- Introduction: Four Times Across The Atlantic
- Review: ITA Airways Business Class A350 (MIA-FCO)
- Review: ITA Airways Lounge Rome Airport (FCO)
- Review: Prima Vista Lounge Rome Airport (FCO)
- Review: ITA Airways Business Class A320 (FCO-CAI)
- Changing Terminals At Cairo Airport: Still Complicated
- Review: EgyptAir Lounge Cairo Airport (CAI)
- My Rough Night At Cairo Airport, Made Better By EgyptAir’s Osama
- Review: EgyptAir Business Class 787 (CAI-CDG)
- Review: Sheraton Paris Airport (CDG)
- Review: YOTELAIR Paris Airport Priority Pass Lounge (CDG)
- Review: Air France Lounge Paris Airport (CDG)
- Review: New Air France Business Class 777-300ER (CDG-JFK)
- Review: Hyatt Regency JFK At Resorts World New York
- Review: AA & BA Greenwich Lounge New York (JFK)
- Review: AA & BA Soho Lounge New York (JFK)
- Review: AA & BA Chelsea Lounge New York (JFK)
- Review: Amex Centurion Lounge New York (JFK)
- Review: British Airways Lounge Newark Airport (EWR)
- Review: New British Airways First Class 777 (EWR-LHR)
- Review: Renaissance London Heathrow Hotel (LHR)
- Review: Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse London Heathrow (LHR)
- Review: Amex Centurion Lounge London Heathrow (LHR)
- Review: No1 Lounge London Heathrow (LHR)
- Review: Virgin Atlantic A330neo Upper Class Business Class (LHR-MIA)
- Is Virgin Atlantic’s Retreat Suite Worth It?
Welcome to my next trip report series, which will include business class reviews on ITA Airways, EgyptAir, Air France, and Virgin Atlantic, and a first class review on British Airways. On top of that, there will be several airport lounge and hotel reviews.
Why I took this trip
This was a “pure” review trip, which is to say that I took this trip exclusively to review as many airlines, airport lounges, and hotels, as possible, all while minimizing my time away from home. I know many OMAAT readers enjoy the reviews on the blog, so as a new parent I’m trying to keep that going while being away from home as little as possible.
I have a long list of products I’m looking to review, so when I started planning this trip, I did so with the goal of reviewing as many of these experiences as possible, while being efficient. My top priorities were reviewing ITA Airways, Virgin Atlantic’s new A330-900neo, Air France’s new business class, and the new American & British Airways lounges at JFK (Chelsea, Soho, and Greenwich).
The airlines I flew on this trip
On this trip I flew a total of 20,043 miles, spread across six segments. I had transatlantic flights departing from and arriving in Miami, meaning I didn’t need to take any positioning flights within North America, which was convenient.
I booked this trip as five separate one-way tickets. This trip cost me a bit more “out of pocket” than my typical review trips, both due to my one paid itinerary (on ITA Airways), plus the hefty carrier imposed surcharges and taxes for travel on British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. Nonetheless, I figured it was worth it, as I know there are several products here that people are interested in reading about.
I kicked off the trip with my only cash itinerary. Italy’s new national airline, ITA Airways, doesn’t have any real award redemption partners (despite belonging to SkyTeam), so the only way to book flights on the airline is with cash. Fortunately I found a fairly decent fare sale from Miami to Cairo (with the first flight on the A350 and the second flight on the A320), and managed to book the following in business class for $1,436:
2/06 AZ631 Miami to Rome departing 8:00PM arriving 11:40AM (+1 day)
2/07 AZ894 Rome to Cairo departing 10:10PM arriving 2:25AM (+1 day)
From there I decided to fly from Cairo to Paris in EgyptAir business class. Specifically, I booked a flight on the carrier’s Boeing 787-9, featuring its newest business class product. I managed to book the following for 20,000 Air Canada Aeroplan points, plus $79 in taxes & fees:
2/08 MS799 Cairo to Paris departing 9:35AM arriving 1:25PM
2/09 AF22 Paris to New York departing 8:30AM arriving 10:50AM
While I had initially planned on ending the trip here, I decided I might as well have some more fun, and knock out two more interesting reviews. First I flew British Airways’ new Boeing 777-300ER first class from Newark to London. This is a long story, but I was initially going to fly out of JFK, but due to a last minute aircraft swap, I instead flew out of EWR, as that route featured the new first class. I’ll explain more about that in the actual review post.
So I booked the following in first class for 85,000 American AAdvantage miles plus $731 in taxes & fees:
2/11 BA188 Newark to London departing 9:30PM arriving 9:10AM (+1 day)
Last but most certainly not least, I flew from London to Miami in Virgin Atlantic’s new Airbus A330-900neo Upper Class (business class). I booked the following for 47,500 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points, plus $748 in taxes & fees:
2/13 VS5 London to Miami departing 12:20PM arriving 5:40PM
In addition to flight reviews, you can expect reviews of the following lounges:
- The ITA Airways Piazza di Spagna Lounge Rome Airport (FCO)
- The Prima Vista Lounge Rome Airport (FCO)
- The EgyptAir Lounge Cairo Airport (CAI)
- The YOTELAIR Lounge Paris Airport (CDG)
- The Air France Lounge Paris Airport (CDG)
- The Chelsea Lounge New York Airport (JFK)
- The Soho Lounge New York Airport (JFK)
- The Greenwich Lounge New York Airport (JFK)
- The Amex Centurion Lounge New York Airport (JFK)
- The British Airways Lounge Newark Airport (EWR)
- The No1 Lounge London Airport Terminal 3 (LHR)
- The Amex Centurion Lounge London Airport (LHR)
- The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse London Airport (LHR)
Suffice it to say that there were some highs…
…and lows to the lounge experiences.
The hotels I stayed at on this trip
During this trip, I spent a total of four nights in hotels. I had one night in Paris, two nights in New York, and one night in London. While those are all cities with iconic hotels, I ended up just staying near the airport in all cases, as my primary goal was to catch up on rest and minimize further travel time, given how much I was moving around already. I also think airport hotel reviews are useful sometimes, since not all airport hotels are created equal.
In Paris I decided to stay at the Sheraton CDG Airport. This is the most convenient full service hotel at the airport, as it’s connected directly to the terminal.
Then for my two nights in New York I decided to book the Hyatt Regency JFK. This is a hotel that has intrigued me since it opened, since the name suggests it’s an airport hotel, though in reality it’s a hotel attached to a casino without an airport shuttle. This hotel really surprised me, so stay tuned…
In London, I decided to stay at the Renaissance Heathrow Airport. I had heard that this hotel has incredible views of the runway, and they didn’t disappoint. That’s about the only reason you’d want to stay here, though.
2023 is off to a good start when it comes to review trips! I completed my whirlwind Aeroplan adventure in January, and then had another awesome review trip in February. In this series you can expect reviews of business class on ITA Airways, EgyptAir, Air France, and Virgin Atlantic, as well as a first class review from British Airways.
I have to say, this was also (to me) an especially interesting trip in terms of lounges and airport hotels, as there were some real surprises in there.
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned!