that bassinet life (RTW with our 9 mth old)

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diningdecadence

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Hi all

thought i'd throw together a few photos from our recent RTW trip.

SYD-DFW QF J
ORD-xFRA-ATH LH F/J
LHR-SIN-SYD SQ suites/F

plus some food and hotel photos thrown in for good measure
 
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diningdecadence

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QF7 was first up.

Booked using AA miles (80,000 each) in August 2017 for a flight in May 2018.

Little bit of fiddling around trying to add DDjunior to the booking, as well as a schedule change to the following day but all sorted in the end.

Quick note for those with kids - the express path cards are useless as can't go through automated gates with the bubs - instead directed to the far right of the normal entrance (with aircrew) following a simple enough process with the pram, liquids/food etc.

Not a massive fan of the business lounge at Sydney (i've been lucky to visit the F lounge a couple of times) but we fed the little monster and had a quick drink. Left slightly early and passed the Burger joint on the prioritypass list where the lady was more than keen to get us to the full $72 entitlement.

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diningdecadence

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onboard we settled into the bulkhead by the window and got the expected couple of glances from some unimpressed passengers.

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Had a box of Cadbury's favourites for the crew which went down a treat with plenty of thank yous from many of them

Lovely weather for our departure!

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diningdecadence

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the bassinet was an interesting one as you can see. straight up plastic of some description with some weird peepholes.

bed mode of the seats wasn't interrupted by the bassinet which was great however the little dude didn't want to sleep in increments much longer than 2 hours, so there was a fair bit of walking up to the 'lounge' area at the front. I guess we 'broke' the rules by letting him play on the ground but thankfully the FA's didn't come up to that area much (and be required to tell us to hold him).

Funnily enough this was the first flight i've been on where others were in the lounge area, but they were happy enough to sit and chat with us/ themselves whilst bub was around.

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diningdecadence

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and finally a couple of food photos - step up from economy but nothing to generally write home about. Pastizzi mid-flight snack may have been the highlight!

Biggest thing to write home about this flight was definitely the space - particularly being able to utilise the 'dead' zone up in the lounge area was a huge plus compared to being down the back in economy.

DFW customs & immigration was longer than i've experienced before - around 45 mins - with plenty of people asking to jump ahead due to tight connections. Have they always had US citizens and ESTAs in the same line? First time i'd experienced that, although it was also the first time I'd had the customs portion done upstairs.

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LadyC

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Welcome to a new world of travelling with a munchkin! Not sure I would have been ready to fly to the US so hats off to you. MasterC who is 4 years old is a pretty well travelled young man and is most importantly a good traveller. Hopefully your adventures continue with your wee one and look forward to reading more about your trip.
 

diningdecadence

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Brave parent. Can’t image travelling with a Bub!

my wife's Texan so we knew what we were getting ourselves into when we met 7 years ago! Had a 'test' trip up to Singapore at Easter and were super lucky that he is a great traveller!

Welcome to a new world of travelling with a munchkin! Not sure I would have been ready to fly to the US so hats off to you. MasterC who is 4 years old is a pretty well travelled young man and is most importantly a good traveller. Hopefully your adventures continue with your wee one and look forward to reading more about your trip.

cheers!
 

diningdecadence

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We spent a bit over 2 weeks in Texas visiting extended family and friends, mainly driving between the triangle of Dallas, Houston and Austin. Would highly recommend a stop in a Buc-ee's gas station for anyone driving through Texas.


Plenty of American food - chicken fried steak, my favourite Texas BBQ (La BBQ in Austin - we had it catered for our wedding), and a couple of the burger chains that have made their way to the South.
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diningdecadence

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Next up we headed north to Wisconsin, more specifically a little town called Onalaska to see some more of the extended family.

Cash fare with AA, including a stopover in Chicago, and a bit of mucking around with flight delays/missed connections. My geekiness with this hobby of ours paid off as we managed to snag an earlier flight to make our onward connection, which in turn ended up being delayed.

Anyway - we made it as planned, with a couple of complimentary wines snuck to us by a friendly FA. Probably helped we were in the last row and bubs was behaving!

No infant safety belt available on either flight which we found a bit odd.

Our hosts (2nd cousins i think we worked out) took us out for a drive around some beautiful lakes/ rivers that feed into the Mississippi. A relaxing couple of days with too many fried cheese curds (delicious!) was had.
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But soon it was on the road again. Thanks to the lifemiles/ LH F glitch we had locked in a flight from ORD (Chicago), a 4 hour roadtrip away.

Ticked off the bean (the skyline reminded me a little of the streets surrounding central park in NY), and hit up Pizzeria Uno and Portillo's (hot dogs). Unfortunately neither hit the spot for us but it was a fun 6 or so hours in Chicago - a first visit for both of us
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diningdecadence

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Our next step was a wedding in Santorini. This was a great opportunity to tick off another item on the aviation bucketlist - the LH Terminal in Frankfurt. For reasons unknown around May/June time Lifemiles had access to LH F in advance of 14 days. This also coincided with a LM 125% promo (wasn't game to wait for the 140%). bingo - game on.

Flights from Wisconsin to any of the major hubs were silly expensive ($400 for a 30 min flight to Chicago, $900 to NYC), which trimmed down the potential departure cities down to Chicago, a 4 hour drive as mentioned above.

We were unfortunately on the 10 something pm departure rather than the 4pm, so had limited time to enjoy the United Polaris lounge.

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In fact i think we arrived at around 820pm, with cut off to both showers and a la carte at 830pm, and lounge closure at 9. Thanks to the LH ground handler, and some accommodating staff in the lounge, we were able to tick off both.

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Before being shuffled along to an overcrowded United lounge closer to the gate which was not particularly relaxing.
 

diningdecadence

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We did however luck out on the flight, with only a father/ daughter combo as the other passengers.

i don't actually recall how many miles & $ it was in the ended, but i definitely moved the slider to somewhere in the middle.

A somewhat negative aspect of the frequent flyer game was the infant ticket. Lufthansa charges 10% of the adult fare (I think Qantas is the odd one out here?), and with it being a one way booked < 1 month from departure date it was $. ORD-FRA-ATH came to A$1,345

Some shots from the flight

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the novelty of freshly cooked eggs on board, as well as leftover caviar was too good to resist.

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diningdecadence

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and of course, the whole point of this TR - the bassinet. Only available at seat 2K apparently.

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big thumbs up for this one - under the muslin to the right was a little hood. A+ for thoughtful design! Little man had a great sleep and allowed us to enjoy the flight to its fullest.
 

diningdecadence

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Putting together the itinerary there was an option of a 2 hour or a 6 1/2 hour layover. We went for the latter but in the end that was too long for us even as first timers.

Cleared immigration and followed some brief instructions online (a 5 min walk)

for those transiting (i think this is not particularly encouraged but hey just playing by their rules)
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take an elevator up to the lounge

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proper entrance for those starting their journey from FRA

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and just inside


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you then pass through security, to this display of the different ducks that have been and gone, and the duty free store

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diningdecadence

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Food was good not exceptional i'd say. Below QF F lounges in my view. Whilst the menu looked substantial, most of it was actually just the food on the buffet.

They were running a special asparagus menu of which the wife's risotto was superb.

Schnitzel also very good, and the German dish was a bit of a novelty. (fancy spam?)

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diningdecadence

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Apparently the first class lounges within the various terminals are very similar to the FC Terminal, however one point of differentiation that I was looking forward to experiencing was the tarmac transfer to our connecting flight (only when connecting to an LH operated).

This indeed was quite the thrill and was over far too quickly!

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