My Around The World In A Weekend trip was one for the (personal) record books and one that almost didn’t happen. The first flight of my trip departed Chicago just 6 days after I flew 40,000+ miles in a single week during my insane Qatar Airways Mileage Run. I was ready for a break and not exactly ready to fly another 20,000 miles in a weekend. I needed to take this trip if I wanted to qualify for AAdvantage Executive Platinum in 2017, but hoped to delay my departure until later in the year.
Unfortunately, because I bought such cheap business class fares on Qatar I couldn’t change my departure date. Qatar wanted to charge me well over $1,000 in change fees which I wasn’t about to pay. My only two options were to skip the flight entirely or go for it!
A Near Missed Flight And A Miserable Layover
While this trip was insane I am thankful that my manager gave me the go ahead to take yet another day off work. If you’re reading this, thank you! Since I was being given a lot of flexibility at work I didn’t want to push my luck. For that reason I stayed at the office a little later than I normally would before departing for the airport. As a result I arrived at the airport late and was nearly denied boarding for my flight. Luckily, the gate agent let me on the flight. It not I’m not sure what the outcome would have been.
While I was happy to board my flight I wasn’t exactly prepared for what was to come. See, after my first 40,000 miles I had developed a slight cold. I know, shocking. So as the 13 hour flight to Doha progressed I began to feel more and more ill. When we finally touched down in Doha I felt absolutely terrible. I was having a hard time eating, my nose was runny, and my throat sore. It was awful.
Typically I’d spend my long layover at the lounge bar or restaurant, but for this layover I spend nearly all of it laid down on a lounge chair. While laying in the chair I considered turning around twice and heading directly back to Chicago. At one point I even got up to walk to the desk to see how much it would cost me to fly home.
Luckily, after a few more hours of rest I started to feel better. I didn’t feel great, but felt well enough to press on.
Airline And Lounge Reviews
I’m glad I pressed on because this trip ended up being the trip of lounge reviews. During the trip I visited several lounges and reviewed a few of them. I reviewed in detail the following:
- Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge
- The Rose Lounge Ho Chi Minh City Airport
- Plaza Premium Lounge (East) Hong Kong
- American Express Centurion Lounge Hong Kong
In addition to the above lounge I also was able to spend time in both of Cathay Pacific’s First Class lounges in Hong Kong. I spent a few hours in The Wing and a shorter while in The Pier. Both were incredible and reviews of both are coming in an upcoming trip report.
In addition to visiting the lounges I also had the chance to further review a few airline products. During this trip I reviewed the following airline cabins:
- Qatar Airways 777-300ER Business Class ORD-DOH
- Qatar Airways A330 Business Class DOH-SGN
- Cathay Pacific A330 Economy Class SGN-HKG
- Cathay Pacific 777-300ER Economy Class ORD-HKG
From a blogging perspective this was highly productive trip. From a health perspective, I probably should have stayed at home.
This trip almost didn’t happen, but I’m so glad it did. I’ve wanted to do something like this for years. Back in 2013 I remember nearly pulling the trigger on a week-long trip to Hanoi, but backing out at the last-minute because I was nervous about jet lag. With this trip I’ve proved to myself that I can manage to sleep on the plane and wake up at my destination ready to take on the day.
I used to experience really bad jet lag. Whenever I’d fly to Europe I’d feel terrible for nearly a full day or two before having enough energy to explore. Now I’m comfortable getting off a plane after a 13 hour flight and immediately meeting up with friends or walking around a new city. I’m happy to have built this confidence through this trip as now there aren’t many places in the world I worry about visiting for just a day or two.
In the end my weekend looked something like this:
I flew just about 20,000 miles in just more than 3 days. I crossed both the Atlantic and Pacific in a single weekend. Most importantly I reached enough EQM and EQD to qualify for American AAdvantage Executive Platinum!