Final bookings for my award flights to and from Cape Town, South Africa have been completed. Things of course did not go exactly as planned, I had hoped to take advantage of Alaska Airlines ability to schedule a stopover in the middle of an itinerary. Unfortunately nothing was available that allowed me to fly first class on Emirates. This wasn't due to a lack of first class space on the A380 back to the USA, but rather a lack of first or business class space on flights from Africa.
Still wanting to get a flight booked on Emirates in first class, I opted to cover the leg from Africa on Qatar Airways in business class using my remaining American Airlines miles. Once again saving some miles here because of my Citi AAdvantage credit card. This was a bit unfortunate since it cost me extra miles, but at the same time I will not have a chance to fly and review Qatar Airways in a 787-8 business class seat. I'm pretty excited about this since my 787 flight on United is in a pretty sub-par product that I chose not to sit in my preferred window seat just to make sure I had easy aisle access and no one was climbing over me while I sleep. The reverse herringbone seat arrangement on Qatar 787's is a much better product, one of the best business class products on the market.
Once in Dubai, I will spend a few days exploring the city before boarding my Emirates flight from Dubai to Los Angeles. Emirates has an amazing first class product that was a big part of why I wanted to fly through Dubai. The flight will give me 16 hours to try this amazing seat arrangement, food, bar area, and yes even the in air shower... I get to take a shower at 40,000 feet... this is going to be fun!
For those keeping track, yes this does in fact mean I added another airline to the mix of airlines I was planning on flying, with a total of 2 airlines added under this itinerary. Qatar and Emirates rounds off a grand total of 9 different airlines this year.
With the Emirates booking, I have my flights outbound from the US ready and my return scheduled as well. There are a few positioning flights remaining though. My Qatar Airways flights are out of Johannesburg, so I plan to take a paid business class flight on British Airways from Cape Town to Johannesburg. This is a very inexpensive flights and shouldn't add much expense to the trip. The other thing that I must do is get myself back from LA to the East Coast. This was a bit intentional, not only did this place me on a cool flight over the north pole, and give me maximum time on Emirates, but it also allows me to take a flight back to the east coast through Chicago and maximize elite qualifying miles on this paid flight. First class isn't very expensive on this route, and can chalk up a bunch of needed miles... though I'll probably be ready to be home by this point in the trip.
So all of my major flight segments are booked, this year's major international flights are all ready to go and now I can return my focus to building up my miles in preparation for the next big flight in 2017.