2015 was a great year of travel for me and I have so many great adventures to look back on! I got to try many new airline products and added several new destinations to my travel journal. New countries this year for me included Hong Kong, Macau, (if you want to be technical, special regions of China) Taiwan, Monaco, Japan, and Indonesia. Some of this journey was solo for work, some of it with friends and family.
Exploring Verdon Gorge in Provence
Exploring France with some of my favorite people!
Posing with the ladies of Cathay Pacific
Taipei fun with Chris!
Airline firsts for me in 2016 included Air France, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, and Virgin America. I racked up 134,825 miles in 2015!
I am still planning to be AAdvantage and OneWorld loyal in 2016. While we saw lots of disappointing changes to American’s AAdvantage program in the last few months, I’m still content with American especially with their continued fleet renewal and pure convenience being based in Dallas.
My First Virgin America Flight
Cathay Pacific “The Bridge” Lounge at HKG
AirFrance Business Class
My Ride: JAL 777-300ER
First time in Monaco
2016 is already looking exciting with a few new destinations already on the agenda with Maui, Hawaii; Park City, Utah; and Budapest, Hungary to start! I’m also looking forward to my first British Airways flight and my first time back in Utah in over 10 years! If 2016 is half as fun as 2015, I have a lot to look forward to. I hope you’ll continue to follow me on Avion Addiction in 2016. I look forward to sharing my story as well as the ways you too can travel well for less!
Well I’ve been a bit terrible about posting much lately but I’ve had quite the busy travel schedule lately. I traveled to Asia twice in 2 weeks this past month so I feel as if my body is just now back to normal sleep.
I traveled to Jakarta for work for 9 days, returning just before Thanksgiving and then after only 4 days at home, traveled to Tokyo for a short 6 day vacation in the Tokyo area. I actually passed through Tokyo Narita 4 times plus an extra fifth visit due to flight schedule changes.
In total traveling to Asia, I experience the following OneWorld long-haul products:
Japan Airlines Premium Economy
Japan Airlines Economy
American Airlines Business Class
American Airlines Economy
Outbound Journey #1: DFW-LAX-NRT-CGK
I flew AA Economy (Main Cabin Extra) from my home at DFW to LAX, connected to JAL Premium Economy (Bulkhead) LAX to NRT, followed by JAL Economy (Bulkhead) NRT to CGK. Premium Economy was not offered on my final leg to Jakarta as it was operated on an older 767.
Return Journey #1: CGK-NRT-ORD-DFW
Returning from Jakarta I flew JAL Economy CGK to NRT, JAL Premium Economy (Bulkhead) NRT to ORD, and finally AA Economy (Main Cabin Extra) ORD to DFW. Premium Economy was offered on my leg from Jakarta to Tokyo, however, it was completely booked when I booked my trip.
Outbound Journey #2: DFW-NRT
This was a nonstop itinerary from DFW to NRT in AA Economy (Main Cabin Extra/Bulkhead) on an older 777-200.
Return Journey #2: NRT-DFW
While this itinerary was changed multiple times due to flight mechanical issues, ultimately, the itinerary was nonstop from NRT to DFW in AA Business Class.
Your gut reaction of course is to automatically assume that the JAL operated flights were exceptionally better than American Airlines. While in mostareas this was true, there were a few ways that American Airlines came out ahead.
Overall on service, JAL was more welcoming but there tends to be a bit of a language barrier for English-speaking passengers. One notable exception was a super sweet flight attendant in Premium Economy on JAL NRT-ORD. The staff in AA Business Class was very chatty and inviting but in Economy, forget it! They would rather not speak to you unfortunately. JAL Economy far exceeds AA Economy for long-haul flights.
In terms of food, JAL was overall better but the AA Business Class breakfast NRT-DFW was a surprise favorite meal. The only thing that I ate truly horrendous was the mid-flight snack on AA in Economy DFW-NRT. It looked like wet cat food on bread!
And in terms of seating, there’s no fair comparison between Business and Economy. But I really loved the JAL Premium Economy Seats. They were an affordable compromise when paying cash for a seat. I sat next to a very large man NRT-ORD on JAL and the Premium Economy seat gave plenty of extra room that I didn’t notice at all. In a standard economy seat, we would have elbow wars the whole flight! I love the foot rest that extends out to be half as good as an angle lie-flat seat.
Here’s a few highlights in “airline gastronomy”:
I had a great couple of trips, even if they left me totally exhausted. I got to experience many different products in a very short time so it was pretty cool!
Share your thoughts in the comments below. Or on Twitter @BenjaminJ84 and @AvionAddiction.
Ever since I was a little boy, I’ve been incredibly obsessed with air travel. I’d memorize timetables and beg my mother to take me to LAX to watch the planes take off. When I was 5, my dream job was to work for Southwest Airlines: first as a flight attendant and then work my way up to a pilot. We used to fly from Southern California to Lubbock and back then it was either American West or Southwest to Lubbock.
Now, as an adult, that fascination with air travel continues. It’s now become a very exciting game on maximizing every dollar and every mile. I love researching every segment, every rule, every promotion, and every airline. I love the game and the risk that comes with it but It’s also about seeing the globe and new experiences.
I’ve created Avion Addiction to share my passion and hobby with others. I know there are so many others out there just like me. Follow me to learn more about the air travel “game” and my own personal adventures.
Passionate About Traveling Well and Getting There for (Next To) Nothing.