Trip Preview: Live from 34,000 Feet a.k.a. Going to Europe for Christmas

Hi from 34,000 feet!

When I started writing this, I was in Narita airport’s JAL Sakura waiting for my flight to Delhi. As I am posting this, I am onboard the said flight, enjoying my stay in JAL’s excellent Apex Suite business class seat.

Trip Preview: Live from 34,000 Feet a.k.a. Going to Europe for Christmas

This flight is the first part of my Christmas trip back to Slovakia that will involve nine flights on five airlines between now and January 10, 2018.

What follows is an overview of the whole trip so that you know what reviews and other articles you can expect to be published over the next couple of months.

When Booking a New Ticket Is Cheaper than Rescheduling

Initially, I was supposed to fly from Tokyo to Budapest via Amsterdam on the December 17.

However, due to mistakenly booking the flight on the wrong date, I had to rethink my plans. And, while I tried calling KLM to see how much it would cost to rebook the ticket, the amount – more than 400EUR – was as much as the cheapest option when buying a new ticket.

As such, I decided to make the trip a bit more interesting.

While playing around with Google Flights, I found a decent one-way fare on KLM between Delhi and Vienna. With the Delhi – Amsterdam sector showing up as a Boeing 747, I was keen on booking it.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 747-400

After several failed attempts at rebooking a JAL business class Tokyo – Bangkok flight I booked using Alaska miles to Tokyo – Delhi, I finally succeeded. On a side note, it was the second portion of the ticket I used between Jakarta and Tokyo earlier this year.

With the ticket to Delhi sorted out, I proceeded with booking the KLM flights as well.

The JAL flight was initially scheduled as a 787 with reverse herringbone seats, but was later changed to one configured with Apex Suites. Given that I hadn’t flown in the Apex Suites before, the change was very welcome.

JAL Japan Airlines Boeing 787-8

At the same time, my KLM flight was switched from a 747-400 to a 777-300ER. That, of course, was a very disappointing change.

Well, you win some and you loose some…

Collecting Four British Airways Segments on the Way Back to Japan

For my trip back, I hoped to be able to fly four segments with British Airways so that I could get oneworld Sapphire status when I return from my Qatar Airways’ business class trip to New York in February.

British Airways A320

After hours of searching (perhaps not the most efficient way to spend time, but I certainly enjoyed the process), I finally settled with the following two tickets:

  • Vienna – London Heathrow – Milan Malpensa
  • Milan Linate – London Heathrow – Tokyo Narita – London Heathrow – Paris Charles de Gaulle

British Airways Boeing 777-200ER

As for the Tokyo – London – Paris portion, I will use it to position myself for my “double Canada” trip in May 2018. But, more on that later in a separate article.

The above itinerary left me with half-a-day and one night in London, and two days and two nights in Milan.

In London, I booked a night at Ibis hotel.

A Quick Roundtrip to Zaragoza

During the time I was initially planning to be in Milan, I ended up squeezing in a quick business trip to Zaragoza.

With the tight schedule, I was not left with many choices when it came to the flights.

To get there, I booked an EasyJet flight from Milan Malpensa to Barcelona and a Ryanair flight back from Barcelona to Milan Bergamo. Between Barcelona and Zaragoza, I booked Renfe AVE – the Spanish high-speed train.

EasyJet Airbus A319

It’s been more than seven years since I last flown with Ryanair, and so, in a way, I am looking forward to the flight. I just hope it’s on time!Ryanair Boeing 737-800

Also, with the new plan, I will be arriving at and departing from Malpensa, and then arriving at Bergamo and departing from Linate. As such, I should get a good idea about transferring between the three Milan airports – and I will definitely write about that experience.

Stay Tuned!

To sum it up, the plan is to fly on the following flights:

  1. Tokyo Narita – Delhi on a JAL 787-9 in business class
  2. Delhi – Amsterdam on a KLM 777-300ER
  3. Amsterdam – Vienna on a KLM 737-800
  4. Vienna – London Heathrow on a British Airways A320
  5. London Heathrow – Milan Malpensa on a British Airways A319
  6. Milan Malpensa – Barcelona on an EasyJet A319
  7. Barcelona – Milan Bergamo on a Ryanair 737-800
  8. Milan Linate – London Heathrow on a British Airways A320
  9. London Heathrow – Tokyo Narita on a British Airways 777-200ER

I will start posting reviews of those flights, as well as of the lounges I visit along the way and so on over the coming weeks. Once I am finished with the AirAsia Japan inaugural flight trip report, to be precise.

As usual, I will add links to the individual posts into this overview as I start publishing them.

So, stay tuned!

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