Tag: Business Class

2017: Chicago/Shanghai Round Trip

2017: Chicago/Shanghai Round Trip

Trip Synopsis

Business Class one way outbound, First Class inbound, on Japan Airlines for 55K + 67.5K American Airlines AAdvantage miles

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MMB Analysis

  • The trip was booked just prior to AA devaluation in 2016.
  • AAdvantage account owners can redeem AA miles on Japan Airlines up to 330 days before departure. Availability is usually good on the first day (i.e., 330 days ahead). It will dry out after initial release and won’t open up again until a week or two before departure, if ever. As with other carriers, it pays to plan early.

How will it work out today

American Airlines have devalued their award chart in 2016. The same trip would have cost 70K AA miles in business class and 110K in first class.

Trip Metrics

From  To Distance (Miles)
Chicago Tokyo 6275
Tokyo Shanghai 1119
Shanghai Tokyo 1119
Tokyo Chicago 6275
Total 14786

MMB Highlights

Japan Airlines served Tokyo to Chicago route with Boeing 777-300 ER with three-class configuration, 4 seats per row in first class and 7 abreast in business class, both lie-flat. Japan Airlines feature meal-on-demand in premium classes, – one can order from the menu anytime during the flight. Our younger son is a big fan of Japanese noodle. After he requested his fourth bowl, on top of regularly served meals, concerned flight attendant politely asked “Are you sure you can finish this?”. I don’t blame him. Udon noodles in seafood soup did wonder to dispel fatigue on trans-Pacific flights!

After visiting Japan Airlines’ Sakura Lounge for business class passengers a couple of times, we had a chance to tour its First Class Lounge at Terminal 2. These two lounges were situated next to each other. Through a inconspicuous door, First Class passengers can walk to the upper level of Sakura Lounge and get any service offered there. Despite its smaller size, I noticed that all the food choices found in Sakura were also present at First Class Lounge. In addition, First Class featured a beer machine and a made-to-order Sushi station.

Beer machine at Japan Airlines First Class Lounge

Meals served on first class flight were all recognized by chefs’ names. I went for Western style by “BEDD”.

Champion served on Japan Airlines first class

Main Entree: Wagyu beef

 

2016: Chicago to Manchester, Amsterdam to Chicago

2016: Chicago to Manchester, Amsterdam to Chicago

Trip Synopsis

Business Class one way Chicago to Manchester, via New York, on Delta, Economy Class one way Amsterdam to London on KLM, London to Chicago on Virgin Atlantic for 90K Delta SkyMiles

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MMB Analysis

  • Delta is the only domestic “Big Four” without a hub presence in Chicago. Flying non-stop between Chicago and Europe will have to involve Delta’s partner. I found it in Virgin Atlantic on the return trip.
  • Delta has withdrawn award chart publicly, making it difficult to plan and budget miles needed for redemption. I did not have enough SkyMiles to book round trip in business but figured it’s worthwhile to exhaust my balance on a mixed cabin itinerary.
  • It’s best to redeem SkyMiles in round trip to Europe as they charge $200+ in fees for one way Europe to the US. The fee goes down to $50 for round trip award tickets.

How will it work out today

Delta devalued Europe award chart early 2017 without warning. One way business will cost 70K.

Trip Metrics

From To Distance (Miles)
Chicago New York 741
New York Manchester 3341
Amsterdam London 231
London Chicago 3953
Total 8265

MMB Highlights

Delta One

Our outbound flight on Delta One (aka Business Class) gave us privilege to access Delta Airlines Sky Club at New York JFK airport.

The lounge compared favorably to other domestic airlines’ lounges at their hubs, including American Airlines Admiral Club at ORD, MIA, and DFW, or United Club at ORD, for example. Seats were plenty and dining area spacious.

Sky Club entrance
Sky Club entrance

 

I found the food and drink choices decent, too.

I particularly liked the outdoor terrace and glass window corner of the lounge for plane spotting.

In contrast, food served on trans-Atlantic Delta One was definitely underwhelming, compared to those served on Asian premier carriers. Mustard-Crusted Tuna fell on the dry side, so was the lamb chop.

Tumi amenity box was provided on the flight.

2015: Chicago to Shanghai

2015: Chicago to Shanghai

Trip Synopsis

Business Class one-way Chicago to Shanghai on Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines for 55K American Advantage Miles

MMB Analysis

  • My first long-haul business class redemption
  • Totally excited by the opportunity to experience two Asia-based premier airlines, Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines, and lounges at their hubs. See full trip report.

How will it work out today

American Airlines have devalued their award chart in 2016. The same trip would have cost 70K AA miles now.

Trip Metrics

From  To Distance (Miles)
Chicago Hong Kong 7794
Hong Kong Tokyo 1842
Tokyo Shanghai 1118
Total 10754