Around the world in 5 days. In Coach.


Yeah, I know I’m not normal. I’m used to that, really. But this trip may be over the top, even for me. I want to be on the final commercial flight for the DC-10 and that means a trip to Bangladesh is necessary. But, thanks to a few changes by Biman Bangladesh Airlines over the past few months I had to wedge this trip in to my schedule between other obligations. Last time I had it booked there was time to explore Bangladesh a bit and otherwise enjoy the experience. This time around, not so much. And so I’ve assembled a RTW trip for this adventure, leaving San Diego on a Sunday and returning to New York that same Friday. Just a hair over 5 days en route to fly my 18,440 mile itinerary. Here’s what I ultimately booked.


Map generated by the Great Circle Mapper - copyright © Karl L. Swartz.

The easiest part of the booking was the ticket on Biman. It was also the last part I confirmed. There’s only one option for that flight but I held off on booking in large part because I didn’t want to commit the cash to it until I was certain I could make the trip. Sure, it took me a few tries to get the transaction approved by Visa, but I’ve got a ticket number and I’m all set to go on this part.

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Booking is confirmed on Biman Bangladesh Airlines’ last scheduled service of the DC-10

I also needed positioning flights to Dhaka and home from Birmingham. Both turned out to be surprisingly easy with award seats available on the days I needed. For the outbound I’m flying mostly on ANA and Thai Airways. I had the option of United metal for SFO-NRT on the 747-400 but chose ANA to get the new in-flight experience (I’ve never done their long-haul in coach). I’m starting to regret that decision a bit as there are only middle seats available right now, but hopefully something better opens up at the check-in window; the phone agent I spoke with suggested there was a good chance of that working out for me.

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Not many good seats to choose from really. Oopsie.

I also get an overnight in Bangkok for a few hours which will give me the opportunity to sleep in a bed en route. It is actually a slightly longer total travel time than the trans-Atlantic routing via Istanbul but not sleeping two consecutive nights on a plane seemed like a good idea (maybe the only one I’ve had related to this trip).

On the way home I had a few options available. The non-stop BHX-EWR flight on United wasn’t showing when I first searched so I was looking at a variety of other options via Dublin, Dusseldorf and more. I also really, really, really wanted to avoid paying the APD charged by the United Kingdom. Alas, by the time I got to booking it wasn’t really all that much cheaper and definitely less convenient to add the extra short-haul hop out of Birmingham to a non-APD departure point. And so I took the “boring” option home with non-stop service. On the plus side, it means a bit more time for beers in England upon arrival and getting home at the proper time to see my family that afternoon.

So there it is. A simple RTW adventure, built with a bit of purpose. The only down side: lots of time in coach, some of which will be in a middle seat. I didn’t really consider that aspect of the booking until I was way too far down the rabbit hole. Oops.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

13 Comments

  1. Sounds a little like my New Year’s trip which was done in coach mostly on UA miles. Flights were EWR-UA-CDG-TG-BKK-DD-HKT-TR-SIN-TG-BKK-TG-PVG-UA-EWR. Fortunately, the trip was over an entire week and really not all that bad.

  2. You are only slightly insane.
    DC-10 on Finnair back in 2000 was my first long haul flight and I have many fond memories of it. Enjoy!

  3. My first – and I believe only – DC-10 was EWR-STL-HNL “back in the day” – 1989 – my first ever true vacation…. wonderful memories…

  4. Honestly, a middle seat on NH is probably even better than an aisle/window seat on UA don’t you think?

  5. First I thought this was a mileage run. Yes, I thought you were crazy but oh well, miles!!! Now I see you redeemed miles for this. Well, I have not found a way to define how crazy you are.

  6. did you get yourself a window seat on the DC-10? curious as to why the flight ends in BHX. do you know why? by the way, this is an insane trip. you should have booked a biz ticket at least to DAC

  7. Ahhhh the D-10 memories… fondly remember the NWA zone cert glitch where I got to fly TATL and some TPAC (DCA-MSP-LGW-MSP-HNL-MSP-DCA) on those heavenly machines… Enjoy the ride!!!

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  9. I thought you were going a mileage run – but a reward ticket in 5 days –why ?
    you get my vote -enjoy the journey

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