Tag Archive | "airline"

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Hawaiian Airlines Pre-Black Friday Fares!

Posted on 20 November 2013 by David

Hawaiian airlines released their 2013 Pre-Black Friday deals today!

Update 1/13/2014: Deal is still alive!

Check for eligible dates of travel! [link]

Hawaiian airlines is running a Pre-Black Friday sale again this year!  Want to go to Hawaii?    In that case, if you can find a low fare for your travel dates, this might be a great time to book a flight!

Here’s a few sample fares:

  • San Diego to Honolulu from $495*RT
  • Oakland to Honolulu from $391*RT
  • Portland to Honolulu from $357*RT
  • JFK to Honolulu (non-stop) from $680*RT

Book from: Nov 26 – Dec 2, 2013
Travel from: January 8 – March 10, 2014

Use this link to get there:

Hawaiian Airlines: Low Web Fares

If you score a great deal with this we’d like to know too.  We’ll be jealous that you’re going!

Read our short post on Hawaii’s Volcanoes!  Feeling the Breath of the Earth

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Getting through airport security with CLEAR – My experience

Posted on 11 December 2012 by David

Airport security with CLEAR, what is it?

I received an email the other day that had a headline “CLEAR is now at Westchester airport!”. Having seen a CLEAR entry point at security while flying out of SFO (San Francisco) earlier this year, the email peaked my interest as I was going be flying out of HPN very frequently in the near future.

If you’ve never heard of CLEAR before, the idea is simple.  It is a commercial endeavor aimed at allowing you to bypass the long ID and boarding pass lines at the security checkpoints in airport terminals.   They give you the means to shoot past the long lines and go straight into the screening area.

Great in theory but good in practice?

CLEAR doesn’t operate at a lot of airports so the benefit is, I think, better for business travelers who fly out of the same airport frequently. Since I happen to be flying out of HPN (Westchester airport) often, I decided to give them a try.

Note that there is a process you have to go through before you can use CLEAR at the airport.  You need to physically go to one of their offices and have your documentation verified and you need to have your fingerprints and retinas scanned. It doesn’t take long to do and you’re in and out of the office in less than 15 minutes. Once that’s done, you get your CLEAR smart card in the mail within a week or two.

On my first day using CLEAR at HPN I happened to get there super early (5:30am in fact!).  HPN is a small airport so there’s not that many people there at that time.  There was no line at the TSA ID check so I could have just sped right through that without using CLEAR but since I was eager to try out my CLEAR pass, I went to the CLEAR area instead.

At HPN there are two large kiosks and two friendly CLEAR agents  there who help you get through.  I handed over my CLEAR photo ID smart badge over to one of the agents.  She inserted it into the kiosk and I did a fingerprint scan. It instantly recognized me and the agent signaled the ok to her partner to unlock a special shortcut door into the screening area.

All in all it took about 30 seconds to get through.  It was a breeze.

OK, but did it save time?

Honestly speaking, since there was no line that morning at the TSA ID check, I would have been in the screening area a few moments before I would have walked through the CLEAR shortcut so no real-time savings for me that morning.  However, I’ve been at HPN when the ID badge check wraps around itself a few times so I can see it saving a good 10-15 minutes of waiting when the line is long.

How much is it?

It’s $179 a year for an individual and less for family and corporate accounts.  At that price you need to consider whether it’s something you’ll use frequently.

How does this compare to TSA Pre Check?

I don’t have any experience with TSA Pre Check but from what I have read, the premise is similar.   TSA Pre Check aims at saving you time in the screening area.   One nice thing about TSA Pre Check is that if you already have Global Entry, you can participate in TSA pre-check right off the bat.  You can find more info on TSA pre-check at TSA’s pre-check website.

Where can you use CLEAR?

Unfortunately not at that many places.  Here’s the list as of December 2012.  The latest list can be found on the CLEAR website.

  • Orlando International Airport (MCO)
  • Denver International Airport (DEN)
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
  • Westchester NY Airport (HPN)

Is CLEAR worth having?

For me, it’s too early to say.  $179 is a sizable investment.  It’s along the same lines as asking if paying $400 a year for  lounge access is worth it. If you fly out once a week out of any of the airports with CLEAR and you are constantly short on time, you probably should consider it.

I’ve seen CLEAR at SFO (San Francisco airport) as well and I recall there being a zero line at CLEAR.  At the time I had no clue what it was about, I thought it was for airport personnel.  Now I know better and it would have saved me the 15 minutes it took to get through the TSA ID check line if I had a CLEAR membership then!

Now that I have it, I have to try it out a few more times to find out if it’s worth it for me.  I tend to fly really early in the morning when the lines are short so it may not benefit me as much but like I said, lines do get long at HPN later in the day so if I were to fly more often in the later morning or afternoons, then it might be worth it to save the annoyance of waiting in line.

So it depends on your situation.  If you tend to fly often when the airport is busy it might be worth it.

Have you tried out CLEAR?  Is it the best thing since sliced bread for you?  I’m curious to see what you think.

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15 Secs to earn 100 Free American Airlines AAdvantage Miles

Posted on 20 June 2012 by Danica

Airline Airplane Loyalty Program Deals

To earn 100 free American Airlines AAdvantage miles today, all you need to do is to go on Facebook, like AA, and fill out a simple form.

We know you are busy, so we only pick deals that will literally take you only seconds to complete.

Here are the simple steps:

1) Login to Facebook and click on this free 100 American Airlines AAdvantage miles link


2) Like American Airlines

3) Fill out this simple form


4) You are done!  It will take 6-8 weeks for the free miles to post to your account.



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Plan a Perfect African Safari in Kenya: 7 – Getting to Maasai Mara

Posted on 06 June 2012 by David

Today, we are on the last part of our seven-part “Plan a Perfect African Safari in Kenya” series.

To reach the safari camp in the Conservancy, your itinerary will have two major components.  The first is getting to Kenya.  The second is making your way from wherever you are in Kenya to the camp.

Typically you would fly into Nairobi International, take ground transport to Wilson Airport, and then take a prop plane out to the Maasai Mara.   Our around the world trip took us through Turkey on Turkish alines and we landed in Nairobi around one in the morning.

Arrival at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport

For the most part you will need to fly into Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (airport code: NBO).

Kenya Ministry of Health regulations

Here's a sign with info about vaccinations. Please double-check this with the Kenya Ministry of Health for the latest info.


Waiting in line to buy a visa

Kenya allows you to purchase a visa on arrival. Make sure you have enough US Dollars or Kenyan Shillings to cover the cost of the Visa as the ATM's around in the international arrivals area may not be working!


If you’re flying out to Maasai Mara, you’ll most likely need to go to Wilson Airport.  Wilson airport doesn’t open until the morning daylight hours.   This presents a dilemma if you arrive very late at night or really early in the morning into NBO.  Should you stay at NBO and wait around until it’s time to head to Wilson airport for your departing flight or should you book a room at an hotel?   It’s up to you but we decided it was not worth the time and expense to go to an hotel for only an hour or two of sleep.  We decided to tough it out at NBO.  We arrived at 1am and were out of baggage claim around 2am.   Our driver picked us up to go to Wilson at 6am.

One tip, if you decide to wait around the airport, try to not exit the baggage claim area.  We made the mistake of exiting out into the arrivals hall to find that there are almost no seats available once you exit baggage claim!

Cafe in NBO arrivals hall

These are the only seats you’re going to find in the arrivals hall. It’s a little dark here so only take a nap if you have family or friends with you who can watch over your belongings.


NBO arrivals hall

This is the arrival hall. It's quite sparse but reasonably lit. Money exchange booths open around 6am. There are a number of ATMs here but every one we tried was out of service.

Nairobi Wilson Airport

Prior to us landing in Nairobi, we booked transportation with a well reviewed car service operator.  He picked us up at 6am from NBO.  Nairobi has very bad highway congestion and it took us an hour to reach Wilson Airport.

When flying out of Wilson Airport you will by flying on a small aircraft.  Do note that there is a weight limit but  if you have too many bags you’ll have to leave it behind.  Fortunately you can rent a locker with Air Kenya at Wilson airport when you check in.   We left our large duffel bag there  and we had no issues picking it up on the return.


Air Kenya aircraft

Air Kenya prop plane.


Air Kenya lobby is comfortable but can get crowded quickly.

This is the Air Kenya waiting area. There is a small cafe upstairs. They both get crowded quick so it's good if you get there early.


Mara Landing Strip

Air Kenya landing strip

The landing strips in the Mara are busy with aircraft coming and going quite frequently.


On landing you’re met by a representative of your camp.  Depending on how far the camp is, this becomes your first game drive of your safari!


That’s it for our series on Kenya.  We couldn’t cover everything so if you have questions let us know!

Also if you have an idea on a location you want to go, but not sure how to plan it all out?  We have traveled around the world so if you have a question about a place, we probably have been there.  =)   So leave a comment below. Your destination may just be our featured location next month.

Our entire seven part series of our “Plan a Perfect African Safari in Kenya“:

  1. Introduction
  2. 10 Must-See Animals (including the Big 5)
  3. Five Tidbits about the Mara Crossing You Should Know
  4. Our Wildebeest Crossing Experience
  5. Choosing When and Where to Go
  6. Kicheche Camp Review
  7. Getting to Maasai Mara (Current Post)

You may also enjoy our Picture of the Week:

  1. Maasai Warriors Jumping Contest (Adumu)


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Limited Time Offer! 50% Bonus on Membership Rewards Transfer to British Airways Avios

Posted on 29 May 2012 by Danica

 Airline Airplane Loyalty Program Deals

Don’t forget to take advantage of the 50% bonus when you transfer from American Express Membership Rewards (MR) points to British Airways (BA) Avios points.  The offer is good through May 31st (2 more days) only!

When considering whether to give up the precious MR points for the BA Avios points, take into consideration the following:

1) The surcharges like fuel charges on BA reward flights are notorisouly high.  So make sure you do a price comparison among other airlines on the same route, and payment vs. rewards points before proceeding.

2) Having said that, we used BA points to book LAN when we traveled in South America all the time.  No complaints on cost there!

3) If you already have an itinerary in mind that involved BA, this limited time offer may make sense for you.

To take advantage of this offer, just log into your American Express Account.  Click Rewards on top navigation bar, then Use Points, then Travel tab.  The BA offer is highlighted there.  And best of all, the transfer is almost real-time!


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