Planning my summer vacation!

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by iMacZealot, Mar 17, 2008.

  1. iMacZealot macrumors 68020

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    #1
    I'm extremely excited to return to Asia again this spring. I'm going with my family from mid-May into early June. The last time I was in Asia was about two years ago when I visited Singapore, the temples of Angkor in Cambodia, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for about two weeks.

    Our itinerary is much more complex this time. We're going for 3-4 weeks and leaving Denver for Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul, Manila, Singapore, Jakarta, and possibly a few more destinations.

    We have no idea what is the best way to book all these flights without costing a fortune. Since we live in Denver, we have a natural disposition to United, as much as we hate them, but that also means we're deeply enroled in all the Star Alliance airlines.

    Should we get a travel agent? Should we just book it all online and use United and Singapore Airlines? Should we use our mileage discounts? Will the airlines give us some sort of deal for flying to so many places?

    What's our best option?

    Thanks. I can't wait to leave.
     
  2. aethelbert macrumors 601

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    Chicago, IL, USA
    #2
    What's your status with Star Alliance? I work with Lufthansa, so I'm pretty familiar with the system. I would probably go against getting a travel agent, but if you let me know your status, maybe I can help more. :)
     
  3. iMacZealot thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #3
    Cool. We fly Lufthansa when we go to Europe. What do you mean by status? Do you mean like gold, premier, etc? The only person in my family who isn't a regular member is my brother, who is United Premier, but he's travelling separately. It's me and my parents who are flying together, and between the three of us, we probably have about 300,000 miles collectively with United.
     
  4. aethelbert macrumors 601

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    #4
    Gold, premier, HON circle (yeah right...), and stuff like that. It can really make a difference when you fly. Also, does United have Trans-Pacific service out of Denver, or is it all through LAX, San-Francisco, and O'Hare? I'm too lazy to get out my huge Star Alliance timetable to check.
     
  5. iMacZealot thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #5
    United designed the 777 so it could handle trans-pacific flights from dry Denver to Asia, but they had some minor financial problems, I'm not sure if you've heard of that. :p ANA is working on a route for 2009 or 2010, however.

    According to the United site, we're all "general members". So I guess that means we're at the bottom of the totem pole.
     
  6. aethelbert macrumors 601

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    #6
    Yeah, UA and US need to learn from their international partners. Yeah, it looks like you're on the bottom of the line, but that won't hurt you. I would probably consider starting in either Seoul or Singapore as they are both Star Alliance hubs (Asiana and Singapore Airlines). Then you can get some easy connections instead of playing the hub and spoke game the entire time. I'll look through my timetable and see what's available out of SFO and LAX with them, as they would both be eaisly accessible via UA. Give me a few minutes.
     
  7. iMacZealot thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #7
    The cities must be in that order, unfortunately. (We're following my jet-setter Premier brother on his business trip.)
     
  8. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

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    #8
    so basically your routing and dates are pretty fixed?
     
  9. iMacZealot thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #9
    Yeah. We may add some more cities in between. We just don't know what the best way to book these is.
     
  10. aethelbert macrumors 601

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    #10
    Singapore Airlines flight 1 from SFO-HKG looks like a good option combined with UA869 from Denver to SFO. That could get you to Hong Kong and it is code-shared with SQ. It would be better to just have to deal with one airline for the trip, and United won't be able to cut it here.

    As for coming back, SQ955 would put you in a spot where you could have a good amount of time to connect over to SQ38 to LAX via SIN. This would be your best bet. This puts you in the US around 5:30pm which leaves you plenty of time to get on one of the flight to Denver (I know that there are many). This is one of the few destinations from SIN that runs non-stop (and also allows you to connect from Jakarta. I would just suggest booking this whole trip with SQ to save costs, there should be a multi-destination feature on their site for booking which could help. If not, you could always call their US number and ask for these flight in particular and they could help you with the destinations in between. It looks as if they are your best bet because they do have the best Asian network in Star Alliance.
     
  11. iMacZealot thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #11
    ...Fortunately. UAL international isn't much better than their domestic flights (2-5-2 seating on their T7's??) We mostly flew SQ last time, and they are pobably the best airline in the business, so we may just do that going out and then use any other Star Alliance airline from there so we can still get the mileage.

    Still, where should we book these from? My dad has iron his head that SQ can give us a "deal" where for a flat rate, they will fly us anywhere. Is this a real practice? I couldn't imagine so.

    Also, is it a good idea to use our United mileage? Does it cost more miles for booking on another Star Alliance airline instead of UAL?
     
  12. aethelbert macrumors 601

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    #12
    Yeah, UA international does suck. 2-5-2 is bad, they really should use 3-3-3 like everyone else. However, most of their Pacific service is 747s, but they actually suck even more, believe it or not. You might want to actually call Star Alliance directly and see if they can give you a deal on an Asian Airpass. I'm not 100% sure on the terms and conditions of it, but from my understandning, it allows you to take x number of flights in a given time on any Star Alliance carrier in Asia. This might be what he's talking about, parent's aren't always full of some sort of nonsense ;)

    http://www.staralliance.com/en/travellers/fare_products/asian_airpass.html

    That should be able to cut down costs, but remember that especially in this day and age, flying is very expensive. Miles are supposed to be exchangeable throughout the entire system, but there might be some fine print that I'm not sure about as I only work in Logistics. I would check out getting a few of those Asian airpasses for each person and then just booking the segments from Denver to Asia separately.
     
  13. iMacZealot thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #13
    You edit your posts quickly!

    We love Singapore Air. We did the LAX>SIN nonstop roundtrip last year, but the plane going out had problems with its landing gear, so they put us on EVA connecting in Taipei and then SQ from TPE>SIN. Coming back to the States, we did the nonstop, which was a great flight, though it was nice having a layover to stretch our legs.

    This is all still changing, so we'll see how it goes. We may only go to some of these cities for a week or all of them (which is over about a month). Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have just been added, but I would think Silkair may be the best for those destinations.

    Do you know if SQ, or any other airline for that matter, practices what my dad's ideal is? I suppose it's worth it to call them first and see what they can do for us.
     
  14. iMacZealot thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #14
    You're beating me everytime. I had never heard of this Asian Airpass. We must look into it. Apparently it's not parental nonsense. :)
     
  15. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

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    #15
    If it were American Airlines you were talking about, I would point out that their OneWorld Alliance (similar to Star Alliance) does indeed sell a number of different regional passes and products. They aren't a "one price gets you everything" fare, but for a long and complicated trip such as the one you're looking at, well, something to consider!!!! So you should get on the telephone and call UAL and ask about whether there's such a thing in the Star Alliance. Your routing isn't going to be cheap no matter what you do but you might indeed find that they're offering something useful


    IMO; I think you're going way too far to way too many different destinations to make good use of your miles
     
  16. aethelbert macrumors 601

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  17. aethelbert macrumors 601

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    #17
  18. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

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    #18
    another thing to consider is booking hotels thru UAL. Airlines often offer some really good deals on hotels if you are flying with them.
     
  19. iMacZealot thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #19
    Well, certainly not for all of them, but perhaps just the big jaunts between the States and Far East?
     
  20. iMacZealot thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #20
    Ahhh! Too many quick responses! :) (this is actually what I love about MR)

    Hmm, I'll look into it. the Star Alliance site is really slow.

    We usually stay at Starwood Hotels and use our starpoints as the SPG program is the best hotel honors program we've had. We also use Kayak to find the best deals; or sometimes call the hotel directly, but I wouldn't think that would work too well for international hotels. We've also done United Hotels in the past, but I'm not sure if my parents have booked a hotel through them in a while. Do you get miles through that?
     
  21. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

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    #21
    you could look into that.....use them to get to asia and home but use the Asia Pass to get around overseas

    One problem is that it's become increasing difficult to book those award seats....typically, they're capacity controlled and that might make it difficult to find enough seats at the right time on the same plane and so forth
     
  22. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

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    #22
    For miles, I think it would depend on the hotels involved.....I was suggesting it strictly for getting a really good price
     
  23. aethelbert macrumors 601

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    #23
    Hmmm... the site is just fine for me. Anyway, if you're interested in the times of different flights between two cities, check the .pdf timetable once the site speeds up found here (I suggest just downloading the .pdf instead of using safari or firefox with it):

    http://www.staralliance.com/en/travellers/tools_services/downloadable_timetable.html

    Don't print it out, because you'll be so sorry. I've got to have a printed version for work and it's a two year plan editon, so it's even like 4-5x bigger that that! :eek: Yeah, just use it on your computer.
     
  24. iMacZealot thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #24
    So, with this Circle Pacific, I entered in our destinations, dates, and selected favorable flights (about half of them are on Thai, half on SQ), and it gives me two error messages. Can I do the itinerary I want, or do I have to circle the world or something and visit another continent other than Asia? If that's the case, Sydney may be coming soon (but we'll see. Things are still relatively premature.)
     
  25. aethelbert macrumors 601

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    #25
    Could you tell me the error messages? I can check into that tomorrow.
     

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