Thursday, December 31, 2015

My 2015 Travel Milestones

My 2015 flight routes

Happy New Year!!!

As I prepare myself for 2016 and another busy year of travel and transit, I look back with great pride and joy at TTT's memorable "firsts" of 2015...

This is also the first calendar year in which I flew at least once a month!

First visit to Brazil / Rio de Janeiro
First flight on TAP Portugal, MAD-OPO
First visit to Porto
First visit to Milan

Reached airberlin Gold
Reached American Airlines Gold

First flight on KLM, DFW-AMS
First visit to Turkey / Istanbul
First flight on Aegean Airlines, IST-ATH
First time using Milan-Linate Airport

First visit to Maui

First visit to Geneva
First visit to Finland / Helsinki
First flight on Finnair, HEL-ORD
First visit to Kona
First visit to New Zealand / Auckland
First flight on Qantas, AKL-SYD
First visit to Australia / Sydney
Flew longest passenger flight, SYD-DFW on Qantas

First visit to Virginia / Arlington
First visit to Washington, DC
First visit to Maryland / Cheverly
First visit to Pittsburgh

Other Milestones
3 visits to Europe
3 visits to Hawaii


My goals for 2016:
New Delhi

Monday, November 23, 2015

Washington, DC: I Pledge Allegiance To The Metro!

A $10 purchase at the White House Gift Shop gets you this photo op.

One of my friends from CouchSurfing traded his $500 United Airlines voucher for my 25,000 LAN miles, so I spent part of that to fly to Washington, DC on United and visit the nation's capital for the first time ever.

Between Reagan National (DCA) and city center:Metro Blue
Metro Yellow

Washington Metro diagram sb.svg

Most major attractions, landmarks and monuments are within easy reach of the Metro, but you can complement your sightseeing with the bus lines of metroBus and dcCirculator. Just remember, the National Mall with the Washington Monument is at the center of it all; Capitol Building and Lincoln Memorial form the east and west ends, while the White House and the Smithsonian complex form the north and south ends, respectively.

Further Afield
While in the area, also check out Arlington Cemetery, the Pentagon and the National Harbor.

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Friday, October 23, 2015

Recap: Flight Routes of October 2015 - Craziest Yet!

In a way, this was a month of first's. First time in Finland, first time in Australia and so on. With it came my most ambitious - and exhausting - itinerary of long-haul flights complemented by free access to oneworld lounges at airports of departure. And I did it all...within a week!


Here is the breakdown, by airline:
OMA-DFW-LHR on American
LGW-MAD-GVA on Iberia
GVA-LHR-HEL on British
HEL-ORD on Finnair
ORD-LAX-OGG on American
AKL-SYD-DFW on Qantas
DFW-OMA on American

Madrid (1)
Helsinki (2)
Los Angeles (1)
Maui (1)
Auckland (1)

That's it!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Milan: Malpensa Or Linate?

Leaving from Milan aboard KLM, bound for Amsterdam

This month, I had the opportunity to utilize both main airports of Milan, Italy in one trip: Malpensa and Linate. Milan-Malpensa is the larger international airport complex containing mostly long-haul and inter-continental flights on wide-body jets out of the sleek new Terminal 1, as well as a focus city for EasyJet which is the sole tenant at its smaller and older Terminal 2. It's about an hour by motorcoach or rail to/from the city center.

Milan-Linate, on the other hand, is the more domestic-oriented airport. It serves a handful of European airlines for services within the continent, in addition to handling Alitalia's routes within Italy. Only 4 miles from the city center, it's a very short ride on the motorcoach to/from Central Station.

Both airports have their assigned motorcoach bays at the Central Station. Once there, the rest of the city can be explored through an extensive network of subways, trams, vintage streetcars and buses.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Athens: Free Beach Stopover From Aegean Airlines

Aegean Airlines got me an overnight in Athens at no additional cost

After an unforgettable short visit in Istanbul, I boarded my first-ever flight on Greek carrier Aegean Airlines bound for Rome, with a connection in Athens of course. For 24 hours! I've been here before, back in the spring of 2011. But it's May now and if there's one thing I've been wanting to do in Greece, it's hitting the beach!

The beach in Old Phalerum is transit-friendly

If you're stuck in Athens with no time and/or budget for sailing out to Santorini, Mykonos, Crete or any of the other world-famous Greek islands, then take a tram to the relaxing seaside communities. It only takes one tram to reach the sand from the city center at Syntagma Square. Just think...all the comforts of Athens with all the waters of the Mediterranean!

Tram T4: Syntagma <> Flisvos or Batis
Tram T5: Syntagma <> Edem

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Istanbul: Preview Of Convenience

From Amsterdam on KLM, to Athens on Aegean

As many things Istanbul is to many people, I was just honored to finally be there! I arrived around midnight (I was ceremoniously not accommodated by KLM on an earlier flight out of Amsterdam!), so by the time I endured the long lines at passport control and got my luggage at baggage claim, the Metro train service had closed.

However, I booked the nearby White Palace Hotel and so the cab fare was reasonable. And it was also walking distance to a Metro station.

Map of Şirinevler, Mehmet Akif Cd. No:20, 34188 Bahçelievler/İstanbul, Turkey
White Palace Hotel is steps away from the Sirinevler Station

Convenience aside, the hotel experience itself was a taste of luxury at a bargain price! The bed was luxurious, the bathrobe was luxurious and of course, the bathroom was all marble. There is also a full breakfast buffet in the morning, featuring wonderful local flavors and pop music videos on the flat screen. This hotel is perfect for after getting into (or before flying out of) Istanbul's main gateway, Ataturk International Airport. I was scheduled for a later-morning departure to Athens on Aegean and didn't want to chance being late.

Check it out!

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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Amsterdam: Maximize Your Stopover!

This big clog was one of my previously undiscovered gems in central Amsterdam.

Flying in from Dallas on KLM, I land in Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport to begin a 12-hour layover in the city before my continuing flight to Istanbul. This was my 2nd time and I've got a few stones left unturned. So if you find yourself in the same luxuriously long transit time here, get a visitor's day card and take the direct train from the airport to the Central Station. Once there, you can do a day's worth of sightseeing in the city and make the most of your stop.

1. The free ferry across the IJ bay to bedroom communities on the north side
2. An inexpensive canal tour
3. Museums...the Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank House and the Van Gogh Museum
4. Heineken Experience
5. Relax and unwind in Vondelpark
6. Photo op with the iconic De Gooyer windmill
7. Eat pickled herring? Up to you!

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