With family from around the world, Germany was the agreed meeting location this Christmas for one of our members. Frankfurt was the ultimate destination, but our member decided that going straight there wouldn’t be exciting enough. Instead, in this week’s trip report we are treated to an interesting variety of Asian destinations; the trip to Europe being notably indirect.
It’s the holiday season again which mean it’s time to visit the family overseas. Some relatives live in the US, some in EU and myself in AU. This year the meeting place is Germany.
When planing this trip I knew my departure will be from BNE and my destination is FRA on Xmas eve. As I strongly believe that flying the most direct route is wayyy to boring, my goal was to make a few stopovers in Asia on the way to Europe and some more on the way back. The plan was to book all flights using points in F and J (apart from the domestic leg which I managed to get a sale fare in Y).
Although most of the travel is in the pointy end, the journey begins with a short economy flight. Not just any flight though – it’s our traveller’s last ever flight on a Qantas Boeing 767. Qantas has since retired their last remaining 767 aircraft shortly after Christmas.
After a night at the Rydges Hotel overlooking Sydney Airport, it was time for the first international flight of the trip. A first class seat on Qantas’ A380 was originally booked, however the booking was downgraded to business when Qantas recently substituted the A380 for 747s and stopped selling first class between Sydney and Hong Kong. As it happens, Qantas put on an A380 for the flight anyway as it was the holiday season and a seat in first class was offered. Although the service was still technically business class, the cabin crew did their best to provide a first class experience.
The CSM introduced himself and said I’m lucky to sit in F today. When I told him I was originally booked in F and was downgraded to J his reply was that he will make sure I will get the F service today and indeed he kept true to his word, checking up on me frequently to make sure my glass of wine is never empty for too long.
After following some interesting adventures in Hong Kong and Macau, we get a taste of business class on Thai Airways and Asiana as our member flies to South Korea. Among a range of sights visited in South Korea is the DMZ, or demilitarised zone between North and South Korea. Near the border is Dorasan Station, a modern railway station opened by the South Koreans in 2002 in the hope that it would be used as a rail border crossing. As the photos in the trip report show, today it’s nothing more than a ghost station and serves as a sad reminder of the poor relationship between the two Koreas.
After experiencing Asiana’s business class, our member holds high expectations of first class on the South Korean airline. Will first class live up to the expectation or be a big disappointment?
What different kinds of local cuisine will be sampled? And which cities will be visited on the return trip? Find out by following this quality trip report HERE.