Leo’s travel journal

Leo’s travel journal and other juicy bits…

Posts Tagged ‘Star Alliance

And so begins, the journey…

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So begins the year with a mind-blowing 19-day European winter escapade; an epic journey of 26,968km with the following routing:

KUL-BKK: Thai Airways (B777-200)
BKK-CPH: Thai Airways (B747-400)
CPH-TXL: Scandinavian Airlines (B737-800)
TXL-FRA: Lufthansa (A321)
FRA-RIX: Lufthansa (B737-300)
RIX-CPH: AirBaltic (B737-300)
CPH-ARN: Scandinavian Airlines (B737-800)
ARN-HEL: Blue1 (Avro RJ85 Jumbolino 😀 – YAY!)
HEL-LHR: Blue1 (B717 – 1st time)
LHR-BKK: Thai Airways (B747-400)
BKK-KUL: Thai Airways (A330-300)

Hotels:
TXL: 3-room apartment at Brandenburg Gate
RIX: Monika Centrum (on the super cheap €58 a night)
CPH: Hotel Guldsmelden
ARN: The all time favourite Sheraton
HEL: Hotel Kamp
LHR: Undecided still… Knightsbridge, Bayswater or Sloane Square?

Cost of flights and accommodation – circa €3,500

Let’s see how this pans out.

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And it’s a wrap!

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Image courtesy of Singapore Airlines

So here’s the wrap of 2009 (travel wise).

A little premature seeing that there is a little over 2 weeks of 2009 to go, but I don’t have any foreseeable flights in these weeks – so here goes.

Actual distance flown

2008: 57,948 miles (93,249km, 2.33 times around the earth along the equator)

2009: 84,976 miles (136,755km, 3.41 times around the earth along the equator)

Variance: +46.64%

Time spent on-board flights

2008: 127hrs, 19 mins

2009: 201hrs, 50mins

Variance: +59%

Number of flights

2008: 47

2009: 64

Variance: +36.17%

Countries visited

2008: 12

2009: 16

Variance: +33.33%

Airlines flown

2008: 6

LOT Polish Airlines (LO), Lufthansa (LH), Malaysia Airlines (MH), SAS Scandinavian Airlines (SK), SilkAir (MI), Singapore Airlines (SQ)

2009: 13

Air Asia (AK), Berjaya Air (J8), British Midlands (BD)Croatia Airlines (OU), Firefly (FY), Indonesia Air Asia (QZ), Lufthansa (LH), Malaysia Airlines (MH), SAS Scandinavian Airlines (SK), Silk Air (MI), Singapore Airlines (SQ), Swiss International Airlines (LX), Thai Airways (TG), Turkish Airlines (TK)

Variance: +116.67%

Longest Flight (distance)

2008: 6,394 miles, 11hrs 56mins, Singapore (SIN) – Frankfurt (FRA)

2009: 6,539 miles, 13hrs 45mins, Singapore (SIN) – Amsterdam (AMS)

Variance: +2.27%

Longest Flight (duration)

2008: 11hrs 56mins, 6,394 miles, Singapore (SIN) – Frankfurt (FRA)

2009: 13hrs 45mins, 6,539 miles, Singapore (SIN) – Amsterdam (AMS)

Variance: +13.83%

Shortest Flight (distance)

2008: 139 miles, 45mins, Kota Kinabalu (BKI) – Sandakan (SDK)

2009: 142 miles, 45mins, Copenhagen (CPH) – Gothenburg (GOT)

Variance: +2.16%

Shortest Flight (duration)

2008: 45mins, 139 miles, Kota Kinabalu (BKI) – Sandakan (SDK)

2009: 45mins, 142 miles, Copenhagen (CPH) – Gothenburg (GOT)

Variance: 0%

Fastest Flight

2008: 536 mph, 6,394 miles, 11hrs 56mins, Singapore (SIN) – Frankfurt (FRA)

2009: 551 mph, 5,597 miles, 10hrs 10mins, Frankfurt (FRA) – Bangkok (BKK)

Variance: +2.80%

Slowest Flight

2008: 185 mph, 139 miles, 45mins, Kota Kinabalu (BKI) – Sandakan (SDK)

2009: 162 mph, 162 miles, 1hr, Munich (MUC) – Zurich (ZRH)

Variance: -12.43%

Average Flight (distance & duration)

2008: 1,233 miles, 2hrs 43mins

2009: 1,328 miles, 3hrs 9mins

Airlines frequent flier membership

2008: MH Enrich Blue, KL Flying Blue, SQ Krisflyer Elite Silver (Star Alliance Gold)

2009: MH Enrich Blue, KL Flying Blue, OZ Asiana Diamond (Star Alliance Gold), SQ Krisflyer Elite Gold (Star Alliance Gold)

Asiana Club Diamond

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Received a nice package from Asiana Airlines on my recent “status upgrade” on their frequent flier programme.

So, I’m officially a “Diamond” status member (with all the benefits of Star Alliance Gold) till February 2013! This means, priority luggage, priority boarding and most important of all, lounge access till 2013! I love this programme.

Besides the new card, there were two nice luggage tags, a nice calf leather passport holder and a 50% discount on miles redemption voucher. What this means is that instead of the usual 75,000 miles (roundtrip economy-business upgrade, Southeast Asia-Europe) required, an upgrade to the fabulous Asiana Business Class now only costs 37,500 miles! So guess which airline I’ll be flying with on my next long-haul trip? 🙂

Best thing is, I’ve not even flown a single flight with them 🙂

So Singapore Airlines, go screw yourself with your stupid Krisflyer programme.

Oh by the way, an upgrade to the Lagoon Villa at the Sheraton Grande Laguna, Phuket was obtained for my upcoming vacation! Not bad for a free stay huh?

The superb 88-square-metre Lagoon Villas offer a world of amenities for an unforgettable experience. The outdoor rain shower, sunken Jacuzzi tub, and exclusive access to the Grande Villa Pool and magical Peace & Tranquility area underscore the coveted privacy of these two-storey havens.

Guests of the Lagoon Villas enjoy complimentary à la carte breakfast at the acclaimed Puccini restaurant or the legendary breakfast buffet at the Birds of Paradise restaurant, a refreshing selection of lemongrass tea, iced tea, mineral water, fresh tropical fruit, and cooling towel service at the Grande Villa Pool, and complimentary hors d’oeuvres and cocktails at the Grande Villa garden every evening.

In addition to the sweeping living area with modern wet bar, comfortable sofa bed, plush armchair with ottoman, coffee table, and cooling marble floors, each villa enjoys a stellar Bose entertainment centre, a 25-inch flat screen television with satellite channels, and direct dial telephones. With one-touch service, all of our guests’ needs are met promptly with the push of a button.

In the upstairs loft-style bedroom, a signature Luxury Collection king bed, dressed in sumptuous cotton linens and light duvet, stands on a floor of polished parquet. A wall of picture windows frames tranquil water views. A pure cotton bathrobe and slippers, lavish AQUA toiletries in both the deluxe bathroom and powder room, and an additional indoor shower further enhance the villa’s comforts.

Enjoy a daily delivery of warm buttery croissants along with an international newspaper. Fresh fruit and pure spring water are replenished daily. Fresh flowers welcome guests upon arrival, while each night, the delightful “Essentially Yours” turn-down service infuses the bedroom with the soothing fragrance of natural essential oils.

From Warsaw with love…

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Did you know that Warsaw was the birthplace of the infamous pianist / composer, Frédéric Franciszek Chopin? His seemingly impossible to play pieces remain the pièce de résistance for many aspiring pianist worldwide. There’s even an international piano competition named after him.

This post may be a tad boring to you guys, but this is what I do on a work day when I’m travelling. I am writing this while Chopin’s Waltz No. 1 in Eb is playing on my computer.

To those of you who don’t already know, I am working with a leading travel group in Malaysia, focusing in inbound tours (bringing foreign tourists into Malaysia). And no, I am not a tour guide! My portfolios include product and business development, marketing, public relations and communications.

The trip starts way before I actually board the plane to my destinations, approximately 3 – 4 weeks to be exact.

My trips are always planned before or after a major trade show(s); usually in the first, third and fourth quarter of the year. In this trip’s case, it was the ITB in Berlin and MITT in Moscow. In these trade shows, we meet up with existing and prospective outbound tour operator clients. As there was a 1 week gap in between the shows, I had a discussion with my boss, Mr. Italian CEO to decide on new areas that we should develop business from. It was thus decided Eastern Europe was the new frontier.

So I planned Estonia and Poland. The purpose of this trip was more on fact finding and I am to submit a feasibility study on developing these new markets. This is done by meeting major outbound tour operators in the respective countries and gauge Malaysia’s popularity and potential as a destination to sell.

Next, I proceed to search for information on these tour operators through various channels like the Tourism Malaysia offices in charge of these countries, airline friends, and other tour operators in competing countries like Thailand.

I then decide on the dates that I will be in each country and make appointments with the respective tour operators.

I wake up in the morning to a sumptuous breakfast (in this case at the coffeeshop of my hotel).
On the logistics side, I have to liaise with my associate in the sister company doing outbound tour operating (bringing people out) to book my flight and get the best available connections. Taking into account the flight time (it is always the best to take a night flight to Europe out of Asia, so you leave at night from Kuala Lumpur and arrive in Europe in the morning to avoid the highly dreaded jetlag). In my case, I usually take the Star Alliance (Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa combination) due to its wide network in Europe. Visa requirements are taken care upon issuance of my ticket.

Next – the hotels. I would usually book online as it is averagely more cost effective to book European hotels online. I also do read up on the new cities that I visit to find out more on the culture, places of interests, learn common phrases like greetings and how to get around. I try to select the best possible places to stay in this order – location, quality of the hotel and last but not least, price.

Being an ex-hotelier, I am still suckered by nice little touches like these turndown chocolates, and tomorrow’s weather forecast.
Then there’s calling the credit card and mobile companies to notify them of my travels.

The actual travelling itself is rather mundane, I must say. 21 days away from home, alone and in the cold most of the time takes its toll on the spirit.

Yes, I do get to travel a big deal, however in this trip; it is 4 countries, 3 different time zones, in and out of airports 10 times, in and out of hotels 8 times. Not so fun after all? You bet.

It is a tedious job, but hey someone’s gotta do it!

Written by Leo

16 March 2007 at 21:42