TravelStories Episode 25: An Australian Trip and Cruise

Episode 25: Show Notes

In today’s episode of Travel Stories, we talk about the highs and lows of booking Tom’s recent trip to Australia, the cruise that followed, and his trip home. Thomas recounts his exploits in the land “Down Under,” from exploring Sydney’s hidden gems to a firsthand encounter with the lavish comforts of the A380 first-class experience. He also shares his insights on British Airways’ lounges, the value of premium lounges, and the hits and misses of airline amenities. We discuss the best cabin types for transcontinental flights and learn about the secret gift that made Tom a sensation among the cabin crew. Tuning in, you’ll also hear about his pre-cruise adventures, the allure of New Caledonia’s attractions, his W Sydney Hotel glitches, the best lounges at Melbourne Airport, whether Tom’s Australian trip is worth trying out for yourself, and much more! You won’t want to miss out on this captivating episode, where luxury meets adventure and missteps turn into opportunities.

Key Points From This Episode:

  • [00:00] Introduction and what listeners can expect from the episode.
  • [00:39] Highlights from Tom’s recent trip to Australia.
  • [02:33] An alternative airline Tom found that solved his booking woes.
  • [03:36] The Chelsea, Soho, and Greenwich premium lounges experience.
  • [06:15] An aspect that many premium lounges miss the mark on: the view.
  • [06:58] How Tom’s booking blunder turned into a positive experience. 
  • [09:39] Why Trevor doesn’t often fly from Tom Bradley International Terminal.
  • [10:22] The best type of cabin for a transcontinental flight.
  • [11:50]  A gift that made Tom a hit with the cabin crew.
  • [12:40] Flying on the A380 first class to Sydney and the overall cabin experience.
  • [16:56] Why first class on Qantas is the best when flying to Australia.
  • [18:14] Catering highlights and why the ground experience will always be superior.
  • [20:39] Tom’s adventures in Sydney before the cruise began.
  • [21:20] Details about the cruise ship, the amazing views, and the itinerary.
  • [24:15] Attractions of New Caledonia and Tom’s takeaways from the cruise.
  • [28:43] What he did after the cruise and his thoughts on the W Sydney Hotel.
  • [35:00] Final thoughts on his stay and the quality of lounges at Melbourne airport.
  • [40:45] His trip back home and how he found the best deals on flights.
  • [44:15] Challenges of making the trip happen and how he overcame them.
  • [47:05] Closing comments and final takeaways.


“When [the airline] calls you it is not always bad news.” — @TktweetsKim [07:28]

“The allure of [first class on Qantas] – is the exclusivity of being able to get that from miles and points.” — @TktweetsKim [16:57]

“One of the downsides of having such a quality lounge product is sometimes it takes away from the in-flight experience.” — @TktweetsKim [19:05]

“The ground experience is always going to be superior.” — @tmount [19:17]

“You expect glitches with a new hotel, at least I do. It is just par for the course. Sometimes, there are opportunities with those sorts of things.” — @tmount [34:37]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

American Airlines

American Airlines | Joint Premium Lounges

British Airways 

Qantas Airways

Qantas Los Angeles International First Lounge

Episode 1: JAL First to Manila

Royal Caribbean

Ovation of the Seas

W Sydney Hotel

Melbourne Airport

Plaza Premium Lounge


Thomas Kim on X

Trevor Mountcastle on X

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