Monday, May 11, 2015

Feeling a little isolated in the East

I arrived in Japan towards the end of 1991. Actually, England lost the Rugby World Cup whilst I was in the air and the sad news was broken by the pilot as we landed. And thinking about it, a British couple had deposited their young children in the seats next to me at the back of the plane and then disappeared to relax with their champaign at the front. Nice of them that. However, at least the flight was direct from London to Tokyo. Not long before I took this flight, Russian airspace had yet to open to western traffic and the old route was either via Hong Kong or Anchorage. Twice as long but apparently the ice cream at Anchorage Airport was outstanding. 

And so, for nearly twenty-five years, I comfortably shuttled back and forth between continents and over time migrated up the plane from cattle class to comfort. And then, last year, Virgin decided to pull out of Japan and focus on their trans-Atlantic routes. And they were my carrier of choice. BA has an unusual configuration in their planes, leaving you with the feeling of the peculiar flat mate who would watch Chandler at night in a classic episode of Friends. JAL, on the other hand, is designed for Japanese passengers and at 183, and 83kg, I don't really meet their standard seat concept. Which leaves ANA, and I like ANA. But they are seriously expensive.

However, I still also have air-miles on Virgin which I really would like to use. Except I can't. Not only are they non-transferable to a European route, there is now no longer a connection between Virgin and any UK domestic carrier. So unless I want to go on vacation in the US after my vacation in the UK I'm kind of stuck. But I also have Amex air-miles which are transferable to ANA, except that's limited to 80,000 per year. And it used to be possible to transfer to Amex miles to JAL but no more. But I can transfer them to Virgin! Which still flies from Hong Kong. Yay! So Hong Kong here we come for a transit to the UK. And honestly, this is getting more complicated than forecasting the outcome of a UK election.

This would make life so much easier...

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