Our Journey to San Sebastián

Oh boy, that was a long day! When it was all said and done, it probably took about 20 hours and 3 flights to get here, and we were all exhausted. Our flight left from New Orleans around 11:15 am to JFK. We then had a 5 hour layover in NY. Our flight to Madrid was about 6.5 hours (not too bad). Our last flight to San Sebastián was only about an hour.


All things considered, I’m pretty happy with the way everything went. However, when we boarded the first flight, James completely flipped out. He was screaming on the top of his lungs, arching his back, and he kept saying “outside.” Basically, he wanted OFF. This went on probably for about 20 minutes while everyone was getting on the plane. I can only imagine what they were thinking about us! I remember leaning over to Justin at one point and saying that we are going to need to abort this whole trip if it doesn’t get any better. And I was dead serious. He said that he was reviewing cancellation policies in his head before I even said that. It was BAD. To add insult to injury, the stewardess insisted that I put him in his own seat with a seatbelt. Every time I would attempt to do this, James would arch his back and wiggle underneath the seatbelt onto the floor. We were quite the scene. Finally, I ended up using one arm to pin him into the seat and the other to buckle him in. I had to physically hold him in the seat while he calmed down. He finally accepted a sucker and his kindle/headphones. Bad start to a long day. However, after that initial scene, the plane took off, and he did really well for the rest of the flight.

Continue reading

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

DSC00663 Continue reading

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.

DSC00262 Continue reading

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:


DSC00265 DSC00283 DSC_8171 Continue reading

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


DSC00267 Continue reading

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.

DSC02311 Continue reading


We left Abu Dhabi at 10 am and made it to New York around 5pm (14 hour flight).  I definitely have alot to say about our time in the United Arab Emirates, but I will have to catch up on that when we get home.  Aaaaaahhhhhh! HOME!

I promise that we will continue to post pictures and final thoughts on the trip.  It has been quite an adventure.  I think I need to take a few days to compile my thoughts and digest everything that has happened in the last 11 weeks.  It has been a wild ride!

I want to thank everyone who followed along with us and kept us motivated to continue blogging.  I am a first time blogger, so I was learning along the way!  We loved and read every single comment.  I may not have responded every time, but we saw them all.  I can’t tell you how good it made me feel.

Sorry the last couple of posts don’t have any pictures.  I promise, the next ones will have pictures of Dubai and Adu Dhabi!

XOXO Alyce

P.S. What is the deal with the weather? We were hoping to skip winter!!

Maldives, Here We Come!

We are on our way to the last major stop of the big trip, the Maldives.  This is going to be a very long day!  We left the Chedi Club around 9 am, and we will arrive in the Maldives around 3 am!  It’s going to take 3 flights and a boat ride before we get to the hotel.  This is the itinerary: First, we fly from Bali to Singapore where we have a 5 hour layover (thank goodness for lounge access!).  Then, we fly from Singapore to Male (the main island of the Maldives).  Then, we fly to a closer island to the one we are staying.  Then, we have about a 1 hour boat ride to finally reach paradise!  I hope it’s worth it!

I’m typing this from the lounge in Singapore, so we have a while before we get there!

Here are a couple of pictures of how we spent our layover (plus one picture of my very favorite travel shoes!)



See ya in the Maldives

XOXO Alyce

9 nights and counting……