spreadsheets and suitcases

organization + travel = family fun

Bits & Pieces: Southwest & travel visa to Europe

You may have seen the news…

sw hi

Tickets are now on sale, at great introductory prices!  Flights start this coming weekend.

  • Flights between both Oakland and San Jose, Calif., and the Islands, now available for purchase through March 5 for as low as $49 one-way.
  • Interisland service to begin April 28 between Honolulu and Kahului (Maui), and May 12 between Honolulu and Kona, now available for purchase through March 5 for as low as $29 one-way.
  • Visit Southwest.com/Hawaii to learn more about Southwest’s offerings for the Aloha State.

Unfortunately, that is too late for me to take advantage of for my next trip (I’m leaving tonight).  But you can still try and book.  Keep in mind that Southwest has a general rule that they will not operate red-eye flights.  So the Hawaii schedule is a little weird when you are looking at the return to the islands in a round-trip itinerary.  Play around on the site a bit.  I’m considering telling my parents to fly Southwest on an interisland trip when they visit us in May- strictly for research purposes, you understand 🙂

The other travel news that affects US citizens flying abroad is:

Starting in 2021, Americans and travelers from other visa-free countries will have to take an extra step when visiting more than two dozen countries in Europe.

I’ve read many articles claiming that the extra step is obtaining a visa, which it is not.  A travel visa usually means you as a traveler are essentially notifying a country when you want to visit, and are given (or pay for, depending on the country) a temporary pass for that specific country, biometric information might be taken, you might need to visit a consulate, etc.  This is not that.  It’s essentially a documentation step, and is not tied to any specific travel plans.  It’s worth noting that UK residents have been using this system to visit the United States for years.

The European Commission explained it thusly:

The ETIAS authorisation is not a visa. Nationals of visa liberalisation countries will continue to travel the EU without a visa but will simply be required to obtain a travel authorisation via ETIAS prior to their travel. ETIAS will be a simple, fast and visitor-friendly system, which will, in more than 95% of cases, result in a positive answer within a few minutes.

The current cost estimate is about $7-8 per traveler.  The authorization is good for 3 years and allows an unlimited number of entries during that time.  Americans would still be able to move around in the Schengen Area for up to 90 days at a time.  People are getting a little upset about this but I see no big deal.  Just another thing for the to-do list for our next European adventure!

Well, as I mentioned above, I’m leaving to the mainland tonight.  Worry not, I will be working on the Disneyland Paris trip report post while I’m gone 🙂

Advertisements
Leave a comment »

Bits & Pieces: Southwest Hawaii news, IHG and SPG card changes

Holy cannoli, things have been crazy lately.  My trip planning took a bit of a back seat, though I did manage to book some tickets from Paris to Seville on Transavia, which is a European low-cost carrier affiliated with Air France/KLM.  More on that in another post- especially as they’ve already made an unfavorable schedule change…I refused the change via email and they said they’ll be contacting me (during THEIR business hours, in the Netherlands) to discuss the alternatives.  Anyway…on to the good stuff! Read the rest of this entry »

Leave a comment »

Hawaiian Interisland Trip Report, Island Air shutdown

Hi!  Super busy lately, but I’ve got a bit of local stuff to share, so here we go.

I recently went on a work trip to Lihue (LIH) from Honolulu.  I hadn’t been on a Hawaiian Airlines plane in at least 5 years.  We don’t use them to the mainland because: they offer a daily nonstop 11-hr (blergh) flight from Honolulu to the East Coast arriving at JFK (double blergh), which you know is not my cup of tea.  Anyway, this trip was booked on Hawaiian because a) my employer has a corporate account with them, b) the flight times worked out with the business need, and c) I could add my personal HawaiianMiles # to the reservation.  Tiny score on that last point, as the days of 500-mile minimums are gone and I earned 102 miles each way. Read the rest of this entry »

2 Comments »

Flights and Mice- Part 2

WE LAUGHED, WE CRIED, IT WAS BETTER THAN ‘CATS’

This is a combo post.  My sister’s words are bolded, and my comments are in RED again.

I think I speak for most of us when I say that it’s hard to be friends with your sibling when you are young, simply because of forced togetherness.  My sister and I shared a room our entire lives until she went away to college.  We went to the same small grammar and high schools, just one school year apart.  We lived in a bad neighborhood and our parents did not let us play outside unattended.  In short, we couldn’t ever get away from each other. Read the rest of this entry »

4 Comments »

Travel Guide Update: Hawaii Interisland Travel

As promised, I have updated the Interisland Travel Guide.  Much has stayed the same, which I verified manually.  I did make some small additions on new nonstop flights: Read the rest of this entry »

Leave a comment »

Solar eclipse visible on ANC-HNL flight

They changed the flight time and path to ensure that the passengers would see it…full story here.

Joe Rao, an astronomer from the American Museum of Natural History (my favorite museum ever) and coworker to the amazing Neil Degrasse Tyson, communicated with Alaska Airlines to tweak the flight, and he’ll be on it to give out information about solar eclipses.  Too cool!  My favorite quote from the story:

The shadow of the eclipse will be moving at 8,000 mph, compared to the plane, which will be moving at 500 mph, according to Rao.

“Guess who’s going to win that race?” Rao said with a laugh.

How I wish I could be on that flight today!  DS would love it, too, given his recent obsession with planets and space. <science nerds unite>

Leave a comment »

Island Air College Student Standby Program- $35 one-way!

This new pilot program by Island Air is a pretty good deal if:

  • you are a college student at University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, University of Hawaiʻi West Oahu, and five community colleges (Honolulu Community College, Kapiolani Community College, Leeward Community College, Maui College and Windward Community College, and
  • are traveling between Oahu, Maui, and Lanai, and
  • have a flexible enough schedule to be able to buy your ticket at the airport (no online purchase since it is a Standby fare), and of course, be able to stand by for several hours if necessary, and
  • are traveling between now and Dec. 31st, 2015 (I think…there is a countdown timer of 61 days, 4 hours, and 30 minutes on the offer page right now…so, by my math, that’s 3:45 am on 12/31/15).

island college1

This seems like a great thing for the holidays!  There is no maximum # of times you can use the fare, you must present your University/student ID AND with your federal or state ID, the $35 includes (1) federal transportation segment tax and one (1) security fee (other taxes, fees, and restrictions may apply).  Subject to seat availability, duh.

Read the full press release here.  Check their flight schedule on IslandAir.com, or consult my Inter-Island Chart. Happy flying!

Leave a comment »

Weather Alert for Hawaii- Guillermo

Quick post today- here’s the latest from NOAA. Hopefully it will pass by like most other Hawaii weather events recently: as a non-event.

guillermo

I’ll be back later this week, working on some home organization stuff and planning my Disney FastPass+ selections!

Leave a comment »

Crud. AA changes redemption options on Hawaiian Airlines…

Via aa.com:

aa hi 9-1-15

So basically this means that you won’t be able to use your AA miles (AAdvantage) to book flights to/from the mainland on Hawaiian Airlines starting this September.  You can still use AA miles to book interisland flights, and US-Asia/South Pacific flights, just not to the US mainland.

This means that the HNL-JFK nonstop will not be an option unless:

  • you have 40k HawaiianMiles to book the Coach SuperSaver RT directly through Hawaiian (20k for one-way), assuming you find availability.
  • you use 30k Korean SkyPass miles to book the Hawaiian codeshare RT (it must be a round-trip redemption, since Korean only allows one-way awards for travel on Korean metal), for a total of 120k miles for a family of 4.  Boo.

It’s easy enough to get HawaiianMiles nowadays.  You can transfer Chase Ultimate rewards points to Korean SkyPass at a 1:1 ratio, too.

I was planning on booking that exact flight for our trip to the east coast next fall (and braving my 1st Hawaii-East Coast nonstop!).  Now I won’t be able to, since you can only book up to 330 days ahead.  We want to go in November 2016, and the farthest ahead I’d be able to book before this change goes into effect is July 2016.  I realize this is not a huge problem in my life.

Thanks for the reality check, Daria.

Thanks for the reality check, Daria.

You can still get to the East Coast from Hawaii on American or Alaska using AAdvantage miles, but you’d have to connect somewhere.  Sigh.  I’ll be updating the “Strategies…Hawaiian Airlines” post to reflect the upcoming change.

Hope everyone had a nice Father’s Day!

1 Comment »

The Junk Drawer: bits of pieces of a bunch of different stuff

This is appropriate post, since I’m right in the middle of moving house and have a bunch of stuff that needs a new home.  For now…they go in the junk drawer.  Or in my case, “junk box.”  My fellow island dwellers know that bugs get into everything, and a bunch of loose items in a drawer is irresistible to roaches.  So I keep my extra screwdriver, birthday candles, and take-out menus in a clear plastic shoebox.   Anyway, since I’m up to be elbows in moving boxes, no time for a good write-up.  Here’s my “junk drawer post” of varying travel/organization/Disney items.

united hawaii promo

  • Alaska Airlines is offering a checked bag promo, 1000 Alaska MileagePlan miles if you Self-Tag at homeYAY…..maybe?  While our Alaska Airlines flights to Orlando are within the promo period, the rules stipulate that you must credit the flight to Alaska to get the bag bonus.  We always credit our flights on Alaska to American Airlines, as they are more valuable to us.  But now that I think about it, we can probably have my little guy credit his flight to Alaska and get a miles bonus for him!  My kids have their frequent flyer numbers and earn miles for flying, but we don’t redeem their miles for family travel- mom and dad do the heavy lifting there.  Let those miles accumulate and they’ll have a nice stash to use for trips to Grandma’s, study abroad, etc.  What I’m saying is, he has plenty of time to earn more American miles before he’ll have a need to redeem them, so crediting this one flight to Alaska makes sense if it earns him some miles.  YAY, YES!
  • Disney has released its Free Dining Promo for 2015.  Our trip fits neatly outside of the eligible dates, sigh.  Not that we would have been able to take advantage of it anyway- as has been the case the last 2 years, the Free Dining Promo cannot be used with the Standard (Little Mermaid) Rooms at the Art of Animation Resort.  Oh well- at least it eliminates the worrying over how to get the biggest value out of each and every snack/meal credit.

That’s all for now!  Heigh ho, heigh ho, it’s back to packing I go!

Leave a comment »