FARE ALERT: PHL-PEK (Beijing) – As Low As $446

Amazing deal to China from Philadelphia!

This fare is great for leisure travelers and mileage runners alike!

With the sample routing below, one would earn 16,046 miles for $460. That’s 2.9 Cents Per Mile!

Don’t think of this just as a fare to Beijing. Consider this your gateway to Asia. Intra-Asia flights on low cost carriers can be very affordable.

In fact, if we jump on this deal, we’ll likely use British Airways Avios to hop to another city like Tokyo.

How To Find The Fares

I found these flights using ITA Matrix monthly search.

I then got them to price out using the Orbitz multi-city search. Remember, Orbitz has a 24 hour cancellation policy so book now and figure out details later!

They can also be priced directly on AA.com or even easier, Hipmunk, which is easier to navigate and ultimately links to AA.com.

There are free 24 hour holds on AA so you can put some itineraries on hold while you has out the details.

Sample Travel Date:

February 16 – February 24, 2014

aa-phl-mia-ord-pek-ord-phl

$460!

Entry Information

US Citizens need a visa prior to arrival. Cost = $140.

Beijing now offers a 72 hour visa-free period for travelers who are just transiting.

Hat tip to Paul5795 on Flyer Talk for breaking this one!

Hawaiian Mileage Run: American Airlines Economy Class HNL-DFW & DFW-LGA

TRIP INDEX

HNL (Honolulu) – DFW (Dallas-Fort Worth)
AA 102
9/14/13
Depart (Scheduled/Actual): 6:50p/6:57p
Arrive (Scheduled/Actual): 7:05a/6:58a
Economy Class
Boeing 767-300
Seats 41A, 41B

Well, here we were at the very back of this old plane. The upgrades hadn’t cleared and we were a bit saddened and a lot more cramped. Our seats in 41A & 41B, according to SeatGuru, weren’t great but we found them to be pretty good. No one behind us to worry about reclining into and the lavatory wasn’t bothersome at all.

The 7 hour flight was long but thanks to being prepared with movies, we managed. Movie, sleep. Rinse & repeat.

The flight attendant crew was very cheery during their drink service. We bought a roast beef sandwich from the Buy On Board menu. It was $10 but by using my Citi AA card, I’ll receive a 25% rebate.

Roast Beef Sandwich

Roast Beef Sandwich

Flight Attendant's Galaxy Note

Flight Attendant’s Galaxy Note

We landed a few minutes early and got off the plane within a few minutes. Not bad considering how many people were in front of us.

Joann and I went straight for the Skylink to transfer terminals and get in line for some Starbucks breakfast. After a 7 hour redeye and only a sandwich and some chips, I was starving.

DFW (Dallas-Fort Worth) – LGA (New York)
AA 1110
9/15/13
Depart (Scheduled/Actual): 8:35a/8:37a
Arrive (Scheduled/Actual): 12:43p/12:45p
Economy Class
Boeing 767-300
Seats 20A, 20B

Boarding this flight was very quick because it wasn’t close to being full. I barely saw a middle seat occupied. I guess most Dallas-based business travelers don’t like traveling to NYC early Sunday morning. 

Our last leg was uneventful and I was fine with it. I caught up on this trip report and then caught some shuteye until we landed.

As soon as we landed, I called The Parking Spot at LGA and they sent the shuttle right away. It was waiting for us by the time we exited the baggage claim area. I highly recommend their service, but I’ll save it for another post.

From there, it was time to drive home through NYC, find some real grub, watch some football, and relax for the upcoming week.

Hawaiian Mileage Run: Sakura Lounge HNL

TRIP INDEX

We just cleared security with TSA PreCheck and it was beautiful. Anything to save time in the Honolulu Airport’s open air terminal on this humid day is a life saver before a long flight.

For more on PreCheck, head here. Bottom line: get it!

We walked towards the Kona Brewing company and took the elevator upstairs to JAL’s Sakura Lounge. American, along with several other oneworld members, uses this lounge. I believe they used to have their own lounge, but decided to move in with JAL in 2011.

The lounge is adequate. A few snacks. Two different kinds of soup. Plenty of seating. PLENTY of power outlets. The air conditioning is ice cold, which is top priority for me.

What they don’t have, which the old Admiral’s Club did have, is a shower. I don’t know how you can have a lounge in a ‘tropical’ climate like Hawaii and not offer a shower in your lounge, especially with all the late day departures. This is just me complaining because of a long day out in the sun, needing another shower!

It looks like our upgrades won’t clear which, without any AA status, has us seated in the very last row of coach for this longhaul. Oh well, at least we’re on the outside of the 2-3-2 seating in the back of this bird.

Time to fill up on more ice cold water and then head to the gate, hoping for a miracle!

IMG_2558 IMG_2557 IMG_2556 IMG_2555 IMG_2554 IMG_2553 IMG_2552 IMG_2551 IMG_2550 IMG_2549

Hawaii Mileage Run: American Airlines First Class DFW-HNL

TRIP INDEX

DFW (Dallas-Fort Worth) – HNL (Honolulu)
AA 5
9/11/13
Depart (Scheduled/Actual): 1:00p/1:16p
Arrive (Scheduled/Actual): 4:00p/4:22p
First Class
Boeing 767-300
Seats 4A, 4B

Upon landing early in DFW and taking the Skylink train to Terminal A, Joann and I hit Starbucks and then the Admiral’s Club. We only had about 30 minutes before boarding would start for our flight to Oahu.

After getting on the free wifi and sending out the previous two posts, we went to Gate A24 which was right next to the Club. There was a delay in boarding; the gate agents kept calling up passengers for “recheck.”

After about 20 minutes, the gate agents finally started boarding and we were among the first to board in the front cabin.

I was happy to enter and see American’s 763 First/Business cabin with angled lie-flat seats.

As we go settled in, a flight attendant immediately greeted us with a tray of water, orange juice, and sparkling wine. We opted for the sparkling wine and continued to explore our seats that were in a 2-2-2 arrangement across the cabin.

Once we leveled off after takeoff, FAs once again came around but with Samsung Galaxy Tablet 10.1 and Bose QuietComfort15 noise-cancelling headsets. Since these old birds don’t have personal IFE, American distributes these instead. They weren’t bad; they had a decent selection.

galaxy-tablet-bose-qc15

Once they were fully distributed, the FAs went back to the galley and came out with tablecloths and the drink cart. Saddened to see no single malt scotch option on the menu, I just ordered a Jack & Diet. They also served us the hot Hawaiian mixed nuts. They were really really good and I finished them in no time! The candied ones were definitely the best.

american airlines first class warm nuts

The service was a bit slower than what I’ve experienced in premium cabins. The starter salads took a while to come out, but I had The Hangover 3 on the Galaxy Tablet so it wasn’t a concern just yet.

The FAs came around once more to collect the ramekins and top off drinks. Meanwhile, it had been about 15 minutes and the service was at a halt.

Some 30 minutes after we had received our drinks and hot nuts, the salad course was served with a choice of either Caesar or Ginger Sesame dressing. We both opted for the Caesar. A nice touch was that salad was dressed at the cart and then served to us along with Hawaiian sweet rolls.

american airlines first class salad

Then came the main course. Most people in the cabin opted for the Macadamia Nut Chicken. It was satisfactory. The breading sure had trouble staying attached to the chicken breast.

american airlines first class hawaii macadamia nut chicken

After another 30 minutes, the cheese plate followed and then came the highlight of the meal. The ice cream sundae with all the toppings was awesome. It went well with the Bailey’s with milk on the rocks. Ice cream is definitely impossible to mess up 35,000 feet up.

american airlines first class hawaii cheese plate

Once the meal service was over and our tray tables were cleaned, it was just time for movies and sleep.

Overall, the food quality was OK but the service was painfully slow. I was falling asleep waiting for the dessert courses. I probably should have just slept, but I wanted that ice cream!

american airlines first class hawaii ice cream sundae

Ice Cream Sundae w/ Chocolate Sauce, Strawberries, & nuts and Bailey’s w/ Milk

Finally it was time to sleep! For sleeping, the seat was serviceable. It wasn’t the best but surely suitable for a few hours of shuteye. It went flat but angled downwards. I figured that this probably wouldn’t be a great seat for side sleepers. Maybe my opinion would be different if we were on a red eye where more sleep is desired, but for going west, it worked for an afternoon nap.

American Airlines 763 First Class Seat

I slept about 2 hours. It would have been longer but even with earplugs the cabin was really noisy. Those elderly vacationers can really chat!

We were only a few hours out now so I fired up the Galaxy Tablet and got another drink from the FA. When we were about 45 minutes out, the FAs came by to start collecting the IFE setups.

We were treated to some beautiful views on arrival as usual when flying into HNL – Waikiki, Pearl Harbor, and our wedding site in Ko Olina.

Ko Olina

Ko Olina

After a smooth landing, it was off through the partial open air terminal and to National Car Rental to pick up our ride for the 3 days…

Hawaii Mileage Run: American Airlines First Class LGA-DFW

TRIP INDEX

LGA-DFW
AA1121
9/11/13Depart (Scheduled/Actual): 9:10a/9:01a
Arrive (Scheduled/Actual): 12:05p/11:34a
First Class
Boeing 737-800
Seats 5E, 5F

We got up bright and early this morning at 6am to drive from our house in North Jersey to La Guardia. At best, it would be a 35 minute drive, but with the morning NYC commute, you never know.

Also, I know another reason people hate flying out of LGA. The parking options are terribly expensive! Newark & JFK have much more space and companies can offer competitive rates. They even offer plenty of Groupon-type deals to cut the cost even more. At LGA, the best rate I saw was about $20 a day. Oh well, a necessary evil since we couldn’t snag a ride.

After parking at the lot and taking a quick shuttle to Terminal B, Joann and I went straight to Concourse D security which was fairly busy.

Since we were flying First, we were able to use the Priority AAccess lane. When the TSA agent scanned our mobile boarding passes, he explained that we both got PreCheck! I was pretty happy since it would be our first time using it. No shoes off, everything remains in our bags. This was the life! Err, this is what traveling USED to be… a stark reminder of what has happened since 12 years ago TODAY.

Once through security, we made a beeline to the Admiral’s Club and presented our American Express Platinum Card for entry.

We got some lattes and some stale pastries to snack on before having breakfast on the flight. I certainly wouldn’t go out of my way to gain entry to this Admiral’s Club, but since it’s one of the great perks of the AmEx Platinum, might as well use it.

After finishing up, we walked to our gate about 10 minutes prior to boarding time. Of course, there were plenty of gate lice crowding the gate with no indication that boarding was starting. Eventually, the gate agents started boarding with First Class passengers so Joann and I weaved our way through the crowd.

On this 737, our seats were 5E & 5F on the right side of the plane. As we sat down, the flight attendant welcomed us aboard and asked if we wanted anything to drink. She had a tray of water & orange juice with her.

Boarding finished up quickly and we were ahead of schedule, it seemed – a much different experience from when we fly United.

The captain announced a flight time of around 3 hours, about 45 minutes shorter than the scheduled time. I was happy to hear that since we already had a short connection in DFW to our flight to Honolulu.

Shortly after takeoff, the flight attendant came around taking orders. I was interested in how the the online pre-ordering of our meals would go.

She did confirm that we used the pre-order, but confirmed the wrong order. No big deal as she said it wasn’t a problem to change the order. We’ll see how the longhaul to Hawaii goes.

The Soy Bacon Quiche Lorraine was pretty good as far as airplane food goes. The FA also came by with a bread basket with biscuits or muffins. I had a biscuit and it was surprisingly light and fluffy.

Soy Bacon Quiche Lorraine

Soy Bacon Quiche Lorraine

After I finished breakfast, the FAs were quick to remove my tray which was nice because I wanted to get back to writing this trip report. I asked for a cup of black coffee and it was brought to me right away. Pretty good coffee; another big difference from the coffee on United, which I find unbearable most of the time.

I spent the rest of the flight writing this report while Joann watched movies on her Nexus 7. The in-flight entertainment on this plane was old dropdown overhead screens so watching on our personal tablets is much better.

Landing was uneventful, but we did make it to the gate 41 minutes early, just as advertised. Now we are relaxing in the Admiral’s Club waiting for our flight to Honolulu to board.

Overall, this was a great flight and a perfect start to the long trip. The flight attendants were friendly and attentive. We had a hearty breakfast which was important because we wouldn’t have enough time on the ground at DFW to grab food. I’m pleased with American Air so far and kind of wonder why I haven’t flown them in several years. I hope the next flight is just as good as this one was.