India Trip Report – “I Can’t Go Back To Coach”
And now for the main attraction…
After weeks of procrastinating being busy, I am finally ready to start the Trip Report for my India Trip.
As you can see it is going to be a massive 12 Part Report, however I have been working feverishly to try and get it all done. I am hoping that I can post 1 part of it everyday but that might be a little too ambitious.
The title of this Trip Report comes from the Seinfeld clip below and basically sums up my feelings going forward, that I am too good to sit in Economy ever again!
Just kidding…I wish that was the case but I have a nice 12 hour Alitalia $287 Mistake Fare to Madrid in February!
- Lufthansa 747-8 First Class – Washington D.C (IAD) -> Frankfurt (FRA)
- Lufthansa First Class Terminal – Frankfurt (FRA)
- Lufthansa A380 First Class – Frankfurt (FRA) -> Tokyo (NRT)
- Thai 747 First Class – Tokyo (NRT) -> Bangkok (BKK)
- Thai First Class Lounge & Royal Orchard Spa – Bangkok (BKK)
- Thai 747 Business Class – Bangkok (BKK) -> Bombay (BOM)
- Air India Economy – Bombay (BOM) -> Udaipur (UDI)
- Sheraton Udaipur
- Site Seeing – Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaipur
- IndiGO Economy – Jaipur (JAI) -> Bombay (BOM)
- Bombay Airport Clusterf$#%
- United BusinessFirst – Bombay (BOM) -> Newark (EWR)
This entire trip was paid for with 140,000 United Miles earned over the last year by signing up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred (55,000), Chase INK Bold (60,000), and United MileagePlus Explorer (55,000). I paid around $200 in taxes, which isn’t bad considering just on the flight to India, I stopped at 5 Airports…
I talked about booking the trip in detail here but basically I upgraded to First Class on the leg going to India for 80,000 United Miles and then did Business Class coming back for 60,000 United Miles.
If this Ticket was paid for out of pocket, due to the insane First Class routing, it would easily be over $30,000+. I paid $200 in taxes…
All in all, this entire routing clocked in at 23,734 Miles and had me spending around 65 hours either flying or at Airports (45 Hours going to India, and 20 Hours coming back).
United Global First – Chicago (ORD) -> Washington (IAD)
As most of you know, this trip was my FIRST EVER trip in International First Class. For years now I have been reading Trip Reports from Lucky and just salivating at all his First Class Trips. I had enough Miles to fly Business Class (120,000) and since it was only an additional 20,000 Miles for First Class One Way, I decided to throw caution to the wind and go for it.
Similar to my Parent’s issue with their United Tickets, before I could even start my trip, when I checked in at the United Counter at O’Hare, they once again were having issues pulling up my Itinerary. This was due to the fact that my ticket included 3 Star Alliance Carriers (United, Lufthansa, and Thai) and the fact that some of my flights weren’t going to start until a full 2 days in the future.
I got the old run around saying to go try and Check In with Lufthansa (which didn’t work), followed by “Meh just get your Boarding Pass for the Lufthansa and Thai flights at the Lufthansa Desk at IAD, it will be fine…”. To make matters worse, United couldn’t even check my bags thru to Bombay! They told me to just collect them in Bangkok and re-check them to Bombay.
Luckily in the end, it all got fixed but was mostly just annoying and not an ideal start to the trip.
I was so anticipating the Lufthansa and Thai First Class flights, that I basically wrote off my United positioning flight to get from Chicago to Washington Dulles to “start” my journey.
United Airlines – Flight 242
Chicago (ORD) – Washington D.C (IAD)
Monday, December 10
Duration: 1hr 45min
Aircraft: Boeing 767-300
Seat: 1K (First Class)
Typically if United is flying a 2 Cabin Plane, then their “First Class” is basically just Economy Plus Seating with a Snack Box and free Alcoholic Drinks. Nothing really special.
Since ORD to IAD is a relatively short flight, I didn’t even bother checking what Plane it was and basically would have been happy in Economy. Honestly I wasn’t even planning on including this flight in this Trip Report…
So you can imagine my surprise when I walked into the Cabin of the Boeing 767-300 and was greeted with this.
“Not A Bad Way Start To My 45 Hour Journey”
Immediately upon being seated in Seat 1K, I was offered some “Pre-Departure” Water and Hot Nuts.
“Pre-Departure Water > Regular Water”
United Crews are very hit or miss, but this Crew was definitely a hit.
They seemed genuinely nice and as I was snapping pictures of the Seat like a Japanese Tourist, one of the Flight Attendents asked me “Are you building a Private Plane?”. I explained no and that it was for a blog, and she was so interested that she asked for my Card which I thought was cool.
Although my overall expectations were extremely low prior to getting onto the Flight, I was definitely impressed by the Seat.
“The One Thing United Doesn’t Suck At”
United Service might not be up to par with Lufthansa or any of the Asian Carriers, but I find United has some of the best Premium Class Seats in terms of design. The only downside is that the cloth seats can seem kind of cheap in comparison to the leather seats most other Airlines use in their First Class Cabins.
Not only was the seat a full Lie-Flat seat, it also had tons of storage. It is had to tell from the photo, but that bin located in the side of the seat was probably 2 feet deep and probably could have fit an entire carry on suitcase.
“A Great Place To Store A Crying Enfant”
Also another great feature of the Seat was the fairly large television, with some awesome programming like Curb Your Enthusiasm, Californication, Entourage, Anthony Bourdain, and my new favorite show which I started watching on the Plane, “Downton Abbey” (or as my Brother likes to mockingly call it in his fake British Aristocrat accent, “Downtown Abbey”)
“After Watching Downton Abbey, I Wondered Why I Didn’t Wear A Tuxedo Onto The Plane”
Since the Flight was only 1:45 Hours, there wasn’t time for a full meal, so we were offered snacks. A Flight Attendant came around with a basket of Pop Chips, Toblerone Bars, and Nature Valley Granola Bars.
“Delicious & Nutritious”
Although most of you are going to laugh at this, I genuinely enjoyed these snacks as they are normal snacks, that normal people eat. Not to mention they were delicious.
Why more Airlines don’t serve food like this, I am not sure.
My expectations were so low for this flight, that I am sure it strongly influenced how I perceived this flight, but overall I really enjoyed the flight.
It was the absolute perfect set up for the rest of my flights on my 45 hour journey to India.
Although the flight experience was not fancy and did not have the luxury or elegance of the upcoming Lufthansa and Thai flights, the United Crew was great, the Seat was great, and the Food was great.
So for a United Flight, I really could not have asked for anything more.
The next installment is when the real fun begins: Lufthansa 747-8 First Class – Washington D.C (IAD) –> Frankfurt (FRA)
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