While I started logging my air travel over a decade ago, I had the trail from 2003 when I began to use air travel as a mode of commute frequently. Since then, I’ve seen the insides of many aircraft and flown for fun and work alike. Somewhere last year, as Singapore Airlines announced minor inflation in their award chart, I booked up two tickets to fly from India to the US East Coast, for my wife and me, on the furthermost dates I could find availability. We had an agreement. We will cancel if we cannot find a feasible timeline to use these tickets.
Eventually, we were go no go on the decision to use these tickets till about a week before the flights, purely because we could not figure out time away from our desk. I can work from anywhere, but Shipra cannot. Once she had that figured out, we moved forward on the trip.
What did we fly?
In this post, I’d like to explain how the trip was planned. Like usual, the intention was to use our balance of miles and points to defray the cost of the trip. In each of the individual notes, I’ll talk about how it was precisely done with the cost, etc. Much of it was about meeting friends and family in the US who we had not visited over the years due to Covid and then spending some time in one of our favourite cities, New York.
Eventually, the trip worked out in the following manner:
- Fly from Delhi to Newark (via Singapore) on the Singapore Airlines A350-900 ULR in Business Class
- Fly from Newark to Dallas Fort Worth on United’s Preferred Plus on their Boeing 737 MAX
- Fly from Dallas to Seattle on Alaska Air’s First Class on their Boeing 737 MAX
- Fly from Seattle to Washington DC on Alaska Air’s First Class on their Boeing 737-900
- Fly from Washington DC to New York on American Airlines’ Economy Class on their A319
- Fly from New York to Delhi (via Doha) on Qatar Airways A350-1000/900 in QSuites
It eventually turned out to be about 26,000 miles of flying for me and a lot of escaping the weather built up on the East Coast of the United States while I was travelling around there.
When I’d booked the trip, Singapore Airlines was offering the A380 on the Delhi – Singapore part of the route, owing to which we picked the night flight. However, the A380 was taken away along the way, and a Boeing 777 was put in its place. This made us fly the Boeing 777 Business Class of Singapore Airlines after a long while.
From there, we flew on the A350-900 ULR of Singapore Airlines, of which only seven were built between Singapore and New York Newark. This is the second longest flight by miles flown in the world, with the first longest being between Singapore and New York JFK Airport. There was the choice to fly Business Class and Premium Economy, but the more comfort, the merrier for this 18-hour plus ride.
The domestic flights were all booked as Economy awards, but Alaska Air is more generous for the oneworld elites, putting us in First Class in both segments. On the other hand, United Airlines put us in Economy Plus due to the Star Alliance Gold status (perhaps). In the end, we flew the 737 MAX mostly around the US.
On the way back to India, I’d booked myself to fly on Qatar Airways A350-1000, an aircraft I’ve loved since I flew the delivery flight of the first one. This was a 12-hour flight and an excellent opportunity to experience it on an actual ultra-long-haul route, especially with the QSuites on board.
On the flight between Doha and Delhi, I also had the QSuites, except on an A350-900 instead of an A350-1000 aircraft.
Where did we stay?
With this being a friends and family trip, most of the time was spent with them. However, in New York, we checked into the St. Regis New York, the first St. Regis ever to be commissioned for five nights.
What lounges did we visit?
Along the way, we visited quite a few airport lounges. Here are some of the prominent ones I can recall from the top of my head:
- Air India Business Class Lounge at Delhi (Terminal 3 International)
- Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge Business Class at Singapore Changi
- Changi’s Jewel Lounge
- United Club at Newark
- American Express Centurion Lounge at Dallas Fort Worth
- Alaska Air Lounge in Seattle
- American Airlines Admiral Club at Washington DC
- Greenwich Lounge at New York JFK
- Qatar Airways Al-Mourjan Lounge at Doha
- Qatar Airways Al-Mourjan South – Garden Lounge at Doha
Ultimately it was a fun trip for both Shipra and myself. I was apprehensive about arriving all Jet Lagged on the SIN – EWR leg of the journey; however, that worked out fine. Along the way, I logged my first million miles flown towards the end of the trip. I’m sure it happened sooner, but I’d only go by the numbers logged over the numbers flown in my case.
Stay tuned as I try and roll out the trip report at the earliest (along with other regular coverage). What are the parts you would want me to (especially) focus on?
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