I seem to be on a roll with getting great premium economy deals over business when flying across the Atlantic.

After forays with British Airways Premium Economy, Air Tahiti Nui Premium Economy, Air Senegal Premium Economy, American Airlines Premium Economy, I decided to fly Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy for only $892 (approximately twice as cheaper than a regular economy class ticket) from NYC to London.



My favorite part of the flight was their onboard lounge that both premium economy and upper classes can use during the flight at anytime.



They also served unlimited snacks by the lounge!



Not being able to sleep two-thirds of the way during the flight, this was a much needed spot for me to stretch my legs and relax in other ways.



Once we landed, I then spent a day in London working out at a City Gym by my aparthotel in Paddington and catching up with friends in London.

Good to be back a year later! (just missing Morgan and her friend Tayler in this photo!)




The next morning I redeemed 50.5k Chase points 1:1 for 50.5k United Miles for a business class itinerary from London to Brussels (where I finally had enough time to experience their Diamond Lounge for business class passengers!)  …



… to Vienna on the new Ethiopian Airlines business class…



…and then finally to Addis Ababa, where I was able to visit the new business class lounge after walking by it only 7 weeks ago while on my way to South Sudan.



They kept my personal favorite part from the old business class lounge of airport renovations past: the traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony.



After 3 hours at the lounge, I was informed that all business class passengers should now be boarding at gate A12, a dedicated regional gate only for business class passengers. This was in lieu of boarding at the originally designated gate written on my ticket, which was meant only for economy class passengers (I went to the original gate to check it out anyway and noticed they were boarding economy class passengers at the other gate way before us at A12).

Never seen this setup before.



Taking the elevators down from Gate A12 about half an hour later, we were asked which flight we were going on by the staff downstairs and directed to a shuttle where were the last to board our flight.

After an hour’s flight afterwards to Djibouti City, the capital of Djibouti, we arrived at 10:45am in the morning.



I applied a month beforehand on their website for their e-visa; their newish online applications requires you to upload digital copies of your Letter of Invitation or proof of hotel stay, the front page of your passport, a copy of your roundtrip flight itinerary in and out of Djibouti, and a 2×2 passport sized photo of you in front of a white background.

I got my e-visa and QR code within 48 hours of applying, and I presented both the confirmation of my e-visa and my invitation letter to obtain my formal visa for Djibouti.



No yellow fever or COVID-19 vaccine proof needed. Just your invitation letter and the QR code on your e-visa, the latter of which you then have to hold onto throughout your stay in Djibouti as you’ll need to show it again when you depart the country.



Once I got my stamp in, I proceeded through to baggage claims where our bags were already waiting for us.



We were then met by our guide Daniel outside arrivals . . .



. . . after which we were driven to and dropped off at La Siesta Hotel where we had 4 hours to freshen up before meeting the rest of the group of 24.



Once introductory pleasantries were over at 4pm, we headed out on our exploration of Djibouti City beginning with grabbing water at the local market:



Then we drove to the oldest building in Djibouti: some kind of port building infrastructure.



Afterwards it was quick drivebys of Hammoud MosqueAl Sada Mosque before stopping for a walk at the boarded up colonial train station:



The National Museum next door remains under construction:



We then stopped downtown to exchange money.



…and then built up an appetite by continuing to walk around more of downtown, where photos were strictly watched by the policemen there.



Dinner afterwards was fish at Mukbassa Central Chez Youssouf:



Now freshening up as much as we can before bedtime, especially for the difficult days ahead





- At time of posting in Djibouti, it was 33 °C - Humidity: 70% | Wind Speed: 2km/hr | Cloud Cover: sizzling


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