On A Plane: Etihad Business Class Review

Etihad Business Class Seat

Etihad Flight 403 Business Class Review

Flight du jour:

EY 403

Bangkok (BKK) to Abu Dhabi (AUH)

December 1st, 2015

Departs: 8:35 AM

Arrives: 11:59 AM

Duration: 6 Hours 24 Minutes

Etihad LiveryThe Etihad flight du jour.

The time had come for another adventure and this one was off to a good start with our Etihad Chaffeur picking us up in an black Mercedes Benz and whisking us off to the airport (Etihad discontinued their Chaffeur service for partner award tickets on August 10th, 2016). We booked the tickets pre-devaluation using 30,000 American Airlines Aadvantage miles each way (the new award price between Asia 2 and the Middle East is 40,000 AA miles) and $91.40 in taxes and fees total for the outbound and return segments.

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Etihad Business Class Seat

My first thought upon entering the cabin was that it looked like someone had stolen the upholstery from my parents couch and sold it to Etihad.  Airlines tend to put a lot of thought into their premium cabins but the striped seats looked like everything about the 1980’s that we don’t want to remember. Maybe they were trying to replicate the fake wood grain on the adjacent side tables, or maybe stripes were super hot when they put in the order for these seats, but whatever the case may have been they weren’t looking so hot now.

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The Coral Executive Lounge DMK Bangkok, Thailand

The Coral Executive Lounge Bangkok, Thailand. Don Muang International Airport (DMK).

The Coral Executive Lounge DMK.

What I liked about this lounge:

  • 15 minute free massage
  • Hot and cold food options
  • A few special/unique food and drink options
  • Ample seating
  • Attentive staff
  • Clean and quiet
  • Well designed and decorated

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In The Air: JAL First Class Chicago to Tokyo, Narita

Flight du jour:

JAL 009

Chicago (ORD) to Tokyo (NRT)

September 6, 2015

Departs: 12:35 PM

Arrives: (Next Day) 3:35 PM

Duration: 13 Hours 15 Minutes

Jal First Class Seat
Jal First Class Seat

I love JAL first class. After the mediocrity that is domestic first class on American Airlines, what a lovely feeling it is to get settled into my JAL first class suite.

When boarding it is common for first class passengers to board through one door while the rest of the plane boards through the other. This time everyone boarded through the same door and first class passengers broke left, everyone else broke right. We were lucky enough to get the window seats on the right hand side of the plane; seats 1K and 2K, and were escorted there by one of the very friendly flight attendants who would be making the next 13+ hours a really wonderful experience.

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182,135 reasons why I hate Hilton

Hate is a strong word and so I reserve it for use only on truly egregious programs. Despite being granted Hilton Diamond status this week via the widely reported status match opportunity, I find myself with nothing but hard feelings about the hotel chain.

Hilton status match
Raise your glass only to realize it’s empty…

Them giving me status is not what’s rubbing me the wrong way, or the fact that Paris never returns my calls (just kidding!), it’s their loyalty program. Like many of you, I save points up with the hope of redeeming them for out-sized value. I get excited about aspirational products and experiences and if an airline/hotel/program can’t offer that then I simply put my spending on a 2% cash back card.

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When Buying Miles Makes Sense

Do you have few miles or points but would still like to fly business class?

Do you have some money to spend on upcoming travel but not enough to buy those hilariously priced business class tickets?

I feel your pain!  Flying coach on long-haul trips sucks and I spend an inordinate amount of time making sure that I avoid ever having to do it again.  Mostly, my strategies revolve around using credit card sign up bonuses to build up large balances of frequent flyer miles that I can redeem for business and first class travel.  But it takes time to build up these balances.

For those with travel plans that are happening in the very near future they might benefit from another way to avoid coach that doesn’t involve taking out a second mortgage on their cat.

When Buying Miles Makes Sense

It makes sense to buy miles when A) you might otherwise have paid for the business class ticket or B) you really don’t want to fly coach and are willing to pay a little extra to avoid it.

Alaska Airlines miles can be used to book business class on Cathay and Emirates
Alaska Airlines miles can be used to book business class on Cathay and Emirates

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