Tag Archives: lounge

Berlin Part 1: Getting There

We flew United business class from Washington D.C. to Dublin, and then economy Aer Lingus from Dublin to Berlin. There are no direct flights from D.C. to Berlin, and while there are better business class options – flying United cost 57,500 miles versus the pricier 70,000 mils required for United partners.

First, the United lounge in Dulles airport. Dulles is not slated to get a new Polaris lounge until 2018 or 2019. The current version is not the best lounge, but also not the worst. Comfortable, free wifi, plentiful snacks… it’s hard to complain.

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United’s Boeing 757-200 doesn’t have the fancy new Polaris hard product that some planes do, but at least we didn’t get stuck with United’s terrible 2-4-2 business class configuration. With a 2-2  configuration, the seats were perfect for traveling couples like us, with lie-flat seats and plenty of space to get comfy.

The service was friendly and accommodating. The new Saks Fifth Avenue blankets and pillows worked great (though I’m not exactly picky), and we managed to sleep for a couple of hours.

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Once in Dublin, we settled into the Dublin Airport Executive Lounge thanks to our Priority Pass card. I was exhausted so I curled up into a ball and fell asleep. But first, I took some pictures.

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Review: Priority Pass in Dulles Airport

The Priority Pass lounge card gives you membership in a network of 900-plus lounges all across the country. It now comes free with several credit cards, including the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Citi Prestige card.

In the past, I have primarily used Priority Pass in Europe, where the lounges are more plentiful, but I was excited to try out Priority Pass in Dulles since we flew economy to Iceland.

Here’s the catch: Due to the influx of new members, many priority club lounges have placed limits on when you can enter. For example, the KLM lounge in Dulles’s Terminal 1 (closest to Iceland Air) is only open to Priority Pass members from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m to 8:30 p.m. The British Airways lounge is only open to Priority Pass members from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. We arrived at the airport  at 5:00 p.m. during peak travel time. So we headed off to the Turkish Airlines lounge – the newest Priority Pass lounge.

It was great! While on the small side, there is a fantastic spread of food and drinks, comfortable seating, outlets, showers, and even a nap area. While Priority Pass is not a perk I use everyday, it is the perfect perk to alleviate the pain of flying economy on an international trip.

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IMG_9627As Priority Pass becomes increasingly popular, it may become increasingly useless for members, but for now, we were able to make it work.

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Part #9: First Class Baby!

Part #1: How I Quietly Fell in Love with Japan
Part #2: Getting Around Kyoto
Part #3: Bamboos Galore!
Part #4: The One in Which I Did Not Get Attacked By a Monkey
Part #5: In Search of a Geisha
Part #6: The Not-So Silver Silver Pavilion
Part #7: Orange I Glad I Made it to Inari?
Part #8: The Very Gold Golden Pavilion 

After two and half weeks in Asia, it was time for me to return home. I had a great time, but I was looking forward to my apartment, my bed, my television, etc. I was also looking forward to flying first class – YES, FIRST CLASS.

First class on United was only an extra 10,000 miles over business class – 80,000 miles and $61.40 – which was a no-brainer to me. For years, I’ve drooled over reviews of over-the-top first class products on Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, etc. United’s first class does not live up to that standard – not terribly surprising given United’s mediocre business class product. It was more like an extremely luxurious business class seat, but it was still lovely.

First up, I visited the lounge in Osaka’s airport.

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I had a short stopover in Beijing and sprinted to the first class lounge to take some pictures and stock up on diet cokes. The lounge was spacious and lovely. I wish I had a little more time to revel in the luxury.

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Finally, first class, or, FIRST CLASS!

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The Benefits of Amtrak Select Plus

I had a short trip to San Diego for work (more on that later), and the only return flight that worked with my schedule was a redeye from San Diego to Newark with a three-hour stopover en route to Baltimore (and then an hour trip to my apartment). I don’t have status with United (or any other airlines for that matter) so upgrades were not an option. I simply prepared myself for a hellish journey home, counting down the hours until I could collapse in my own bed.

There was one silver lining: Amtrak Select Plus. Thanks to all the Amtrak traveling I did in 2013, I still have Amtrak Select Plus status through February 2015. Amtrak Select Plus isn’t all that great, except for one little known perk: It gives you access to United airport lounges.

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Now a lounge doesn’t make up for sleeping in 40 minute increments in economy, but it is a nice pick-me-up in between layovers. The Newark lounge even had showers.

San Diego:

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Newark:

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JFK Lufthansa Business Lounge!!!

Yes, the title really does warrant three exclamation points.

One of the beneifits of traveling business class is the awesome business class lounges I get to hang out in prior to the flight. Comfortable chairs, free food, wireless, free newspapers and magazines – it is an easy life to get used to. Now, I’ve only been to a few lounges so I am still filled with child-like giddiness everytime I get to check out a new one. A few years ago, Lufthansa invested millions to renovate its JFK lounge so I was especially excited.

My thoughts: It is very NICE, though not that different from my Lufthansa lounge experience at Dulles airport in Virginia. (Am I starting to sound like one of those obnoxious travel snobs? If so, I’m sorry, but I probably won’t do anything about it.) The lounge is spacious and airy, and the food spread is decent, but the lack of power outlets near the most comfortable seats is annoying and seems like an obvious oversight. The wifi is also unreliable. Thank God for 3G.

Here are some photos:

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Greetings From The United Club At Newark Airport

I just landed in Newark Airport with a two-hour stopover until I take off for Bermuda. Pause for celebratory cartwheels. I’m flying economy this trip, but thanks to my United credit card, I received two free United Club passes in the mail. I’ve been scratching my head wondering when I would have cause to use them, and here I am!

It’s not the fanciest lounge, but it’s nice to relax in big, comfy chairs, have access to free snacks and drinks, and enjoy free wireless (which, it turns out is unreliable.)

Some eveidence of my temporary luxorious lifestyle:

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