2016 is the year of a lot of travel for me, this includes various trips to Europe, South America, Asia, Australia, and the Middle East. I set myself a goal this year to travel as much as possible and also to try as many new airlines as possible. I want to share with all of you the new airlines I’m flying this year.. new airlines for me that is. I’ve already booked several trips throughout the year and all I can say is that June through August will be my most travelled months. Ever.
I’m loyal to the Star Alliance (and in particular to Lufthansa and United) and I figured it was time to expand a bit more within the Star Alliance and experience various First and Business Class products across Star Alliance carriers. While I haven’t figured out the exact destinations and routes for about half of these airlines, I know that I will be flying them this year at some point since I have a ton of Star Alliance miles.
- Austrian Airlines (Business Class)
- Brussels Airlines (Business Class)
- LOT Polish Airlines (Business Class)
- SAS Scandinavian Airlines (Business Class)
- Singapore Airlines (First Class)
- SWISS (First Class)
- Thai Airways (First Class)
I’ve planned and incorporated Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways into my Asia trip during July. For SWISS, I want to fly their new B777 First Class and experience their new lounges in Zurich. For Austrian, Brussels, LOT, and SAS, I plan to fly those carriers when I fly to/from Europe various times this year.
The Star Alliance has some excellent First and Business Class products on various carriers and while I will definitely fly Lufthansa First Class at least once this year, my focus will be on airlines that I haven’t flown.
oneworld is an interesting alliance – they’re very strong in some parts of the world and then very weak in others. I have a bunch of vAArious miles that I need to quickly redeem before a certain date in March and I think that AA has the best award chart (until March). I want to burn most of my AA miles as soon as possible – simply to redeem them at the best rate possible and to fly new airlines that I haven’t, these include:
- American Airlines (First Class)
- Cathay Pacific (First Class)
- Finnair (Business Class)
- Qatar Airways (First Class)
Yes, I haven’t flown AA yet… I mean how is that possible? Well, because I mostly fly around the United States with UA and why would anyone want to fly an American carrier internationally? So I figured I would fly the new AA First Class somewhere on their B777 (or maybe their A321 in First could also be an option). I’m flying Cathay Pacific from Europe to Hong Kong at the start of my Asia trip and I’m really looking forward to it. I figured I could fly Finnair on their A350 somewhere in Business Class, I just don’t know where. As far as Qatar Airways goes, I want to fly their A380 First Class from Doha to London or Paris.
I’m pushing SkyTeam off for 2017 since they really don’t have any premium/good carriers except a few that I don’t need to fly anytime soon. As far as other airlines that don’t belong to any alliance, here’s the short list:
- Emirates (First Class)
- Etihad Airways (First Class)
I’ve already booked Etihad on their A380 in First from Melbourne to Abu Dhabi, and perhaps this is the flight I’m looking forward to the most this year. Also, I need to fly Emirates using my Alaska Airlines miles – just to try them since apparently they’re awesome.
Overall, I’ve booked about 50% of the airlines on the list and I’m working on finding unique destinations and routes for trying the airlines that I included on the list. Miles and points are really wonderful – literally I’ve already booked 6 First Class long-haul flights and I’ve paid ~$500 USD in cash at the most… Amazing!
What airlines are you planning to fly this year?