Trip Report – A Dream Advenutre Come True: Introduction

Seattle to Frankfurt
Frankfurt Fun Times
Lufthansa First Class Terminal
Frankfurt to Newark
Newark to Seattle

In 2010 I started planning my trip around the world in Business Class. Something that was on my bucket list. During that planning process I looked at alliances and who would serve best and who had the best price. At the time it was Star Alliance and I put all my points towards a new Aegean account. The main thing I was hoping for out of that trip was Star Alliance Gold (which I got easily), what I also ended up with was a whole stack of points. Since then I have credited all my United flights as well to that same account and it has finally come to the point to use some of those points (before all my Star Gold benefits finally disappear). But what would I use 75000 points on? Well since around that time I have always wanted to visit the Lufthansa First Class Terminal (FCT). I had read so many things about it, such good reviews, and of course there is the fact you are flying one of the best First Class’s out there. I even set it as a travel goal two years running (like that was going to happen!). Well it was time to make that a reality…. Finally!

But 75000 points would only really get me one way somewhere, how the hell was I going to get to Frankfurt (since you can only use the FCT on Departure from Frankfurt)? Well this is where a stroke of luck comes in. Last year I managed to win myself a nice prize from Condor Airlines. All I did was take the below picture of a Condor Aircraft and it netted me a $1000 airline prize. Hello One Way flight to Frankfurt!

From Anchorage Spotting

So now that I have a rough plan on getting to Frankfurt, now it was a matter of finding a way home. If I am going to be heading home to the USA on Lufthansa I really want to come on an aircraft that they fly that practically no one else does (apart from Air China but they don’t count) the 747-8i. I remember the amount of times I saw them fly into LAX so figured that would be the way to do it. Now to figure out when, because Lufthansa don’t release First class Award space till about 2 weeks prior to the travel date. This means that the whole trip would have to be really short notice. Well when I ended up finding out I had a new job, well I decided to take a little break, one that would allow me to scoot away to europe for a few days. I got Heidi’s permission and now it was go time, I was going to get a new aircraft, a new Airport and a dream experience…

From Seattle Spotting 2013

So within the 2 weeks of me going, I was able to start looking at the planning stages. I wanted to do this for as little money as possible. I had Club Carlson points that could get me a hotel for free (yayay) and that was easy because Frankfurt has 2 options. One at the Airport and one in the city. Getting to Frankfurt was easy. I just had to email Condor with what I wanted and it was booked, no hassle at all. So although I wanted to fly Business, I couldn’t. So the next best thing was Premium Economy. Condor flies direct from Seattle every few days but has connecting cities on the days they don’t. So that was going to be easy. The hardest thing was the Lufthansa space. I did a bit of a look into what routes are now operating for the 747-8i and LAX was gone 🙁 It was Chicago, Washington DC (Dulles) and Newark. Chicago would be the better option (since Newark is just a dump, Dulles is crap and I felt Chicago was the nicer of the 3). With the help of a friend, I was able to work out that Chicago was ok. But I had to leave it overnight didn’t I. Sadly that space via Chicago disappeared when I went to book. All I could get was Newark and the day after I wanted. Sadly I also wasn’t able to work my way into a 1 night stop in Chicago either, It was going to be a same day connection through Newark (3 hours should be plenty right?) and back to Seattle. So since I had to push it out a day, I pushed my departure out a day as well.

I left Condor to book after I had dealt with Lufthansa. I wanted to make sure that the whole booking went smoothly. It didn’t go as planned. The biggest hurdle I expected was a language barrier (I am dealing with a company in Greece after all). Spoon feeding the flights and times made it easier, and that went well for the first segment to Newark. It was coming home from there that was a problem. During the first attempt, I was told that it would have to be booked on a separate ticket because the onward flight is coded as business (even though United calls it Domestic First, they code it as business… bastards). That isn’t right, so I gave it 10 minutes and called again. Funnily enough I got the exact same person! Figuring she would tell me that I couldn’t do it again, this time she said I could do it, but it would be a “downgrade on that segment to business” but they wouldn’t charge any further miles. Well I guess that is what I am after so that is a win right? Figuring It was all going to turn out a mess, I waited for my eticket to turn up (which it did seconds after she said she had sent it) and it was correct on paper. I pulled the book references off the ticket and checked with the Airlines directly. Yep… correct! Aegean win! Lufthansa was set, so I emailed Condor and after some scanning and a few more confirmation of what I wanted, that ticket was booked.

Last thing to do was book the hotel and I booked the Hotel by the Airport (figuring I was probably going to be doing stuff with AirlineReporter, so wanted to be close). Sadly I found out a couple of days later that wasn’t to be. I kept that hotel as the airport hotel was cheaper than the city hotel. However Jokingly I was chatting away with my friend Clare (who I met in 2011 on my RTW trip in Kyoto) and said to her “You should come for the weekend” to which she said “Sure why not!.” Next thing I know I have cancelled the hotel at the Airport and changed to the City hotel. Sure it was 18000 points more, but I got breakfast daily and a premium room. So that wasn’t too bad. I booked the room for 2 (even though I was only going to be staying) so I can give Clare a freebie breakfast.

So as tomorrow approaches I need to pack, and put a few things together to make it all work. I can’t wait to get back on a plane (as a passenger at least) and enjoy myself. This trip has been a long time coming, so stay tuned for plenty of fun!

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