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Re: Season 2016-17 Plans

PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2016 4:35 am
by q
Tony Crocker wrote:FYI I read somewhere recently of the "47-day rule," as being the supposedly optimal time in advance to shop for airfares. This is almost exactly when we bought the Bangkok airfare last weekend.


I check periodically throughout the year and tend to find that for my route its generally lots of peaks and troughs but never much cheaper than what I've paid for. I try to avoid ever paying £600 as a maximum.

Booking early also allows me to pick my seat of choice to allow me to stretch out my dodgy left knee. Airbus A330, 39C!

Re: Season 2016-17 Plans

PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2016 10:22 am
by EMSC
While I definitely try to optimize airfare pricing, I gladly pay a few more sheckles to fly direct routing. SO many opportunities for screw ups for either you, your luggage or both on multi-hop trips. Of course it helps for those having a 'hometown' airport as one of the end points that is very well connected to the world (eg NYC, LA, Den). Not so easy for ABZ or BZN as end points.

Tony what airline is the carrier for the CTN-BKK portion of the trip? Is it a China local?

Re: Season 2016-17 Plans

PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2016 12:03 pm
by Tony Crocker
The entire route is China Southern, which gives quarter mileage credit and half Medallion credit on Delta. Thus the routing through their hub in Guangzhou.

Similar pricing was available on China Eastern through Shanghai, but timing was slightly less favorable. China Eastern is a full partner with Delta but their dirt cheap service class Q was excluded from mileage credit.

As a heads up, the consolidator sites like Kayak offer better pricing, but do not show the letter code of service, even after you have paid for your ticket. If you are in a mileage program you need to look up on that program's website to see what letter codes get what level of mileage credit. Then you have to call the site where you bought the ticket to get the code. I spent well over 2 hours on this process last Saturday.

I'm sure we will be cooling our heels in Canton's airport during 4 and 6 hour layovers. China requires applying through a consulate for a $100 visa in advance as I did for the 2008 and 2009 eclipse trips, and the visa is only good for one year. By contrast, this winter we deliberately scheduled 12+ hour daytime layovers in Seoul and Tokyo where we got out for some sightseeing.

Re: Season 2016-17 Plans

PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2016 12:51 pm
by jamesdeluxe
Tony Crocker wrote:China Eastern is a full partner with Delta but their dirt cheap service class Q was excluded from mileage credit.

I can confirm that the dreaded Q class is a mileage buzzkill. On an upcoming trip to Kenya and South Africa, mostly on American Airlines partner British Airways, I'll be flying almost 22,000 actual miles, but will only get credited 9,000-ish miles because of cheap fares. The trick is to use the Rocketmiles website to book lodging -- you can rack up impressive amounts of miles with them, even at relatively inexpensive hotels.

Re: Season 2016-17 Plans

PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2016 12:20 pm
by Tony Crocker
We couldn't resist the Sandhof deal, though we took it for the week starting Jan. 14 as the next week was sold out. But we will stay in Europe an extra 2 weeks, returning home Feb. 5. I grabbed the $942 airfare last night, as it had clean connections, JFK going and Amsterdam coming back (no CDG this time!) plus it's Delta/KLM for maintaining my status and getting 2 free checked bags per person.

As in 2013, we will leave the rest of the time unscheduled for the moment. Through James' education, I now realize there are a staggering number of options in Austria, eastern Switzerland and northeastern Italy for those 2 weeks. Perhaps our paths may even cross this time.

Re: Season 2016-17 Plans

PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2016 3:43 pm
by EMSC
Looking like a few days in O'Canada for me in early March. Other than that no trips have hit finalization stage for this season so far.

Re: Season 2016-17 Plans

PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2016 4:56 pm
by Tony Crocker
EMSC wrote:Looking like a few days in O'Canada for me in early March......

Big place, any specific locations yet? Not that it's necessary. You could book flights to Calgary/Spokane/etc. and leave the final destinations until last minute.

Re: Season 2016-17 Plans

PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2016 2:43 pm
by EMSC
Annual Guys trip, so Calgary and Banff though a few of us may head over to Revelstoke or Kicking Horse for a day or two on an extended trip. The core dates/location set, but details still being hammered out.

Re: Season 2016-17 Plans

PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2016 10:55 am
by Tony Crocker
I would strongly recommend the "Calgary loop" drive, splitting the time between Banff and Fernie/Castle. It's actually more efficient than driving as far as Revelstoke. Panorama is also halfway between Fernie and Lake Louise off Hwy 93.

Re: Season 2016-17 Plans

PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2016 1:44 pm
by pointpeninsula
[quote="jamesdeluxe"]
Valais, Switzerland: Mar 8 to 16
Road trip through the Val d’Anniviers and Val d’Hérens subregions. This is a highly rated off-the-beaten-path region surrounded by far more well-known Verbier, Crans-Montana, and Zermatt.

I had the good fortune to accompany my wife on a week-long work trip to Visp the end of June. While she was busy, I amused myself with train and bus trips around the Valais valley, down to St Nicklaus and Grachen. The latter looks like a ski area for youngsters, I think, but there are a lot of trails and several lifts on Google Maps, so it could be worth a visit)

I also traveled both east and west from Visp. I walked around Verbier, but what really caught my attention is a pair of villages somewhat east of Brig, Bettmeralp and Riederalp.

There seems to be quite a bit of skiing there, probably all on-piste, but I'm not sure. One of her coworkers has a chalet in Bettmeralp, so he skies there frequently.

Saas-Fee is on my to-do list as well. We had dinner there one evening, just before last bus (it's car-free).

Hope this is somewhat helpful. I know most of you have way more experience skiing Europe than I do (which is zero), but I'll get there one of these days.

Have a great season!

And, to wrap up this post with a nod to the original intent:

A week at Lake Louse Feb 13-19, with a side trip to Kicking Horse and Sunshine

Four days at Tremblant two weeks later.

Probably one day at Sugarbush on Black Friday, followed by two days of fawning over the pros at Killington. Maybe even get an autograph - who knows.

Tom

Re: Season 2016-17 Plans

PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 10:07 am
by jamesdeluxe
pointpeninsula wrote:what really caught my attention is a pair of villages somewhat east of Brig, Bettmeralp and Riederalp.
There seems to be quite a bit of skiing there, probably all on-piste, but I'm not sure. One of her coworkers has a chalet in Bettmeralp, so he skies there frequently.

That region is known as the Aletsch Arena and is definitely on my radar. It's one of the more modern Swiss ski regions -- not much in the way of t-bars, which is unfortunate. Everyone seems to have good things to say about it other than that they've added some ugly concrete infrastructure that would be more typical at a French mega ski region than in olde-school Switzerland. Here's a German TR with lots of pix:
http://www.alpinforum.com/forum/viewtop ... 53&t=55424"

Re: Season 2016-17 Plans

PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 11:45 am
by pointpeninsula
That was a great trip report - thanks for posting it. Based on the photo of the trail sign, perhaps a tad more snow than in June! :shock:

Re: Season 2016-17 Plans

PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 12:31 pm
by Tony Crocker
Saas-Fee has summer skiing; it should have been open in June.

Re: Season 2016-17 Plans

PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 1:26 pm
by pointpeninsula
It was, but we stopped in for dinner, then back to Visp. It was tempting, though.

Re: Season 2016-17 Plans

PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 2:01 pm
by Tony Crocker
I browsed the alpinforum TR. That area is situated for impressive scenic views in all directions. However, the skiing is mostly SE facing, so I'd say that March poster got very lucky.

In general there are many more badly exposed areas in the Alps than in western North America. At latitude 46-47 you can often get away with that midwinter. This is a good reason for James' recurring late January timeframe. It opens up a lot more choices that might not be advisable in March after the school holiday crunch. I'll just note that the south-facing Flims-Laax still had refrozen snow on the lower half of terrain when I skied there late January 2013, so the exposure is still a risk factor.