lufthansa

Tokyo Trip Report Part Two: V Gates?

Part One: The Initial Introduction
Part Two: V Gates?
Part Three: The Hajj on Lufthansa First
Part Four: There’s No Place Like Home (When Home is the First Class Terminal)
Part Five: Axis to Axis, Busts to Busts
Part Six: The Rising Sun, The Setting Fun
Part Seven: Turning Japanese in JAL First
Part Eight: Mormon-ey, More Party (at the SkyClub)
Part Nine: What’s Next?


Our first memory of this trip, as with most trips, is arriving at the First Class counter right around the time when we arrived at sobriety. After checking us in, the gate purser, sensing our urgent need for refreshment, escorted us to an “Expedited” security lane that took an unacceptable two minutes to clear. Once through, we quickly made our way to the Lufthansa Senator lounge.

A pathetic attempt at red carpet.

Upon arrival, the lounge purser informed us that the First Class restaurant upstairs would not open until 2 pm, a huge blow not at all softened by the Business Class “champagne” on offer. Rather than resort to eating the fresh fruit, sandwiches, and salads set out for Business Class passengers, we staved off our hunger by downing six or seven glasses of the poor man’s sparkling wine. We also took the opportunity to check out some of the business cubicles, just to see what it feels like to look like you’re working. Frankly, we don’t see what these “businessmen” are on about, but at least it gave us the opportunity to leave numerous brilliant comments on our rivals’ blogs.

Borderline insulting.

We were also able to check our points balances, but just as we started verifying them to everyone within earshot a lounge employee informed us that the First Class restaurant had finally opened. Once upstairs, alone but for an ethnic server and peering down on the Business Class prison we had escaped, we felt in our element once again.

More like “it.”

Our meal began with a bit of salad, a couple smallish prawns and several glasses of champagne, enough to ready us for the entree. Since we were in Maryland, we figured the crab cake would be excellent. Unfortunately for us and for the unimportant person on whom our partially-eaten crab cake landed, we were terribly wrong. Shortly thereafter, we remembered that we were in New York.

More like drab cake.

During the remainder of our brief stay we sampled each of the digestifs and dessert wines available, finding them universally awful. Fortunately we had time for a couple more glasses of champagne before our waiter led us to the gate, though we had to insist at least three times that he do so. After enduring the nausea and depression that always comes with walking through an American airport, we were ready for a nap.

Stay tuned for the next installment, detailing our in-flight experience in Lufthansa First Class from New York to Frankfurt!

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Tokyo Trip Report Part One: The Initial Introduction

Part One: The Initial Introduction
Part Two: V Gates?
Part Three: The Hajj on Lufthansa First
Part Four: There’s No Place Like Home (When Home is the First Class Terminal)
Part Five: Axis to Axis, Busts to Busts
Part Six: The Rising Sun, The Setting Fun
Part Seven: Turning Japanese in JAL First
Part Eight: Mormon-ey, More Party (at the SkyClub)
Part Nine: What’s Next?



Despite having travelled around the world for more than twenty years, we don’t generally like to leave the comfort of our first class cabin, lounge or hotel suite. Having lost our parents to the dangers of the “outside world” at a very young age, we remain wary of taking too many risks with foreign cultures, particularly those that various IFE programs have shown to be threatening, namely Russians, Sicilians, Chinese, Iranians, Arabians, most types of Africans, Asians, the Welsh, Hindoos, North Vietnamese, Kali-worshippers, Colombians, Ukrainians, Mongols, Jews, Cubans, Eastern Germans, Mexicans/Aztecs, the French, Moslems, the Gypsies, Hispanics, Nazis, Palestinians, Catholics, the Romans, Egyptians, the Visigoths, people from certain parts of New Jersey, Vikings, the Polish, Algerian youths, 16th-century Dutchmen, most Christians, Persians, Martians, Apaches, Spaniards, (British) Columbians, the British, Israelis, Somalians, those assholes who killed Gandhi, and the North Irishmen. Also Greeks and Turks; almost forgot about them.

Our well-warranted fears notwithstanding, we decided after a recent incident that it was time to see more of the world. Not quite sure where to start, we settled on Japan, as in the past we have enjoyed said country’s delicious noodles, sushi, and pornographic movies with the nasty parts blurred out (as G-d intended). Like the Chinese of Old, we hoped the Land of the Rising Sun would serve as a stepping stone to further worldly conquests.

In terms of trip planning, we decided to do a classic “Axis of Greatness” tour, booking Lufthansa First Class from New York to Osaka (via Frankfurt), with a return flight from Tokyo to Chicago on Japan Airlines. We still aren’t quite sure how we got from Osaka to Tokyo; we initially thought they were the same place. Perhaps we will figure that out as we dive back into our pictures for this report.

TurkishPlane

Planes at JFK. Some people swear by DO&CO, but we’ve never tried that Business Class garbage.

Needless to say, we were a bit under the influence when we booked our trip and throughout its entirety, so we can’t remember much about the booking process, other than the surliness of several phone agents. In any case, we’ll assume we used 70,000 United miles for the outbound and 62,500 American miles for the return. So, a mere drop in the metaphorical champagne bucket that is our actual swimming pool full of miles, points and champagne.

Stay tuned for Part Two, in which we will detail the trials and tribulations faced and overcome while visiting Lufthansa’s “First Class” lounge at JFK. Auf Wiedersehen!


The Week in Review

Points Envy had a blast at the StarMegaDo4 this week. It was a wonderful chance to see how the sausage is made at United and to finally meet some of the most infamous points bloggers around. Most importantly, it was nice to have easy access to the buffet line from which said bloggers were all eating. Our last experiment failed, but we will rule this world yet!

The miles blogs have been filled with talk of an upcoming 30% Membership Rewards transfer bonus to British Airways, but the bonus does not begin until December 3. This reminds us of the way our dead parents used to start mentioning Christmas in November. This type of teasing did not end well for them.

Points Envy brought you an exclusive look, via Lucky (via Gary), at a 25% award redemption sale in the Avios program.

Dan’s Deals provided an excellent guide to maximizing this week’s Staples promotion whereby you receive a $15 Staples Gift card for every $100 Visa or Mastercard gift card purchased. So far, we have bought $30,000 worth of gift cards at our local Staples stores, and this afternoon we are flying to Nebraska to visit a few more Staples. Nobody in Nebraska is in the game yet, right? We assume it is like living in the 1990s there.

As predicted, Lucky has given us the beginnings of a stellar review of Lufthansa first class. Not to be outdone, MommyPoints also flew the most German of all airlines this week, and the full review of her A380 trip is forthcoming.

Million Mile Secrets provided a nice rundown of some ways in which to maximize the fourth quarter Chase Freeom bonus on hotels and airlines by purchasing gift cards. We plan on using this method to max out the $1500 bonus on all sixteen of our Freedom cards.

Last, but not least, our friend George was mentioned in a critical post by The Frugal Travel Guy, and has responded with a couple posts of his own. Rick then engaged George and his readers in a vicious catfight in the alley (aka comments section) of George’s most recent post. As a wise man once said: hate hate hate hate.


The Week in Review

United is offering discounted award tickets to Europe for travel between January 15 and March 13, the precise timeframe in which nobody wants to go to Europe. But if braving cold weather and flying a U.S. carrier transatlantically are worth saving 12,000 miles to you, then by all means, have at it!

Via Million Mile Secrets, a new Ink Bold/Plus deal is on the way from Chase, requiring only $5,000 in spending within three months to receive the 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points bonus. This surely means that soon nobody will be able to find Vanilla Reloads at Office Depots, except of course those of us who are already bribing our local store managers.

Small Business Saturday is back on November 24 this year, and registration begins November 18. Last year we convinced our local wine dealer to let us split purchases on multiple cards and managed to get several bottles of fine champagne gratis. Between this and Bluebird, we are having trouble figuring out how American Express stays in business. Is the entire bank just some elaborate money laundering front?

The Mr Pickles has developed an intriguing new way of ranking your miles earning: miles earned per minute. We propose a new method: miles burned per minute. Our number has got to be in the thousands.

Lucky is back in the sky, and we are looking forward to yet another mouth-watering review of Lufthansa first class. We particularly love reading his reviews of Lufthansa first class while flying Lufthansa first class. We are meta like that.

The Points Envy assistants sent in another photographic update from their latest vacation, this time from Moscow:


Lufthansa Planning Hostile Takeover of LOT Polish Airlines

Less than three years after its anschluss of Austrian Airlines in September 2009, Lufthansa appears to be gearing up to buy a majority interest in fellow Star Alliance member LOT Polish Airlines. This news comes hot on the heels of a Lufthansa dispute with the Austrian government and a threat by the airline to shut down BMI if the sale of that airline is blocked, which leaves us wondering if the airline is simply losing patience with its European neighbors.

According to our source at Lufthansa, the company’s top executives recently decided that the airline has simply outgrown the German market, and they therefore started searching for additional “fliegensraum.” Our source, wishing to remain anonymous, stated, “Given the geography of East Prussia, excuse me, of Poland, we thought it made a perfect match.” To get employees on board, Lufthansa even set up a new division within its public relations department, and it has since been producing persuasive videos designed to get workers riled up about the growth of “their” airline, which the videos unequivocally label “the best in the world.”

The reaction from LOT workers to the rumors has been largely negative, with many employees expressing concern over the loss of autonomy and pending German influence. “I’ve heard they are already planning to replace our in-flight Kielbasa course with a Bockwurst version,” complained Aleksander Gryzbowski. Other airline responses have varied considerably. British Airways, Air France, KLM and Brussels Airlines have all expressed anxiety about the expansion, though none feel a direct response is yet warranted. In stark contrast, Alitalia fully supports Lufthansa’s move, which it hopes will serve as a model for its own takeover of Ethiopian Airlines in the near future. Swiss Air, already a subsidiary of Lufthansa since 2005, refused to comment.

Across the Atlantic, the biggest American carriers have avoided involvement thus far, dismissing the situation as a “European problem.” Meanwhile, Japanese airline ANA expressed its support for Lufthansa through a press release stating in part: “It is not our place to tell Lufthansa what they can and cannot do. If ANA were to expand aggressively here in Asia, we would not want Lufthansa or the Americans telling us what to do.”

We here at Points Envy believe Lufthansa to be the best airline in Europe, so we wouldn’t necessarily mind seeing it take over a little more of the continent’s traffic. Hell, if the other airlines stay on the sidelines, maybe Lufthansa will even extend its dominance to Africa or the Middle East some day. We’ll just have to wait and see how events unfold.