Introduction: Flying Brussels Airlines To Tomorrowland

Introduction
British Airways Concorde Room New York JFK
British Airways First Class 747 New York To London
British Airways Concorde Room London Heathrow
British Airways Club Europe A319 London to Brussels
Sheraton Brussels Airport
Brussels Airlines Business Class A330 Brussels To Frankfurt
Brussels Airlines Tomorrowland Flight Frankfurt Gate Party
Brussels Airlines Tomorrowland Flight Frankfurt To Brussels
TGV Train Brussels To Paris
ICARE Lounge Paris Charles de Gaulle
La Compagnie Business Class 757 Paris To Newark
Andaz Wall Street New York


In terms of ridiculous but totally worthwhile reasons for taking a trip, this probably ranks pretty high up there. As I explained in the post I wrote when I embarked on the trip, I love electronic dance music, but I’d never dance (no matter how much alcohol I have in me)… at least in public. As a result I limit my dance parties to completely empty first class cabins when the galley curtains are closed.

One of the biggest electronic music festivals in the world is Tomorrowland, held just outside of Brussels. The whole standing on a field shirtless while dancing and using portable toilet thing isn’t really for me, but in theory I’m intrigued by all of it.

But to me the most fascinating aspect of the festival isn’t the festival itself, but rather Brussels Airlines’ involvement with it, as they have special Tomorrowland flights. During the festival they have a couple of planes that fly a few routes as “Tomorrowland” service, with passengers consisting solely of those going to the festival.

Brussels-Airlines-Tomorrowland
Brussels Airlines Tomorrowland A330

Here’s a video Brussels Airlines made of one of their 2012 Tomorrowland flights:

And here’s a video of one of Brussels Airlines’ 2013 Tomorrowland flights:

Crazy, isn’t it?

My friend Bart was on one of these a couple of weeks back, and when I Tweeted him to let me know how jealous I was, Brussels Airlines invited me to join in on one of their other Tomorrowland party flights, from Frankfurt to Brussels.

Brussels-Airlines-Tomorrowland-Flight

That’s an opportunity I couldn’t say no to. As crazy as it sounds to fly to Europe just to take a 45 minute flight, it’s something I knew I wouldn’t regret.

The party flight was from Frankfurt to Brussels, though the media folks on the flight actually started in Brussels for the day, and flew roundtrip from Brussels to Frankfurt to Brussels. The Brussels to Frankfurt flight was cool in its own right, since it was completely empty aside from a handful of media people, the DJ, the “elves,” and some people from Brussels Airlines’ PR and social media team.

The party flight was last Thursday, and I had a commitment during the day in New York last Tuesday, so in looking at award availability, the only real option was to take British Airways through London.

So I redeemed 62,500 AAdvantage miles for British Airways first class from New York to London, and then business class from London to Brussels. There were also about ~$400 in fuel surcharges, which wasn’t ideal, but it still seemed like the best option.

British-Airways-First-Class-747-01
British Airways 747 first class cabin

It also meant I could check out the New York JFK Concorde Room, and check up on how the infamous London Heathrow Concorde Room is doing.

BA-Concorde-Room-JFK 2
British Airways New York JFK Concorde Room

Due to my schedule I booked the Sheraton Brussels Airport for two nights, which is located right across the street from the terminal. This was extremely convenient, since I was arriving in Brussels in the afternoon and had to be back at the airport at 6:30AM the following morning. In this case I preferred staying by the airport and taking the train to the city, as opposed to staying in the city and taking the train to the airport at 5AM.

Then on Thursday I’d fly Brussels to Frankfurt to Brussels on Brussels Airlines as part of the “party” flight.

On Friday my aspirations were to go to Stockholm, though when I woke up I realized that La Compagnie was actually selling business class tickets from Paris to Newark for 500EUR that day, so I jumped on a train to Paris Charles de Gaulle.

TGV-Train
TGV train from Brussels to Paris

I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to fly La Compagnie, after all.

La-Compagnie-Business-Class-757-02
La Compagnie business class cabin

So in the end my routing looked as follows:

07/22 BA172 New York to London departing 9:30PM arriving 9:25AM (+1 day)
07/23 BA394 London to Brussels departing 12:35PM arriving 2:45PM
07/24 SN1807 Brussels to Frankfurt departing 7:35AM arriving 8:50AM
07/24 SN1808 Frankfurt to Brussels departing 10:20AM arriving 11:35AM
07/24 B0100 Paris to Newark departing 5:50PM arriving 8:30PM

Next-Trip-Report
My routing on this trip

A total whirlwind trip for sure, but it also included one of the coolest flights I’ve ever taken!

As a teaser of what you can expect, here’s a video I took from the Brussels Airlines Tomorrowland party flight from Frankfurt to Brussels:

Stay tuned, this was a fun one!

Comments

  1. lucky says

    @ Ace — La Compagnie was calling, that seemed higher priority to me! I was going to go to Tomorrowland, but when La Compagnie was actually flying…

  2. Luis says

    This is madness and so awesome. You are crazy Ben

    Was the music being played through the plane’s PA speakers or were there actual speakers set up throughout the plane?

  3. Pietro says

    What aircrafts are Brussels Airlines using to operate these flights? From the pictures and video it doesn’t look like the usual A320-family aircraft you expect on the short-haul hops. More like an A330 from the looks of the video?

  4. JMR says

    Well, I do expect a special segment on engine noise and noise cancelling headsets on Brussels Airlines ;)

  5. Nemme says

    Now THIS is a trip report. Aside from the trips with your parents, this trip makes the most “sense” to me since it embodies so much of why we travel.

  6. Drew says

    Okay @Lucky, so how jet lagged were you in Brussels or once you got back to the states? I have one of these less than 48 hours on the ground trips coming up, and have been wondering how I should approach prepping for the crazy travel time period, but also being able to be human and function both at my destination and when I return.

  7. lucky says

    @ Drew — I just live in a state of perpetual jetlag. My strategy is a bit different than I’d recommend for most, since I try to be awake during US east coast business hours as much as possible, since that’s when I’m “busiest” with work. So usually I just sleep for a few hours at night, and then take a nap again in the afternoon. On this particular trip I hardly slept. Was a rough one!

  8. stvr says

    Would love to be walked through how you go about deciding that what are the only TA options for your dates. Do you go to aa.com, united.com, delta.com, aeroplan.com, flyingblue.com…? What’s your hit list? What’s your decision tree? Do you use the ANA tool? What currency would you use first… second… third?

    Super curious…

  9. lucky says

    @ stvr — My thought process wasn’t quite that complex, and I search space all day, so it’s almost a bit subconscious for me. I was simply looking at transatlantic departures out of JFK or EWR after 8PM, which was the earliest I could fly. There were some products available I wasn’t really interested in flying (like angled business class products that I’ve done before). Since I didn’t see anything that would make an especially interesting review, I went with what I considered to be the most comfortable/convenient option.

  10. CMD says

    I will actually be staying at the Sheraton Brussels Airport for <24hours Wednesday. Any tips for getting to the city or anything you especially enjoyed?

  11. lucky says

    @ CMD — Train to the city is fairly convenient. At times had issues with the internet, but other than that a really solid hotel, in my opinion.

  12. lucky says

    @ johnbom — Nope, actually hadn’t yet booked my Stockholm flight. Planning last minute pays off sometimes. :)

  13. says

    I am in complete and utter disbelief by the fact that you flew on a Tomorrowland flight but didn’t actually go to Tomorrowland. This may be the single oddest thing I’ve ever read.

  14. The numbers guy says

    You spent 625,000 miles on a BA first class flight?!?! Mate, I think you’ve been ripped off. Unless you mean 62,500 miles which is slightly better :p

  15. mike says

    They are definitely on to something here. I wish all the daytime flights would have the windows closed it would be a lot better not to have the sun beating down on you during the flight.

  16. JeffISU says

    Took the flight but didn’t stay for the party? I looked up the website the day you originally posted this and all tickets appeared to be sold out. Maybe SN could have pulled some strings? I would have passed up the La Compagnie flight and at least checked it out for one day. Yeah the overnight tent camping thing is a bit too woodstockish, but maybe just stay for the day? Too bad, would have been cool to have seen it, both for you and for us.

  17. says

    Great story, you lucky thing! Sounds amazing. I had never previously heard of Tomorrowland, but I think I might look it up for next year. It sounds like just my thing as I’m very into dance music.
    I llive in Berlin and ever since the “Love Parade” moved away from Berlin, it’s never been the same. It’s a pity that you never actually got to be at the festival, but it happens! Next year, fling a couple of tickets over. I’ll go on your behalf LOL!

  18. lex says

    Great choice Ben, I wouldn’t have stayed for the party. But Brussels seems to have done a solid job on the special flights:)

  19. Oliver H says

    @Lucky
    Was the 62500 AA miles just for the first class flight between New York and London or was that the cost for New York to London to Brussels?

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