Introduction: O-man, IB Crazy AF

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Introduction
Review: American Business Class A321 Los Angeles To New York
Review: British Airways Lounge New York JFK
Review: Iberia Business Class A340 New York To Madrid
Review: Iberia Arrivals Lounge Madrid Airport
Review: Hilton Madrid Airport
Review: LAN Business Class 787 Madrid To Frankfurt
Review: Oman Air Business Class 787 Frankfurt To Muscat
Review: Oman Air Lounge Muscat Airport
Review: Oman Air Business Class A330 Muscat To Bangkok
Review: Le Meridien Suvarnabhumi Resort & Spa
Review: Oman Air Lounge Bangkok Airport
Review: Oman Air Business Class A330 Bangkok To Muscat
Review: Oman Air New Business Class A330 Muscat To Frankfurt
Review: Sheraton Frankfurt Airport Club Suite
Review: Air France Lounge Frankfurt Airport
Review: Air France HOP Business Class Frankfurt To Paris
Review: Air France First Class Ground Experience Paris
Review: Air France Business Class 777 Paris To Toronto


To those of you who have been asking for more creative trip report titles, there ya go. Punny, eh? 😉

The motivation for this trip started with my desire to fly Oman Air. I’ve flown most of the other major carriers in the region, including Emirates, Etihad, Gulf Air, Qatar, Royal Jordanian, etc.

But when it comes to business class products, Oman Air has always intrigued me more than any of those airlines. They’ve historically had a business class product which looks a lot more like first class than business class, though their new planes are being delivered with a different business class product. So I really wanted to try their old product before it eventually disappears.

Oman-Air-Business-Class

Fortunately that opportunity presented itself when I stumbled upon some great Oman Air business class fares between Frankfurt and Bangkok (routing via Muscat in both directions). Unfortunately the time I had to take this trip was very limited, as I hoping to squeeze it between my trip to Changsha on Hainan, and my trip to Colombia, which gave me only about a week to play with.

Frankfurt to Bangkok

I managed to book the following Oman Air business class ticket for $1,795, which would allow me to sample their old A330 business class, their new A330 business class, and their new 787 business class:

02/14 WY114 Frankfurt to Muscat departing 8:20PM arriving 6:00AM (+1 day)
02/15 WY815 Muscat to Bangkok departing 10:00AM arriving 7:00PM
02/17 WY818 Bangkok to Muscat departing 9:00AM arriving 1:00PM
02/17 WY113 Muscat to Frankfurt departing 2:00PM arriving 6:45PM

Oman-Air-787-Business-Class - 1

Los Angeles to Frankfurt

Then I had to figure out how I was going to get between Los Angeles and Frankfurt in both directions. While a product like Lufthansa first class is always enjoyable, I have (at least) 16 new products I want to review this year, so I figured I might as well get some more off my list.

For the outbound I managed to find transatlantic business class award availability on Iberia, which is the only oneworld business class product between the US and Europe I’ve yet to review (I’ve reviewed airberlin, American Airlines, British Airways, and Finnair).

Iberia-A340-Business-Class-2

But then I needed to get from Madrid to Frankfurt. Rather than taking the Iberia flight with a regional, intra-Europe business class seat (which is basically economy with a blocked middle), I remembered that LAN Chile operates an afternoon flight from Madrid to Frankfurt on a 787. This is a continuation of their flight from Santiago. That was another product I could easily get off my list!

LAN-787-Business-Class - 5

Lastly, originally I had a crappy flight with a connection to position from Los Angeles to New York, though the day before departure a nonstop business class seat opened up from Los Angeles to New York. I’ve reviewed American’s A321 first class several times, though haven’t yet reviewed their business class, so was excited to check that out as well.

American-Business-Class-A321 - 17

In the end the following ticket cost me 50,000 AAdvantage miles plus $97 in taxes and carrier imposed surcharges (there are small surcharges when redeeming on Iberia, though nothing compared to what you’d pay on British Airways):

02/12 AA32 Los Angeles to New York departing 2:30PM arriving 10:54PM
02/13 IB6250 New York to Madrid departing 5:35PM arriving 6:40AM (+1 day)
02/14 LA704 Madrid to Frankfurt departing 3:15PM arriving 5:50PM

Frankfurt to Los Angeles

Then it came time to plan the return, where I didn’t see any amazing options. I’ve long been wanting to try Air France’s new business class, and in looking at space for the day I needed to fly, I saw there was space from Paris to Toronto using Air France FlyingBlue miles.

Air-France-New-Business-Class - 2

Fortunately I had Citi ThankYou points from the Citi Prestige® Card and Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, so I transferred 62,500 miles to book the following:

02/18 AF1019 Frankfurt to Paris departing 7:25AM arriving 8:55AM
02/18 AF356 Paris to Toronto departing 1:45PM arriving 4:05PM

That cost me 62,500 miles plus $306 in taxes and carrier imposed surcharges.

AF-Award-Cost

Air France lets you buy access to their first class lounge in Paris, which I’d argue is the world’s best first class lounge. So I spent the 300EUR to buy access to the lounge, given my long layover. I figured it would be interesting to see if the experience differs if you’re traveling in business class rather than first class.

Air-France-Lounge - 10

Then I just had to book a paid ticket from Toronto to Los Angeles, so I booked the following perfectly timed flight on American for $142, and cleared an upgrade on it as an Executive Platinum member:

02/18 AA570 Toronto to Los Angeles departing 6:29PM arriving 9:05PM

Summing up flights & maximizing points for my flights

In the end my routing looked as follows:

map

As you can see, my route had me taking 10 flights totaling 25,306 miles. My shortest flight was from Frankfurt to Paris, and totaled 280 miles, while my longest flight was a mere 3,751 miles, from Paris to Toronto.

Here’s the entire schedule:

02/12 AA32 Los Angeles to New York departing 2:30PM arriving 10:54PM
02/13 IB6250 New York to Madrid departing 5:35PM arriving 6:40AM (+1 day)
02/14 LA704 Madrid to Frankfurt departing 3:15PM arriving 5:50PM
02/14 WY114 Frankfurt to Muscat departing 8:20PM arriving 6:00AM (+1 day)
02/15 WY815 Muscat to Bangkok departing 10:00AM arriving 7:00PM
02/17 WY818 Bangkok to Muscat departing 9:00AM arriving 1:00PM
02/17 WY113 Muscat to Frankfurt departing 2:00PM arriving 6:45PM
02/18 AF1019 Frankfurt to Paris departing 7:25AM arriving 8:55AM
02/18 AF356 Paris to Toronto departing 1:45PM arriving 4:05PM
02/18 AA570 Toronto to Los Angeles departing 6:29PM arriving 9:05PM

As far as maximizing points goes, I paid for all my flights using the Citi Prestige® Card, given that it offers triple points on airfare. At a minimum I can redeem those points for ~1.6 cents each towards the cost of a paid ticket on American, so that’s a return of a minimum of ~4.8%, which is great. Furthermore, on revenue tickets, the travel protection offered by the Citi Prestige® Card is pretty unbeatable.

For the Oman Air flights, interestingly they have a partnership with Etihad Guest, so I credited my Oman Air flights to Etihad. Etihad has a decent enough frequent flyer program, and more importantly is transfer partners with Citi ThankYou, meaning I could transfer some additional miles to top off my account for a useful award at some point.

Oman-Air-A330

Booking hotels

As you can see above, I had one night in New York, two nights in Bangkok, and one night in Frankfurt.

For my night in New York I booked the Sheraton JFK Airport, which I’ve reviewed before, so I won’t be writing about it again.

Then I had a long layover in Madrid during the day, and since I was between back-to-back redeyes, I figured getting a few hours of sleep in an airport hotel would serve me well. So I booked a day rate at the Hilton Madrid Airport.

Hilton-Madrid-Airport - 10

Then for my two nights in Bangkok I booked Le Meridien Suvarnabhumi, which is the closest Starwood property to the airport. I only had a day in Bangkok and was trying to be realistic, and knew that I’d be really busy and would probably just be spending my time working.

Le-Meridien-Bangkok

Then on the return I had a quick overnight in Frankfurt, so I booked the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport Hotel. I’ve reviewed it before, though for the first time was assigned a suite here, so figured I’d do a quick review of that.

Sheraton-Frankfurt-Airport

Bottom line

This was a crazy trip, even by my standards. Doing back-to-back redeyes and also taking this trip between two other big trips had even me exhausted. But I was also so excited about flying Oman Air business class, and thrilled that I finally made the decision to just bite the bullet and give them a try.

Stay tuned for the trip report, as some of these flights really surprised me, both good and bad!

In the meantime, if you have any comments/questions, let me know. Thanks for reading and making all this possible!

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Comments

  1. Lucky, fuel surcharges aside, which oneworld carrier do you think is the best choice for transatlantic travel?

  2. @Lucky- Since you traveled by Oman Air and love Oman, did you know that Oman Air has an offer where by you can Stay at on of their affiliated hotels for free for One Night? More over this wouldn’t effect the fare:
    http://www.omanair.com/en/holidays/oman-stopover
    And since you took advantage of the Hainan Chauffer, Oman Air has a complimentary chauffeur services too(btw Bangkok and Frankfurt are included in the service) 🙂
    http://www.omanair.com/en/flying-us/first-class/chauffeur-drive-service
    I’m sorry I guess I was too late.

  3. Lucky, did you happened to stop by the Oman Air First and Business class lounge in Bangkok? They recently joined Priority pass lounge so was curious how the lounge is.

  4. @Chandan Bhat

    Would the free hotel be the Golden Tulip aka Golden Toilet? Or other hotels in the same class?

    With his schedule Lucky literally did not have time for a night in MCT.

  5. @Lucky

    So no joy on getting an F upgrade on the segment that was operated by a 3 class plane?

    Did you end up status matching to Sinbad Gold by the way?

  6. @ David — I did indeed and will review it. Sorry for not including it in the table of contents, was an oversight on my part — fixed now.

  7. @Lucky

    I’ve always been curious about how you’re able to transit flights on separate tickets. For example, when you arrived in Frankfurt on LAN and were connecting to WY to Muscat, did you go landside and re-enter the airport or did you make an airside transfer?

    Second, was American able to issue your Iberia (JFK-MAD) and LAN (MAD-FRA) boarding passes in LAX?

  8. Great summary and fun title! I love flying, but wow that’s a lot to review in a short amount of time. Looking forward to the reviews – especially IB!

  9. @ Jacob — Last minute the BKK-MCT flight got swapped to a plane without a first class cabin, so none of the four flights had a first class.

  10. @ AvGeek — I just made an airside transit and picked up my boarding pass at the departure gate. I was able to get into their contract lounge by just showing my itinerary. And yep, at LAX they were able to print my boarding passes all the way through.

  11. @ No Name — Yeah, the plane ended up getting swapped to one without first class, so no way to score an upgrade. I didn’t end up status matching, but rather credited the flights to Etihad, since I assumed their miles would be more useful.

  12. Since you booked the Air France flight on Flying Blue, does this mean that you have put your trust back into them as a program, after their fraud/account shutdown incident in the past? (perhaps a post on this is needed, since Flying Blue sounds like it could be useful as a program)

  13. It’s been a while since you last posted a long time since you posted a long trip report… can’t wait to read it all

  14. @Lucky, awesome! I look forward to reading it. Great topic for your audience. I have to assume that I’m not the only one with gobs of AA miles and a serious bent for premium cabins… 🙂

  15. Looking at your picture, what a HUGE difference hjot having the central overhead bin makes in terms of spaciousness! In your pictures, the first aircrafts look inviting and open, especially the 787, while the LAN one looks confined and almost oppressive.

    Good to see that more airlines are getting rid of the center overhead bins in premium classes.

  16. I think you have really out-done yourself on this trip. I’m really looking forward to the trip reports. Cheers!

  17. Super excited to see so many reports coming up, but even happier to see 1. The descriptions of booking with miles and points, and 2. The prompt responses to reader qs! Welcome back–we’ve missed you.

  18. On the return, you were connecting from an AF to AA ticket. What if you ended up misconnecting? Since the AA YYZ-LAX was a separate paid ticket, would you have just ponied up the miles if that happened? Or did you take out an insurance policy?

  19. Looks like a relentless trip, to be sure.

    I am curious: how did you book this trip? It looks like no less than three seperate record locators – which, given how your itinerary worked out and the layovers you had, doesnt look like it was an issue. My presumption is that it was by phone to the respective airlines for the Oman Air and Air France portions, and online somewhere for the rest of it.

    Wouldnt mind seeing more details like this in future posts.

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