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A Tick Off My Bucket List

Berrocca

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2018
Messages
29
So, about a year ago and after having read some of the threads on Australian Frequent Flyer, I decided to burn some of my Velocity Points and look at ticking off one of my bucket list items and flying a long haul leg in F.

After much playing around, I managed to transfer about 210k velocity points into my Krisflyer account and booked FRA-SIN and then SIN-SYD flights in First Class with Singapore Airlines (just before the devaluation between Krisflyer/Velocity for the end of September 2019 . Around March 2019 I booked my forward legs to Europe, (mainly in Portugal) with Etihad where I was to spend about 22 days.

It was an amazing experience, flying with 4 different Airlines, visiting 7 lounges in 5 countries on 4 different continents. I'd only ever experience economy class on international flights and honestly, I don't know how I'll ever go back! (though my wallet will undoubtedly make sure I have no choice).

So I started off a SYD-AUH leg, flight EY455 but before departure and thanks to my Gold Velocity status, I had access to 'The House' at Sydney International Airport. Being such a late departure, there were very few people in the lounge and the food offerings were quite good with an offering of A La Carte dining available, which I took advantage of.



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Never having flown with Eithad, to say I was a little apprehensive would be an understatement, especially after having booked and then deciding to read up on the reviews that have been given. Unfortunately it was a non refundable economy booking and I was stuck, whether I liked it or not. I decided to book the extra legroom as it was a 14 plus hour flight and I found my seat to be more than adequate and I'm 186cm tall. The whole process of checking in and boarding was a breeze thanks to my Velocity Status and I needn't have worried about the on board service or the meal portion sizes or frequency as the were better than I have received on many other airlines.

It seems that Etihad, after so many customer complaints has reviewed the menu. Portions were good (I should have taken a picture) and I was offered snacks and drinks throughout. As hungry as I get, I didn't need to order from their inflight paid menu and the plates seem to be presented differently from the way that I had seen other people complain about.
 

Berrocca

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2018
Messages
29
After 14 hours and 40 minutes in the air, I finally arrived in Abu Dhabi. I had access to the regular Etihad Lounge but I was on a mission and decided that I would pay the $200USD to try out the Etihad First Class Lounge and Spa as I had a layover of more than 4 hours. I knew I wouldn't get the value I was spending out of it but I thought, in for a dime, in for a dollar and I had always been keen to see what the fuss was about.

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As soon as I entered, I could tell this was a premium lounge. Once again, a la carte dining, several areas to relax, a cigar and cognac room, ambient relaxation area, modern bathrooms and showers and spa.



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Great breakfast options.. Scrambled eggs on toast:

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The relaxation area:

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I had to make the most of the free cigar and was recommended a top shelf scotch (can't remember the brand) by the cigar sommelier:

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after which time I made the most of the rainfall shower, had my free 15 minute head massage, a couple more drinks from the bar and then headed off for my next flight from AUH-FRA.

Flight EY7 AUH-FRA was not the best. Not sue to any problem with Etihad Airways themselves, the service and food was good, but I had the unfortunate luck of being seated next to 2 hungover 20 somethings for 7 hours, of which the one directly besides me did not stop coughing for the whole trip! I thought I'd go mad! He'd fall asleep for a minute or so and end up halfway across my seat! Not being one to complain, I moved over as much as I could and just shut up.

Finally landed in Frankfurt where I had a long 6 hour wait for my flight FRA-LIS and where I managed to spill my cup of coffee all over the chocolate display at a kiosk (but that's another story) and had my fill of pretzels and beer. Then once in Lisbon I had 45 minutes for the short 45 minute flight to FAO in the Algarve, Southern Portugal and 22 days of relaxation.
 

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RB

Established Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2004
Messages
2,678
Looking forward to following your experiences in Portugal. I'm guessing you were pretty to finally get to Faro
 

Antoallison

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Wow 35 hours to get there is a marathon... you would have been really ready to chill out.
Looking forward to your report on Portugal. ⛱
 

Berrocca

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2018
Messages
29
After spending a couple of days just relaxing and getting used to the time zone, I set out to see some of the sites of the Algarve in Southern Portugal.

The Algarve is a widely varied place, with the touristy areas on the Western end of the province and the more traditional villages and towns further to the East as well as further away from the coastline and towards the hilly countryside. The people are some of the friendliest and most accommodating you could meet and you needn't worry about a language barrier as practically everyone under sixty years of age speaks a reasonable amount of English, or at least enough for you to get by. As for the local cuisine, well yum......

I stayed most of my time in the mainly traditional town of Quarteira, very close to the more touristy Vilamoura, which has one of the largest marina's in Europe and was recently voted Best International Marina by The Yacht Harbour Association Ltd.

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Some of the other resort towns included the 'Brit Favourite' town of Albufeira as well as the more traditional and bohemic town of Lagos and traditional Carvoeiro and Silves.

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Lagos in particular has an amazing coastline which my pictures unfortunately don't do justice to.

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Berrocca

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2018
Messages
29
Midway through my stay, I decided to spend a couple of days in the Portuguese capital, Lisbon. There was a UEFA Champions League football match between the local side Benfica and the Germans of RB Leipzig. I booked my accomodation staying close to the stadium, at Upon Lisbon Prime Residences and I ended up with some magnificent accomodation just a short Metro ride into the middle of the city and a lot closer to the Stadium than I had ever anticipated!

Upon Lisbon Prime Apartments:

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Bedroom and Separate Living Room (as well as fully equipped kitchenette and dining area)

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As I said, very close to the stadium. This was the view from the room:

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A rooftop bar and swimming pool:

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Berrocca

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2018
Messages
29
The next couple of days were spent exploring around the main downtown areas of Lisbon as well as the oldest existing part of the city, the Alfama district which was one of the few areas of Lisbon to service the devastating earthquake of 1755.

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as well as the narrow streets of Alfama:

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Berrocca

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2018
Messages
29
Heading South from Lisbon, I spent another week or so in the Algarve before once again heading back to Lisbon, this time as my departure point.

It may have been due to peak holiday periods but strangely enough, it was much cheaper to fly business class to FRA on TAP out of Lisbon and include a night's accomodation, than it was to fly out economy from Faro Airport. This worked well for me as I had loaded up on my shopping and was way over the 23kg TAP would allow me on their short haul flight to Frankfurt. Tap's Business Class (called Executive Class actually) allowed me 2 x 32kg bags and I got Lounge Access as well, so it was a no-brainer.

The 8.30am flight had meant that I needed to stay the night in Lisbon, but my choice of the Roma Hotel was a good one, literally 10 minutes taxi ride to the airport and large clean rooms and a decent buffet dining option in the hotel as well. I was also keen to try out TAP's Premium Lounge and after checking in my bags, I made my way up the escalators, past the ANA Lounge and into the Premium Lounge.

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It was a decent sized lounge and wasn't overly packed. The layout could almost be described as 'chic'. 11 20190922_070300.jpg

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I was particularly impressed by the wine dispenser, fully operational at 6.30am!

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As I mentioned, there were decent breakfast options and I settled for the usual bacon and eggs, followed by the absolutely yummy Portuguese custard tart and Coffee and then figured I'd try the chocolate mousse just to make sure it was ok... :)

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Soon it was time to head off to the gate and catch flight TP574 LIS - FRA.

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craven morehead

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Heading South from Lisbon, I spent another week or so in the Algarve before once again heading back to Lisbon, this time as my departure point.

It may have been due to peak holiday periods but strangely enough, it was much cheaper to fly business class to FRA on TAP out of Lisbon and include a night's accomodation, than it was to fly out economy from Faro Airport. This worked well for me as I had loaded up on my shopping and was way over the 23kg TAP would allow me on their short haul flight to Frankfurt. Tap's Business Class (called Executive Class actually) allowed me 2 x 32kg bags and I got Lounge Access as well, so it was a no-brainer.

The 8.30am flight had meant that I needed to stay the night in Lisbon, but my choice of the Roma Hotel was a good one, literally 10 minutes taxi ride to the airport and large clean rooms and a decent buffet dining option in the hotel as well. I was also keen to try out TAP's Premium Lounge and after checking in my bags, I made my way up the escalators, past the ANA Lounge and into the Premium Lounge.

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It was a decent sized lounge and wasn't overly packed. The layout could almost be described as 'chic'. View attachment 192738

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I was particularly impressed by the wine dispenser, fully operational at 6.30am!

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As I mentioned, there were decent breakfast options and I settled for the usual bacon and eggs, followed by the absolutely yummy Portuguese custard tart and Coffee and then figured I'd try the chocolate mousse just to make sure it was ok... :)

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Soon it was time to head off to the gate and catch flight TP574 LIS - FRA.

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Lounge along with F&B offerings looks very decent 🏆
 
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Berrocca

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2018
Messages
29
Moving on and I had an overnight stay in Frankfurt so I had booked in at the Frankfurt Airport Hilton. My flight the next day was only at 12.30pm but I had wanted to check out the lounge offerings at FRA anyway.

As a Gold Hilton member, (due to status matching with Velocity) I had some high expectations for my stay. The room itself was a reasonable size and the bed very comfortable, but there was no upgrade on the room offered, what I booked was what I received. I had an inward facing room but if I had the choice, I would have definitely chosen a room facing the outside of the building

The hotel is located in 'The Squaire' an impressive building about 15 minutes walk (all undercover) from the airport terminal 1 and I must admit I did get lost though..

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Thanks to my Hilton Honors status, I was greeted with a complimentary chocolate as well as 2 bottles of water, one spakling and one still. I also had access to the free wifi which I found to be quite fast.

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As it was getting close to dinner time, I decided to check out the dining options in The Squaire. The hotel dining hadn't excited me much but I did find a German restaurant serving what seemed to be decent fare. I'm a keen fan of schnitzels, pretzels and beer so I was in my element in Frankfurt.

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After a good night's sleep, I managed to get into the Hilton's executive lounge for a decent breakfast. Very quiet and reasonable selection of food.


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... and then off to T1 at FRA to begin my first ever experience in suites!
 

Berrocca

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2018
Messages
29
Arriving at FRA and after checking in, I was given access to Singapore Airlines partner Lounge, the Lufthansa Senator Lounge. Having spent most of my previous trips just walking around FRA's terminal, it was a nice change to sit down in a fairly nice lounge and eat and drink to my heart's content.
 

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Berrocca

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Joined
Nov 13, 2018
Messages
29
It was now the moment I had been waiting for, my first F class experience and to say I was excited would be an understatement! Off I headed to gate B46 to catch flight SQ25.

The A380 still had the old configuration F class seats, not that I minded as with these being slowly phased out for the new refurbishment, I had the opportunity to try them out and who knows, maybe one day I'll get to try the new layout too.

The priority boarding and the welcome on boarding were special and I couldn't wait to sit down and take it all in.

I thought I'd try the Krug and see what all the fuss was about. I'm not a huge champagne connoiseur but have to say it wasn't bad... :) I followed up with the Chilled Molossol Caviar, the Lobster Thermidor and Gateu Au Chocolat.

My pyjamas were handed out after the meal and my bread prepared whilst I got changed. It would take me a few pages to review the whole experience but to say I was blown away would be an understatement!
 

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craven morehead

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It was now the moment I had been waiting for, my first F class experience and to say I was excited would be an understatement! Off I headed to gate B46 to catch flight SQ25.

The A380 still had the old configuration F class seats, not that I minded as with these being slowly phased out for the new refurbishment, I had the opportunity to try them out and who knows, maybe one day I'll get to try the new layout too.

The priority boarding and the welcome on boarding were special and I couldn't wait to sit down and take it all in.

I thought I'd try the Krug and see what all the fuss was about. I'm not a huge champagne connoiseur but have to say it wasn't bad... :) I followed up with the Chilled Molossol Caviar, the Lobster Thermidor and Gateu Au Chocolat.

My pyjamas were handed out after the meal and my bread prepared whilst I got changed. It would take me a few pages to review the whole experience but to say I was blown away would be an understatement!
Bloody awesome !!
 

Berrocca

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2018
Messages
29
After the novelty of my first ever flat bed in the sky and a really good sleep, I was awoken in time for breakfast. Some fruit, followed by strawberry yoghurt and a croissant and finished off with an amazing French Toast.

We landed in SIA on time and after farewelling my the wonderful hosts and hostesses on board, it was time to head to The Private Room, before my second leg flight in F, SIA to SYD.

* My thoughts - Never having flown in anything better than Domestic Business, I wasn't quite knowing what to expect on a service level. It was amazing. The level of attention received, without being overbearing was awesome. The food tasted like it had just been freshly cooked and prepared at that moment and the comfort of the suite made the trip an enjoyable experience. Add in all the amenities and not having to crawl over 2 seats to go to the bathroom and I can understand why so many people have said that once you've tried it, it's so hard to go back to economy.

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Berrocca

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Nov 13, 2018
Messages
29
So after arriving at SIA and thanks to my onward F booking on flight SQ211 , I was extremely excited to visit The Private Room.

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I entered the Silverkris Lounge and personally escorted through the Business Lounge, Past the First Class Lounge and then to The Private Room.

I'm not sure it was what I was expecting. The lounge itself is very quiet and has a 'Gentleman's Club' feeling about it.

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As soon as I had arrived, I was immediately asked what I would like to drink and given my breakfast menu. I settled for an OJ and chose the Dim Sum Delight. I reclined on one of the sofas and told that I would be called as soon as my meal was ready.


Shortly after, I was escorted to the Dining Area and the meal presented. Admittedly it was one of the best dim sum and pork rolls I have ever had.

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An after meal scotch and about an hour before departure time, the lounge hostess came up to me and said. 'Mr xxxx, we'll have a cart ready for you shortly to take you to your gate'. Now, I'm not normally used to having too much attention showered upon me and the thought of being able bodied and driven through Singapore Airport on a cart was a little too much for me so I [politely replied that I had some shopping to do and would make my own way to the gate... :)
 

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