Booking the Trip: A Southeast Asian Path to India

Booking the Trip: A Southeast Asian Path to India
Review: American Airlines Admiral’s Club LAX
Review: American Airlines Flagship Lounge LAX
Review: American Airlines 787-9 Main Cabin Extra Los Angeles to Tokyo Narita
Review: Japan Airlines Sakura Business Class Lounge
Review: Japan Airlines 777-200ER Economy Class Tokyo Narita to Singapore
Review: Singapore Airlines SilverKris Business Class Lounge Terminal 3 Singapore
Review: Thai Airways Royal Silk Lounge Singapore
Review: Singapore Airlines SilverKris Business Class Lounge Terminal 2 Singapore
Review: Thai Airways A350-900 Royal Silk Business Class Singapore to Bangkok
Review: Thai Airways Royal Silk Lounge Concourse E Bangkok
Review: Eva Air Infinity Lounge Bangkok
Review: Thai Airways 747-400 Royal Silk Business Class Bangkok to Mumbai
Review: GVK Domestic Lounge Mumbai
Review: Jet Airways 737-800 Economy Class Mumbai to Pune
Review: GVK International Business Class Lounge Mumbai
Review: Thai Airways 747-400 Royal Silk Business Class Mumbai to Bangkok
Review: Thai Airways Royal Silk Lounge Concourse D Bangkok
Review: Thai Airways Royal Silk Lounge Concourse C  Bangkok
Review: Singapore SilverKris Business Class Lounge Bangkok
Review: Thai Airways A350-900 Royal Silk Business Class Bangkok to Singapore
Review: Qantas A330-200 Economy Class Singapore to Sydney
Review: Qantas Business Class Lounge Sydney
Review: American Airlines 787-9 Main Cabin Extra Sydney to Los Angeles

YOUTUBE: American Airlines: Los Angeles to Tokyo
YOUTUBE: Japan Airlines: Tokyo to Singapore
YOUTUBE: Thai Airways: Singapore to Bangkok
YOUTUBE: Thai Airways: Bangkok to Mumbai
YOUTUBE: Jet Airways: Mumbai to Pune
YOUTUBE: SpiceJet: Pune to Bangalore
YOUTUBE: Jet Airways: Bangalore to Pune
YOUTUBE: Thai Airways: Mumbai to Bangkok
YOUTUBE: Thai Airways: Bangkok to Singapore
YOUTUBE: Qantas Airways: Singapore to Sydney
YOUTUBE: American Airlines: Sydney to Los Angeles


Well, it’s that time of year again to head back to India and boy I’m sure you can tell by the above that booking this was very fun and at the same time very annoying. But everything was all worth in the end.

Bookings:

The way these flights were booked was that rather than booking a routing with all one airline, all one alliance, and all one class, I wanted a mix. So I booked routings that would give me a mix of economy and business class flights. Now I planned these flights inside out and I’ll explain in 2 seconds what I mean. So I wanted to book the long haul flights in economy and If I could, a couple short/medium hauls in business class. I wanted to book the business class flights first and plan the long haul economy around that. There were so many options that worked out to my liking. Oman air had business class roundtrips between Muscat and Mumbai for around $500 roundtrip which is phenomenal for the product. Etihad had great fares out of Muscat roundtrip for ~$600 roundtrip which is even a better deal. There were lots of similarly great options out of the gulf coast which is one of my favorite regions of the world to fly through. However, there were also a lot of good deals through many south-east Asian cities. The one I ultimately chose was a Thai Airways business class roundtrip between Singapore and Mumbai via Bangkok for ~$1,220 roundtrip. This option was obviously more expensive than others, but given that I get 4 flights, a decent amount of United Miles, and a lot of lounge reviews, I thought this was a decent enough deal. Here are the booking details:

This is the outbound flight selection from Singapore to Mumbai:

ThaiOutBound.png
Thai Outbound flight
ThaiInBound
Outbound flight

Now leaving India, I wanted a long layover in Bangkok so I could fully visit all the lounges I wanted to.  But that makes up the “inner flights” and so far out routing looks like this:

innerflights.gif
inner flights

We will look at the seats for all flights later. But now that the “inner flights” were set in stone, it was time to plan how to get to Singapore from LA and back. I typically want to fly star alliance airlines or airlines on which I earn Alaska miles, but in this case, I had AA platinum status earned through an AA promotion, so I exploited that. All the viable star alliance options like United, EVA, ANA, were quite pricey, so that would not be an option. Now when I mean quite pricey, I don’t mean $2000+, I mean $1200+. While that is not too bad, I had already spent $1200 on the Thai flights, so I wanted to dip as low as possible in the price range of flights I could book. So I defaulted to One World Airlines and using American airline’s website, I found a great itinerary which has lots of flying on different One world airlines. And because I had platinum status with AA, I could select Main cabin extra seats for all of the AA flights.

AAJLQF FlightPlans.png
itinerary

For someone who loves flying, I got all of this for $789 round trip! Out of this, I get to fly American, Japan Airlines, and Qantas long-haul economy, all of which I had never flown in international economy before. The routing looks like such:

outer flights.gif
“outer” flights

 

So all of that flying for $789 roundtrip, I’ll talk about earnings later.

The last part of this booking is a short haul flight within India. I will be flying from Mumbai to Pune. Typically I have a relative drive me in between the two cities, but I had a bit of a time crunch on a particular day so I decided to fly in. Jet Airways operates 1 daily nonstop flight between the two cities.

jetbooking
flight details

 

That’s all the details for my flights and how I planned them. Below are my seats and further down my earnings and price for these flights.

Seats

So here are the seats I chose for each of my flights. I will also explain the process of picking seats for the One World flights as those were relatively complicated.

The first flight is on American Airlines from Los Angeles to Tokyo:

Typically Main cabin extra seats will be $120-$140 but because of my platinum status, it was free.

LAX-NRT:

UPDATE: I changed to Seat 12A.

LAXNRTSeat
LAX NRT Seat

This entire flight was operated in daylight so it did not really matter which side I ended up sitting on.

Now the next flight was on AA’s OneWorld partner Japan Airlines. Unlike United which gives you the PNR booking code for any flights on an itinerary that has airlines other than United, AA does not do that. If you attempt to use the AA PNR code for accessing your reservation on Japan Airline’s website, it will not work. I had to email AA with my PNR code to ask for the one that would work on Japan Airline’s website. AA responded with the following email:

AAEmail.png
AA email

In this email, you get all the information you need. Simply open another tab, navigate to the Japan Airlines website, select your language preferences, and arrive at this tab on the website.

JalFrontPage.png
website JAL

Click the option to “SEARCH BY RESERVATION INFORMATION” and enter the information exactly as presented by the AA agent in the email. You will be able to select your seats from there.

JALEnterReservation.png
JAL details

NRT-SIN:

JalSeatSelection.png
JAL seat 48K

I chose the right side here because my flight departs in the late afternoon and arrives at midnight in Singapore. The sun will be setting on my side which will make for great views. Also, notice the seating configuration. JAL has a very interesting 3-4-2 configuration. So it is in your best interest to choose the right side of the aircraft.

Now that I’m in Singapore, this is where the Thai portion of my itinerary starts. The first flight is on the beautiful A350-900 from Singapore to Bangkok:

SIN-BKK:

SINBKKSeat.png
Seat 15K

From the seat map, it appears Thai has a staggered style business class configurations and so the “true” window seats are the way to go as they have significantly more privacy.

The next flight is on a Thai 747 from Bangkok to Mumbai. This part is the real treat. Thai’s 747’s have 3 classes: Royal First, Royal Silk Business, and Economy. However, on the Bangkok-Mumbai route, they only sell 2 classes of travel: economy and business. So the first class seats are up for grabs on a first come first serve basis. In an ideal world, I would’ve chosen seat 1A or 1K, but those were blocked off by the airline for some reason, so I took 2K. I would have thought that these seats would only be available for selection by Thai Orchid elite members, but apparently, anyone can have them.

BKK-BOM:

BKKBOMSeat.png
Seat 2K

For my flight from Mumbai to Pune, I chose one of the paid seats.

JetSeat
Seat

On the return to the US out of India, I chose the same seat on the Thai 747 flight for the same reason:

BOM-BKK:

BOMBKKSeat
Seat 2K

From Bangkok, I fly back to Singapore on the same A350-900:

BKK-SIN:

BKKSINSeat.png
Seat 15K

Now we are on the OneWorld portion of our itinerary. From Singapore, I am flying to Sydney on Qantas’s A330-200 economy class. To select my seats for the Qantas flight, you have to go via their website. The good thing about Qantas, however, is that the American Airlines PNR code can be directly entered into Qantas’s website and it will read the reservation. Now the one downside, however, is that seat selection is for a premium of $30. It is free for OneWorld elites, so I tried adding my AA platinum account to the reservation, but that did not work and I ended up paying $30, however, because AA platinum is OneWorld Sapphire status, I will try to refund the charge, even though most of the times these payments are non-refundable

SIN-SYD:

QantasSeat.png
Seat 46K

 

Lastly, my final flight was, again, on an American Airlines 787-9 and in Main Cabin Extra:

SYD-LAX:

SYDLAXSeat
SYD LAX seat

So that wraps up the seat selections portion of this introduction.

Lounges

There are quite a few awesome lounges that I will be reviewing on this journey.  Starting in LAX, I will review the American Airlines Flagship Lounge in Terminal 4 and the admiral’s club in T4

Los Angeles International Airport:

  • American Airlines Flagship Lounge
  • American Airlines Admiral’s Club LAX

With a two hour layover in Tokyo, I’ll also check out the Sakura business class lounge assuming that my inbound flight is not delayed.

Tokyo Narita International Airport:

  • Japan Airlines Sakura Business Class Lounge

Then the star alliance flights pick up in Singapore

Singapore Changi Airport:

  • Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge Terminal 2
  • Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge Terminal 3
  • Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Class Lounge

The two SQ lounges should be great, but I’ve been told “meh” things about the Thai Airways lounge, but we shall see.

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport:

  • Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Class Lounges (4 of them)
  • Singapore Airlines SilverKris Business Class Lounge
  • EVA Air Infinity Lounge Bangkok

This is where the majority of the lounges will be visited by me and reviewed. I put a 10-hour layover on the way back to ensure I get quality time at many of the lounges in BKK airport.

Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport:

  • GVK International Business Class Lounge
  • GVK Domestic Business Class Lounge

This lounge I have been to several times and it is most certainly the world’s best contract lounge in my opinion and I cannot wait to give you guys a review of it.

In Singapore, I have an hour and a half layover so I’m not sure I’ll have time to visit a lounge, especially given that I am connecting on a different ticket so I have to manage all of that. But in case, I’ll try to visit the British Airways Lounge in Singapore.

In Sydney, I will have a 3-hour layover or so, and so I plan to visit the Qantas Business Class Lounge there.

Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport:

  • Qantas Business Class Lounge LAX

Price and Earnings

So the Thai Airways flights cost $1,220 roundtrip. United’s mileage earning for all flights booked directly on their website is determined by the amount of cash paid for the flight. But because I booked this on Thai Airways’ website, the miles I earn is based on the distance I travel. Here is United’s chart for travel on Thai Airways:

 

UAAwardChart
UA Thai chart

My itinerary was booked under the “J” fare so I’d earn 125% of the miles flown. The total distance flown on Thai Airways will be 5,521 miles so I should be earning 6,901 MileagePlus miles. Elite Status wise, here’s the story:

 

UAPremierAwardChart.png
UA Thai Premier chart

So this is also distance based so I will earn 5,520 Premier Qualifying Miles and 4 Premier Qualifying Segments to credit to my United MileagePlus account, which is alright, though nothing great.

 

Now for my Alaska-crediting Flights, here’s how that works:

This first chart is the Alaska miles I earn flying with American.

 

AlaskaAAChart.png
Alaska AA chart

All of Alaska’s miles earned are distance based. My first and last flights are on American so with them I fly a total of 12,939 miles. My AA flights are blocked under the “N” booking class so I would earn 6,470 MileagePlan miles.

Here is the Alaska chart for flights on Japan Airlines:

 

AlaskaJapanChart.png
Japan Airlines chart

For my flight from Tokyo to Singapore, I fly 3,324 miles and my fare class is “S” so I will earn 1,662 MileagePlan miles for those flights.

Qantas is the last OneWorld airline for which I will earn miles.

 

AlaskaJapanChart.png
Alaska Qantas Chart

It’s awesome to see that I will earn 100% of the miles on the 3,908-mile flight from Singapore to Sydney on Qantas.

So in total, my Alaska earnings are 12,040 MileagePlan miles. Unfortunately, it’s not that much given how much I will be flying, but also considering I only paid $780 for those flights I will not complain at all.

 

Now the last part of this is

Screen Shot 2018-07-02 at 1.05.24 AM

Screen Shot 2018-07-02 at 1.05.56 AM
chart

This is embarrassing but here are my earnings on DL from flying a flight with Jet Airways. I get 58 Delta SkyMiles, 77 MQMs, and $12 MQDs. Pretty solid huh?

 

Summary

map
Full map

So as you can see, this is a pretty packed up trip report. But I cannot wait for you to see all my reviews and all the new products to fly. As a matter of fact, I’m currently finishing this write up from the Singapore KrisFlyer Lounge in terminal 3 and will post once I reach my relative’s place in Mumbai. Hope you all enjoy the journey. Cheers!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.