Saturday, 28 January 2012

Damn you, Opodo

Whilst waiting for the accursed TG to finally open up Jan 2013 (and for that matter for EK's booking engine to start working). I've been playing with the "travel" sites - opodo, expedia, travelocity etc to see if there's a little bargain out there.

Expedia is useless, they aren't even allowing booking for mid-December yet, never mind for the start of January

The ever useful ITAmatrix (which doesn't allow you to book) is up to the end of December, so there's some hope yet. ITAmatrix also seems to show an interesting LH/SQ/TG/LX combo within budget - although I'm not sure I want to end my trip on the little Fokker.

Travelocity is worse than useless. They return flights, lots of them, every single one of which has an outbound on GayLM to AMS, followed by a flight to Melbourne on China Southern in Economy via CAN (Guangzhou to you). 30+ results, every single one of them with that deeply undesirable flight in the wrong class of service at the start of the trip.

Kayak handles my request well, but offers nothing exciting, well-priced or special, it's mainly OneWorld love with hundreds of permutations and combinations around a BA/QF theme.

Opodo I've had some success with in the past and this time it's got two blinders.

The first is a discounted ticket on SQ, all the way. It's a published fare and it's in First/Suites, it has two segments of Whalejet action and two segments of 77W action. It's got the right times and the right dates. It's also really rather discounted, but it's still £500 over budget. However, it's very, very, very tempting.

The second is a Business Class fare ex-BHX. Again, the dates are right, there's LH all the way to SIN on a Lufty Whalejet (which is possibly eVIPable) , there's SQ onward from SIN, there's a direct TG to BKK (Bangkok) and then there's SK back to BHX via CPH (Copenhagen). The price is outstanding, it's a smidge above 3k. That's excellent value, but, there's a slight downside. There's a 12 hour connection in CPH on the way back. That's a real Debbie Downer. Of course, one could just book the bags through to CPH, collect them and get a cheapy CPH-XXX-BHX and abandon the CPH-BHX.

I'm currently resisting both, but it might be hard. Opodo, you're a bastard, but a nice one.

UPDATE: I've just matched the first one on the SQ website. *Gulp*

Monday, 23 January 2012

Looks like I have to pay for the ticket

After several attempts to get an award ticket through Miles and More for this trip. I'm giving up. M&M's UK service centre isn't very good to be honest, it only operates on European office hours Monday to Friday, is an expensive 0871 number even for us SEN's and requires a few calls to find an agent with Clue.

I never found an agent with full clue, but this mornings was actually willing to search multiple ports and multiple dates. For one tantalising minute, I thought we had it at least in part. There was a first class seat on Thai on the 10th of December, but it proved to be unbookable.

We looked at the business class options as well, but these were equally bad. If I'm going business then I get a bit less flexible on dates and whilst I could get out and I could get back to SIN, there was nothing to get me back from SIN within a reasonable date range.

Mind you, I've been dubious about availability since I found there was not one F award ticket available on LH to JFK via FRA or MUC for a weekend all summer. Via ZRH, yes, but short connects and the panorama lounge aren't my idea of a First Class Experience.

So it's back to the pricing board and waiting for bloody TG to release fares.

It does make me wonder if it's worth collecting the miles sometimes. I had this with BA and ended up burning them on QF domestic tickets (which were very good value).

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Starting to winnow it down

Having done some sums and looked at the dire state of the kitchen electrics I have decided that unless I strike lucky with the Award lottery, the Oz trip has to be in C.

Having had a good prowl through expertflyer and available fares makes me think that unless I can find a deal, this will be nearly as expensive as the F/C deal of 2010. Ouch.

The runners and riders at the moment are.

LH+others ticket from Opodo/Expedia etc

Advantages - fly from BHX, Star Alliance
Disadvantages - LH C, tend to have strange stopovers, hard to sort out FF benefits, unupgradable in advance.


Advantages - can do everything I want, fly from BHX
Disadvantages - don't want to go through the sandpit, no FF benefits, danger of horrid seats


Advantages - know and love the product, Star, SIN stopover
Disadvantages - expensive, no chance of upgrades, LHR


Advantages - Star, BKK stopover
Disadvantages - that horrid website, LHR,


Advantages - whalejet, Kul stopover
disadvantage - no ff gain unless they join one world in time


Advantages - can do favoured stopover. whalejet, accrue on OneWorld, can book whole ticket
Disadvantages - Mona, LHR, poor timings on some connections


Advantage - price out of MAN
Disadvantage - no ff accrual, sandpit stopover


Advantage - Star, chance to visit AKL, good website
Disadvantage - HKG stopover ok, KX stopover no way. AKL.


Advantage - Star
Disadvantage - long way round, don't fancy YVR stopover in Winter.

I think that's the runners and riders so far. CX has been ruled out for seating, NH for nightmare website.

Any thoughts or comments are welcome.