Everyone that reads this blog should know that my passion is flying. If I could stay in the air permanently, I would. You should also know that Zoe and I travel the world working in our Amazon business. We have now added Amazon T shirts to our products and the first one reflects my love of flying. Take a look at my “plane T-shirts” on the following links, and pick up one for yourself or anyone you know that is passionate about planes and flying.

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Trip Date: 19th April 2017

Trip Details: Madrid (MAD) to Dallas Forth Worth (DFW)

Airline: American Airlines

Aircraft Type: 787-9

Class: Premium Economy

American Airlines will soon ( I believe 1st July) start selling Premium Economy seats on their 787-9 aircraft. These aircraft currently fly:

Dallas (DFW) — Madrid (MAD)          Dallas (DFW) — Paris (CDG)     Dallas (DFW) — São Paulo (GRU)

Dallas (DFW) — Seoul (ICN)               Chicago (ORD) — Paris (CDG) — starting July 5

Los Angeles (LAX) — Tokyo (NRT) — starting August 4       Los Angeles (LAX) – Auckland (AKL) – strating Oct 5th

Los Angeles (LAX) – Sydney (SYD) – starting Nov 6

We were afforded the premium economy seats because of our status but I believe this practice will stop when AA start selling the PE seats. Our seats were 11 JK – at the back of the mini cabin that houses all  21 PE seats in 2-3-2 configuration. From our observation, these are the best of the seats available: furthest from the shared business class toilets (the one on the starboard side of the aircraft is quite large, allowing for disabled access), and reclining is no problem as there is a bulkhead behind you. The seats themselves are quite comfortable – leather clad, 38″ pitch and 19″ wide.  Storage space is almost non-existent, with the  pockets in the back of the seats being very small. There is a storage pocket in  the arm of the seat that can hold a water bottle, iPad or Surface Pro sized laptop, but nothing bigger. Luckily the overhead storage in the 789′s is huge, so there was really no problem, other than one had to get up if anything was required out of carry on. The pocket also contains the power outlet with a universal socket, 110V 60HZ so power adaptors with Australian plugs and 100-240V range can plug straight in.  Note: 240V only units won’t work! There is also a USB outlet on the bottom of the IFE screen.


Row 11 JK                                                                 Row 9

For those that like a little more leg room, Row 9 provides extra behind the bulkhead, but the proximity of the toilets and the curtain through to business class could prove bothersome. For us,  travelling as a couple, Row 11 is the pick of them.  The IFE screen is reasonably sized ( a guess would be around 12″) . There is a good selection of recent release movies as well as some old favourites. The music selection isn’t to my taste, but there’s always the iPhone for that.  There is a USB port at the bottom of the screen, as well as a speaker socket.. There is also a speaker socket in the armrest. I use the screen output as I find it too easy to get the cord tangled or caught when it’s plugged in down beside the seat.


Meals:  Below you will find a copy of the Premium economy menu and beverage list.  The wine list is limited, but there is a selection of drinks that should suit most palates. I can’t comment on any special menus that might be available for Gluten free etc. We both chose the grilled chicken which was quite edible.  Unfortunately, I did not get a picture of the “almost There” meal: “Charred Cauliflower Power Bowl” – which was surprisingly tasty.

There was bottled water waiting in the seat pocket upon boarding and a rudimentary amenity kit – socks, eye covers, toothpaste/brush  and ear plugs.  These are bundled with a pillow, blanket and basic noise cancelling headphones (not BOSE as provided in business class).


The premium economy cabin is permitted to use the business class bathrooms just forward of the PE cabin. As mentioned, the bathroom on the starboard side of the aircraft is much bigger than that on the port side, with wheelchair access and a change table . Use these when you can, and if you are a pyjama wearer , this is the bathroom to get changed in so you don’t have to do a contortionist impression to get changed.

787-9 Bathroom










All in all, the AA 787-9 PE experience was a pleasant one. The seating is comfortable, the meals are reasonable and the 787 is a beautiful aircraft.  I love the big windows and the electronic dimming facility – it allows me to look out without the glare annoying all the other passengers.


AA 787 Window Clear













At the time of writing, AA have released their fares for  SYD-LAX and typically Premium economy is $AUD1200 more than economy fares, round trip. . Is it worth it ? I would say yes, but that’s subjective. I enjoy just being up in the air, so any seat will do me,  but more comfortable trips make the experience much more pleasant.

I will leave it to the locals to explain the history of St.Emilion, and my pictures can explain the beauty. The are not enough superlatives to describe this place. If you ever have the chance to visit, do so, you won’t be disappointed.



Right in the heart of the business district in Kuala Lumpur, the Doubletree by Hilton is the best of the Doubletree branded hotels I have been privileged to stay in. In fact, apart from the “Doubletree Cookie”, this is a Hilton by any other name. We stayed here for a week in March 2017 and our  experience is as follows:

Check In Experience –  Fast and efficient. Good recognition of status, and we had 2 bookings (one in each of our names) whcih were linked together without fuss and no key re-cuts required. Doubletree cookie delivered with a smile.


Staff: Incredibly helpful and always smiling. There are few other hotels I have visited where staff are so friendly and willing to engage in conversation . Nothing is too much trouble. Very impressive.


Rooms are spacious and sumptiously clean. Amenities provided are Aroma Actives – not one we’ve experienced before but very nice. Turndown is available every  night.  Bathroom is well laid out – shower only, no bath, but plenty of room. The bathromn has a glass wall, but there is a blind with electronic control that can be lowered for modesty if required.



Facilities: More than you would expect from a Doubletree, there is an Executive Club, Gym, Pool, Business Centre, a number of restaurants and bars, and, although not strictly  a part of the hotel, a great food  court for local cuisine  is available two floors down.

Executive Club

On the 34th Floor, the Executive Club offer great views and a great space to unwind. It is open from 0600 to 2300 daily.  Breakfast is served from 6.30 am to 10.30 am (11am on the weekends) . Food options include fruit and pastries as well as eggs: you can order fried eggs cooked to your liking and omelettes are also available. There are also some Asian options (change daily) but if you are a bacon fiend, you will be out of luck here. There are sausages, turkey and processed ham but definitely no bacaon. Drinks and Canapes are served from 5.30pm to 7.30pm every day and there is a good selection of food ( 3 hot dishes, a selection of sandwiches  (vegetarian options available), dessert and fruit. Often the original offerings are changed throughout the night and they keep bringing food until the 7.30pm finish time.  The drinks selection is not huge (the only red wine was a very nice Australian merlot) but spirits are available and a few local beers. There is a small area with a couple of computer stations and a printer available in the club where you could print a boarding pass or similar, but if you require serious printing or office assistance, there is a full business centre on the 10th Floor. Soft drinks and water are available whenever the club is open.


One of the most impressive features of this hotel is the Makan Kitchen – breakfast is served here daily from 6.30 to 10.00 am (11.00 am on weekends). It’s located on the 11th floor.  There’s a huge range of food available, buffet style and made to order. Western, Malaysian and Chinese sections can be chosen and a plethora of fruits, pastries, cereals and cooked foods are ready for your consumption. Easily the best breakfast restaurant I have seen in any Hilton, neverlone Doubletree. Diamond members have the option of eating here or the Executive Club.




Another impressive area is the pool deck. Located on the 10th floor, the pool has a restaurant and bar aside it, so snacks and drinks can be ordered and delivered to you poolside deck chair. A nice area with greenery and a nice, albeit cut off view of the Petronas Towers and KL Tower.



There is plenty of sights within walking distance – 15 mins to Petronas Towers and KLCC Park, shopping at the Suria KLCC Mall and the shops and food court in the Intermark centre (which houses the Doubletree). We thoroughly enjoyed our stay here and intend to return.


After 3 months is Australia, it’s time to travel again. First stop – Kuala Lumpur (via Singapore). Great flight over to Singpaore (thanks Qantas) and then Malaysian Airlines to Kuala Lumpur. The humidity here is high, but not unlike our hometown, so not too many troubles coping with it, but the air conditioning in the hotel is very welcome. Staying at the Doubletree by Hilton -fantastic hotel and close to the Twin Petronas Towers. The hotel staff are very welcoming and the rooms are well proportioned. Beautiful restaurants and bars, function rooms, business centre as well as a great pool area and gymnasium round out the facilities. Rates are exceptionally reasonable and there’s a food court downstairs (the hotel is over a shopping precinct) with great local food if you want to try that. The breakfast buffet is exceptional, with western, Malaysian and Chinese options available. There’s plenty of tables available and the food options are seemingly endless. I think this is the best Hilton breakfast buffet I’ve ever seen, however, if you’re a big bacon eater, you will be disappointed. The city is very clean and a lot of English is spoken here, so there’s no language barriers per se. The area near the Petronas Twin Towers is very interesting and if you want high end shops, go to the SuriaKLCC Centre beside Petronas – every shop is represented: Jimmy Choo, Versace, Tiffany, Prada, Louis Vuiton, Chanel, Mont Blanc, Rolex, Patek Phillipe, and Gucci are just some of the big names to grace the centre. But there’s also Zara, Cotton On and Toys R Us to cater for all tastes.  Good food and coffee shop options are available too. Highly recommended for a visit




Whilst this lounge is no Sydney QF F Lounge, I have certainly seen a lot worse. A dedicated dining area and a good selection of food and drinks, with plenty of staff  on hand for assistance if required. There is a SPA here for massages as well (always a good thing) but again, not of the grandeur that SYD F Lounge offers.  There’e some nice areas to relax and watch TV (or not) and a reasonable bar area nicely stocked.  There is also a couple of computer/printer bays if required.  There are not a lot of toilets in this lounge and the showers (all 2 of them) are merely an extra cubicle next to the stalls in the bathroom: not my idea of  a great layout.  The one common theme in all Etihad’s lounges is that they are scrupulously clean. However, the other common trait is the lack of power points for recharging phones. tablets and computers. Luckily, in First and Business  at least, the aircraft are fitted with both USB and 220V power so we walked off the plane with all equipment fully charged. This is a nice lounge to relax in if transiting, but the T3 lounge is far bigger  and offers a lot more services, so it’s worth the walk : about 10 mins between lounges.


American Airlines have garnered a number of A330′s since the merge with US Airways and this aircraft, and indeed the route, is one of those. The flight leaves LHR at 1.20pm and arrives into CLT at 5.45pm local time. flight time is nominally 9hrs 25m.  The aircraft are far form new, but this one was in excellent condition. The J class cabin has a 1-2-1 configuration, with the seats angled inwards. The centre seats offer reasonable privacy for the single traveller, although obviously the single seats along each side are better if you want complete privacy or to work whilst in transit and not bother your seat mate. The seats are comfortable, offer more than enough leg room and lie flat when converted into a bed. Not a lot of storage in the seat pod, although shoes/boots fit comfortably under the foot rest. Pillow is a good size but the blanket/duvet is on the thin side, so if you feel the cold (as my wife Zoe does) you may want to wear something warm.  The inflight entertainment (IFE) is delivered via a 15 inch screen, with plenty of titles to choose from, both in movies and TV. The music choice lacks a little, in my opinion, so if you enjoy your music whilst travelling, take your smart phone music library with you.

The amenities kit is standard fare – with lotions and potions supplied by Red Flower and aptly branded Wanderlust. However, I do love the fact that American always supply a small packet of tissues and a pen – enabling you to fill out the customs forms without getting a pen from your carry one or coat that had been carefully hung in the cupboard by the FA.

The menu is also reasonable: I had the cod, which was surprisingly good. Zoe had the beef and was very happy with it, but it looked a little overcooked for my taste. Medium rare is not on the food heater settings. Dessert is always the same for us if available, the Ice Cream Sundae. Construct your own with nuts, butterscotch sauce and whipped cream (calorie free of course) drizzled over Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. There is a nice looking cheese platter available too, but we never seem to order it!!! The wine list is nothing to write home about , but the reds were acceptable. The champagne was rubbish.

The service was very good but not outstanding. And interestingly, with a different FA in each aisle, Zoe felt hers was less remarkable than the service I received.

Overall, a very comfortable flight with good service. Not a bad way to get across the Atlantic pond.

After the 787 First experience BNE-AUH, I was expecting somewhat of a let down on this leg in an A330, J Class. Whilst the hard product was considerably less comfortable, the service and the food was exceptional. The config is 1-2-1 with the window seats in the herringbone style – one angled inwards and the next angled outwards. I don’t have a problem with this, however, the strange open sided footrest allows your feet to drop off when trying to lie flat. In the case of the outward angled seat, this means your feet can fall into the aisle – not great if you’re trying to sleep. Not a true lie fat bed, but reasonably close to it and cushions were comfortable: this was a daytime flight of 8hrs so no sleep was attempted. USB and power points are available, however positioning makes egress from the inwards facing seat difficult if power leads are plugged in, as you have to step over them to get out into the aisle. Not a great deal of storage space, but room for your phone beside you and space for shoes, under the foot rest. The tray table was one I had not seen before this flight, but it was functional enough albeit difficult to get around whilst deployed.

The food on this flight was excellent – nice array of choices and some nice wines to go with it. The usual IFE controls and strangely, the list of titles available far exceeded that available on the BNE-AUH flight.  Overall, a very comfortable flight with great service that seems to be the norm for Etihad.





Hi all – I can definitely recommend Etihad’s 787 in First – wonderful trip. 13hrs and we both feel very alert – maybe something to do with the Dreamliners’ internal pressure being set to 6000′. I will break this report into sections for ease of reading,


Only 8 seats in First on this aircraft – 1-2-1 config. 1A/K and 2 A/K (1-2-1 config) are both 3 window seats, and with the 787′s large windows, it’s made for those of us that like “looking out”. 1A/K face backwards, 1D/G face forwards. 2 A/K face forwards and 2 D/G face backwards). The centre seats have tall screens between them that can be lowered for couples travelling together and raised for single travellers wanting privacy. The bathrooms are large with a separate fold down seat/tray to put clothes on if you’re getting changed.  Plenty of storage space – under the ottoman for hand bags and small carry on (reasonably shallow), jackets hang in space in edge of seat capsule.
1A/K has a cupboard next to the bulkhead for carry on; 2A/K has no overhead storage or cupboard – staff store it further back. Side screens simply slide to meet in the middle when you want complete privacy.


There’s a plethora of controls for the seats, lights and IFE. Touch screen and standard buttons for the seat and touch screen  and buttons on the detachable IFE control. You can also send messages and place calls to other seats.  (if there is one criticism of this flight, the movie selection is pretty poor and finding them not intuitive.) However, you can plug your own device into their system (phone, iPad, laptop, and watch your movies on their screen) – I would recommend you do this if movies are your thing. In flight WIFI (provided by T-Mobile) is available FOC as well. Found it very good with quite acceptable upload speeds. There are 2 USB ports for charging phones, an AC outlet (multi plug type) and a small cooler compartment with 2 bottles of water, a Coke and a lemonade as standard.

MENU – Extensive choice here with any time dining and A la carte menus. Chef introduced himself at the beginning of the flight and made recommendations.  I decided on the Tenderloin beef and it was cooked to medium rare perfection. For dessert the cheese platter complimented  the Bordeaux red I was drinking. There is no Breakfast menu: it is made to order. I had poached eggs with hollandaise sauce.No shortage of choice on the drinks menu either – whether alcoholic or not.


Eithad supply very nice pyjamas – soft black material. The top has a short zip rather than button up or just pull over type. The pants are standard draw string type. We found them very comfortable. The amenities kit contained LeLabo toiletries, along with the standard eye patches, ear plugs etc. The male kit also contained a shaving kit: a nice touch.

This one one of the best flights we have experienced – superb service, good seating, nice aircraft. It could be best summed up by the fact we were disappointed by the fact we arrived in Abu Dhabi early.


The trip from Doha to Paris on Qatar Airways was another memorable one. Aircraft was an A340 – not quite as swish as the 777, but service was again impeccable.  A few days in Paris, including New Years Eve at the gorgeous Intercontinental Le Grand.  Incredibly beautiful city – the history just surrounds you. Never enough time here no matter how long you stay. C’est la Vie.