Since coming back from my fun trip with different suites products, I’ve been very busy catching with work. I’m finally ready to jump in to trip reports. This segment is one of the more odd airline pairings I have experienced in a short time. A flight in Wizz Air, a short overnight at an airport hotel, then Lufthansa economy, and then Q Suites for over 20 hours across 2 flights.
This trip came about after making various changes to a purchased Qatar Airways trip. When schedule changes occur greater than a set amount of time (which has changed a few times since the original booking back in early 2020), there are some options to change the ticket. I’m not going to spend a lot of time on the details of this ticket but I purchased a relatively cheap fare in Qatar Business Class from Copenhagen to Hong Kong. For a time Qatar was allowing an insanely generous change policy, changing destinations to anywhere within 5000 miles of the original city. Crazy. It was possible to buy a cheap US-eastern Europe ticket on Qatar and reroute it somewhere much further.
For me, I didn’t get as good a deal as some, figuring on maximizing the distance traveled (and now Loyalty Points while crediting to American Airlines), I changed my destination to Sydney. Of course Australia was closed to foreigners at the time, but I gambled that it would open up. Now 2+ years later, it finally did, and my final ticket was between Frankfurt and Sydney.
How did this all happen?
Realizing I could leave home a few days earlier, go to Liverpool for an LFC match, this was an awesome bonus I managed to fit in an already fun trip.
This was totally worth it, but it required me to work with very limited flight options to get back to Frankfurt in time for my flight the next morning. The only direct flights to Frankfurt are from Manchester, and nothing was late enough on Saturday for me to get there from the game. So I looked at early flights Sunday morning. Not much buffer in case of delays, with a late morning departure from Frankfurt. So I found another option.
I could fly from Liverpool airport Saturday night, stay somewhere, and then fly to Frankfurt early Sunday morning. Still a lot that could go wrong, but not such tight connections. Liverpool John Lennon Airport is home to mostly low cost carriers. Although Lufthansa now has 4x/week service that began in early May. For me, the best option I found was a Wizz Air flight to Warsaw, overnight in a hotel attached to the airport, and then an early morning Lufthansa hop to Frankfurt.
Wizz Air from Liverpool
Complicated, and still a bit nerve wracking, but in the end, it worked well. My Wizz Air flight was ~$91 including a seat assignment and my carryon baggage. The Renaissance at the Warsaw airport was less than the ticket, and very convenient, directly across the road from departures. For the flight to Frankfurt I used 8800 United miles + $20 for Lufthansa nonstop. Given the war in Ukraine, a layover in Warsaw wasn’t my first choice, but the convenience of the hotel at the airport, and the early arrival into Frankfurt, this proved to be the best option.
Once in Frankfurt, I exited the Schengen area, even using my long dormant EasyPASS, to use the automated passport control gates (with a manual stamp), and then was in Terminal B for my departure to Doha. I spent the layover in the Lufthansa Business lounge, and then headed to my gate. Compared to my last time departing Frankfurt on Qatar, at least I had the ability to visit a lounge. The Lufthansa Business lounge located in the B gates is open before the Qatar morning flight. Nothing special, but better than the busy pier where Qatar departs from.
Documentation required for entry into Australia
In early April, Australia was relatively newly open to international travel, and somewhat more strict requirements than entering the UK and the EU earlier on this trip. This includes a pre-departure COVID test. I used a BinaxNOW antigen test with video proctoring from eMed, which I took at my hotel in Liverpool. The requirement is within 24 hours of first departure. So for me I took the test late Saturday morning, inside 24 hours from my departure from Frankfurt.
In addition, a visa is required. As a US citizen, I am eligible for a ETA. New to me this time around is the fact that “there’s an app for that”. This cost AU$20, and was quickly approved, and is valid for multiple 90 day entries for a year. Finally, digital passenger declaration must be completed. This also is a phone app, which can be completed in advance. More information on current Australia entry requirements can be found here. At the departure gate, I had to show the required documentation for entry into Australia. The A negative COVID test results and the DPD output (just showed it on my phone). The agent in Frankfurt confirmed my ETA was valid.
Each Australian state and territory has differing requirements. As I understood it, an antigen self test was required upon arrival in New South Wales. This wasn’t mentioned at check in at my hotel, and I asked. I was told this is no longer required. I carried the test this far, so I took it anyway, and was glad it was negative. Then I we out and enjoyed my time in Sydney
Fortunate to have another Trip with QSuites. Really a solid business class product in the air. 2 trips in 5 months. Getting pretty spoiled. I need to find another way to fly it again.
What about Wizz air? Honestly, it was perfectly fine. Cheap ticket, and with some advanced planning, it is perfectly fine. I brought food and drink on board, and my seat assignment was part of a small premium on my ticket. I’m still no fan of the LCC model, but they offered a routing that worked for my limited schedule. No other option worked for my needs on legacy carriers. I’d certainly fly with them again if needed.