It has been great to get back in the air during 2022, reconnecting with friends in person and what not. Airlines have generally been great, with some decent surprises throughout the year. Of course, there has also been quite a lot of disruption, which I was also caught up in.

Here’s a look at my 2022 of jetting hither and thither around the world. It’s been a pretty memorable year, which all adds to the experience of life.

Amtrak Coast Starlight!

Kicking off in January was my second trip in a Superliner Roomette on an Amtrak train. This time I decided to take my best friend for his birthday, since the price was right. I flew American Airlines in business class to get to New York, which was the first time I’d flown long-haul with them and I was pretty impressed!

I went via New York so I could visit the TWA Hotel at JFK Airport, which I really loved, especially swimming in the rooftop pool. That also gave me the opportunity to try AA’s transcontinental business class for the first time to get me to LA, where we stayed in the Tommie Hollywood. After the train deposited us in Seattle, it was an overnight in the W Hotel, then off to the airport where we got to visit the excellent North Satellite lounge operated by Alaska Airlines.

Following this I finally got back on board Alaska Airlines first class and loved everything about it. The trip was rounded off with a trip in British Airways old Club World back to London, before another fantastic short-haul Club Europe flight to Dublin.

A Scottish Interlude

Aer Lingus had refreshed their lounge in Dublin, so I visited there early in the year. My one Ryanair flight of the year took place in March and nothing has changed, they are still as efficient as ever.

After seeing friends, I took a train from Glasgow to Edinburgh, where I had some haggis and stayed in the Novotel Edinburgh Centre. From there it was a standard Aer Lingus flight back home.

Hawaiian Dream

Next up was a trip to Honolulu to celebrate a friend’s big birthday. American Airlines whisked me from London to Los Angeles in business class, and once there I spent time in the Flagship Lounge which was just okay. This was followed by a pretty terrible flight from LA to Hawaii in AA first class.

We all stayed in Waikiki, and I found the Hotel Renew to be lovely and very close to the beach. When it was time to leave, Alaska Airlines impressed me again with their first class service, this time on a flight to Seattle. From there, the good people at British Airways took me to London on a brand new Boeing 787-10, my first time on that aircraft and first time in the Club Suites.

ABBA Voyage

In May, I headed to London on Aer Lingus to go clubbing (as you do). Later in the month I was at the premiere of the cutting edge ABBA Voyage concerts, and flew Club Europe on BA into London City, always a good experience.

ABBA’s concert residency in London is something that has to be seen to be believed. From virtually every standpoint it is a technological marvel. I’ve been four times and as you can see from my review, it’s well worth it if you’re in the UK capital.

“The Trip From Hell”

Should it take someone 70 hours to get from Dublin to Sydney? No. I was caught up in the meltdown at the beginning of summer, meaning I had an unscheduled overnight in the Holiday Inn Glasgow, followed by another in the Sofitel London Gatwick. Of course, all was made well when I was re-routed on Qatar Airways via Doha. As luck would have it, my onward flight in business class was on the Airbus A380, meaning I got to experience the bar for the first time.

So, even though I lost a day and a half of an 11 day trip, I certainly managed to get there in style. Unfortunately, my luggage never made it, going AWOL for a grand total of 19 days. That meant shopping on arrival and claiming that back from my Travel Insurance. Both that provider and British Airways took four months to pay me, but they did, thank goodness!

Mid-trip, I took my Mum to Norfolk Island for her 70th birthday. This domestic flight leaves from the international terminal in Sydney, meaning we could visit the much lauded Qantas International First Class lounge, before flying out in business class. We stayed at the Paradise Hotel and Resort for a few nights before returning, once again up front with Qantas.

British Airways took me home in Club World on a Boeing 787-9, which was fine. The highlight was having a bath in the British Airways Arrivals Lounge when I got to Heathrow. That was really nice! So, an eventful trip all round, with some real highs and lows!

AerSpace, Concorde Room and Southampton

Aer Lingus have business class an enhanced economy class product called AerSpace on European flights, which I got to try as the last leg of the trip from hell. With reasonable fares at times, I decided to book it again for a trip in August.

Why was I going to London? A friend and his other half were flying to Sydney in first class and invited a friend and I to join them in the exclusive British Airways Concorde Room at London Heathrow before their flight. That was a memorable few hours indeed!

In Summer British Airways send their London City based aircraft to other destinations while that airport is closed on the weekend. I decided to go to Southampton and flew there in Club Europe, followed by a stay at the Moxy Hotel for a night. I flew back the next morning, after visiting the lovely Spitfire Lounge at the airport, my random trip to see an old Ansett Airlines flying boat complete.

Two 2022 Trips To Cleveland

I decided I needed to get away, so I decided to see friends in Cleveland. That meant flying Aer Lingus from Dublin to Chicago in economy class, which was interesting. Before flight, I visited the 51st and Green Lounge which is still one of the best in the Irish capital. My connection was down the back on American, which was quite comfortable.

While I stayed in the (surprisingly good) Hilton Garden Inn near the airport the first night, most of my time was spent at the quite frankly excellent Kimpton Schofield Hotel. Tacked on the end was a night in the Crowne Plaza at Playhouse Square, all to save money. As luck would have it, American Airlines cancelled my flight out due to a technical issue, meaning an extra night in Cleveland and no Aer Lingus flight home. I ended up going on AA, which turned out to be mighty fine.

Finally, in December I decided to visit Cleveland again. This time I took premium economy on American Airlines, which was very good, followed by a stint in the Terminal F lounge in Philadelphia. I enjoyed the Kimpton Schofield so much on the previous visit that I stayed there again. Flight home was the same, but I ordered the AVML special meal to mix it up. All good and that rounded out the year for me!

Overall Thoughts

Some amazing experiences all round, with seeing friends on all the trips being the major highlight, especially as I hadn’t seen people for so long. The Concorde Room afternoon was very memorable and American Airlines were quite frankly a revelation, with enjoyable flights on all legs. Visiting Norfolk Island and treating my Mum to some premium flying was also great, not to mention the rest.

While the missing bag, delays and cancelled flights were stressful, I see them as a learning experience rather than something horrible. IRROPS happens and I finally got caught up in some. Still, all is well that ends well! Perhaps not quite as much travel in 2023, but it all kicks off in February, with more American Airlines action across the Atlantic.

How was your 2022 in travel, flying and staying away? I hope you had a good year. As always, thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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