spreadsheets and suitcases

organization + travel = family fun

Paris to Seville UNbooked! And Newark-Honolulu finally booked!

on June 24, 2018

Why would I UNbook something when the cancellation/change fees are crazytown?  Trust me, all will be explained.  I had all my price alerts set and had been manually checking prices as well…and it paid off!  I used my trusty Alaska Companion Fare to make some travel magic…and I was able to stay (sort of) on budget.  Here’s how I did it…

So you know I have been planning for Spain and France in 2018 or So Help Me for a while now, and this was where I left off.

Spain and France in 2018 or So Help Me
Estimated Actual
Main Transit Costs
Flights to/from US Mainland $ 2,500.00  $1567.00*
Flights to Europe $ 30.00  $22.40
Eurostar to France $ 630.00
Flights to Spain $ 500.00  $461.61
Flights within Spain $ 420.00
Flights to US Mainland $ 200.00  $255.24

About that strikeout…you may also remember that I *thought* I had the Flights to Spain part figured out with a nonstop Orly-Paris (ORY) to Sevilla (SVQ) flight on Transavia.  But I got a message from them stating that the flight schedule had changed….from a civilized 4:50PM departure to a 7:10AM (!) departure.

how rude

Of course, that wasn’t going to work…why would I cut off nearly an entire day of touring Paris?  Anyway, since they made the change after my flight was confirmed, and it was “significant” (not sure about Europe, but in the US, “significant” means any changes > 5 hours difference), I was given the opportunity to get a full refund, without cancellation or change fees.  So I requested it.  And am now back to square one with that flight, checking price alert emails and all that.  Boo!  I was so annoyed, since all in, the total I had been charged was $461.61, which you can see was under my $500 budget for that line item. Long story short, that box is still empty.

About that star (*), this amount was for the cash tickets we purchased on American to get from Hawaii to the mainland.  We got a great sub-$400 one-way fare.  But…..I still had to get us home from the mainland at the end of our trip, with a remaining budget of about $1000!  I of course was planning for the Alaska Companion Fare, so it had to be on “Alaska metal,” meaning no codeshares like when you use Alaska miles to book American Airlines (and other airlines’) flights.  Further, my requirements were as follows:

  • departing Newark (EWR) late morning
  • only 1 stop/layover
  • less than 4-hour layover between flights
  • layover in a warm-ish location to avoid weather delays if possible
  • arriving Honolulu (HNL) before 11p ONE THE SAME DAY

The only flight combination on Alaska metal that fit my requirements was an itinerary departing Newark at 11:00a, with a 3-hour layover in San Francisco, landing in Honolulu at 9p.  Great!  Except that it was $638.  That meant that our cost would look like this:

  • $638 for one fare including taxes, plus $99 for the Companion’s fare, plus ~$65 for the Companion’s taxes (I am the regular fare in this case, and my daughter is my Companion)
  • $638 for one fare including taxes, plus $99 for the Companion’s fare, plus ~$65 for the Companion’s taxes (my husband is the regular fare in this case, and our son is his Companion)
  • total cost: $1604

Remember that approximate $1000 budget?  

no

BUT!!!! Literally almost 6 months after I set the price alert, I got a ping from Google Flights.  And what I saw was AMAZING.  My exact itinerary had dropped in price…to $500!   The lower fare meant that the trip taxes would be reduced as well.  I of course, quadruple-checked all the details, and made the booking immediately using my Companion Fare discount code while on a baseball field in Kaimuki, lol.  I then called my husband, and made him log on to the home computer to make his booking using his Companion Fare Discount Code (it shows up in your personal Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan account).  Once we both had our Confirmation Codes, I was able to “link”the 2 separate reservations.  We wound up with this:

  • $499 for one fare including taxes, plus $99 for the Companion’s fare, plus ~$36 for the Companion’s taxes (I am the regular fare in this case, and my daughter is my Companion)
  • $499 for one fare including taxes, plus $99 for the Companion’s fare, plus ~$36 for the Companion’s taxes (my husband is the regular fare in this case, and our son is his Companion)
  • total cost: $1268

Yes, it’s over my budget, but I still saved over $300 that I would have had to fork over since I really wanted these flights.  The other alternatives had us doing the dreaded longer layover in Seattle (fun on the way to a trip, but deadly at the end of 3 wks when we will just want to get HOME already), or spending yet another night in a hotel and shuttling back to the airport (see previous comment).  I will cut from another category to make up the $$$ difference if needed, as there is a good amount of “slush” roaming around in the food/souvenir sections of the trip budget.  Also, my traveler’s math tells me that I wound up paying around $700 per person round-trip from Hawaii, during the holiday season.

Newsies

I totally Seized the airfare That Day 🙂

Anyway, now we can update the table:

Spain and France in 2018 or So Help Me
Estimated Actual
Main Transit Costs
Flights to/from US Mainland $ 2,500.00  $2835.00
Flights to Europe $ 30.00  $22.40
Eurostar to France $ 630.00
Flights to Spain $ 500.00  $461.61
Flights within Spain $ 420.00
Flights to US Mainland $ 200.00  $255.24

 

Stay tuned for the next post coming sooner rather than later, as this week I was able to book the Seville-Barcelona flights (Flights within Spain).  ‘Twas an Adventure in American AAdvantage miles and Avios.  Ooh, that’s nicely alliterative.  I think it should be the title of the post 🙂

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