ASIA Trip 2014

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Bubbles at 35k feet đŸ™‚

So ive decided to create this blog so all of our family and friends can keep up with our travels for the next month(ish). It will probably be a mix of photos, insights, and weird stream of consciousness writing style(sorry in advance for the lack of “the queens english” :-p ).

Well here we are, T-3 Days until the start of our Asia Trip for 2014. We are both super excited and going through all the last minute checks and packing stuff.After a long semester at school for me and Danielle working her many jobs, we both are ready for a real vacation.

How it started:

The elusive first class suite. For airline/flying buffs, the first class suite is the unicorn of the international long flight experience. There are only a handful of airlines who have them, and they are usually reserved for the “elite” for the business world and those of great financial means. Considering most of the international F tickets on those airlines are priced from $10-30K, airlines usually only reluctantly release space for people using miles instead of hard currency. As such, the frequent flyer community tends to get pretty excited when very occasionally the better airlines screw up and open up a bunch of international F availability.

By the end of last year I had racked up quite a bit of United Airlines miles, and with a looming devaluation of said miles, I was eager to blow them on an awesome flying experience. Logging on to my favorite frequent flyer forum(flyertalk.com), I noticed a thread about Asiana opening up loads of availability in F(obviously a mistake by the airline). Asiana is one of the few airlines with a real first class suite, and we had talked about Asia being our next trip together, so things just sort of fell into place. Unfortunatly, Asiana only fly’s their quite product on one route, New York to Seoul…oh well getting to New York is cheap and easy, and Danielle has never been. We decided that Thailand, Vietnam, and Singapore were all places we wanted to visit(more on the later), and that we could both take a couple weeks off work after my semester ended in may. So after a quick call to the premier desk at united and 140k united miles, we had two tickets from JFK-Seoul in First, and two Seoul-Bangkok in Business(no first available on this route).

Now that we had figured out how to get to Asia, we needed to figure out how to get back. I had a few united miles left over and a good friend had 90k more united miles that he wasnt going to use(as i was helping him with selling some stuff, we just called the miles my “comission”), and very graciously let me use them. We decided we wanted to go to Vietnam, and maybe try and stop in Singapore for a day on the way back. I used my flyertalk skills to book us a combination of flights in business class on Thai airways, Turkish airlines, ANA airlines on the 787 dreamliner , and finally good ol united on the 747(upper deck business class!). So we were all set to go!

Post script-
I had been watching the current political situation in Bangkok leading up to our trip, and while there were some protests and definite political unrest, research was showing that it was safe to travel to. We had originally planned on making a stop in Bangkok and then moving around Thailand a bit, but with the protests continuing and there being some uncertainty about where the situation was headed, we felt it best to limit our days in thailand to 4, thus not impacting our trip much if things went south. Low and behold, 3 days before departure, the Thai military took over control of government and issued martial law and a day later the general took over power in a coup. Also, the entire country was put under curfew from 10pm-5am each night. I made the decision to switch the first part of our trip, and go to Cambodia instead. I was able to find a connecting flight from Seoul on Asiana, only 30 mins after the original Bangkok flight had left. I got a full refund on our AirBnb apartment(due to political unrest they gave a full refund instead of the half back I would have got), and we booked a few hotels in Cambodia(so cheap!).

Follow along- The next post up in a couple days đŸ™‚

-stefan

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