Reflections on my trip to Las Vegas

Having been back for a few days, I have been able to reflect on the journey and get some statistics together.

Aircraft:
Airbus – A318, A319, A321
Boeing – 737, 747

Airlines:
American
British Airways

Airports:
DUB
JFK
LAS
LAX
LCY
LHR
MIA

Cabins:
Club Europe
Club World
International First
Transcontinental First
Domestic First

Lounges:
Concorde Room (LHR)
Galleries Club (LHR, JFK)
Flagship (JFK, LAX)
Third Party (DUB)

Avios:
25,734 earned from flying
4,000 earned from paying for the trip on the BAPP
-15,000 for 2 positioning flights in Club Europe to Dublin

Tier Points:
930 and a Silver Card.

What were my favourite parts?

Favourite airport lounge:
Concorde Room at LHR – calm, exclusive and luxurious.

Favourite airport lounge food and drink:
Breakfast of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs with Champagne.

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Favourite onboard meal:
Lunch in First LHR – JFK. There is something special about being given a three course meal with matching wines at 38,000 feet, with a table cloth and salt and pepper grinders, followed by fresh espresso!

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Favourite airport experience:
Walking into JFK Terminal 7 and being in the lounge less than 10 minutes later, and then going from lounge to plane in less than 5 minutes, as well as the visits to the Spa at JFK and LHR.

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Favourite plane:
This has to be a tie between the A318 in its all-business guise, and the 747 which was unbelievably quiet at the front.

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Favourite seat:
American have to win something, and their transcon First Seat on the A321T was great. There was loads of space and the IFE was fantastic. However, I would not have liked to sleep in it as there was only a little cubbyhole for my feet which would have been uncomfortable.

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Would I do it again?

That is an easy question – Yes! (but with a few changes!) I had a fantastic time, really enjoyed my stay in Las Vegas and some of the flying was brilliant. I have come out with more than enough Avios for a return flight to the south of France (worth around £180 on what I tend to pay), as well as a Silver card until April 2017. That will give me 20 months of lounge access, selecting seats at the time of booking, using priority check in, enhanced Avios collection rates to name some of the benefits most useful to me.

I have ended up with 460 more TP than I need for Silver, but 540 short of Gold. I could have done a day trip of LAS-LAX-MIA-LAX-LAS in F for £575 which is considered not bad value of just over £1 per tier point, but I don’t think that I would be able to justify spending the extra money for Gold status. I would have access to the First class check in and the First class lounge, as well as more Avios earned per flight and a couple of other small benefits, but as I don’t fly that frequently it didn’t seem worth it.

Therefore, I could have gotten away with fewer flights, and done DUB-LHR-JFK-LAS-JFK-LON-DUB for 820TP, or even DUB-LHR-JFK-LAS-LAX-LHR-DUB for 630TP. Saying that, there was often very little difference in price in adding in a dog-leg, and it helps accumulate the Avios.

One reason for doing so would be to avoid flying on some of the older, less well equipped aircraft. American’s Boeing 737 does not have fully flat seats in First, so I would want to avoid the overnight LAS-MIA I took. Another reason would be to space things out to avoid missed connections. I should have put my final LHR-DUB-LHR the following day, assuming I could fit in a layover of less than 24 hours, so that I didn’t miss the flight. I could also have done my initial LHR-DUB-LHR the day before I flew to JFK, which would have meant no need for a hotel room in Dublin, saving time, money and points, and, in this case, given me more time to enjoy the Concorde Room. If there had been the option I would have have taken BA4, the later CWLCY Airbus A318 as this would have meant a longer layover in New York, but it was not running on the day I was travelling.
All these are easy to say with hindsight, and you don’t really know until you try it! At any rate, I’ll let you know how the next trip goes!

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