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1st report for a veteran traveler: AU to Georgia (the country) via Vietnam and Europe

1st report for a veteran traveler: AU to Georgia (the country) via Vietnam and Europe

Old Aug 31, 19, 3:07 am
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Join Date: Aug 2019
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1st report for a veteran traveler: AU to Georgia (the country) via Vietnam and Europe

I've been meaning to find a place to write up trip reports, as I enjoy planning and executing elaborate, interesting journeys. As I use my weekend to get ready for the first out of two major international journeys in this calendar year, this seems a good opportunity to share the planning, and eventually experience of the trip.

This particular trip is a solo, 17 day trip, starting and finishing in my hometown of Melbourne. The first part of the planning focused around a trip to Georgia (the country, not the state), which includes touring the countryside for 8 days. The trip includes 8 flights (6 in business class, 2 in economy thanks to Putin, but more on that later), detours and stops in Frankfurt, Amsterdam, and Ho Chi Minh City, as well as checking out the new airport in Istanbul during transit. Different parts of the itinerary were booked with cash, and with points.

The flights:

The 4 long-haul journeys (MEL-SGN-FRA return) were booked with Vietnam Airlines business class. This will include 2 flights on 787-9 and 2 on A350-900. Their business class is a common reverse herringbone (except for some of the A350s which still sport an older staggered 1-2-1). This was booked for $4k AUD ($2,700 USD). I am also making full use of the Vietnam Airlines layover program, which includes city tours, hotel rests, and dining for layovers longer than 6 hours at Ho Chi Minh (I have 7 hours on the way out, and 14 daytime hours on the way back).

After 4 days in Europe which include a train trip along the Rhein, eventually getting to Amsterdam by land, and flying onward with Turkish Airlines business class, Amsterdam to Tbilisi via Istanbul, on an A330 and A321. This was booked using Krisflyer miles. A long enough layover in IST (4.5 hours) will allow me to get a good look at the new airport, and the new Turkish Airlines lounge.

I then needed to get from Tbilisi to Frankfurt, enjoying another day in Germany, before flying back to Melbourne. I originally booked to fly with Aeroflot via Moscow on business class using Flying Blue miles, but then Putin decided to ban all Russian airlines from flying to Georgia, so I had to find another flight. I had a couple of interesting choices with Flying Blue miles, but all from destinations from which there was only one daily fly to/from Tbilisi. So I ended up booking Turkish Airlines economy for cash for this leg, because they have at least 5 daily flight between both pairs of cities, and this improves my chances of not missing my return flight to Melbourne in case of delays or cancellations. Too bad, I was really looking foward to experiencing Aeroflot business class.

Days of Future Past

This trip report, I suppose, is a bit of an experiment for me, to see if I enjoy doing that. If I do, I will also do one for my upcoming Christmas/ New Years trip to Bhutan, with stops in Singapore, Bangkok, Kathmandu, and a variety of flights all the way from Qsuite and Etihad Studio, business with Drukair, and even Scoot Plus on one leg.

Also, if I get into this and there is any interest, I might start doing some retrospective trip reports. I have been fortunate to travel quite a bit in my life, and especially in the last 5 years decided to make it a priority during my time off work, given the amount of joy I get from it. In the last 5 years I traveled to placed including the arctic (Svalbard in winter, Greenland), various parts of North America and Europe, parts of East Asia (Taiwan, Singapore), and all throughout Australia and New Zealand. I want to try to write some of these experiences also as a way to help me preserve those beautiful memories, and some of these include travelling with various interesting airlines, and in all different classes.

First leg starts Wednesday morning Melbourne time (not including a domestic work hop to Sydney the day before) - looking forward to it!
CarlTheWebmaster and wtcmor like this.
LongWayAround is offline  
Old Aug 31, 19, 6:45 am
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Looking forward to the reviews of Viet Nam Airlines biz class! Not many reports of those.
LHR/MEL/Europe FF is offline  
Old Aug 31, 19, 10:48 am
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Welcome to Flyertalk LongWayAround Looking forward to your TR.
Madone59 is online now  
Old Sep 5, 19, 4:06 am
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Looking forward to this,
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