Last summer, I went to London as part of a summer camp, and had a blast. My initial preference was to try out how the U.S. would work out for me this summer, but after the elections, my mom’s preference is for me to stay out of the U.S. alone for now – though she still wants me to have more exposure at a university I could potentially go to. While I’d think I’d be fine, I need to keep my mom happy, so Oxford it is again.
Oxford, United Kingdom
Obviously, this leaves me many choices of how to get there.
As a recap, last summer I took an economy/premium economy Virgin Atlantic fare to get from Hong Kong to London. The economy flight was meh (compared to some of the other economy products – though admittedly my exposure to Asian airlines has spoiled me a little), and the premium economy flight was really great.
Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787-9 Economy Class
This year, my mom has opened up connection options for me, which makes choosing this year a lot more fun, compared to last year. I’m trying to balance between comfort and interesting reviews, though the latter is slightly more important at this time. There is one requirement, though – to prevent major issues, I have to fly into Heathrow, so unfortunately that rules out the Cathay Pacific A350.
I’ve narrowed down a few options based on scheduling and price (one really valuable option I had to throw away was SAS, which had subpar time schedules despite being a product I really wanted to try), so here they are in a nutshell:
Cathay Pacific 777-300ER Economy (~HK$11,000)
While this seems like a pretty boring option, I realise I’ve never reviewed Cathay Pacific’s long haul economy since 2014, and haven’t actually flown the new economy seat for an extended period of time. For the flight back I’ve actually noticed that the two best seats (the pair by row 42) are still open, so I can technically snatch one of those, so comfort isn’t an issue here.
Obviously there’s the possibility that Cathay Pacific goes 3-4-3 before July next year, but that just makes it all the more interesting.
Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-200 Economy Class
Then, again, HK$11,000 for an economy ticket when I can pay the same price for premium economy one way back?
Virgin Atlantic 787 Economy/Premium Economy (~HK$14,000)
Virgin Atlantic was good last year, so it does seem a little repetitive to take it again this year. I do have to note one thing that would be special, though. I’m still 15 (actually my half birthday’s today, which is great), so I couldn’t pay my way into the Clubhouse last year as I hadn’t reached the minimum age of 16. This changes next year, so that actually makes Virgin Atlantic a really compelling option.
Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787-9 Hong Kong Airport
British Airways 777/A380 Premium Economy (~HK$13,000)
While I don’t necessarily think highly of British Airways, it’s hard to turn down a fare in premium economy both ways when I’m pulling up economy fares that are this high. I’m sure it would make an interesting review, though would I spend more time in a premium economy product that most people consider marginally better than economy, or would I sit in economy for one leg and experience top-notch premium economy on other airlines?
British Airways Airbus A380-800 Hong Kong Airport
Singapore Airlines 777-200 Economy, 777-300ER Economy, A380 Premium Economy (~HK$15,000)
I’m a huge fan of Singapore Airlines, and I think that this will be of pretty good value. There are a few problems I can find with this fare, though. First of all, for an economy/premium economy fare, I’m technically only getting one leg in premium economy – the only way I can successfully score two legs of premium economy is if I fly there in premium economy and back in economy with a 50-minute connection (that even costs less, though my mom’s not down with the short connection).
Second of all, there won’t be much extra added blog value to the premium economy leg, as I’m already flying premium economy from Hong Kong to Singapore and back this April on Singapore Airlines. Lastly, I’m technically doing a huge backtrack from Singapore to Hong Kong, so I’m not ready to call this the best option – but if you find this the best option, of course I’ll do it!
Swiss 777-300ER Economy, Lufthansa A340 Premium Economy (~HK$13,000)
This is actually the option I’m personally most tempted in. I’ve been intrigued in Swiss’ economy product, and have wanted to see how it’d be like. I don’t see any availability with Lufthansa’s A340 economy, but if I do, I’d prefer it due to the 2-4-2 configuration (this is one of the downsides to this option), so I’ll add it here anyway.
The reason I prefer the A340 to the A380 is because there are more good seats opened up on the A340. For my date, currently I have guaranteed availability of the front row in premium economy on the way back, which has a footrest (on the A380, the front row is usually reserved for HON Circle/Senator members, so I’m pretty sure they’d be snagged before I had a chance). Plus, I’m taking the A380 from Frankfurt to Hong Kong in business class anyway, so in case the memories are too pleasant…
Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Economy Class
Swiss 777-300ER Economy, Lufthansa A380 Premium Economy (~HK$13,000)
Of course, the A380 is technically much more royal (and quiet) than the A340, so if I want to take it, I still have the option, which is always nice.
Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Hong Kong Airport
So I’m stumped here…which option’s the best? Or is there an even better option altogether?