Around the World in Less Than Eight Days

January is a relatively slow month for me, so I often take advantage of my traveling cyber-office to chalk up a few miles to kick off the new year. This year, wanderlust got the best of me as well, which resulted in a three phrase extended mileage run that would set down on five different continents. This first leg would afford the opportunity to spend a day in the fabulous Therme Erding, then fly directly from Germany to Bangkok (first time on an Airbus 380 = WOW!)  where I was able to check out a couple places I’ve been eager to see for a travel writing project. Then finally, Bangkok back to New York City, where I could shower, have a good meal, then regroup for the next leg. This is also the trip that put me across the 1.5 Million Miler mark. No Award from United for that, but it’s half-way to something!

Most fun of all: This itinerary took me all the way around the globe. First time I’ve ever done that! Not quite sure how your body figures out what’s going on in terms of day and night, but it seems that mine has.

Mileage run: EWR-MUC-FRA-BKK-NRT-EWR

Mileage accrual on this trip: 26,007 PQM (But not all on United metal)

Lifetime Mileage to date with United Airlines: 1,500,524

A few take-away points for the record log:

  • The EWR Polaris lounge is lovely! Including the showers which nobody seems to realize are there. Great perk if arriving or departing in Business Class
  • The more times I pass through Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK) airport, the more impressed I am by the architecture of the place, and the more disappointed I am about the operations of the place. If flying economy, the path from the check-in counter, through immigration and security is circuitous, chaotic, and time consuming. And for Star Alliance members who qualify for lounge access, the Miracle Lounge is no great shakes! (Have tried the Thai Royal Orchid Lounges as well – not much better.)
  • I rented a car in Bangkok! The most bizarre part of that experience was the return process, where you park the car along the curb outside the terminal then run inside to find someone (leaving the car unattended) so they can come out and inspect the car. Any other airport in the world, (That I know of!) your car would have been towed away and destroyed within two minutes of abandoning it curbside! (Took me at least ten minutes to find an car rental employee and return to the car!)
  • Stayed at an off property “airport hotel” that was very difficult to find, and runs only one small shuttle per hour. Accommodations were fine at the Gold Airport Suites, but if time is of the essence, it’s better to stay in the beautiful – but expensive – Novotel right on the airport property. Thankfully, I chose to return the rental car the night before my flight, taxi to the hotel, and crowd into the hourly shuttle the day of flight. A lot of hassle.
  • And finally, I thought I would dash into the airport to grab dinner after dropping my car. Despite the laid-back attitude about curb-side parking, a guard wanted to know why I was going into the the airport. “Um… to check-in!?” OK. Go! Once inside, all I could find land-side was a food court for stranded passengers where you buy a booklet of coupons then go around to various street-food like vendors to order various parts of your meal. Cheap. But Weird!

The next leg takes me from NYC to Europe (for business) to South Africa (for fun) then back – through Europe to EWR. That report coming soon.

You can also follow my travels on Instragram: @mileagerundan

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