Saturday, 15th September 2012

Today is an exciting day for us both as we start our challenge of flying around the oneworld in seven days!

True, to a frequent traveller it may seem like a relatively lengthy time in which to circumnavigate the globe, especially given today’s ultra-long haul flights. So we have added a twist: utilising all of the oneworld airlines to achieve our goal. Given that they are spread out with bases in Europe, North and South America, the Middle East, Asia and Australia has certainly presented us with more of a challenge. We have plotted, pointed, pinned, planned and pro-actively searched routes, schedules and options. Our routing has been set, our tickets issued, our visas arranged. We now have to focus on completing our journey as arranged.

As a reminder, this trip is starting and ending in New York, the Headquarters for the oneworld Alliance. We are flying today from New York to Chicago, and onwards to Tokyo and then Hong Kong.  From there, we will continue to Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, London, Amman, Frankfurt, Berlin, Madrid, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, London again, and finally back to New York.  In that time, we will travel on American Airlines, Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Royal Jordanian, Air Berlin, LAN, Iberia, S7 Airlines, Finnair and British Airways. So that is 12 airlines, via 16 cities, in 11 countries, via 24-plus time zones flying on 10 different aircraft types. We’re both used to flying, but even this is going above and beyond our normal travel patterns. As it is for charity and in our own time, we couldn’t be more excited!

Our fund-raising is ongoing with a challenge to exceed £20,000 GBP (c. $32,000 USD) for Flying Start, a partnership between British Airways and Comic Relief.  It will help to improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of children living in the UK and in some of the poorest countries across the world. The aim of the charity is to help create lasting change by giving children and their families the chance to start supporting themselves. If you haven’t already supported us, there is still time and every penny is gratefully welcomed.

Our site is:  http://donate.ba-flyingstart.com/funraiser/roundtheoneworld.

Thank you so very much!

Our positioning American Airlines flight across the Atlantic was great. Super crew (thanks, Robyn!), some nice food and an early arrival set us up for a good start today. Esther and Isabel at AA have been super in helping us through formalities.

We were up early after a comfortable night at the Renaissance Times Square (thanks so much for their terrific hospitality!) as we are both eagerly anticipating this epic challenge.  If you haven’t had a chance to stop and stay at the Renaissance, you may consider doing so!  With 26 floors and 305 rooms, a concierge level, meeting rooms and an amazing location at Number Two, Times Square (and 7th Avenue at West 48th Street), it is so well located!

We made our way to the oneworld headquarters located at 2 Park Avenue in Manhattan for our send-off. Following a quick photo opportunity, we leapt into a New York yellow cab and made our way to nearby LaGuardia Airport.

We checked-in for our American Airlines flight to Chicago, and also received onward boarding passes for our second sector from Chicago to Tokyo. American Airlines has been upgrading facilities at LaGuardia, and not only boasts a very nice new premium check-in facility, but has recently refurbished the Admirals Club by Gate D1. Given the volume of customers that American carries via its 102 daily services from LaGuardia, the Admirals Club provides a restful haven to the hubbub of normal airport operations below. One of the lounge AAngels told us that the original Admirals Club opened way back in 1939 (then called The Flagship Club). Sssshhh…you didn’t hear it via us, but there is a second Admirals Club opening soon in LaGuardia’s C Concourse, offering an additional 4600 sq. feet of space for up to 70 guests.

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About rtow2012

Richard and Andrew, aka modern day Phileas Fogg and Passepartout, have accepted a charity challenge to raise at least £20,000 GBP for the Flying Start charity, a part of Comic Relief. Together, we will fly just over 30,000 miles on all of the oneworld airlines, circumnavigating the globe.

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