Early next week, I will be embarking on another trip to Europe – and while it will mostly be to spend time with family, I will also be able to try a couple of new airline & aircraft type combinations, as well as airport lounges. If all goes well, I should be able to squeeze in some spotting as well.
Below is an overview of the flights I will be taking, as well as of the reviews that you can expect to be published here over the next couple of months.
Are you interested in trying business or first class for the price of economy?
If so, you might want to check out Four Ways to Try Business Class Without Breaking the Bank - a free guide that I put together detailing some of the ways I was able to do so - and experiment with some of the methods mentioned in it.
From Japan to Europe With Finnair
To get to Europe, I will use the return portion of a Finnair open-jaw ticket that I’ve booked several months back.
First, I will fly from Tokyo Haneda to Nagoya Centrair onboard JAL’s 737. Before my departure from Tokyo Haneda, I will check out one of the two domestic JAL Sakura Lounges using an access voucher that comes with my JAL credit card.
From Nagoya, I will take a Finnair flight to Helsinki on one of its A330-300s, followed by an A321 flight to Budapest. While I won’t be writing about the short flight to Budapest as I wrote about a similar one back in May, I will be writing about the Nagoya to Helsinki flight.
As for lounges along the way, I will only have an hour and a half to transfer at Centrair, but I hope to be able to briefly visit the Star Alliance Lounge which is part of the Priority Pass network. At Helsinki airport, I plan to visit the Aspire Lounge which belongs to Priority Pass as well.
Also, just like on the first long-haul sector of the ticket, from Helsinki to Bangkok, I bid a bit more than 300EUR for an upgrade to business class on the Nagoya to Helsinki sector. I was hoping the upgrade would clear as the A330s feature different seats than the A350, but unfortunately it did not.
Return to Japan, Part 1: Air France to Bangkok
After a bit less than two weeks in Europe, I will head back to Japan – once again out of Budapest. First, I will fly with Air France to Paris Charles de Gaulle from where I will take another Air France flight, to Bangkok. The shorter sector is scheduled to be operated by an A320, while a 777-300ER is planned for the longer one.
Since I already reviewed all three non-Schengen Priority Pass lounges at Budapest airport, I will finally be able to just sit back and relax for a bit before departing Budapest.
On the other hand, I am looking forward to visiting one of Air France’s lounges in Paris for the first time thanks to my Delta Gold Medallion status. Which comes as a perk of my Japanese Delta American Express Gold card.
Return to Japan, Part 2: Cathay Pacific First Class to Tokyo
The reason I am flying to Bangkok first instead of flying directly to Japan is that I am going to try Cathay Pacific’s first class. I booked the ticket using 27,500 Alaska Airlines miles I purchased several months ago.
For that, I was able to get a one-way ticket from Bangkok to Tokyo via Hong Kong. All in all, it cost me about $600 for the two first class segments – not bad at all!
While I will, of course, write about the two flights, I am also excited to check out Cathay Pacific’s two first class lounges – “The Wing” and “The Pier,” as well as its arrival lounge in Hong Kong.
If all goes well, the trip will be as follows (map generated by Great Circle Mapper):
I will start posting the reports by the end of September, so stay tuned!
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No, I am not going to tell you how to fly in first class and sip Dom Perignon for free…But, I am going to introduce you to a couple of ways you can experiment with to try a business class flight without having to spend thousands of dollars.
List of Articles Related to This Trip
- Lounge Review: JAL Sakura Lounge Domestic Terminal 1 North at Tokyo Haneda
- Flight Review: JAL 737-800 Economy Class from Tokyo Haneda to Nagoya
- Flight Review: Finnair A330-300 Economy Class from Nagoya Centrair to Helsinki
- Lounge Review: Aspire Lounge at Helsinki Vantaa
- Spotting Report: A Morning at Budapest Airport and the Neighboring Aeropark Budapest
- Flight Review: Air France A320 Economy Class from Budapest to Paris CDG
- Lounge Review: Air France Salon Terminal 2E Concourse M at Paris Charles de Gaulle
- Flight Review: Air France 777-300ER Economy Class from Paris CDG to Bangkok BKK
- Flying Cathay Pacific’s First Class for $671.87: The Experience and the Booking
- Airport Hotel Review: BS Residence Suvarnabhumi (Bangkok) Dayroom
- Lounge Review: Cathay Pacific First and Business Class Lounge at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi
- Flight Review: Cathay Pacific 777-300ER First Class from Bangkok BKK to Hong Kong
- Lounge Review: Cathay Pacific “The Arrival” at Hong Kong International
- Lounge Review: Plaza Premium Lounge (Arrival Hall) at Hong Kong International
- Lounge Review: Plaza Premium Lounge (East Hall) at Hong Kong International
- Lounge Review: Cathay Pacific “The Wing, Business” at Hong Kong International
- Lounge Review: Cathay Pacific “The Wing, First” at Hong Kong International
- Lounge Review: Cathay Pacific “The Pier, First” at Hong Kong International
- Flight Review: Cathay Pacific 777-300ER First Class from Hong Kong to Tokyo HND