🙂

  102. You’re right, totally crazy and somewhat unorthodox using Kickstarter. This should generate quite a bit of traffic once you have a review of such a unique product.

    Looking forward to see what extravagance you’ll bestow on your fans, since you think it’ll cost you money. 🙂

    I’m impressed by the sum already committed, good luck!

  103. Backed the project immediately.

    While I think Lucky is taking a bit of a gamble with this endeavor (in inevitable interviews/media appearances, he’ll have to convey that this is a service/entertainment for readers and not just a #firstworldproblem), this actually solves a problem many of us probably have had — how to contribute to the blog other than annual/semi-annual CC apps and using PointPros.

    Since Lucky has always taken time to answer my questions (in Ask Lucky or comments), it’s nice that there’s a way I can give something back 🙂

    Good luck!

  104. Why do you need a kick starter? You should pay for it and write it off as a business expense.

  105. Happy to add $10 to the efforts! Your blog has been invaluable in my travel planning efforts. That and I have you and your post about LH F availability from MUC – YYZ to thank for getting in an LH F redemption this summer pre-devaluation (one that will hopefully turn into FRA – IAD)!

  106. Ben! Good luck with this…I wasn’t going to contribute but CT is such a jackhole I changed my mind. $10 coming your way…

  107. 1. As if it weren’t crass enough, is it just me or does anyone else see this as essentially a $25,000 “donation” to the UAE government. I have enough ethical dilemmas to even fly on these carriers for a multitude of reasons, but this raises that issue several notches. They do not even show Israel on the map, which is the least of my laundry list of ethical concerns.

    2. “Etihad Airways new A380 features a concept that I believe will revolutionize commercial air travel.”

    Come on. Revolutionize commercial air travel? It is a novelty. There is no way you can believe this statement. This is disingenuous marketing.

    3. I feel the $25,000 amount is excessive.
    a. First of all, do you wish to say that you undeniably cannot afford this? This is different than it being in your personal financial interest. This product is in no ones personal financial interest. However, if it were to make financial sense to someone, it is most likely to be you with your ability to market and business acumen to generate ‘buzz’ and ultimately return from your work. It is conceivably a business investment for you. Not necessarily wise, but conceivable.

    b. I believe you should have gone down a path with Etihad of working something out. You have something to offer them, they have something to offer you. Your commitment to impartial, objective reviews is noted and admirable. It is also least required in this instance. I have a feeling it will be a fairly decent experience. Additionally, have you not received compensation (in various forms) from American Airlines? No criticism, just precedent. Your desire for independence here does seem to be quite a bit to ask when it is not your own money funding such endeavor. I find it hard to believe it could not be significantly lowered.

    4. –
    “I do what I can to listen to my readers,”
    “I’m explaining very clearly that this is totally ridiculous and am not even encouraging people to contribute… there are better ways people can spend their money
    So I really do appreciate the feedback, but please understand I’m not begging for this to happen. ”

    Let us be clear that you -are- in fact, marketing yourself and marketing this project. That is fine. But it is a catch-22 situation for you with the “aw shucks” tactics. This is definitely the angle and you come across as well as can be expected. But you know full well that ‘begging’ or sounding more bullish and brazen about this would make you look terrible. It’s both appreciated honesty and a smart business decision, which is to be expected.

    You’ve made a good attempt at rationalizing this project and turning a shock value frame into a legitimate, reachable, and justifiable entertainment product. Kudos to you for this navigation of treacherous waters, you just might get there. But ultimately the concept and principles in action here prevent me from supporting this in any way. Ultimately character is best judged with the only thing left unjustified is the slightest twinge of conscience, and that is something I can not get over for reasons mentioned above. I do not wish to question your character, just to provide food for thought.

    Lastly, should you succeed, I think it should be an absolute requirement you take the opportunity to mix this with a long haul economy flight. Your readers want it. It is ultimately more applicable to their travel needs, and it’s frankly a glaring omission from your portfolio. This different experience will serve your perspective well, and there is no good reason why this isn’t the perfect opportunity to do it.

  108. @ Lucky – I’ve never seen you being so defensive. You are a nice guy and do a tremendous job on your blog. Your posts are great and you usually answer all questions your readers ask, even the dumb ones.
    Should you be a bit ashamed for this? Sure, you are doing a huge sacrifice for the team. 🙂 I really don’t like when you say you are doing this for your readers. You are doing this for yourself. Will your readers benefit from it? Absolutely, I really hope that you succeed and will enjoy reading your review. But don’t pretend to be that benevolent with your readers’ requests.
    If we request you to go to EY lounge and board the plane in EK pyjamas, would you do it?

  109. @Tom: because it’s free, that’s why. He’s hoping for yet another free, unearned trip and more write-offs. Any legit businessman/woman, legit emphasized, would do as you suggest especially considering the downline revenue effect. But again, it’s simply a trait one expects. Things have a way of backfiring though.
    @Lola: thanks for showing your class, I wouldn’t expect less from you dear, however his blog is becoming less legit and it’s a shame so many just keep eating it up instead of expecting a level of class, legitimacy and quality. One minor correction on the adjective you honored me with: a guy is a jagoff and a girl is a jackhole. 🙂
    @Lucky: Sicilians don’t have street parades. They have processions. And they don’t include honking horns. But I’m so happy you were as giddy as a schoolgirl in the clip.

  110. I have enjoyed some of your reviews. But this was a poorly thought out venture and I cannot condone nor support this.

    Your vacillating support of the kickstarter campaign reveals you own discomfort at the idea. If you are embarrassed by an action or decision chances are you shouldn’t be doing it

    You have lost this loyal reader.

  111. After a bit of thought, I decided I too would donate to Lucky’s campaign. I actually occasionally pay for international 1st class seats when due to date restrictions I must be somewhere when award availability is non-existent. I read Lucky’s reviews so I can make an informed decision about the product I purchase whether I am paying with real $ or points.

  112. just contributed!!! I hope you make it! Can I get the butler’s autograph in the postcard, please? 😉

  113. This is going to happen people. Even if Ben gets within a few thousand it’s going to be worth it for him to pony up the remainder himself. He won’t have to do that but that’s still an option. How cool is that the majority of his readers are this generous? All you angry trolls can f*&^ off and not read his blog.

  114. You are all a bunch of nitwits. Contributing to a useless cause like this. How about giving money to people who really need it. Fucking excess driven twats.

  115. I don’t understand why there’s so much ire. It’s ridiculous, and Ben admits it – but lots of people will spend money on a bit of dumb stuff for entertainment, and this might get them that. He’s just providing an opportunity to contribute – and it’s no worse than some of the other ridiculousness on Kickstarter.

    Some friends of mine and I started a student organization in college just to see if we could get absurd projects funded. We didn’t, but if Kickstarter had existed in those days, I bet we could have gotten them funded through Kickstarter instead.

    Given what I read in some recent prominent IPO filings, I think I’m more likely to get a decent return from Lucky than from those IPOs 🙂

  116. I have very mixed feelings on this but after reading all 160 comments I’m more apt to contribute. I think it’s ridiculous how much Lucky makes from this job – and it is a job – but that’s just jealousy talking. If anyone should get to do this and report on it it’s Lucky. I’ve always wondered, though, why he hasn’t self-funded a Transero first class since that’s so high on his list.

  117. @CT – F*ck you must live a sad life.

    @Lucky – I wish you well, I look forward to reading!

  118. I think Ben must have the youngest readership of any blog. Some of these posts are so fawning and so “golly gee Ben, you are so cool”. Grow up. Ben is clever and is doing this for himself with the “noble” facade of doing it for his readers. This is not aspirational travel and is so beyond the pale to be ridiculous. No need for a trip report on this and no need to be funded. If Ben really wants to do it for his readers he can do it on his own dime.

  119. @nemme, Transaero will unveil its A380 in 2016…. and I have a feeling that’s when Lucky will fly the ever elusive Imperial class!

  120. I have a suggestion. How about a $5k option which includes traveling as a second on the flights? Given that the Residence has the same fare for one or two it seems like a great way to get much closer without adding to the fare. Just a thought.

  121. @Michael: Complaining about someone not donating to “people in need” on a blog dedicated to travel, perhaps the most first-world of hobbies?

    @sky: Ben didn’t choose to use flexible funding, so if the target total isn’t reached, none of the money gets charged. So he’d be on the hook for the whole thing.

  122. @Chris: Ben could still donate to his own fund out of his own pocket the remaining amount before his Kickstarter ends.

  123. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog and your presentations at FTU. Just contributed! Good luck!

  124. Ben, you totally have my support! I just made the pledge. Can’t wait to read the review!

  125. Haven’t decided if I’m going to contribute or not… Is it ridiculous? Yes. Would I like to see this? Yes.

    But it’s 20,000 USD for a one-way. IF this is successful, will you be flying a different one of Etihad’s new products on the return? Or are you continuing onto “home” at another hotel?

  126. Ben’s going to wake up in Italy tomorrow morning and scream like a little school girl.

  127. Intriguing how many comments this post has already generated!

    Let’s put things in perspective here… people LOVE paying hundreds to thousands of dollars each to watch people throw a ball around, punch each other in the face, or sing silly songs over and over. We also know that much of that money goes to drugs, prostitution, and plenty of unsustainable lifestyle choices. So why is a blogger subject to such harsh scrutiny, when he asks for voluntary support to expand his business?

    I have not contributed anything, but see this as a cool project and big kudos to those who actually pay for his trip.

  128. live and let live guys.. but I must say some of the grief you got in these comments made me more inclined to donate.

    Good luck and write a kick-ass repot!

  129. Shameless, but nowadays that’s par for the entitled ‘selfie’ ‘me’ ‘have to have it now’ generation. Why not ask for donations to buy a house, a car so you can review it. Better yet, why not get a real job to buy your own ticket? What a novel idea. PT Barnum was right: a sucker born every minute. I’d rather donate to a migrant field worker harvesting vegetables instead of a layabout at 35,000 feet. Strange world we live in.

  130. I’m in! Happy to contribute, as a small, unequal trade for all the previous awesome tips and reviews you shared. Hope you hit the goal. (Just ignore the haters, bitters, and those who think you never give.)

  131. While I have no problem with the campaign – and personally hope it goes through since I’d LOVE to read this report – I think Ben can do a lot with this. In fact, check out our newest blog post, written all about Ben’s Kickstarter campaign! tinyurl.com/oprv4ul

  132. I am shocked that you would ask your readership to pay for this experience. They already earn you over 1 million dollars a year from your credit card revenues. They work hard for their money. Let’s no pretend that you are doing this for your readership, no really! Super disappointed.

  133. Fun idea and you’ve got my backing. Ignore the haters Ben! People are way over-thinking this and need to relax.

  134. Just out of curiosity, why did you go with kickstarter versus indiegogo.com? The latter has a 4% fee. The 1% makes a difference when you’re talking large dollar amounts.

    Regardless, I like the idea and going to donate!

  135. @Lucky–I’ve gotten so much in return by following your blog these past few years, I can’t not give! This is going to be interesting. 🙂

  136. I dont mean to be ungrateful or unapreciative of this blog, you help so many people including myself with questions and answers but somehow I feel this is wrong. The point of this game is to let everyone experience luxuries with Value. However to put forth 20k to have an 8 hours of indulgence is too much unless say someone on a death row. I know its a new product and want to first to get in the action but with some patient, eventually it will make itself available with points. That 20k goes a long way helping someone in need in this world.

  137. how can i not contribute when you’re always so helpful with our questions. good luck, hope target is met!

  138. Hey Ben, if there is bad turbulence on the flight are you gonna call it “My residence trip from hell” and run crying to Mama? Get over yourself, you are just a spoiled rotten kid. For 25K you gonna get to hear it for the rest of your blogging career.

  139. If this is anything like your first trip report flying the Emirates A380, then this will be AWESOME!

  140. I will draw some hate for this, but as someone who is a long time supporter of many Kickstarter campaigns, and a lover of their philosophy, I truly believe this project very much goes against the spirit of what that site is about. I urge anyone else who has an issue with this to click the “Report This Project” button at the bottom of the Kickstarter page, and voice your thoughts. In the terms of service, among other things, you cannot have a project that is essentially meant to “Fund My Life.” It is also very much a business endeavor for a website — another violation of their terms of service.

    I read your blog occasionally, and have found it helpful. I thank you for that. But this is really quite lame.

  141. Some of the comments here are pathetic. What are some of you so jealous? Regardless, good luck with the campaign. Looking forward to the review.

  142. I second @JAR’s suggestion: “To bring in the real money, I think the highest level of reward for this endeavor should be “Lucky flies a one way long haul coach route of your choice, at his expense” (provided it’s bookable through miles, yadda yadda)” .

    I propose an ex-HKG UA flight in Y on their 744 (not Y+).

  143. <3 your blog and the video! Count me in, I'll be contributing. Which credit card should I use? Any bonus miles for Kickstarter contributions?

  144. I’m in for $50. Awesome idea, pretty motivated for essentially a homeless person. Can’t wait for the review!

  145. best of luck –

    i find it amazing quite frankly that people are more upset about this than the China Southern review that ended up getting cabin crew demoted.

    this is not very different from paying for any other sort of entertainment or service.

  146. @ Michael Why thank us? All you need to remember that there are “too many dumb people in this world” is to look at yourself in the mirror!

  147. Lucky, there sure are a lot of haters and self-righteous windbags who read your blog! I don’t begrudge you for the campaign. I think it’s definitely worth a shot. And let’s face it, you’re about as close as most of us ever will get to sitting in the Residence! I’d rather you in the 3-room suite to report back to us on the experience rather than some multi-millionare who’s only in it for him/herself. You DO look out for your readers, and I don’t find anything wrong w/ trying this approach. Don’t mind the haters; some people will always find something to complain about!

  148. I love reading your blog – it makes me happy and I learn a ton. I’ve pitched in $25 which to be honest I would pay per year if you charged a subscription. I’m also Canadian so can’t really help through affiliate links.

    Rock on!

    PS – Not sure why people are so up in arms in the comments. If you don’t want to contribute feel free not to.

  149. Go for it. Go for it. Go for it.
    I already have fun just by reading the comments. Can’t wait for the haters to spit fumes under the trip report. I was going to contribute $ 1; however; CT’s arguments changed my mind and I’m in for $10 🙂

  150. After supporting you via CC links and your positions in the past few months with devaluations, I can’t help but be disgusted by this. I’ve yet to see you help anyone out with charity even though you blow massive miles and money to constantly pamper yourself, and now you want people to pay 25k so you can fly again? You really need to grow up and look at the real world- this 25k could do so much more good than some trip report.

  151. I got at least two advantageous tips from your blog last year and I like your trip reports so I’m willing to kick in a few bucks for the cause! I think for this one we’ll definitely need video as well as pictures.

  152. i haven’t heard this kind of crazy idea for a long time, probably never. so here is 50 for you.

  153. First of all–ignore the grinches on here. Jeeze people, if you have no idea of fun, just take your sour, lemon juice ideas and walk away.
    Ben, this sounds like a lot of fun to me. And I’m in as well. You have given me so much over the years that I’m happy to contribute.
    This will succeed and most of your readers, whether they’re able to contribute or not, are cheering you on!
    Safe travels!!

  154. Here’s a suggestion: why not ask mom and dad their thoughts about this? You’re very close “mit” them, they really are your only grounded support system, and you can validate whether or not you’ve carried on their values (which may or may not be important to you).

  155. Lucky – I get tons of value out of this blog, so I’m happy to toss in some cash for your Kickstarter. I’m pretty excited that you’ll be the first to write up a trip report for the Residence.

    To the haters – How is this any different than paying for other types of entertainment? Ten dollars on a movie, $50 on a game, or $100 on a monthly cable bill. All that money could likely go to someone who needs it more, but rather we hand it to execs, football players, actors, and musicians who live in $10 million homes and fly around in $50 million private jets. In my mind, Lucky’s trip (it’s gonna happen) on a $20,000 flight is probably the humblest use of my entertainment budget. Until you stop paying for all entertainment, this includes vacations, you should probably reconsider your outrage.

    P.S. Lucky – I’d be happy to help you test out how much champagne they load for Residence passengers.

  156. This really is disgusting…credit card referrals not generating enough cash for you these days so you hafta beg for money, eh Lucky?


    The worst part of this panhandling is the thought of being cooped-up with Lucky in this cabin for 12+ hours…I hope the walls are soundproof, for his sake….

  157. Oh come on, that $20,000 ticket is free with just $1,000,000 of manufactured spending on the Barclay’s arrival card… It’s not THAT bad..

  158. Why not… I could spend $10 for lunch tomor, or – I could bring a sandwich, contribute $10, and help someone experience something great.

    Best of luck.

  159. Michael (#160, 165 & 190): Like a MC commercial: priceless.

    Sky: doubt Ben will pony up. You should know by now be doesn’t pay for anything. If it’s free, he’s all over it. You’ve heard the joke about “air being free”, right? And what did PT Barnum say once?

    Bill: god forbid anyone make legitimate, factual statements questioning the legitimacy of actions taken or cons to be tried to get something for free. Maybe those of us who question legitimacy would rather be considered by that label (haters) than being labeled mindless sheep.

  160. Lucky,

    Quite honestly I haven’t any interest in this particular quest of yours and personally have nothing to gain from reading about it. However, you’ve graciously helped me many times in the past with questions of mine that benefited you in no way. Thus I have just supported your cause with 10 whole dollars. Good luck!

  161. @ Ben:

    Can you confirm that whatever you have planned to select the second seat passenger won’t be limited by the “residents of the 50 US states” crap? Please don’t forget your international readers.

  162. You’re the man, Ben! I love your blog and always look forward to your posts. You just seem like a really nice dude who does no harm and that’s all we can ask of each other in this world. Keep up the great, entertaining work. I greatly admire what you have achieved with your blog and will happily throw in $10.

  163. Tyler: you hit the nail on the head! Now you know that in place of clicking in his links which I doubt you or many other readers will use in the future, just do an online search and screw his links. Selfish, self absorbed people like him could care less about charity unless it’s for them.

    Colleen: good thought but without a doubt, the apples most likely hasn’t fallen far from the tree. After all, they let him (allegedly) start flying around the country while he was in high school. Hate to say it, but the last name unfortunately should be a glaring clue. Remember, the only important thing for him is another free flight, but only up front. If not up front? Oy vey – not in a million years.

    theblakefish: “cooped up for 12 hours”: ha, good one!

  164. Don’t we Kickstart you already whenever we churn credit card bonuses? And yes, I do use your links rather than your competitors.

  165. I’m pretty surprised at all the outlandish comments against this and Lucky. People should understand that if they don’t like Lucky or his blog, or his ridiculous idea, they should leave the blog and never come back. They certainly shouldn’t donate. It’s kind of like people who bitch about TV shows. Just change the channel and don’t go back!

    I think the idea is crazy, but I’m also jealous. My first thought was “how can I get somebody to pay for my first class travel?” Will I donate? No, but I hope he gets it funded so I can live vicariously through him.

    Good luck Ben. Can’t wait to read the reviews.

  166. I think that you should wait like a month to fly this product. In the first week, everything will not be as polished or smooth as after a period of actual real activity.

  167. TravelerMSY: good point. I guess now you know you don’t need blog links to accomplish the same thing. But the days of churning are numbered although he’ll not be truthful about that. (I’d be surprised if he’ll honestly reply to you though).

  168. Ethical Question : If Etihad comps your seat, as “travel journalist” do you then return the funds to donors?

    Also Ethical Question : Is it even ethical to crowdsource when you can afford to finance the one way ticket yourself? [ lets not kid ourselves ]

  169. So, you can turn this junket into a tax free vacation by claiming it is as “business expense”? That’s quite a racket!

  170. Wow CT. Throwing Ben’s family name in there and the assumption that people with that last name are cheap. Stay classy!

  171. CT: It isn’t free in any sense of the word. The entire point of the “game” is to be able to use services that would cost exorbitant amounts of money without paying the upfront cost, but this doesn’t mean that there are no costs involved.

    Ben and many other FFs accrue a significant number of miles via flying, and more via credit card. While it might seem like abuse, at the end of the day, the airline is still raking in cash by the bucketful. After all, if these programs weren’t net moneymakers, they wouldn’t operate them in the first place. That’s why everyone from big flag carriers to even low-cost carriers is partnering up to release a co-branded credit card. They make money on every mile they sell to the banks that issue the cards, and the banks make money on every transaction they get to extract a fee from, and the merchant gets the benefit of that customer’s business. In terms of accrual from flying, it’s already built into the cost of the ticket, with the goal of intentionally bringing people back (you already paid for your flight plus part of another, may as well come back and redeem that, right?). That United listed MileagePlus as one of its most important assets while it was in bankruptcy is no surprise, nor that Air Canada spun off Aeroplan into an independent company that is fully profitable on its own income.

    When it comes to redemption, the point is to fill seats that are otherwise projected to be empty with saver awards, and the rest with (much more expensive) regular awards. Even at the saver award level, given what we’ve seen from Ben and other bloggers, the airline still makes a net profit given how low the marginal cost of an extra passenger is on a plane that is already scheduled. Assuming a basic one-way international F award costs 80,000 miles, even if the FF program sells miles at 0.5 cpm, they’re still making $400, which by all indications is more than they pay their alliance partners.

    Thus, airlines still make money even on smarter fliers like Ben, they just happen to have a somewhat slimmer margin than the people who redeem for domestic Y itineraries. Unless he’s hiding something from us, last I recall Ben doesn’t have a magical jar that gushes forth miles on a whim. Mileage accrual is the same for everyone, some people are just willing to go to greater lengths. In which case under basic economic principles, they trade their additional effort for additional return. TINSTAAFL.

    At this point, it’s become a pretty blatant ad hominem argument, with no real attention to facts anymore (in spite of claims to the contrary). Now his parents are being called out, as if giving their son the responsibility to spend his time and money as he likes is somehow a bad thing. There are no longer any legitimate arguments being made, just angry grumbling that people disagree (on the internet, imagine that!).

  172. @CT haha you mad bro? Calm down dude people can make their own decisions how to spend their own money, it’s all in fun.

  173. Lucky,
    Nothing wrong with you putting something like this out there and letting people decide to support you, or not.
    My wife and I love reading your articles and if I am going to read about the product I would rather get the info from you.
    Donataion on the way. Good Luck!

  174. Also, do you get to deduct 20k in “business expenses” for Points Pros taxes from this?

    For everyone else : Credit Card referral blogs make a lot more money than you think. These are all legit questions and concerns.

  175. Good grief, the haters sure come back a lot to the same post. Over and over again. Keep hitting that refresh button, bro (or watch for the email notifying of new comments).

  176. I think Ben needs to create a medium award between the $100 and $500 awards. He has 6 $500 awards which make up almost half of his goal currently. $250 for coffee (or diet cokes with lemon?) meet up.

  177. “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?

  178. 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.

  179. @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.

  180. 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.

  181. @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.

  182. 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 😉

  183. 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.

  184. 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.

  185. 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.

  186. 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?

  187. 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.

  188. 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.

  189. 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.

  190. 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.


  191. 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.

  192. @ 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.

  193. 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.

  194. 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.

  195. 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.

  196. 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.

  197. 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….

  198. 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)

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

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

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

  202. 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?

  203. 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.

  204. 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.

  205. 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 !!!

  206. 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?

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

  208. 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.

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

  210. 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.

  211. @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.

  212. 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.

  213. 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.

  214. 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.

  215. 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.

  216. @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.

  217. 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.

  218. 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.

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

  220. @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.

  221. 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.

  222. 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.

  223. 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.

  224. 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.

  225. 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.

  226. 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.

  227. 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.

  228. @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.

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

  230. 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!

  231. 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.

  232. 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.

  233. 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”.

  234. 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.

  235. @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.

  236. 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


  237. @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.

  238. @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.

  239. 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.

  240. 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!

  241. 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 🙂

  242. @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?

  243. 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

  244. @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.

  245. @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.

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

  247. 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

  248. 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!

  249. @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.

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

  251. 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…

  252. @ 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.

  253. 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.

  254. 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.

  255. 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”.

  256. 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.”


  257. @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.

  258. 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.

  259. 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!

  260. 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.

  261. @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.

  262. @SOLTATIO

    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.

  263. @ Rachel from 346

    You hit the nail there.

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

  264. 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!

  265. @ 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!

  266. @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.

  267. 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.

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

  269. 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.

  270. 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.

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

  272. 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.

  273. 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.

  274. 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 😉

  275. 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.

  276. 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.

  277. 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.

  278. 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

  279. 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.

  280. 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….

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

    10,000 ft and 10 Inches


    I Ream Jeannie

  282. 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.

  283. 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.

  284. 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.

  285. 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.

  286. @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

  287. 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,

  288. 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!!)

  289. “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

  290. “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

  291. 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 🙂

  292. 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.

  293. 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.

  294. 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 🙂

  295. Damm, I would’ve contributed a 1000$. If only I found this blog earlier and haters, you know what. How dare you tell other people what to spend their money on. You think you can tell me what to spend my money on. You know what, I won’t donate to charity and i don’t care if you think I am immoral, because I have the right to my money. And I really don’t care if it doesn’t change the world, because that would be quality entertainment and would be more valuable to me than donating to some corrupt charity. @Lucky, hope you do it again.

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