HAPPY NEW YEAR: what’s in store for TLFL 2020?

Paul, Roving Reporter, Claudio, Mrs B and I would like to wish all our readers a very Happy New Year and may it be filled with plenty of luxury travels!

In a slightly backwards way, I will first look at what we have planned for this year 2020, before I look at our 2019 best travel moments later this week. (Paul is still travelling as I write this in 2019).

 

Michele and TLFL events for 2020

Michele

Me on BA’s A350 with Club Suites

My first trip will be one of the most important, my next trip (fingers crossed for no problems) will finally get me to BA’s exclusive Gold Guest List status for the first time. This affords me a number of benefits such as a gold card and two silvers cards to gift to anyone I want (we are hoping to do a giveaway for at least one of the cards). The trip is with Roving Reporter from Heathrow to Johannesburg with Qatar and then onto Cape Town with BA’s Comair for a visit to one of my favourite destinations, Franschhoek. We also are returning to a beautiful guest house (more on that to follow) Maison Cabriere.

Near Franschhoek South Africa

 

In January we will be exhibiting for the first time at Destinations, The Times Travel Show which is on between 30 January – 2 February at London’s Olympia. We also plan to have a second reader event in the Springtime since I know a lot of you missed out on the last event due to the limited size of the venue.

I will also be visiting some new countries in 2020 – Sofia in Bulgaria with a group of friends, Tahiti and Moorea in French Polynesia (which has been no 1 on the bucket list for a looong time!) and also Tel Aviv and Jerusalem with Virgin in Upper Class. I am also hoping to squeeze in a side trip to Cuba from the US if I can. 

Like Claudio and Paul, I got the great Finnair deal to Hong Kong and am still deciding my itinerary as with 7 nights I plan to try to see a couple of places. Paul and I, purely by coincidence, ended up flying out on the same day so I may well join him in continuing on to Taipei as that is somewhere I have always fancied visiting. We will be flying on the Finnair A350 which will be my first long haul flight with Finnair so watch out for the review!

I will also be flying Air France long haul for the first time in business class from Tahiti to Los Angeles. I got some other good deals in various BA ex EU and Inverness fares. I shall be flying to Vegas from Inverness via Los Angeles for a few extra tier points ( plus a much nicer aircraft)  and trying out 2 new hotels plus a revisit to a couple of favourites so there will be some new Vegas hotel reviews. It will also be interesting to see the new Concorde Team in action at Los Angeles and visit the new AA Flagship dining which I have not done in Los Angeles before. (I usually recommend the Qantas First lounge) One of the flights will be another First for me – American Airlines International First class. Given some of the shocking reviews I have read recently, it could make interesting reading for the review!

I am also flying on two of the ex Paris BA fares, one to Hawaii which is one of my favourite places in the world to visit, and one to San Franciso to visit Napa/Sonoma. 

I also plan to visit the Farnborough airshow to give all our aviation geek readers some interesting articles. 

I still have a few trips to plan – I am planning to fly a little less oneworld in 2020 and have a few airlines I would like to try including Delta, KLM and Turkish. Now it is a question of waiting for the right sale fare. 

Is there an airline you would like me to fly on? (that has business class……) Or something else you would like to see us cover in 2020? Let us know in the comments below or on our social media. 

 

Paul

Deputy Editor Paul on the Finnair A350 in business class

Paul is also doing the Finnair A350 trip to Hong Kong from Italy, but doing two of them. He plans to carry on to Taipei and Seoul on his first trip. He managed to get a spectacular bargain from Casablanca with American Airlines to Hawaii for £1040. Paul got another good deal doing the Madrid/Barcelona fare to Shanghai on British Airways which is a very cheap £1075 and still available via ba.com.

 

The rest of it remains a mystery so far, I hear rumours that he has decided to ditch oneworld and first-class, instead, he plans to spend the rest of the year flying low cost…..

Shanghai skyline at night

Shanghai skyline

 

Roving Reporter

View of Portland, Oregon overlooking the Willamette river 

RR has been challenged not to travel in 2021, so he is going for it big time in 2020. Apart from the trips with me I have mentioned, he is also doing:

  • Hong Kong on Swiss business class on the companion sale fare, staying at The Langham
  • Delhi on Swiss First on the companion sale fare, staying at The Oberoi Udaivilas, Oberoi Delhi and Hilton Jaipur.
  • Sao Paulo on Virgin in Premium Economy, staying Melia Jardin Level with a day trip to Rio
  • Portland on BA business class from Inverness returning from San Francisco in business class (but hoping to upgrade to F with Avios)
  • Tokyo on ANA First class (review from this year’s flight coming soon), JAL business to Shanghai and Virgin Upper Class return. Staying at Langham Shanghai
  • Bali on Qatar business class
ba cocktail challenge

Roving Reporter

 

Claudio

Claudio on Qatar’s A350

2020 will be another busy year when it comes to travelling. I have already booked a trip to Vienna for my birthday in February and also took advantage of a super Finnair deal in business class and will be jetting off to Hong Kong and Taipei for the first time in June. Abu Dhabi, Colombo and Jakarta are also on the cards as part of tier point run!

In terms of airlines, I will be flying Sri Lankan Airlines and Eva Air for the first time. Hopefully, I will be able to add another two or three new airlines to the list!

So it’s over to you, our TLFL readers…. What do you have planned for this year in your travels that you are excited about? Let us know in the comments below or on social media.

 

 

29 Comments on "HAPPY NEW YEAR: what’s in store for TLFL 2020?"

  1. nigel fuller | 1 January 2020 at 8:21 am | Reply

    Jan – Georgia – Kutaisi/ Badami Four day trip for less than £250 all in
    Feb – Paris Rugby
    Mar – Italy Rugby
    April – Turkmenistan – Aral Sea
    May Sicily
    Jun – St Kilda/ Barra, Santorini/Aegina/Agistri
    Jul – Lundy/Flatholme/Steepholme – Bristol Channel Island tour

    Rest still planning but India will feature toward end of the year – Andaman Islands.

  2. Hi Michele, I flew Finnair on their A350 LHR HEL HKT HEL LHR last month and they really are very good. You can pre-order your main course from a special ‘Book the Cook’ menu on most flights ex Helsinki. You do this from their website’s Manage My Booking tab. Their pillows are quite thin, so I was pleased I took my memory foam travel pillow with me. Sounds like you have a great year planned. Enjoy!

  3. Happy new year guys! Weren’t all direct flights from USA to Cuba stopped last year?

    • I thought so too but they still seem to be available when I looked the other day. Perhaps they stop somewhere to get round it.

  4. Sounds like a brilliant year ahead. Looking forward to reading all your reviews. If any of you need a bag carrier, I’m available!

    So far I’ve only a long holiday to NZ via Gothenburg and Doha on Qatar booked with some internal flights on Air NZ. But I’ve got a couple of 2-4-1 vouchers to use the first expiring in November so I’ve got to get some planning done.

    All the best for 2020.

    • Thanks! NZ is one of my favourite places in the world so I’m jealous you are going!

      • So for me some short haul for work to Milan, Geneva, Brussels and a few others probably. Long haul it’s NYC for a few days, back to UK for a trip to Poland (personal) and then next day over to Seattle, back and then Amsterdam. That’s the 1st 6 weeks of 2020.

        Then holiday in Miami in March. Row 62 both ways booked, trying different sides of the bubble 🙂 Then Moscow at Easter to use up a 241.

        My issue is work travel long haul is business and Iceland Air are always around £2k so they keep wanting to book that for me. Looks like I’ll have to try it as its £8k to Seattle in Feb. Bonkers pricing.

        Need a destination for.a break in October to use a 241, am thinking Grand Cayman. Any recommendations on hotels?

  5. Daniel Ray-Marks | 1 January 2020 at 10:05 am | Reply

    Love reading TLFL. 2020 will see 3 big trips for me. We live in Jersey so it’s great for the extra Tier points. My Birthday is in February so I’m using my BA companion voucher (so no Tier points or Avios) to go to Hong Kong Business Class. We’ll stay 2 nights in the Harbour Grand Kowloon then on to Koh Samui for 11 nights. for some Birthday sun. 11 nights at the The Waterfront Boutique Hotel in Koh Samui. Flying via Hong Kong for 2 nights. Trying to retain Silver so managed to book a BA Holiday of 7 nights at the Bahia del Duque, Tenerife with Business Class flights for just £1350 each earning a nice 240 Tier Points each. Then a friends 50th so it’s back to Vegas in August. Another BA Holiday – First Class flights and 6 nights at the Encore for £2,640 each earning 500 Tier Points. Happy New Year!

  6. Happy New Year Michelle and gang.

    Am doing Sri Lanka – Qatar business
    Hong Kong – Qatar business
    Chile – BA first (fingers crossed on Amex 2 for 1!)

  7. I wish I’d got in on the Finnair offer! This year starts with BA to Rome in mid-January. In February, a week in Tampa, BA First via ORD outbound and PHL for the return. A weekend in Bordeaux (using Avios) staying at the Intercontinental in early March. Also planning weekends in Helsinki and Budapest with but homing in on positioning for OSL-DOH-BKK in Qatar Q Suites for July. In August I will use my 2-4-1 to book next summer’s main holiday.

  8. Happy New Year. Sounds like you’ll be providing us with some great reports this year. I love waking up to my TLFL e-mails!
    My first trip for 2020 with be Budapest and my last will be Australia in November (with many trips in-between hopefully). I shall be scouring your reports for tips for my big Australia trip. I’m hoping to stop off at Hong Kong going out and Singapore coming back. Cathay Pacific’s business class looks good although several seats on the the A350 have bad reviews on seat guru.

  9. Happy New Year and thank you for all your ” hard” work. With your help in April I’m doing Inverness- london- Miami-new Orleans-Dallas-Las Vegas-LA- london- Inverness BA first and under £1900.

  10. Happy New Year, TLFL Team.

    A week in Ikos Dassia late April, then working out when/where to use the next 241. Plus, who knows?!?

  11. 2 trips planned so far.
    Costa Rica on BA 2-4-1 sadly no 1st cabin on this route
    Then in October a dive trip to Indonesia so Qatar business in the Q suite to Bali.
    I am sure we will find more to do, have another companion ticket expiring in Nov and more being earned as I write!

  12. Hi Michelle, good to meet you at the shindig.

    We have done so much travelling in recent years and before that there is not a huge amount left, especially having done 9 Oneworld trips between christmas 2018 and end Jan 2020: Paris, Vietnam, Bilbao, N Italy, Turin, Brazil’s Pantanal, S Spain with Iberia/train on a BA strike day (lucky that!), Burma with Qatar…and next week Mexico incl Baja California on the first class BA deal at £1904 each from Heathrow, not somewhere else! Only Burma was partly a tier point run to get my gold from my wife who will return the favour next autumn after Mexico and Sicily in May.

    Qatar service and quality of wines has much declined in the past 2 years. Do you remember the times 2 or 3 years ago when they served Billecart Salmon fizz in the Al Moorjan lounge?! They cancelled ourYangon flight so we took one at 1 am, thus requiring 8 hours rather than 2 in Doha, declined several times to find us an earlier club flight out of Doha and finally in Al Mourjan offered us earlier flights in first class…at £3160!

    So in due course we will start to drop Oneworld. Do BA or Qatar read this?

    Paul

    • Not sure about Qatar but British Airways definitely read the blog.

    • Qatar on the ground when things go wrong are not always very good. And I agree about the wine but on my last trip it had definitely improved. Pommery had gone! Though the Rose was terrible on board.

  13. I really enjoy reading TLFL and thanks to you guys I first became aware of Tier Point runs. The most notable for me was Stockholm to Bangkok via Qatar. Very cheap business fare and Qsuites on the Scandinavian legs. This helped me achieve BA Gold for the first time in December.

    This January we are going to South Africa on Qatar from London to Johannesburg Q suites, then taking a Comair flight to Cape Town and coincidentally we are also staying in Franschoek.

    We are back for a week then we head for Australia. During the BA pilot strike I found two First class retuns at a greatly reduced price on BA. They worked out approx. £1,000 dearer than Qatar business which we would have taken otherwise. After this flight my wife will also achieve gold status

    In March we head to Abu Dhabi using up our remaining emirates skywards miles in Business.

    April is reserved for another tier point run, destination to be decided. This should get us to 2500 tier points and Gold upgrade vouchers. We then head to Cancun in May on BA Business for a couple of weeks.

    In June I’ve used my Amex 2 for 1 voucher to secure two first class return seats to Tokyo, and we hope to do Vegas in September providing we can secure a good TP fare.

    As for the rest of the year, I’m currently scanning the offers!

  14. Happy New Year, keep up the great feedback and guides from the team travels! 2020 for me:
    Latin America/ S America: Dom. Rep., Guyana, Suriname
    Europe: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania
    Far East: Malaysia, Taiwan/ Taipei

  15. Hi Michele, in case you’d be flying less OW airlines, it could be of interested seeing tier point runs for other programs such as miles and more, united etc.
    happy landings.
    Adriano

  16. Scott Lawrie | 4 January 2020 at 4:19 pm | Reply

    Sounds like another great year ahead Michele!
    So far I’ve booked a TP run from Sofia to Doha (stopping over in Doha for a few days to catch up with my pal who stays there, then on to Singapore with Qatar on Q Suites. Looking forward to trying it out for the first tine!
    Other than that we have a trip to Vegas and Mexico in Club booked too. Gonna try and pick up some more in the sale. Happy New Year to you all and thanks for all the hints and tips last year.

  17. I have just come back from Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand after taking advantage of the deal you mentioned in April last year – Singapore from Oslo +- £1200 business class. Yesterday I used the Qatar business class lounge in Singapore – really good and spent almost 6 hours there. I have photographs and will possibly be at the Destinations show later today

    • Hi Roy. Do pop by the stand at D42 if you get a chance. If not if you’d like to see your photos on the blog do get in contact via the contact us tab!

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