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Our around-the-world trip last year to celebrate Josh’s 40th birthday was pretty incredible. Heck, it is incredible that we were even able to consider doing something like that, let alone actually getting to go on that big of an adventure in such incredible comfort. It wasn’t a “free” trip by any stretch, but it was a trip that was made doable thanks to miles and points. I don’t have any idea when we will take a trip that long, that big, or that luxurious again, but I am thankful we got to experience it together when we did.
Of course, after the big trip, you still have to get home. This final post in the series is about the long way home, thankfully (mostly) in lie flat seats. Here are the other posts in the series:
As I did when I wrote about our business class flights to Male, I’m just going to share the highlights of this trip home instead of breaking down each flight and airline lounge in minute detail. If you want to learn about the full routing and how we booked the flights on miles, read this post.
A successful business class flight to me is one where I don’t remember much because I was sleeping or comfortably relaxing for most of the time, with perhaps a decent nibble of food brought to me between cat naps. I will say that the 38 hours of travel or whatever it took to get home were long, even in lie-flat seats, but it was a million times better than coach.
Leaving the Park Hyatt Maldives:
We left the Park Hyatt Maldives on a speed boat transfer that took us to the very, very small airport in Kooddoo where we caught a Maldivian Airlines prop plane flight the one hour to get to Male. Upon landing in Male we were met by a Park Hyatt Maldives rep who escorted us to the international terminal where we were then on our own for the rest of the journey home.
We had to wait for a while in the pretty bare bones international check-in area at the Male terminal before the check-in desk opened for our Singapore Airlines flight. Once it opened we were able to check-in, clear security, and head to the Plaza Premium lounge to wait a few hours for boarding to begin.
Plaza Premium Lounge in Male:
For those keeping score at home, our Singapore Airlines flight departed Male at 11:35PM at night, so it was well past our bedtime before we ever boarded the plane. This means we were happy to visit the Plaza Premium lounge to have a decent place to sit, have a snack, and catch up on some email before the plane. Mostly we were just trying to stay awake and gear up for the next step in the long journey.
The lounge was totally adequate, with the exception of some internet connection problems that seemed to plague PCs more than those of us using Apple.
You can access this lounge by flying on a business class ticket on most (all?) airlines out of Male. If you want more details on the lounge or the Male airport in general you can check out more detailed reviews at View from the Wing, Travelsort, and Million Mile Secrets (who also highlights the Male airport outside of just the lounge).
Singapore Airlines A330 Flight from Male to Singapore:
Eventually it was time to board our flight to Singapore, and even though it was late, I was pretty excited as we walked outside to board since this was my first Singapore Airlines flight.
On our A330 flight the seats are angled lie-flat, so not the private suites or infamous double bed you may have read about on other Singapore premium cabin flights. Still, this seat is waaaay better than coach, and I was more than happy to see how it worked out for the 6 hours or so I had to sleep in it.
I didn’t make use of the entertainment for this flight, but the screen was pretty large and as shown below there were plenty of options to choose from, including a “Just for Kids” section in case you are flying with your little ones.
While I didn’t care much for TV on this overnight flight, I was looking forward to eating a little bit. I had pre-ordered the Oriental Vegetarian meal when I called for our seat assignments, and that was indeed what I was served. While I often have good luck getting a better meal than average when I pre-order a vegetarian meal (I’m not really a vegetarian, just don’t eat very much meat), I don’t think that really panned out in this case.
Here was the normal menu for the flight.
My meal was fine, but probably not the tastiest option on the plane. Still, it filled me up enough to comfortably go to sleep for the few hours of flight before landing in Singapore as the sun was rising.
Overall the experience on the Singapore flight was that the service was very good, the angled lie-flat seat wasn’t the best, but it was okay, and I hope to fly a longer-haul Singapore flight at some point in the future.
Premier Lounge in Singapore:
Most of our time in Singapore was spent sleeping in a day room at the Crowne Plaza Changi, but we did head back to the terminal in time to briefly check out the Premier Lounge we had access to since we were flying on business class tickets. There is no shortage of things to see and do in the Changi airport, but if you wanted a free snack or drink in the lounge, they certainly had some to offer.
The food and drink offerings were much more extensive than what you are probably used to in most domestic airline lounges.
In fact, it was around this point on the way home that I realized it is actually a little challenging not to over eat or over drink when you are doing long-haul travel in premium cabins as there are complimentary offerings just about everywhere you turn.
EVA Air 777 Flight from Singapore – Taipei:
Our afternoon flight from Singapore to Taipei was just about 4.5 hours long, but it was easily the nicest 4.5 hour flight I have ever experienced.
The Royal Laurel (business class) seats were very, very nice, and we enjoyed exemplary service from the flight attendants.
We had purposefully not eaten much in the lounge, so we were ready for the lunch meal service on the flight, which included multiple choices in addition to the ones you could select ahead of time online.
I enjoyed the food on the flight, but found myself especially addicted to the mixed nuts and rice crackers! The 4.5 hour flight went by very quickly between the multi-course meal service, the entertainment system, a quick nap, and all the sudden we were landing in Taipei around dinner time.
The Club Lounge at Taipei Airport:
We had a pretty short connection time in Taipei, so normally I would not have tried to squeeze in any lounge visit, however I wanted to at least peek at one in case anyone was interested in what there was to offer. We had a bit of a hard time finding the actual lounge that we were supposed to visit. We ended up doing a very brief visit to The Club Lounge, but the attendant told us that we had access to a better lounge elsewhere, we just weren’t able to locate it during our short connection.
There was more than enough to eat and drink in the small lounge, though again we skipped sampling too many different treats as we knew we would be fed shortly on our long-haul flight home back to the United States.
EVA Air 777 Flight from Taipei – Los Angeles:
This was already our 4th flight since leaving Male almost a full day earlier, and we were feeling it. The good news is that meant we were zonked for much of the 11+ hour flight back to the United States, but the bad news is that I remember almost nothing from this entire flight after the dinner service. We got a nice dark green Rimowa amenity kits, there were twinkling lights on the ceiling, the seat was identical to the previous EVA flight with a very easy arrangement for talking to your partner seated in the middle seat next to you in the 1-2-1 arrangement.
I had ordered my meal selection online in advance, and this time I think I made a good choice with the “Sauteed Scallop and Prawn with Herb Cream Sauce serve with Charcoal Noodles Tossed with Olive Oil and Buttered Vegetable”.
After dinner it was time for me to fall asleep for as long as possible, which ended up being the majority of the flight. That makes for a very successful business class flight, but apologies for the resulting crummy report. Suffice to say, I was very glad we had lie-flat seats to sleep on as we flew across the Pacific Ocean. That is why using miles to book business class seats is worth it for me.
Landing at LAX and the Last United Flight Home:
Upon landing at LAX we cleared immigration quickly enough using Global Entry, but undoubtedly had the grumpiest “welcome home” experience yet with one of the agents. Our “fancy pants” travel and treatment was 100% over at this point! That’s okay though because we were just a few hours from our house, and most importantly our daughter.
I don’t think we even bothered visiting a United Club at LAX, instead we just sat in the boarding area and counted down the minutes until the last flight home. This was the only segment of the trip that never cleared into business class, so we enjoyed our E+ seats as we inched closer to Houston.
Overall Impressions of EVA and Singapore Business Class Flights:
As I’m sure you can tell, this was a bunch of travel to get home. There was a speed boat ride and five flights over the span of close to 40 hours to get home. We had some time on the ground in Singapore we could have made better use of to explore if we had wanted to, but for the most part that was 40 hours of real travel. Thank goodness we had the luxury of doing most of it in business class, because I’m sure we would have been a whole other level of tired, sore, and cranky if it had been in coach.
There is no doubt the service on EVA and Singapore flights is very good, as was the hard product, especially with EVA. I will not be flying this far and this much on a regular basis, but the trip was 100% worth it to us for that occasion. Being more or less rested when we landed was also invaluable, because a kid at home doesn’t care that you traveled 40 hours to get home, they care that you are home and are ready to play.
Or in this case, they care that you are ready to enjoy one final 40th birthday celebration. We went to bed for the night a few hours after we landed, and were mostly on a regular sleep schedule shortly thereafter. That alone made business class worth it.
I’m so incredibly grateful to have gotten to go on this amazing trip, and while I don’t remember all the details of the meal service and such on the flights, I’ll never forget some of the moments we had on this epic around-the-world 40th birthday adventure. Thanks for following along as I relived and remembered the biggest trip of our lives…thus far.