I’m writing this post from the SilverKris Lounge at SFO as I’ll literally not be experiencing the midnight countdown tonight since our SFO-NRT flight will pass over the date line and skip the event by many hours.
It’s been a decent travel year for myself. So now, before I scurry over for a last-minute magazine run, here are five things in 2010 I learned and five travel resolutions for 2011. (As usual, expect an Asia-centric flare!)
WHAT I LEARNED:
1) THE BRAND-NEW KEISEI RAILWAYS SKYLINER is the BEST thing to happen to Narita-based travel from Tokyo…EVER. By the time you hop on and sit down and munch on your bento, you are literally pulling up to the airport!
2) MILEAGE RUNS are not easy, but well worth it. Status is like rewards and insurance all rolled into one, and year-end mileage running is the payment some of us have to make!
3) HANEDA (TOKYO INTERNATIONAL) AIRPORT is awesome. It’s so close, easy, and convenient for business travel, and hopefully more international routes come here.
4) JAPANESE TRAVEL AGENCIES have good deals. This can be a challenge to a foreigner, but if you live here and don’t speak Japanese, just ask a friend. Sometimes they even have wacky combinations are insane prices, too!
5) FULL FARE ECONOMY is well worthwhile if you are on business travel. Priority upgrades, priority standby during chaos, and a good EQM bonus, too! Until you’ve received it’s reward firsthand, though, it’s hard to grasp, but this author can now say that it is worthwhile.
1) ACHIEVE UPGRADES through optimum planning. This means look at less popular (indirect) routes like NRT-SEA-SFO instead of NRT-SFO when there is just one direct flight and no upgrade inventory. Study the best days to travel, holidays, events, etc. Call this “counting cards” of the upgrade world.
2) CONTINUE TO BE NICE to airline employees, especially during craziness. When there is something going wrong, use the correct technical language in a polite way to get what is needed without sounding entitled.
3) DON’T UNDERESTIMATE the time it takes to walk to a train station is residential areas. It can be deceiving in Japan, but what you remember as a ten minute walk can turn out to be twenty minutes for phantom reasons. This is especially important when connecting to an airport train.
4) TAKE ADVANTAGE of hotel programs. Free breakfasts, upgrades, nights, etc. Wait for the right time for the killer promotion of the year then go nuts.
5) REQUALIFY STATUS, meaning United 1K, and also look at a non-Star Alliance program for when I can’t fly Star Alliance. Likely, this would b a oneworle program.
That’s all, folks! Have a safe and and happy 2011!