spreadsheets and suitcases

organization + travel = family fun

Leggings, Linking, London, and Lauderdale

Pre-trip prep time!  It’s down to the details now that all the big stuff has been settled.

—First thing I’ve been thinking about lately is WARM clothing.  We’re typically wimpy re: winter weather after living in Hawaii for so long.  I started an inventory of cold-weather gear and quickly realized…

im-gonna-need-cold-weather-meme

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements
1 Comment »

Unaccompanied Minor Services- a comparison

Buckle up, everybody- your captain has turned on the ‘fasten seatbelt’ sign.  This here is a crazy ride through the huge variety of services, policies, and practices of the rules for Unaccompanied Minors (UMs) on 6 US-based airlines.  Each airline name is a link directly to the Unaccompanied Minor policy of that airline- some pages were difficult to find navigating from the home page, so I figured I’d save you the work 🙂  Also, I would have torn my hair out trying to decipher what is recommended versus what is required for international travel, given that they all advise you to call in for that info AND it can vary per country, so I limited this chart to domestic travel policies, unless noted otherwise.  Some basics that apply to most major airlines: Read the rest of this entry »

Leave a comment »

Bits & Pieces: JetBlue to Ecuador, Island Air Explorers program, Disney update

  • There is a new nonstop flight option from the mainland to Quito, Ecuador!  This is big news for our small country.  Does it help me at all?  Absolutely not.  But let’s delve deeper into the details to be sure. On 5/14/15, a press release announced that JetBlue will begin operating a once-daily nonstop from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) to Quito (UIO) during the 1st quarter of 2016, pending gov’t approval, of course.  For all you mileage junkies, remember that JetBlue’s frequent flyer program, TrueBlue,  has sort of a convoluted points/miles redemption system based on price to determine how many points are necessary for a given flight.  I do hear about many 2x and 3x points promos from them fairly frequently though, and they have a co-branded credit card that awards 20K JetBlue points after the minimum spend is reached.  JetBlue does some codesharing w/American Airlines…so if there were ever a HNL-FLL flight, I might be able to use AA miles to book the route, then use the FLL-UIO flight?  Who am I kidding, why would I ever fly into Quito and miss the huge group of family members that can and do come to wait for me at the Guayaquil airport?  Initial assessment confirmed: this is useless to me.  But yay for Floridians who won’t have to go to Miami for their flights to my beautiful homeland.

ecuador176

  • As I was digging around on the Island Air website (digging around on travel/hotel/airline websites is what I do during downtime at work, when I’m not playing Frozen Free Fall or planning my Disney trips, of course), I saw this information about the Island Air Explorers Program.  It’s basically an internship program for kids age 14-20 who are interested in careers in aviation.  From the website:

    This unique, “hands-on” program highlights many of the interesting aspects of a career in aviation. Topics include:
    •What makes an airplane fly
    •How to use a computer reservations system
    •The safety features of the ATR-72 aircraft
    •How flight and weather data is received and used by flight crews
    •What pilots look for during a “walk-around” aircraft inspection
    •What happens to the aircraft at night in the hangar
    •How flight attendants prepare for a flight

    The program also provides an opportunity to learn about various airline-related occupations including the job demands of Pilots, Flight Attendants, Customer Service personnel (including Reservations/Ticketing and Airport Operations), Ramp Operations personnel (including fueling and commissary), Mechanics and aircraft maintenance staff, and Dispatch and Crew Scheduling workers. Additionally, program participants learn about career skills, customer relationship management, and corporate responsibility.

    Participants will also enjoy facility tours, which may include the Transportation Security Administration and Airport Operations Areas, the ATC tower, and the Airport Rescue Fire Fighter station.

    I think it sounds super-cool.  It surprises no one that my daughter loved traveling from a very early age, and has over the years declared her intent to become an airport worker, flight attendant, pilot, and designer of airplanes.  This would be something I might encourage her to do….if it weren’t associated with Boy Scouts of America (BSA).  I just won’t give them any money, even the very reasonable $50 program cost, because of their policies on who is enough of a boy to be a Scout.  Some things have changed for the better, but I still have a bad taste in my mouth about it.  This is a personal choice, so if you don’t have any objections to BSA the program sounds awesome.  Living on an island guarantees that the airport will be a reliable place to find/keep a job.  So getting local kids involved in something like this is great.

     

  • Disney update: so everybody knows that Disney now owns Lucasfilm, the studio that brought us the Star Wars films, among many, many other great movies.  This was a good fit, I think.  Disney has had Star Tours, a Star-Wars-themed ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, since 1987.  I remember riding it in 1989, having recently watched the 3 original Star Wars movies.  The motion-simulator aspect was fabulous at the time, but by my next ride on it in 2001, it was feeling and looking a bit rough. Now, with the new partnership with Lucasfilm, Disney has significantly updated the ride technology and implemented a random storyline element.  Plus, there have been 3 prequels released in theaters since my last trip to the forest moon of Endor.  All this is to say that I decided I must catch up on my Star Wars movie-watching so I could understand the storylines on the updated ride!  [Side note: the franchise uses Roman numerals in the movie titles, but I mostly stuck with regular numbers here for ease of understanding] I took a methodical approach to decide whether to watch the Star Wars move in order of theatrical release (Episodes 4, 5, and 6, followed by Episodes 1,2, and 3), or in chronological storyline order (Episodes 1-2-3-4-5-6): I asked my Facebook and real-life friends.  I got wildly different responses, ranging from “don’t even bother with Episodes 1-2-3 [the recently-released prequels], pretend they don’t exist,” to “it was helpful to me to see them in order because I had no references to draw from, having never seen the early ones.”  I talked about this for days and still couldn’t decide.  So I decided to play library roulette:  I requested both the Episode 1 and Episode 4 DVDs.  Whichever request came through first would determine my viewing order.  As it happened, the Episode 1 DVD came in first, so I have been watching them in chronological storyline order.  My viewing enjoyment has also increased as the movies progress.  I pretty much forced myself to finish watching Episode 1, liked Episode 2 better, and have thoroughly enjoyed Episodes 3 and 4 (Episode IV: A New Hope is the 1st Star Wars movie released in theaters back in the late 70s).  Episode 5 is waiting for me at home, Episode 6 is on its way from the library.  By the time I’m done, I will have invested many hours into understanding and enjoying just 1 Disney ride!  Dedication, folks.  If the Star Wars-Disney connection leaves one lasting contribution to history, please let it be this incredible pun:

darth tater

Leave a comment »

Travel Strategies for Hawaii residents- Hawaiian Airlines

Sorry for the break in posting- got pretty busy for a few weeks.  Now back to normal, ready to discuss Hawaiian Airlines 🙂

Hawaiian is the big name in travel to in the islands (duh).  They fly nice planes around the islands and to/from Asia, Australia, the South Pacific, and North America. Once again, in keeping with the focus of the blog, I’ll detail the nonstop routes to and from Canada and the US mainland on Hawaiian (HA) metal:

  • from Honolulu (HNL): Las Vegas, NV (LAS), Los Angeles, CA (LAX), New York, NY (JFK), Oakland, CA (OAK), Phoenix, AZ (PHX), Portland, OR (PDX), Sacramento, CA (SMF), San Diego, CA (SAN), San Francisco, CA (SFO), San Jose, CA (SJC), Seattle, WA (SEA).
  • from Kahului (OGG):  Los Angeles, CA (LAX), Oakland, CA (OAK), San Francisco, CA (SFO) beginning Nov 2014, San Jose, CA (SJC), Seattle, WA (SEA).
  • from Kailua-Kona (KOA): Los Angeles, CA (LAX), Oakland, CA (OAK).  Both of these are summer seasonal routes.
  • from Lihue (LIH): Los Angeles, CA (LAX), Oakland, CA (OAK).  Both of these are summer seasonal routes. 

OK- travel strategies for kama’aina on Hawaiian Airlines!  All residents know that HawaiianMiles are fairly easy to accumulate locally.  There is a co-branded credit card, miles given for shopping at Foodland, and miles-earning shopping events at malls around the state.  This one is coming up at Windward Mall, and they have events at Kahala Mall and Ward Centers, too.  The standard mileage-earning opportunities apply as well: there is a shopping portal, partnerships w/hotels and rental car companies, a dining program, and even a MilesFinder toolbar you can install.

Two HawaiianMiles features I haven’t seen too often in other frequent flyer programs:

  1. you can earn HawaiianMiles for processing a travel visa
  2. HawaiianMiles program members get 40% off checked baggage fees on Neighbor Island flights
  3. you can share your miles with anyone: the receiver must hold a personal Hawaiian Airlines credit or debit card card, but the giver just has to be someone with a valid HawaiianMiles account.

So you can earn miles a bunch of ways…now how to spend them?  Here’s what you need to fly to/from the mainland on HA metal, along with the guide to the different Award types:

One Way Flight Awards Coach SuperSaver Coach Saver* Coach Flex First Class Saver First Class Flex
North America To/From Hawaii
North America–Hawaii 20,000 30,000 40,000 40,000 80,000
North America–Hawaii Upgrade 25,000 50,000

All awards are one way flight awards
* Coach Class Saver level awards may be purchased online only

Hawaiian Airlines Awards

  • SuperSaver – the lowest mileage Coach flight award.
  • Coach Saver– available when SuperSaver awards are not. Coach Saver awards may be purchased online only.
  • Coach Flex– can be redeemed for travel on Hawaiian Airlines with twice the miles of a SuperSaver award when both SuperSaver and Saver award seats are not available.
  • First/Business Saver – the lowest mileage First/Business Class flight award. This award does not have to be purchased online.
  • First/Business Flex – can be redeemed for travel on Hawaiian Airlines with twice the miles of a First/Business Saver award when a First/Business Saver award is not available.

Partner airlines include ANA (All-Nippon Airways), American Airlines, China Airlines, JetBlue, Korean Air, Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic Airways, and Virgin Australia.  Of these, only American and JetBlue (UPDATED 4/7/15: and Virgin America) offer routes to/from the mainland:

American Airlines

Roundtrip Award Award Mileage
Economy Business First
1 Roundtrip between North America and Hawaii 45,000 90,000 110,000
1 Roundtrip between North America and Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America; within the Caribbean; between the Caribbean and South America 35,000 70,000 85,000
1 Roundtrip between North America and South America 60,000 120,000 150,000
1 Roundtrip between North America and Europe 60,000 120,000 150,000
*Awards for the routes listed above must be on flights operated by American Airlines only. Awards may not be issued for flights operated by American Airline’s partners. Awards on American Airlines flights must be based on roundtrip travel only. All are subject to change with or without notice. Note: Bolding is mine: when using HawaiianMiles on AA, you must have a roundtrip itinerary.  To be able to book one-ways, you can use American AAdvantage miles on Hawaiian flights.  Definitely use AAdvantage miles if you can- the Coach Saver RT price will be only 35K miles as opposed to 45K HawaiianMiles as shown above. [IMPORTANT re my note: as of 9/1/15, AAdvantage miles cannot be redeemed for Hawaiian Airlines flight to/from the US mainland.]

JetBlue

Estimated JetBlue
Ticket Value
Corresponding
Award Mileage
From To From To
0 99 10,000
100 179 15,000 20,000
180 259 25,000 30,000
260 339 35,000 40,000
340 419 45,000 50,000
*Miles required for redemption will vary based on ticket value. Chart above shows an ESTIMATED mileage redemption amount.  Note: the only flight you can really use this benefit on is the nonstop from HNL to JFK.  The only way to calculate how many TrueBlue points you will need for the fare is to search for the dollar cost, call JetBlue directly to book the flight (no online booking on partner awards), and then expect to pony up 1 point for every 1.2 cents of value, which kind of contradicts the chart above, but seems to be the norm for Hawaiian flights on JetBlue.  Not a good value unless you are swimming in TrueBlue points.
One-way HNL-JFK on JetBlue, random date

One-way HNL-JFK on JetBlue, random date.  This would likely cost ~42,500 TrueBlue points (509 divided by .012)


So, using HawaiianMiles on HA metal and American is pretty straightforward.  It’s nice that one can fly Hawaiian flights and credit them to America/JetBlue, and vice versa. Decent flexibility there.  Unfortunately, they don’t fly any routes to Canada at this time.  We’ll have to settle for WestJet’s Vancouver nonstop.

Saving money on Hawaiian flights (mostly with the co-branded credit card issued by Bank of Hawaii/Barclays Bank):
  •  Primary Cardholders are eligible to earn a one-time 50% off discount toward one published roundtrip coach fare for a companion upon new account approval and is good for 13 months from the time the credit card account is open. Note: must be used on HA metal, no partner airlines.
  • Primary Cardholders are also eligible to earn a one hundred ($100) discount off one coach companion ticket on each credit card account anniversary upon payment of annual fee and is good for 12 months from account anniversary.

On the non-Hawaiian CC holder side:

  • they frequently have great deals on West Coast travel.  There is a special price on the San Francisco-Kahului flight for travel on selected dates in January- $398 roundtrip!  Read the wording on the specials carefully  though, most are non valid in both directions.  This special fare, for example, is only good when the travel originates from San Francisco.  You can sign up for Hawaiian fare alerts here.
  • Starwood Preferred Guest members can get special fares (usually a flat 5% off) most flights.
  • You can get $1 (yes, just $1) back when booking Hawaiian flights through ebates.
  • some local employers also offer discounts: HGEA, Air Force Association, and I’m sure many others.
  • there are also constant offers of contest to win HawaiianMiles, like the one HMSA currently has.
On a personal note, the logo and brand colors on Hawaiian appeal to me.  Just like the iconic Eskimo on the tail of an Alaska Airlines plane, the Hawaiian lady on the tail of an HA plane gives me the warm and fuzzies.  While I personally abhor the smell of flowers and hate receiving lei, there is nothing more whimsical than giant versions of common items:
You can barely make out the huge lei on the nose of the plane.  Photo from airlinereporter.com

You can barely make out the huge lei on the nose of the plane. Photo from airlinereporter.com

Any questions on Hawaiian Airlines?

2 Comments »