Getting To One Direction In Style Has Turned Into A Harry Situation!

As I first wrote about in late July, Starwood was kind enough to invite me and 10 of my closest friends (in other words, you guys!) to a One Direction concert at the O2 arena in London on September 28, 2015. They gave us the SPG Suite, similar to the one I recently visited at the US Open in New York.

SPG-Suite-US-Open - 5

We wanted to have some fun with it, so I asked you guys how we should get to the concert, and made a game of it. The requirements included the following:

  • Two seats (so Tiffany and I can both write reviews)
  • Leave Southern California (Los Angeles or San Diego) next Thursday or Friday (September 24 or 25)… Wednesday could even work as well, if need be
  • Need to be in London by Sunday at the latest, though preferably Saturday
  • If paid positioning flights are needed, that’s not a problem
  • Travel must be in first or business class using miles (at the saver level)
  • Routing doesn’t have to be direct, and can involve multiple awards — we don’t mind routing via another continent

There were some amazing suggestions. As I explained, I was neither for or against a really complex routing, but the goal was to try something new and creative. One of the very first suggestions was from Ben Hause, who left the following comment:

Aeromexico LAX-MEX-LHR and MEX-LHR on AM’s 787?

Amazingly enough they had space available for two in business class, and it wasn’t a route I had initially thought of on my own. I basically couldn’t find any reviews of Aeromexico’s 787 business class, so this seemed like a fun product to review. I immediately transferred 125,000 points to Air France’s FlyingBlue program (they charge 62,500 miles for Los Angeles to Mexico City to London without fuel surcharges), and they showed up about 30 hours later.

Citi-FlyingBlue-4

Only unfortunately the award space was gone at that point… grrrr!

I can’t even begin to tell you how many hours we spent trying to make the perfect routing work after that. Lots and lots and lots of them! We found all kinds of routings I ultimately felt lukewarm about.

The challenge is that on the return I have a specific day/time at which I have to fly, so I booked a one-way award ticket on Virgin Atlantic in Upper Class, using Delta SkyMiles. That meant I was charged the UK Air Passenger Duty and fuel surcharges, since the award was originating in Europe. The last time I reviewed Virgin Atlantic Upper Class was in early 2014, though Nick reviewed it more recently.

Virgin-Atlantic-Upper-Class

After spending hours looking at any creative routing for the outbound which could work, there was just nothing that was practical and available. Around the same time, Delta opened up space to London. By adding that to the same award ticket, they actually took off the fuel surcharges, since the ticket was now originating in the US rather than Europe.

So I’ll get to try Delta’s service to London Heathrow, which will be my first time flying them to Europe. The last time I reviewed Delta business class was in late 2013.

Delta-BusinessElite

Stay tuned, as I’ll of course have a full trip report.

Bottom line

Seeing all the suggestions you guys provided really jogged my mind as to all the products I want to review. In the near future I’m focusing on reviewing more business class products. High on my list are the new products of Aer Lingus, Air Tahiti Nui, China Airlines, China Eastern, Finnair, Iberia, SAS, etc.

Thanks to everyone for the amazing suggestions, and congrats to Ben Hause on coming up with the routing I was going to book — I’ll be in touch shortly with an airline/hotel gift card of his choice.

And I look forward to seeing some of you in London!

Comments

  1. flew a DL connection leg LGA-RDU yesterday. Had SkyClub access through Amex Plat but felt very very unfamiliar as an AA elite to patiently wait for Zone 2 boarding. That said, gate agents and in flight crew were awesome. Super friendly, chatty in a good way, vigilant and attentive. Was a new CRJ900 and I was way in the back but I have been on Eagle embraers that were a nightmare comparatively. GoGo was 8.95 for the duration of the flight.

    I never fly DL (this segment was bc fares were literally 150 cheaper than AA; banked to AS mileage plan) but kudos to them.

  2. I’m a big fan of AeroMexico’s new business on the 787. It’s the same seat that Delta has transcon and the Salon Premier Lounges in MEX are great. Service can be hit or miss, and food is OK, but drinks quality is generally good and they don’t mind opening some (read: many) bottles of champagne as requested. Another option is buying a coach Aeromexico fare and using OptionTown to upgrade it with. Works about 65% of the time, but again it’s a risk the “upgrade” won’t clear.

    Also AM is a good option from they US to South American via MEX, as business can be very discounted at times. Also the NYC-MEX route is the Dreamliner with flat beds.

  3. I realised I missed out on that post, and hence the contest. lol.

    But I would have asked if this is available (and we probably need to call BA):
    Positioning to JFK.
    JFK-NAP-LGW via Meridiana Business Class using BA avios. (or reverse route) (NAP-LGW can also be in BA, if Meridiana has no availability )

    I think Meridiana has little reviews, and Naples is also a lesser known transfer point compared to MXP and FCO (so a transit review may also be interesting, or a stopover in the city). And of course, LGW instead of the usual LHR for london.

    I thought this is one little quirk of BA avios that perhaps can be reviewed.

  4. To add: If LGW-NAP, and NAP-JFK is available, you can avoid the hefty longhaul UK departure tax (since it is going to Italy) and spend a stopover in Naples if you wish. (:

  5. Yet another set of VIrgin Atlantic pajamas. Glad you took my advice and flew VS. Kinda disappointing they’re not flying the 787 on this route yet.

  6. Who the fuck wants to go to a one direction concert? That sounds like a crappy time. All Lucky needs to want something is the idea that others want it or the price is expensive.

  7. @mattias

    “Wish DL flew their excellent A330s to LHR…”

    Amen to that, was on a 4 month old one out of DTW last month into AMS. Am actively looking for the 330’s over the 767’s as the herringbone is far superior to the staggered fit on the 767.

    That and I need to avoid the dreaded AF side by side business seating…(they keep swapping out DL metal for AF on the routes I need and I don’t want to go anywhere near CDG)

  8. Lucky, I feel like there were two things possible mistakes or things you may have overlooked when you were trying to get those Aeromexico seats…

    A. I have transferred many times AMEX to FB, and if you do it over the phone with MR it’s an instant transfer (not 100% sure with TYP)
    B. FB’s program allows for 24 hour holds

    ,

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