Booking Complicated Air Routes

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Some air travel involves simple Point A to Point B routings.  For these, booking options are fairly obvious and straight forward. Other travel adventures are more complicated.  Booking complicated air routes is more – what? Well – complicated.

Plans for my Journey to Myanmar continue to evolve.  Perhaps not surprisingly, lots of people haven’t heard of Myanmar or know where it is.  Many ask how you get there. I’ve previously written some about Myanmar, – its history and location (Click Here).  But how do you get to Myanmar?  Interesting question.  Getting to Myanmar from Kansas City involves booking more complicated air routes.

I usually handle my own travel planning.  For air fares and air routing I use a variety of web sites. I want to be able to select my airlines and be able to have some control over routing, travel times, layover duration, as well as price. In order to do this I have usually relied primarily on major companies like Orbitz and Travelocity.  There are other booking sites out there, some which might actually give you a cheaper bottom line on your ticket pricing.  But you relinquish control of the details and in some cases you don’t even know the details until you make the booking. And also these larger sites frequently don’t give you access to information about all flights or routing combinations and possibilities.  They are good for simple, point to point travel.  But as the destination or the routing gets more complicated their offerings become more limited.

Google entered the airline routing information field several years ago and has been improving it’s service ever since.  For my trip to Myanmar I found that Google Flights gave me many more options regarding airlines (and airline combinations), flight times, routings, pricing and layovers than what I found with the other main services.

Be aware – Google Flights is interesting in one other respect.  It gives you all the flight information and details and it will give you bottom line pricing.  But – you cannot actually book your flights with Google.  For that they recommend contacting the airline directly (providing you with phone and web site information)  or booking through a travel agent. Knowing what flights I wanted and what pricing should be, I initially contacted the airlines directly.  That was frustrating.  One airline quoted me a fare about $1,000 higher than Google indicated for the exact same flights.  (Thanks but no thanks) Another put me on “forever hold” and I couldn’t find my booking using their web site. (OK – so probably I would have had more success if I spoke / read Chinese or Japanese as you will see.)  I ultimately contacted a local travel agent, Cheryl, associated with Acendas.   Since I knew all the exact details of the routing – flight numbers, dates, etc. – I asked what their charge would be to simply book the routing.  She was very helpful, quoted me a very reasonable simple booking fee, and I closed the deal. Success!

( After booking the flights a friend mentioned Hipmunk as a booking option for more complicated routings.  I checked, but was unable to find the same routing.  I found one that was somewhat similar ( most involved total travel times in excess of 40 hours! ) and tried to explore it but as I did so I was notified “Sorry! Your flight is no longer available!. It’s the nature of the business”  Well, it might be the nature of their business – but it sounds a bit like “bait and switch” to me. Anyway – I’m not doing business with them.)

So, how do you get to Myanmar? After considerable research and soul searching, I ended up with the following routing.

Myanmar air routing 1

 Out Bound –

Kansas City to San Francisco –           United Airlines

San Francisco to Beijing China –         United Airlines

Beijing China to Yangon Myanmar –     Air China

 Return –

Yangon Myanmar to Tokyo Japan –       All Nippon Airways

Tokyo Japan to Houston –                    All Nippon Airways

Houston to Kansas City –                     United Airlines

And that’s how you get to Myanmar – at least for me.  And I must say it is not a short trip.  Departing Kansas City at 7:30 AM on Day 1, I arrive in Yangon at 10:50 PM on Day 2. (The time difference between Kansas City and Yangon Myanmar is 11 hours and 30 minutes –  3:00 PM Sunday in Kansas City is 2:30 AM Monday in Yangon. ) Total time in flight, not counting layovers, is 21.5 hours outbound and 20 hours return. Total travel time outbound is 27 hours and return is 27 hours 45 minutes.  That’s 9,400 flight miles outbound and 10,300 flight miles return. I’m exhausted just thinking about it!

Check back for more information about the Journey to Myanmar.

Book Complicated Air Routes Successfully  … And Enjoy The Adventure!

Dr.B, The Photo Trekker

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