While I was standing in line at the gate at DFW to board United Airlines, I heard a couple of announcements calling people's names to come to the desk, like they do when they are clearing a standby or upgrade list. I could overhear the gate agent's conversation when the paged people came to the desk: something about an upgrade to First Class for $79. Both of the couples the gate agent called up refused the offer. I decided to walk up to the desk and ask her, "Is that offer only for your platinum members?" "No," she said, "as long as you are a Mileage Plus member." I did not hesitate to whip out my Amex card for the upgrade. As it turned out, Rickee had already paid $79 each for exit row seats, which the gate agent gladly refunded, so basically, it was a FREE upgrade for us!
Even though it was a relatively short flight from DFW to Chicago, it was well worth the $79. We were very impressed with the level of service United offered in First Class. We typically fly American, so we have a basis for comparison. After landing at O'Hare, we had about four hours to kill waiting for our next flight to Frankfurt on Lufthansa. Rickee had done some research on SeatGuru.com before our flight (Chicago to Frankfurt 747-800) on Lufthansa and booked us in row 27 (F & G). It is the first row of Economy-class right behind Premium Economy. As it turns out, there is no bulkhead and the seats had more legroom than Premium Economy seats. Bonus! Service on Lufthansa was very good, as we expected; however, our in-seat entertainment systems were finicky and non-responsive. For the flight home (Frankfurt to DFW), we have booked Premium Economy seats since it is a longer flight.
When we landed in Frankfurt, we only had an hour to get to our next flight to Prague, but it was no problem. The Frankfurt airport is a model of efficiency and very easy to traverse. We were not required to go through security again, only a simple passport check. The flight from Frankfurt to Prague took less than an hour. We landed in Prague to cold, rainy conditions. Fortunately, we came prepared with layers of warm clothing. After we exited the Customs area (which was closed) we looked for our name on the signs held by hired drivers. We did not see our names anywhere. As it turns out, our driver had to make a brief restroom stop, and just missed us. No problem, he soon arrived and apologized for not being there to greet us. He grabbed our hand luggage and off we went to our hotel.
We pre-booked our airport transfer with Best Trips Prague (https://www.besttrips.eu/). There is nothing more frustrating than having to deal with taxi negotiations at an airport after an all-night, sleepless flight. The drive into Old Town Prague took about 30 minutes. Along the way, our driver (sorry, I forgot his name) was eager to point out various sights in Prague that he recommended we take the time to see. When we arrived at The Emblem Hotel, our driver helped us with our luggage, and he stopped for a quick photo before departing.
We arrived at The Emblem Hotel about 11:30am. Nevertheless, they had our room ready for us and had even taken our large luggage to our room! We had shipped our luggage ahead using LuggageForward.com and it had arrived a few days earlier. What a great service and convenience! When we got to our room, all we could think about was taking a nap. We had been up for more than 24 hours and were exhausted. A few hours later, we were up and ready to explore on foot. The Emblem Hotel is perfectly located in Old Town Prague within walking distance of many interesting sights. It was cold, and a little rainy, but we had a great time just walking around Old Town. The Christmas Market vendors were just beginning to set up their stalls, but we could tell it was not yet in full swing. Still, it is already starting to feel like Christmas here.
We did a little shopping along the way to our restaurant, The Buddah Bar, where our hotel concierge had made reservations for us. The Buddah Bar is a very classy, upscale Thai restaurant. In fact, we felt a little under-dressed. This is not what I would call traditional Thai cuisine. Every dish lacked the searing heat you normally find in Thai dishes. Nevertheless, the food was good, albeit very expensive (Pad Thai for around $24). Come here for the bar and the atmosphere. It is one of the most beautiful restaurants we have ever visited.
Tomorrow, we have scheduled a morning walking tour of Prague with Best Trips. We are excited to see more of this amazing city!