Sep 152014

Thanks to an early night, managed to wake up early…around 530, and headed out for a “short” run to fight off jet lag.  Headed down Kalakaua towards Diamond Head, before realizing it was too early and it wouldn’t be open yet.  Slight detour to Starbucks.  Had coffee, read the paper for an hour, and then started the run.  Got to Diamond Head, hiked up to the peak, and ran back.  Around six miles total, and the perfect antidote to jetlag!

Got back to the hotel, and had a huge container of pineapple and some aloe juice from the ABC store before giving up on being productive at all.  Grabbed a towel, headed down to Waikiki, and just sat in the sun for a few hours.


I may have only had 24 hours in Honolulu, but between a walk, dinner at Duke’s, the run up Diamond Head, and beach time, I’m pretty sure I maxed it out!

Around 1:30 I called for the car, put down the sun roof, and headed back to the airport on a gorgeous day.  No problem dropping the car off, and soon I was at the extremely empty United check-in area:


Thanks to the United mobile app and TSA pre check, I was already checked in…which was sort of a pity because it would have been entertaining to see the look on the agent’s face when I checked in all the way to Paris!

Less time in security means more time for liquid Aloha!  Went to the Kona Brewing Company in the terminal to grab a lite lunch…and of course a few Big Swell IPAs:


I told the waittress to bring me the tastiest app on the menu whatever it was…the kalua pork quesadillas didn’t disappoint!


After a quick lunch, I decided to do some plane spotting.  HNL is great for it, since it’s an open air terminal and you can get up close and personal with the planes.

Delta and a Korean Air A330:


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Apr 052014

It was spread a bit too widely to be a mistake fare, and Air Canada, Lufthansa, and Brussels Airlines matched the fares too, so it seems this one was intentional.  However, it was odd.  Fares from a majority of US cities, excluding United hub cities of course, to a variety of cities in Europe for $500 roundtrip plus taxes and fuel surcharges.  Depending on the cities it came to roughtly $1400 to $1600 total.

Of course, when I saw Honolulu was in the mix, I had to jump on it!

Problem was, since United massively devalued miles earlier this year, I cashed in around 500,000 so my travel year is packed.  And this deal would only be valid in July and August, when I already had some other commitments.  Early July was out, since I was already going to St. Kitts for a long weekend.  Late July/Early August also wouldn’t be good time-wise…and I was to go to Vegas the last weekend of August for a bachelor party.  Wait.  Vegas is on the way from Honolulu to DC…kind of.  This got me thinking….

Getting to Honolulu is easy…and can be done in one day.   I found a routing that would instantly confirm with a United regional upgrade as well.  So far this is working well.

Now, Hawaii to Europe on the business class deal… settled on HNL-IAD-CDG since it has a 10 hour layover in DC, enough time for me to repack bag, run any errands I might need to…or just be silly since it’s a Sunday.

I’d have just over 48 hours in Paris.  From what I remember Paris is rather dead in August, so I won’t likely stay there…but I might.  I’m also looking at buying roundtrip flights down to Toulouse, renting a car, and driving to Andorra for the night…the last country I need to visit in Europe.  Any thoughts on this?   I arrive into CDG around 6am and depart two days later around 10am.

On the way back, I’m doing the ultra-long CDG-SFO-HNL…going to be a very long day…and a very short night in HNL, because at 6am the next day I fly HNL-LAX which confirmed instantly with a regional upgrade, and LAX-LAS which wouldn’t confirm, so ended up paying like $40 more for a P fare.  Bargain of an upcharge!

Then, the only decision was how to get back from Vegas.  Since I’m looking to be a bit shorter on qualifying dollars than qualifying miles, I decided to go with the United P fare routing LAS-IAH-ORD-DCA.  Probably should have skipped the ORD, but it was the same price…and what’s one more flight at this point?

In the end, here’s what it looks like:


Total stats are:

27,128 butt-in-seat miles flown
11 days, 16 hours traveled
65,125 redeemable miles earned
37,542 elite qualifying miles earned
3,275 premier qualifying dollars earned

It should be an absolute crazy adventure…and I can’t wait!

Sep 162013

Last week, there were a couple posts on Flyertalk about United selling tickets from San Jose, California (SJC) to Boston (BOS) for $0 plus tax. I saw them a couple minutes after the post, so went online to see if this might be valid to Washington as well. It was, and I quickly snapped up a few of them before thinking…I wonder if this is available to other cities as well. I decided to give DC to Honolulu a go, and what do you know…it came back for $7.50 with all taxes included. Turned out, it was all domestic tickets booked in K class.

One thing I’ve learned from previous fare errors is that when something looks too good to be true, it probably is, so buy it first and ask later. Especially since United allows free cancelations for 24 hrs for tickets booked on its website, there was really nothing to lose.

22 minutes later, it was all over. United had taken its booking system offline, and it was impossible to book tickets either over the phone or the website. This lasted for over an hour while the got the bug corrected.

It started hitting the media: first was an article in Forbes and then another on CNN a few hours later. Then, it was on the news too. I got several phone calls and e-mails from family and friends asking if I was “that guy” who got the DC to Honolulu tickets. Yup, guilty as charged…and from reading Flyertalk it seems at least one other person did as well.

The wait started…what would United do? All the armchair lawyers got online with their opinions about what would or would not happen. For 24 hours, we waited…and then, it was on Twitter and Facebook. United decided to go for the free advertising, and tweeted/posted that given these specific circumstances (aka don’t count on the same reaction next time) they would honour all of the tickets. w00t!

So in the end, I ended up netting 11 tickets for a grand total of $90 – 7 to California and 4 to Hawaii – not a bad deal at all! I wish I’d had more time, but still very happy with what I found. I would have, given more time, tried to plan a longer trip to Hawaii. Also, I would have tried to find the longest possible domestic route…something like San Juan, Puerto Rico to Guam – just to see if it was possible!

Now, it’s time to start traveling!