This is part two of a fifteen part trip report from my travels to the Maldives and Dubai. This report covers the Korean Air Lounge at LAX which Emirates is using while they build their own lounge. If you read part one, you know that we barely made it to LAX due to an oven fire on-board our flight, so there wasn’t much lounge time but we did have about 20 minutes to spare.
It was nice out so we walked from United’s gate at Terminal 6 to the Tom Bradley International Terminal…
Pretty cool – scenes from airports around the world
Emirates First Class Check-In
Lounge Invitation – Now, a word of warning. If you book your flights using miles from Alaska Airlines, your tickets won’t show lounge access. You’ll have to explain to the agent that you are not traveling on a reduced or staff fare, but that you booked an award via Alaska Airlines. This was a common theme in LAX, Dubai, Maldives, and Milan.
Korean Air has both a First Class and Business Class section of the lounge, neither is anything to write home about but the First Class area is tiny!
What you see in the pictures below is the complete first class lounge area –
Everyone loves Progresso –
The lounge really wasn’t much to write home about. There was excellent wifi, but there were few if any outlets. The food offerings were fine for a US lounge, but being that it’s a US lounge run by an Asian airline, the food offerings were just average. There were no hot dishes besides the Progresso soup. Anyway, I used my time there to write a quick post and then we were off to board our Emirates flight.
The walk to the gate in the new TBI terminal…
Up next, part 1 (yes, I have that much material and pictures) Emirates First Class on the A380 LAX – DXB.
If you’ve considered taking advantage of the generous award availability on China Southern’s Los Angeles (LAX) to Guangzhou (CAN) route using Delta SkyMiles or Ultimate Rewards, we finally have a short trip report from a reader. David in NYC writes yesterday:
I wanted to let you know that after reading your post on September 6, my wife and I booked two tickets to Male on China Southern Airlines. We used Delta SkyMiles for one ticket and Korean Air SkyPass miles courtesy of Ultimate Rewards for the other. We were both very hesitant as we had never flown or heard of China Southern before and even though it was an A380, it was still China Southern. I am happy to say we were both pleasantly surprised. Was it Singapore or Emirates? No! Did it beat any US airline? Yes! The good – we had very comfortable completely flat seats and very large television screens with a good selection of films and shows, the staff was very accommodating and checked on us several times per hour, and the plane was clean and felt new. The food was decent. The negatives – the connection time in Guangzhou was almost 12 hours. If doing this trip again I would recommend taking a day in Guangzhou rather than waiting in the airport from 5am – 4pm (the connection on the way back was a short 2 hours). The connection flights were on a 777 which was ok, but certainly not up to the A380 standards. Recliner seats, small TV, 4 stations. It was certainly do-able for the 6 hours, especially knowing we were arriving in Male. Hope to have some pictures uploaded later in the week. Most important for us is that we were very happy with the value we received – especially with my SkyMiles!
Remember, China Southern allows you to connect from Guangzhou to Bangkok, Phuket, Singapore, and all over Southeast Asia. Additionally, you can use a few more miles to fly onward to Australia or the Maldives. Delta SkyMiles can be redeemed for business class on China Southern while Korean SkyPass members can redeem for business or first class awards. What’s great is that first class space is about as generous as business availability. Korean is a Chase Ultimate Rewards partner meaning you can easily transfer to Korean SkyPass after earning miles with a qualifying card. Taking advantage of all of the big 3 Chase UR cards would net you 140,000 UR points prior to any required spend.
I know of three additional readers heading to Australia via China Southern, another to Bangkok, and one more to the Maldives, I’ll have them each report back once their trips are completed. If you’ve flown the China Southern A380, please comment with your review!
*Jay reports in the comments below that his Male flight had a schedule change. After some research it seems that the flights to the Maldives will only operate on Thursday and Sunday now.*
Emirates becomes the first airline to introduce a facility that is completely dedicated to the A380 fleet, which currently consists of 27 aircraft out of a total order of 90 A380s placed back in 2008. The new DXB facility offers:
- Direct boarding from First Class and Business Class lounges to the A380’s upper deck (something that they already offer in several airports including JFK, see the trip report here).
- A full-service hotel and spa for transiting passengers
- Extra spacious, state-of-the-art lounges
- An underground train connecting to Terminal 3’s main arrival and departure halls
Want to check out the new DXB facility and the on-board Emirates experience? There are a few Emirates redemption opportunities available that allow for business and first class awards, with one option that became even more generous as of October 1st.
Meanwhile, Korean Air has upgraded to 777-300ER aircraft on the Sao Paulo- LAX route effective October 30, 2012. The upgrade adds 28 additional business class seats on the route. Yes, this is another business/first award option down to Brazil bookable with Ultimate Rewards or Delta SkyMiles. You’ll be limited to economy and business class if your using Delta SkyMiles (now viewable on Delta.com). You can also sign up for the Korean Air Skypass program and transfer your Ultimate Rewards points directly to Korean for redemption at a 1:1 ratio. Even better, KE first class was previously only available to elite Skypass members, but is now available to all members for redemptions on any aircraft including the A380. However, there are blackout dates on redemptions which do require additional points so refer to the KE website for full details.
Alitalia is once again offering 15% off any flight booked on their website, including Delta and other SkyTeam partner flights through 11:59am EST on September 24th. You can essentially book any Delta flight and receive the discount. See the two simple examples below in which I saved $30.24 on a sample LGA-MCO itinerary and $224.91 on a JFK-BKK itinerary. You must use coupon code WEEK15US. The code has been working sporadically during the day so don’t give up if it doesn’t work the first time. Any tickets purchased are fully refundable within 24 hours of booking:
When you purchase a ticket through Alitalia’s U.S. web site, we will allow you to cancel without penalty and receive a full refund within 24 hours after your purchase, if the reservation is made one week or more prior to scheduled flight departure. Cancellations and refunds for qualifying web site purchases may be requested by calling 800-223-5730.
UPDATE 2:30pm EST – The Alitalia website is now running extremely slow…
HT – DansDeals
As per an Airline Route posting this morning, Korean Air will begin flying the A380 from Atlanta to Seoul this coming January.
Korean Air from 01JAN13 is launching Airbus A380 service on Seoul Incheon – Atlanta service, where the aircraft will operate daily KE035/036 flight. Initially the Skyteam member will operate A380 on daily basis from 01JAN13 to 31JAN13, but this will be reduced to 3 weekly from 01FEB13. From 01FEB13, overall service to Atlanta appears to be reduced from 10 to 7 weekly as KE033/034 service is closed for reservation.
KE035 ICN1005 – 0930ATL 388 D
KE033 ICN1915 – 1840ATL 772 246
KE034 ATL0100 – 0550+1ICN 772 357
KE036 ATL1200 – 1700+1ICN 388 D
This is another A380 award redemption opportunity from North America, though you’ll be limited to economy and business class if your using Delta SkyMiles. Remember, Korean Air is very good in terms of releasing award space but you will need to find it first. It used to be viewable via Expert Flyer, though that’s now limited to intra-asia flights and you’ll have to call Delta directly in order to search for availability.
First Class A380 Redemptions
You can also sign up for the Korean Air Skypass program and transfer your Ultimate Rewards points directly to Korean for redemption at a 1:1 ratio. Even better, KE first class was previously only available to elite Skypass members, but is now available to all members for redemptions on any aircraft including the A380. KE also flies a daily A380 from JFK and LAX to Seoul. Redemption prices are 70k for economy, 125k for Business Sleeper, and 160k for First Class Sleeper. However, there are blackout dates on redemptions which will require additional points so refer to the KE website for full details.