Paris to New Orleans in Lufthansa First Class (748i)

Booking this was a pain.

Lufthansa (“LH”) only releases first class award space to partners (like United) within 14 days of the flight date.  And then it is a crap shoot as to when space is actually released – especially two seats.

This is made worse by the fact that the United site is notoriously bad at showing “phantom award space.”  What does that mean?  United’s site will show seats as available, but – after you go through the process of filling out all of your information and basically booking the ticket – it will result in an error.  That means the seat is not actually available.

One solution to phantom availability it to use ANA’s award site, but it takes longer and is much less user friendly in general.  But it is accurate.  The problem with ANA’s site is that it doesn’t show award space within 4 days (or 3 – I don’t remember), so once you reach that point (when 2 seats are most likely to be released on the most popular routes) it is useless.

The above factors combined with trying to search for these at night after a day of walking around/eating/drinking/etc. made it a pain.  I won’t even mention the unusable internet at the Hyatt Regency Churchill in London and how it nearly caused me to jump off the roof out of frustration while attempting to look for flights.

All that said, I put up with it because I really wanted to make sure we got to fly Lufthansa first class this flight.  United’s award chart was destroyed for Star Alliance first class flights as of February 1st, so doing this in the future would be far more expensive.  For example, this particular flight cost us 67,500 miles per person.  Now, it is 110,000 miles per person; that is a 63% increase.  Or put another way, both of our flights only cost 25,000 miles more than what one flight will cost going forward.

I also wanted to try LH first class because everyone raves about it, especially the ground service.  And I could go on with the links…

Anyway, I secured two flights for us on one of Lufthansa’s new 747 planes, specifically the 748i, about 2 or 3 days before we departed Paris.  I had other flights on hold should Lufthansa not open up, so we were guaranteed to get home one way or the other.  The exact routing was:

CDG-FRA on a LH A319

FRA-IAD on a LH 748i

IAD-MSY on a UA A320

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The Asian Detour

Hong Kong/Cathay Pacific

The start of our second trip around the world – albeit a much quicker trip than the last one.  Alyce was pretty anxious heading in to the last trip, and I couldn’t really blame her.  We were going to be away from everything that we knew and was familiar to us for nearly 3 months.

This time, she was much more relaxed (relatively speaking, of course).  We would only be gone for 12 nights.  And although neither of us were particularly happy about having to board Moose at the vet for that time, we knew he’d be taken care of.  Our parents watched the pain in the butt – aka Chunk.

We spent the night before we left in New Orleans, making things easier for the following morning.  Our flight to Chicago left New Orleans at about 7:30 a.m.  It was on an American Airlines Embraer E175 regional jet and we were in business class.  As with most domestic flights, it was pretty standard.  Though, I will say that the plane was actually pretty nice.  Many regional jets can be cramped/not good to fly on, but we liked this one.  And it was clearly a pretty new plane…I think it even had a new plane smell.

Upon arriving in Chicago, the cold air took our breath away on the brief walk up the gate bridge (I think it was 6 degrees F).  We followed the signs to the international terminal, and recleared security then waited for the lounge to open.

It was a little past noon, and the Swiss lounge was still pretty dead looking.  I finally found someone there and asked when they’d be opening, at which point I was informed that Cathay Pacific no longer uses the Swiss Lounge.  Oops.  I should have checked on that.

Now, Cathay uses the BA First lounge.  It is a bigger, much more spacious lounge compared to the Swiss Lounge.  That said, the food and drink selections were without a doubt superior in the Swiss Lounge.  It was not a big deal, and the extra space was nice.  Plus, you get your fill of food on the plane.

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The Asian Detour In Pictures

Alyce came up with the name “The Asian Detour” to describe…well, our detour to Asia on the way to Europe.  I like it, so I’m sticking with it.  Even though we weren’t in any one place for long, we still managed to get some shots along the way.  Here is the link to the pictures below, as well as some selected shots in this post:!i=3040577877&k=QBRkHLr

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The Asian Detour

The Asian Detour

Yes, yes, we went to Asia on the way to Europe. Why? Justin explains the reason in his last post. Anyway, we did it. Once again, we flew in style.

Cathay Pacific First Class Take 2:

Once again, Cathay Pacific doesn’t disappoint.  Even though I knew exactly what to expect, I am always amazed by the level of service and attention to detail provided by this great airline.  If you want a more detailed review, see our previous post (about a year ago).  My flight experience basically went like this:

1. Get on the plane

2. Eat a 4 course meal

3. Ask the flight attendant to make my bed while I change into my pajamas

4. Sleep for 8 solid hours

5. Drink some hot tea while watching TV

6. Eat again

7. Get off the plane


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Deja Vu

Yep, we are on the road again……or in the air, whatever. It really seems like yesterday that we were heading out on our grand adventure.  Actually, it was less than a year ago that we were taking this same flight to Hong Kong and would return to the US about 12 weeks later.  I was reminiscing recently about my emotions before leaving for that trip.  I was about as anxious as I have ever been. Justin was about to explode with excitement.

I vividly remember sitting by the terminal in the New Orleans airport waiting to take our first flight of the trip. An airline employee walked up to us and started asking us something about our bags.  To this day, I don’t know what the man was trying to ask/tell us. I think that they were afraid that there wouldn’t be enough overhead storage, and he wanted to know if he could check our carry ons.

Sidenote: I have serious issues about my luggage.  I am constantly in a panic that my bags are going to get lost. Why? I have no idea. Our luggage has always been at our destination without any problems.

Anyway, this man dared to ask me to part with my carry on bag. Not only did I truly not comprehend what he was saying (through my state of heightened anxiety), but I gave him a look so severe and intense that he just walked away without pushing the issue any more.  I just asked Justin how he would describe “the look.” He referred to it as “the bitchiest look in the world.” Followed by ” the look of wishing death and torture on another person times infinity.”

He wasn’t exaggerating. And that is how the trip began. We can laugh about this now, but the memories are still very fresh. Luckily (for Justin), I am in much better spirits this time around. 12 nights? It will go by in the blink of an eye. Easy.

Aside from some tears (ok, ALOT of tears) about having to send my Moose baby to the kennel, I am really looking forward to this trip. So, we are going to Europe, but we are taking the long way……the really long way.  No big deal.  The 16 hour first class flight is one of the things that we are looking forward to the most! Right now, we are sitting in the British Airways First Class Lounge hanging out before our flight.

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Justin has had some Champagne and a few glasses of wine. I had some peppermint tea and a sparkling water. Anyway, we will take lots of pictures of the flight and all of our fancy flights of the trip.


Justin has warned me that this “first class gravy train” may be drying up soon. So, I’m going to enjoy every minute! But, I am truly spoiled rotten. One year ago, I had never taken a first class or business class flight. Honestly, I never expected to. But now that I have……I don’t want to ever go back!

He created a monster! We will check in from Hong Kong.

I hope everyone has a very happy New Year.

Love you all XOXOXO

The Flight Home Wrap up

We got up early and said good-bye to Tommy, Mallory, and the girls.  Similar to when we arrived, a complimentary car ride to the airport was provided for premium cabin passengers.  So, we took advantage of the free ride.

The Abu Dhabi Airport is Etihad’s hub.  There is a completely separate terminal entrance for Business and First Class passengers, complete with bellhops waiting to take your luggage.

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Port Douglas, Australia Wrap Up

Hello 100% English speaking country.  It is very nice to see you.  Your food: pretty similar to what you find in America.  The most exciting thing ever—nope.  What we were in the mood for—absolutely.

No more wondering if a soup was a main course or appetizer.  No more menus in complete Japanese.  Much less asking each other “do you know what this is?” and hearing back “nope, but it is good.”

Don’t get me wrong, we loved Asia, but it was great to be someplace that was familiar…Well, mostly familiar.  We are not on a vacation, but a holiday.  You don’t watch your step, you mind your step.  You don’t get in line, but queue up.  After a thank you, it is not you’re welcome or no problem, but no worries (I’ve even been told no drama)…And of course, you drive on the left and the steering wheel is on the right.

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The flight to Hong Kong

I’m writing this with three hours left on my flight, and I’ve never been so disappointed to only have three hours left on a flight.  The experience in Cathay Pacific first class has literally been unbelievable….and I had thought that I had a pretty good idea of what to expect.

From New Orleans, we flew to Chicago on a regional jet in first class, which was nice but nothing like international first/business.  Basically it is what you see on all domestic flights: the seat is a little wider, there is a little more leg room, and the drinks/snacks are free.

We did not really take advantage of the snacks and just drank some coffee.  The flight attendant was surprised that we didn’t want anything, but nothing really caught our attention.  The flight attendant also noted that the shopping would be very good in Hong Kong and Singapore…Something he seemed very excited about.  Anyway, he was a nice guy.

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