In This Week's Issue:
Letter From The Editor: Fare Hike, New Feature & More Mile Bonuses
Tip of the Week by Chris McGinnis: AIRPORT SAFETY TIPS
Travel Magazine of the Month: Business Traveler
Live Web Cams of the Week: Anchorage / Prague, Czech Rep
Web Site of the Week: Looking for a cheap rate in San Francisco ?
United Airlines News 13 New Bonus Mile Offers
Air New ZealandFiji, Australia, New Zealand on sale for Spring Travel
USAToday Mass transit anxious over Y2K readiness
PositiveSpace.com New high-speed ferry encourages Bahamas island hopping
Yahoo.com United Airlines Cuts Fares 20-40% for Alaskans
New York Times What's Doing in Bermuda
Denver Post Traveling off-season in Europe
Bestfares.com Frequent Flyer: New Mileage Bonus Offers
This Week's Major Airline Internet Every airlines weekend specials
This Week's U.S. & Canada Hotel Internet Discounts: Get every Hotel weekend specials
This Week's Car Rental Internet Discounts Get every Car Rental weekend specials
This Week's International Hotel Internet Discounts Get every Int'l Hotel weekend specials
Feature Story: Nepal Trekking to Mt Everest Base Camp
Questions from Readers: I have over 200,000 American Express miles and…
Tips from Readers May You Never Lose A Paper Ticket
Next Week ?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>LETTER FROM THE EDITOR<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
Hello Everyone! This week I am writing to you from San Francisco. If you plan on coming here check out the website of the week.
This week Continental initiated a fare hike on all leisure fares, and as usual the other airlines followed.
The other big news this week, United decided to cut the travel agents commission again, and the majority has followed. Travel agents only get 5% of your business, the airlines cut their commission by 37% (OUCH!).
Bestfares.com came out with a list of mileage opportunities, so please scroll down and find the program of your choice for all your chances to earn mega miles. (Hopefully you fly with United and if you do they are located in the UA section.)
Some of you might have caught last week's "Questions From Readers"
was not answered by me, but rather my good buddy and colleague "Clipper Class Chris". I met Chris K. four years ago when he was teaching a
seminar on "How to Travel". After the seminar he realized that I knew
a lot about travel that he didn''t and vice versa. We agreed to host the
seminar together the following year. We did, and it wen't great. He is now
helping me (along with other good friends) with producing Jonny Jet.
From Chris: For those of you who are wondering what the Clipper Class refers to in front of my pen name, it is from the glory days of Pan Am. Clipper Class was their business class service, which they invented in the early 80's. Those were the days when travel was glamorous and liquor was poured out of big bottles, not those little plastic things they give you now.
*Please take the time to send me the e-mail addresses of your friends who travel, and/or any tips/comments you might have.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>JOHNNYJET.COM (Coming Soon)<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
Tip of the Week by Chris McGinnis:
AIRPORT SAFETY TIPS
KEEP YOUR EYES PEELED: Stay on your guard at the airport curbside skycap stand, restroom stalls, phone banks, security checkpoints and the baggage claim. Don't let your bags out of your sight for a minute. It only takes a second for a crook to walk off with your possessions. Always keep an eye on your laptop, cell phone or pager. Electronics gear -- which experienced thieves can spot in a second-- is easy to sell on the black market.
My Boy: Christopher McGinnis is an internationally known author and expert on business travel. His comments on trends and issues affecting business travel are broadcast on CNN.
Travel Magazine of the Month Business
We provide cost saving tips and up-to-the-minute info on all aspects of travel: airlines, airports, car hire, hotels. We're often controversial, often light, but always readable and interesting whether you travel once or a hundred times a year. To order: 1-800-726-1243, http://www.btonline.com/
Live Web Cams of the Week
Anchorage, Alaska http://camera.touchngo.com/
Prague, Czech Rep. Http://www.topin.ch/cz/prag/default.asp
Web Site of the Week:http://www.hotelres.com/
Looking for a cheap Hotel rate in San Francisco? This service provides hotel reservations at no cost to the user. SFR rates are, in most cases, the lowest rates available. There are currently 178 hotels listed for San Francisco. I have used this service countless of times and I have saved a good amount of money. I checked in the Hotel Triton this week, I used SFR and paid $129.00, the guy next to me in line (I sneaked a peak at his bill) was paying $219.00.
News & Bonus Miles*******************
Frequent Flyer: 13 New United MileagePlus Bonus Offers
***Double Miles on Shuttle Call 800-447-6772 Code:11 (Through 12/9/99)
Double Miles Dulles to LGA Call 800-447-6772 Code:12 (Through March 2000)
Double Miles to Hawaii ( 1st class only) Call 800-447-6772 Code: 50 (Through 12/9/99)
Double Miles on Trans Con's ( 1st class, Business, Full Fare only) (10/31/99)
Double Miles Denver to LAX/Indianapolis/Albuquerque/Austin*** ( 1st class, Full fare only) 800-645-4502 Code MPN849 (Through 10/31/99)
Daily nonstop 777 service between (LAX) and Charles de Gaulle International Airport, Paris, France. The new flight, which is scheduled to begin on April 4
Added a second daily round trip between Miami and Los Angeles airports. Eastbound flight departs at 8:30 a.m., westbound flight at 5:10 p.m.
Announced today that it will bring back its well-received "Mele Kalikimaka" (Merry Christmas) fares offering Hawaiians attractive discounted rates to visit the Mainland United States during December and January. Http://www.ual.com/airline/default.asp?section=Press_Releases.asp&SubCategory=Our_Company&destination_URL=/airline/Our_Company/Press_Releases.asp
Air New Zealand
is offering special 1999 fares on flights to Fiji, Auckland and Sydney for travel in the year 2000. Passengers who purchase their tickets before November 30 can fly non-stop from Los Angeles to Fiji for $599, nonstop to Auckland for $699 and nonstop to Sydney for $799. Add-on fares are also available from other cities throughout the United States. Certain fares offer up to a (46% savings) off of the regular rates. Travelers must purchase their ticket before November 30, 1999. Travel must commence between April 17 – August 23, 2000 and must be completed by September 22, 2000. Air New Zealand passengers earn 100 percent mileage credit in the United MileagePlus frequent flier program. For reservations and additional information, contact Air New Zealand at www.airnz.com or at (800) 262-1234 .
Mass transit anxious over Y2K readiness Transportation officials are uneasy about the readiness of mass transit systems for the year 2000, because huge New Year's Eve celebrations will send thousands to public transportation just minutes after computers make the date change.
Business Travel Today By David
Field, USA TODAY
Chase Manhattan "Currency to Go" sells 75 foreign currencies and travelers checks with no fee or commission for next-day delivery. Click www.currency-to-go.com or call 888-242-7384.
Delta now serves "performance" meals in business class that let travelers choose between entrees that promote rest on board and entrees that keep them alert.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>JOHNNYJET.COM (Coming Soon)<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
With companies tightening meal budgets, frugal travelers are finding creative ways to get more for their money. Here are some examples.....Cont. At: http://www.usatoday.com/life/travel/bt028.htm
New high-speed ferry encourages Bahamas
You Don't Get it, GET
10 WAYS TO SURVIVE AN OVERNIGHT FLIGHT: A little preparation can make the experience a lot more comfortable.Cont:
United Airlines Cuts Fares 20-40% for Alaskans
The sale applies to 203 markets. Here are same sample round-trip fares from Anchorage: Chicago, $468.40; Miami, $474.90; San Francisco, $353; Seattle, $353; and Washington, D.C., $472.10. http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/991008/il_united__1.html
AAA Hits United's & American's Slashing of Commissions; Consumers Will Lose
The 37 percent cut in travel agent commissions, saying that consumers will pay more for airline tickets as a result. http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/991008/dc_aaa_uni_1.html
NEW YORK TIMES
What's Doing in Bermuda http://www.nytimes.com/library/travel/namerica/wd991010.html
Traveling off-season in Europe http://www.denverpost.com/travel/off1010.htm
You Don't Get it, GET
Fare Hike: It Is Official: All Major Airlines Raise Domestic Fares Up To 6 %
United Airlines Gives Travel Agents (And
Consumers) Another Shaft
Frequent Flyer: 2 New Iberia Airlines Iberia Plus Bonus Offers
Frequent Flyer: 15 New JAL Mileage Bank
Frequent Flyer: 2 New Qantas Frequent
Flyer Bonus Offers
Frequent Flyer: 6 New QualiflyerBonus
Frequent Flyer: 12 New TWA Aviators
Frequent Flyer: 14 New US Airways Dividend
Miles Bonus Offers
Frequent Flyer: 7 New Northwest AirlinesWorldPerks
Frequent Flyer: 3 New Midwest Express
Frequent Flyer Bonus Offers
Frequent Flyer: 2 New Mexicana
Airlines Frecuenta Bonus Offers
Frequent Flyer: 6 New Lufthansa Miles &
More Bonus Offers
Frequent Flyer: 3 New LanChile LanPass Bonus
Weekly Update On Las Vegas & LA$ VEGA$
Area Hotel Specials
This Week's Major Airline
This Week's U.S. & Canada Hotel Internet Discounts:
This Week's Car Rental Internet Discounts
This Week's International Hotel Internet Discounts
Feature:Nepal Trekking to Mt. Everest Base Camp
We've all seen the Imax Everest movie and read "Into Thin Air". My boyfriend Gary and I were inspired to try and trek to Base Camp at 17,000ft. They called us "independent trekkers". That meant that we hiked without a guide or porter, carrying our own stuff. We had no support except for our huge Leo egos, which you can never underestimate.
We took a month and a half out of real life. Our itinerary flew us to Bangkok for a couple of days, trying to shake jet lag. We then hopped a plane to Kathmandu. After a couple days of sightseeing and obtaining trekking permits, we flew to Lukla. You can trek up to Lukla in a week, but after hearing stories of leeches on the trail, we decided to skip it. We passed up touristy Lukla, and walked an hour down the trail to Chaurikharka. The next day was our hardest hike, an 11 hour walk to Namche Bazaar. The last five hours of walking were straight up. Day three was an acclimation day in Namche, which included a pack less hike up 1,000ft and back down. Day four found us on the trail to Debouche, where we broke out our Mountain Hardware tent and setup camp in a yak field. The following morning we departed Debouche for Dingboche. The first night here we camped, exhausted from the altitude. Day six we stayed in Dingboche to acclimate. I rested while Gary hiked around, and we pampered ourselves with a night in a pleasant teahouse. On day seven we passed the memorials to Scott Fischer and Lopsang Sherpa on the way to Lobuche. The altitude started to really hit us in the form of headaches and dehydration. Lobuche was pretty unhygienic, so we camped and cooked our freeze dried food. Day eight was one hour walk to the Pyramids, an Italian observatory with plush mattresses. Day nine we ascended to Gorak Shep, the final teahouse before Base Camp. Day ten was a long rocky trail around the Khumbu Glacier and finally, we conquered Base Camp. It took three days to stumble back down to Lukla, where we caught the first flight out to Kathmandu. We rewarded ourselves afterwards with a few weeks melting into Thailand's beautiful beaches.
"The monastery in Chaurikharka"
Our first day on the trail, we admired a monastery built into a cliff side, and decided to try and climb to up to it. The trail led us around a stone fence and through the most amazing patch of field. You nearly expect a hobbit to dash in front of you. To our left, a misty white mountain peak rose up beyond the stone fence and rolling green meadows. Our feet hit a barbed wire, jolting us back from wonderland into reality. I felt discouraged from going any further by the fence, but Gary decided to jump it. The colors of the monastery silently beckoned. A yell from behind startled us: "Hallo! HALLO?" Busted, I thought.. Hello mom? I'm in Nepali prison for attempting to break into a monastery.
A woman hobbled up. She was small, barely reaching Gary's waist, her shortness accentuated by a slight stoop to her walk. She was built solid, wearing a faded maroon Nepali sarong, with her hair pulled back in a handkerchief. Deep wrinkles, sharp eyes, and a quiet aggressive demeanor commanded our respect immediately. She motioned us in and we followed as if hypnotized. The trail wove back and forth sharply, as we made our way up to the monastery. The woman chanted at each switch back, stopping for a breath. Hands clasped behind her back, she sung a Buddhist prayer in a low monotone voice, swaying slowly back and forth as her small feet found the next rocky step. Her red sneakers seemed out of place, and added to the surreal feeling that we just stepped into "the wardrobe".
As we approached the monastery, it resembled a dollhouse, too perfect to exist. The paint had extroverted personality of its own, white accentuated by bright red, green and yellow trim. Prayer flags fluttered up to the pointed roof, while a steep vertical staircase led us to a doorstep. We followed her inside, past the rocky foyer, up narrow steps to a room cluttered with religious artifacts. A shrine to the Dali Lama, now in exile, sat center gaze. Candles shed light onto his pictures, small vessels of holy water crowded the table, and Budda statues laughed at us from lotus position. Golden sunlight streamed into the open window past a large drum. While trying to make a donation to the Dali Lama, I, in all of my grace, spilled a vessel of holy water down my left leg. The woman only smiled, waving off my profuse apologies. It was a place that could tell you the answers to all of your problems, if you sat and listened long enough.
"Morning at Base Camp"
We crawled out of our ice covered tent early that morning, groggy from the altitude, but in awe of our surroundings. That morning was magical. Eight thousand meter peaks rose up all around us. The only sound we heard was our own labored breathing. Everything was a deep blue, as the night faded into daylight. The Khumbu ice fall glowed a quiet serenity. We watched as the first ray of white sunlight appeared, outlining the top of a majestic mountain top. It grow and exposed more of the blue shadow that was the mountain side. A nearby alter was smoldering in sacrifice, while the prayer flags strung above us fluttered in prayer. For the longest time we stood in silence by the altar watching the sun rise. This is what we had struggled all the way here for, this feeling of absolute peace.
We flew into Kathmandu at night, and boy were we in for a treat. Fifty overzealous new Nepali friends were waiting to meet us, to help us carry our baggage, to take us to their home, and take our money. We were hustled into this rundown so called hostel. I convinced Gary to move into a posh $30 room at the Kathmandu Guest House, which we called the "compound". If we walked on the streets, we were instantly surrounded by skinny dark men trying to sell us hash, chess boards, little boys, and wooden elephants. When they approached me, I'd dodge them submissively with "blonde-caught-in-headlights look. Worked like a charm. We wandered down to Durbar Square to see the temples. There were absolutely no addresses, and I was lost every time I stepped foot on the streets alone. We inhaled dust from the unpaved roads, jumped over piles of trash, stared at the cows, and narrowly avoided the wheels of the rickshaw. After sightseeing and emptying our pockets, we'd retreat back to the compound. Finally, our permits arrived. Our next flight took us to Lukla, at 8,000 feet on"Yeti Airlines". When an airplane is named after a mythical Nepali creature, I don't trust flying in it. The flight went smoothly as we glided past Himalayan mountains, until we went into a nose dive. Our plane landed on a runway the length of a driveway. Crowds of trekkers who had been delayed for days angrily stormed the runway. We picked our packs, loaded them onto our backs, and started walking. My pack vaguely resembled a 21inch television. We continued right through town, finding a brightly painted archway at the end. We spun the prayer wheels for good luck, and then emerged onto the trail.
The trail was a worn dirt path, rolling up and down, curving around pine trees. The trails were surprisingly clean, only littered by rocks. We had a brilliant view of the valley as we walked, a quiet village with it's stone fences. After dodging large herds of trekkers, we stopped for a beer. We walked for days and days. We'd wake early and stop when it was dark or it rained. At the end of a 6-13 hour hike, we'd set up our tent, eat our freeze dried food, drink tons of water, and pass out. As we ascended the towns became smaller and the yaks became hairier. The wildlife we spotted included eagles, goats, yaks, and muskdeer, which are deer with sharp fangs. Eventually, the tree line disappeared and the dirt trail became rocky. We cautiously crossed wooden bridges over streams, with herds of yaks at our tail. More travelers started to pass us on their way back down, green with altitude or food sickness. We too became worn out, but pressed on. We made close friendships to a couple of East coast trekkers decked out in North Face gear. Most days were cloudy, with the occasional lucky view of Everest. Soon we were within striking distance to Base Camp. We rested at an Italian observatory, taking a shower and sleeping on a fluffy mattress. The next day we climbed up to Gorak Shep, the town below Base Camp. Avalanches rumbled all around us. We fueled up on treasured Macaroni and Cheese, and slept lightly. The following trek to Base Camp was awesome, as we skirted around blue-green glacier pools towards the Khumbu Icefall. We stumbled over rocks for hours, until we finally made it around the glacier. Base Camp resembled a ghost town with only a few summit teams remaining. After pitching our tent and a meal of noodles, we found enough energy to play in the bottom of the ice fall and take pictures We met American climbers who had tried to summit without oxygen. Their stories fascinated us for an hour or two over milk tea. I sent off the old "hi from Base Camp" email on their portable computer. By then we hardly had the strength to walk back to our tent and bundle up to sleep.
Also of Note:
My previous fears that the trail would be a mutant death hike were unfounded. To quote the Examiner "There's a general lack of understanding that climbing Everest and trekking to it are as different as hang gliding and commercial flying. One is always dangerous, while the other is safe. The same article stated that a person who drives to work in the Bay Area is more likely to die than a Khumbu trekker." In layman's terms, trekking beneath Mt Everest is no harder than Yosemite, the climate is no colder than San Francisco. Except maybe at the top.
We stayed extra days in Kathmandu getting a trekking permit, and trying to avoid getting sick. Spend as little time in Kathmandu on the way up the mountain, to avoid catching a stomach sickness before the trek, which is near impossible. The dreaded sickness in the mountains is AMS, or altitude sickness. You must stay put for a day after you climb up to a really tall place, so you won't get sick and die from AMS. The higher you get, the less oxygen there is to suck into your lungs. Ascending slowly will boost your crazy little red blood cell count and help you deal with the change. You must sleep at a lower altitude than the greatest height you reached during that trekking day. During the down time, you rest and allow your body to get used to the elevation. Or you can hike up and back down that day to get used to the altitude. Of the ten days it took us to trek up to Everest Base Camp, I believe we acclimated 3 days. The act of acclimatization is a simple concept, often overlooked by overzealous or machismo trekkers. Luckily I am neither.
TIPS FROM READERS
I recently learned a lesson about lost airline tickets, at least on United, that really surprised me. I arrived to the airport with about an hour and half to go before my flight, only to discover my paper ticket was no where to be found. Fortunately, or so I thought anyway, I had the confirmation number and receipt from my travel agent as proof of purchase. Well come to discover that this information basically does you no good. The ticket was the last leg of a multi-part journey so when the receipt from my travel agent was printed it only had the sum total of all the legs. In order for United to be able to issue me a new ticket, complete with the $75 service charge, they needed to know exactly how much I had paid for this particular leg. The fact that I was standing there with a confirmation number, which they had on their computer, and proof of payment for the entire trip made no difference, they were not going to let me on the plane. It was a very frustrating experience! Fortunately I had used a travel agency and when I called they said they would contact the airline and get it all settled. I don't know what I would have done had I booked it all myself. In any case, I learned that a confirmation and receipt don't mean a whole lot as far as proving you purchased a seat on the flight. Buyer beware! And may you never lose a paper ticket.
Holly M. Claremont, CA
"The bigger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder" -unknown
Questions From Readers
Thanks for the travel tips!
I have over 200,000 American Express miles and I would like to take my girlfriend to Paris in the Spring what do you suggest?
Dave K.- Florida
That's a lot of miles! I would contact American Express to use the
miles for a first class transAtlantic service to Paris or Nice. Try flying a
carrier that you would not normally fly. For example, if you can fly on an
international carrier, it is probably superior to a U.S. airline. Flying on
different carriers is an eye-opening experience for those of us who fly
regularly on the same carrier.
If first class is not available, try business class, but whatever you choose, make sure it is special and in the forward cabin. If you are thinking about traveling during the holidays, you might have to be flexible with your dates. If you have any leftover miles, see if they can be used for free or reduced hotel night stays...Paris can be expensive.-Clipper Class Chris
Remember most airline and hotel employees are hourly workers and are not highly paid, so remember to treat them kindly. If a situation arises that you are not happy about, write the corporate office directly and give a break to the person administering their organizations' (sometimes ludicrous) rules.
Have a travel tip or a comment about this
week's issue? Send them to: JohnnyJet@USA.Net