Late June last year, I was sitting at Stockholm Arlanda Airport waiting to board a flight to London. I still hadn't made any holiday plans but having said that, I did have around 300,000 EuroBonus points in my account. Plus, I had a couple of 2-4-1 vouchers that give you a half price booking with your Amex card. So, I called SAS Amex to see what was available.
I wanted to head east and fancied South Korea and Mongolia. Sadly, there was nothing for Ulan Bator, but I could go to Seoul departing in ten days and then have two weeks in South Korea. Great, I thought, and boarded.
Maxed out trip
The booking confirmation had arrived when I woke up the next day. I then started to think that maybe I should travel back to Bali again. And I also fancied going to the US. I’ve been to New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco for work before and also to Hawaii to see some relatives, but never to Texas or New Orleans. That's where I wanted to go (just like South Korea) to buy a few things to add to my collections. But above all, to see them.
I called Tallinn again (where the Amex EuroBonus booking office is) to make a few changes to my booking. It took about an hour, by which time I had a new booking that instead of two weeks in Seoul had become ten hours in Seoul, five days on Bali, 24 hours in Houston, a few days in Austin and a return from Chicago via Frankfurt a few days later. NICE ONE.
“Hi, remember me?”
Ten minutes after I’d put the phone down, I realize that it's virtually a round the world trip, all I had to do was add South America and Africa. By this time, I was also determined to find that special something at all these places. So, I call back and get the same (fantastic) agent.
“Hi, remember me?” I said.
“Yes, we talked for an hour about ten minutes ago,” she said.
“I kind of wanna make some changes… I think we need to add South America and Africa to this booking,” I said.
We work together on it for another hour. I say ‘work together’ as you have to be a bit of a nerd and know some tricks to find the best points tickets. The personnel cannot simply search, unfortunately, you must have an idea where you want to go yourself, which airline flies which stretches and where there could be some available tickets.
You rarely get to travel the shortest route, and sometimes you have to ask things such as: “OK, so I’m going from New Orleans to Bogotá to Casablanca via Istanbul or I’m going from New Orleans to Buenos Aires to Casablanca via Frankfurt?”.
Whatever, we managed it. So, this was how my booking ultimately looked:
Stopover in Frankfurt, ten hours in Seoul, stopover in Bangkok, five days on Bali, stopovers in Bangkok and Tokyo, 24 hours in Houston, three days in New Orleans, eight hours in Panama, 24 hours in Bogotá, stopovers in Cali, Madrid and Istanbul, 2 days in Casablanca and then back home via Lisbon.
Round the world in 17 days with good music, surfing and quite a lot of partying. I had wanted to be away longer but had a long-standing arrangement with friends that we should go to a festival in Poland a couple of days later.
Then a really fun thing happened – but I’ll tell you more about that another time.
If not chickens, do count your blessings
I've been incredibly busy recently. Virtually no time at home, and a crazy amount of work. Last Friday, I’d just finished a big project and on the flight home I wrote to a pal that I was so happy to be finally coming home I could cry and stay for a while. When I’d landed and switched off flight mode, I got a text message: “Bang-up job. Is there any chance you can come back for a meeting on Monday at 9am?” So, even if you shouldn’t count your chickens, do count your blessings.
New Swiss lounge at E gates in Zürich
Good range of whiskeys and food with fine views outside.
A bit TOO laid back
I recently had a flight-free week. So great to be home for 10 whole days I thought. Unfortunately, I got a sore throat and was stuck in bed for six days. It's a bit like cycling, as long as you keep the pace up you won't fall off, even though your balance is a bit wobbly.
July 12, 2018