Spain-giving 2014: Korean Air Lounge At LAX

***This is part 2 of my “Spain-giving 2014” trip report detailing a recent trip to Barcelona over Thanksgiving weekend*** 1. American Express Centurion Lounge at SFO 2. Korean Air Lounge at LAX 3. KLM Business Class Los Angeles to Barcelona, via Amsterdam 4. Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona 5. Exploring Barcelona in a Motorcycle Sidecar 6. Day trip to Girona for Lunch at El Celler De Can Roca 7. Sala VIP Lounge at BCN, KLM Crown Lounge at AMS 8. KLM Business Class Barcelona to San Francisco, via Amsterdam ____________________________________________ Since my international flights have almost always departed from SFO, I really hadn’t spent much time at LAX. I wrote about my LAX-envy and in particular, how they’d been getting all the latest and greatest products from the airlines. It would be the same case for our KLM flights, where the outbound from Los Angeles to Amsterdam would feature KLM’s latest flat-bed seats, while the return from Amsterdam to San Francisco would feature, well something much older. But we’ll get to that later. However, getting to fly the latest product out of LAX was just a side benefit, as the decision to leave from LAX simply came down to price. The LAX-BCN-SFO ticket that we purchased was several hundred dollars cheaper than the SFO-BCN-SFO equivalent. While we had to find our own way down from SFO to LAX, the savings more than made up for that extra flight. We arrived at the relatively empty Tom Bradley International Terminal and made… read more

Hawaii Six-O: The Club Lounge at SJC

***This is part 1 of my “Hawaii Six-O” trip report detailing a recent trip to Oahu, Hawaii to celebrate my parents’ 60th birthdays and retirements*** 1. The Club Lounge at SJC 2. Alaska Airlines Economy San Jose to Honolulu + Review of Alaska Beyond 3. Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk 4. Eating Our Way Through Honolulu 5. Alaska Airlines First Class Honolulu to San Jose _______________________________ I changed my frequent flyer allegiance from United Airlines to Alaska Airlines last year, and had previously highlighted some of the things I’ve liked most about Alaska Airlines. In short, while the best benefit is still no change fees on both revenue and mileage tickets, a close second is the ability to fly out of smaller airports. For me, that means having access to Alaska’s full route network via San Jose (SJC) airport instead of SFO. If you routinely fly in or out of the Bay Area and especially if you are visiting the South Bay, give SJC a try. It’s an infinitely more pleasant airport experience than SFO with fewer crowds and virtually no delays. While the lounge options at SJC are more limited than SFO, I have always found The Club Lounge to be more than adequate. I have access via my Lounge Club membership which is of the “unlimited” variety, meaning that I can bring in as many guests as I’d like at no additional charge. This certainly proved useful for this trip for our group of 6. While the… read more

Spain-giving 2014: American Express Centurion Lounge At SFO

***This is part 1 of my “Spain-giving 2014” trip report detailing a recent trip to Barcelona over Thanksgiving weekend*** 1. American Express Centurion Lounge at SFO 2. Korean Air Lounge at LAX 3. KLM Business Class Los Angeles to Barcelona, via Amsterdam 4. Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona 5. Exploring Barcelona in a Motorcycle Sidecar 6. Day trip to Girona for Lunch at El Celler De Can Roca 7. Sala VIP Lounge at BCN, KLM Crown Lounge at AMS 8. KLM Business Class Barcelona to San Francisco, via Amsterdam ____________________________________________ Our trip started the Tuesday night of Thanksgiving week, and according to the mainstream media we would have been better off staying at home since this was supposedly the busiest travel day of the year. That may be true in many situations, but it’s certainly not the case for international travel. In fact, Thanksgiving and Christmas time are among the least busy times for international travel, and the best times to score fantastic deals. While our international flights were departing from LAX, we did have a short domestic hop down to LAX from SFO. The domestic terminal was indeed humming, so we used the International Terminal G/Terminal 3 trick to breeze through security in minutes. Instead of stopping at the International Terminal United Club, we made a beeline back to Terminal 3 to check out the brand new American Express Centurion Lounge. The Centurion Lounge is located right after the former United Premier Access security checkpoint near gate 74. The… read more

Trip Report: American Express Centurion Lounge at LAS

***This is part 19 of my “Camels, Bats, and Bloggers” trip report detailing a recent trip to Dubai and Seychelles, with a final stop in Las Vegas to attend the 2014 BAcon conference hosted by BoardingArea***1. Introduction – Camels, Bats, and Bloggers 2. Emirates Lounge at SFO 3. Emirates First Class San Francisco to Dubai 4. Conrad Dubai 5. Old Dubai, Ski Dubai, and At the Top 6. Emirates Terminal B First Class Lounge at DXB 7. Emirates First Class Dubai to Mahe, Seychelles 8. Four Seasons Seychelles 9. Air Seychelles Economy Class Mahe to Praslin 10. Raffles Praslin Seychelles 11. Island Hopping – La Digue 12. Island Hopping – Praslin, Cousine, Curieuse, St. Pierre 13. Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort and Spa 14. Emirates Business Class Mahe, Seychelles to Dubai 15. 7-Star Luxury at the Burj Al Arab 16. British Airways Lounge at DXB 17. Cathay Pacific Business Class Dubai to Los Angeles via Hong Kong 18. 2014 BAcon Conference in Las Vegas + Mandalay Bay Hotel 19. American Express Centurion Lounge at LAS _______________________________With a couple hours to kill before our final flight home, we made our way over to the American Express Centurion Lounge located near gate D1 in Concourse D at Las Vegas airport. This would be my first visit to a Centurion lounge and was excited to see what the hype was all about. American Express Centurion Lounge at LAS All of the bloggers at BAcon were given complimentary access to the lounge, but we also… read more

#TBT – Honeymooning RTW In Australia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, And Dubai

What I enjoy writing, more than anything else, are trip reports. I’d like to think that I’ve come a long way in terms of the production value of my reports, and strive to get better with each and every trip. While some of my earlier works are just painful to read, my first mega-trip report from 2013 which detailed our 3-week round-the-world honeymoon to Australia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Dubai is one of my favorites. We stayed at some truly phenomenal hotels, including the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island and Amangalla in Sri Lanka. But my absolute favorite of the trip was the Emirates Wolgan Valley Spa and Resort near the Blue Mountains in Australia, which is outlined in the post below. Here are the other portions of the trip in case you’re interested, and for all the future honeymooners out there feel free to reach out for advice or questions on how to make that once-in-a-lifetime trip truly special. San Francisco to Sydney: United Airlines First Class Eating Our Way Through Sydney + Hilton Sydney  Road Trip to the Blue Mountains + Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort + Spa Diving at the Great Barrier Reef, Day Trip to Port Douglas + Hilton Cairns Stopover in Brisbane to Cuddle Koalas + Hilton Brisbane Brisbane to Male via Singapore: Singapore Airlines Business Class Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Extended Layover in Sri Lanka before ex-CMBing + Amangalla Colombo to London via Dubai: Emirates First Class Spending the Day at the Dubai Mall + Emirates… read more

Trip Report: British Airways Lounge at DXB

***This is part 16 of my “Camels, Bats, and Bloggers” trip report detailing a recent trip to Dubai and Seychelles, with a final stop in Las Vegas to attend the 2014 BAcon conference hosted by BoardingArea*** 1. Introduction – Camels, Bats, and Bloggers2. Emirates Lounge at SFO 3. Emirates First Class San Francisco to Dubai4. Conrad Dubai5. Old Dubai, Ski Dubai, and At the Top6. Emirates Terminal B First Class Lounge at DXB7. Emirates First Class Dubai to Mahe, Seychelles8. Four Seasons Seychelles 9. Air Seychelles Economy Class Mahe to Praslin10. Raffles Praslin Seychelles11. Island Hopping – La Digue12. Island Hopping – Praslin, Cousine, Curieuse, St. Pierre13. Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort and Spa14. Emirates Business Class Mahe, Seychelles to Dubai15. 7-Star Luxury at the Burj Al Arab16. British Airways Lounge at DXB17. Cathay Pacific Business Class Dubai to Los Angeles via Hong Kong18. 2014 BAcon Conference in Las Vegas + Mandalay Bay Hotel19. American Express Centurion Lounge at LAS _______________________________ After spending the morning at Wild Wadi water park, we soaked in our last few moments at the Burj Al Arab before packing our bags and continuing the long journey home. With a 5:10PM departure, we left the hotel around 2PM since the afternoon traffic can be quite bad in Dubai. We jumped into a taxi, and 50 AED and only 30 minutes later we arrived at Dubai International Airport. We had been through DXB a handful of times already, but each time we had been flying Emirates. Emirates is… read more