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Flights in US & Canada

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ALR
Sydney
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Flights in US & Canada

We are vsiting Las Vegas in April for a trade show and would like to visit elsewhere afterwards. We were thinking of flying from Sydney to Las Vegas via Honolulu and then visiting Vancouver after the show. Has anyone any suggestions especially the best way to book flights. Do we book a return trip Sydney - Honolulu and then one way trips on to Vegas, Vancouver and back to Honolulu or are there better ways of doing it?

Canada
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1. Re: Flights in US & Canada

I am not that familiar with how flights from Australia work. However, both Westjet and Air Canada fly to Honolulu from Vancouver, and both also fly to Las Vegas. Air fares seem reasonable (about $200 + taxes and fees one way to Honolulu). You might consider an open jaw ticket -- fly into Las Vegas and out of Vancouver with the same airline, and just buying a one way ticket from Las Vegas to Vancouver. Air Canada is part of the Star Alliance, so there may be options from Sydney on an Air Canada booked ticket that includes all the stops that you require (what that would cost I cannot tell you). I suggest that you take a bit of time on various airline websites to figure out what might work (Aircanada.com; Westjet.com; etc.). Hopefully, someone with lots of flying to-and-from-Australia experience will be able to be more specific about your options.

Calgary, Alberta...
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2. Re: Flights in US & Canada

You can use ITA Software to experiment with different options.

http://www.itasoftware.com/

SYDNEY TO LAS VEGAS

On the outbound flight, you have various options. Amongst others, they include:

* Sydney - Nadi (Fiji) - Los Angeles - Las Vegas

* Sydney - San Francisco - Las Vegas

* Sydney - Los Angeles - Las Vegas

* Sydney - Honolulu - Las Vegas

Airlines that you could use for that leg include Air Pacific, Air New Zealand, American Airlines, Qantas, amongst others.

LAS VEGAS TO VANCOUVER

For the Las Vegas to Vancouver leg of your journey, there are a fair number of non-stop flights. Airlines that cover that route include America West, US Airways, WestJet, Alaska Airlines, United, Delta, Air Canada.

VANCOUVER TO SYDNEY

For your homebound jourey, offerings include

* Vancouver - Honolulu - Sydney

* Vancouver - Los Angeles - Sydney

* Vancouver - San Francisco - Sydney

Airlines include Hawaiian Air, American Airlines, Qantas, Air Canada.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

The cheapest combination that ITA Software indicated was US$2,068 with United Airlines. The route was Sydney - Los Angeles - Las Vegas - Los - Angeles - Vancouver - San Francisco - Sydney. The disadvantages were that the itinerary included a long (12 hour) layover in Los Angeles en route to Vancouver and then a frightfully tight (32 minute) layover in Los Angeles en route from Las Vegas to Vancouver.

The next cheapest option was American Airlines at US$2,311.90. It had you flying Sydney - Honolulu - Las Vegas - Los Angeles - Vancouver - San Francisco - Sydney. It included a longish (5.5 hour) layover in Honolulu en route to Las Vegas and a 2.5 hour layover in Los Angeles en route to Vancouver.

BEST COMPROMISE

The best compromise between convenience and price seemed to be offered by a Hawaiian Air / Air Canada combination that came to US$2,659.81. That itinerary would have you flying Sydney - Honolulu - Las Vegas on Hawaiian Air. There would be a 4-hour layover in Honolulu, which perhaps is a little on the long side, but is not too bad. It provided you with a non-stop flight between Las Vegas and Vancouver on Air Canada. Then it had Air Canada flying you Vancouver - Honolulu - Sydney.

After that the fares continued to climb from US$4,369 up through US$7,245 with various other airlines (Qantas, Air New Zealand, etc.).

Don't assume that the ITA Software fares are written in stone. I use them for research and comparison purposes only. Once you've figured out the two or three most promising airlines, go to the airlines' own websites and see what kind of fares you can find.

You also might consider using the services of a travel agent. Sometimes they know of deals that the general public does not know about.

WARNING

You MUST make sure that all flights covering one leg of your journey are "tied" to each other. For example, you mentioned the possibility of booking return flights from Sydney to Honolulu and back again and then booking separate flights to take you from Honolulu to Las Vegas and so on. The danger with that is that, if your Sydney to Honolulu flight is delayed and you miss your connection to Las Vegas in Honolulu, YOU are responsible for the missed flight.

There have been instances in which travellers have had to pay for the next available onward flight. If the entire journey is booked in such a way that the flights are "tied" to each other and if the first airline gets you to the conecting airport too late to make your connection, it is the airline's responsibility to find you a substitute flight at no cost to you (and even put you up in an airport at their cost if the delay is long enough).

SEAT SELECTION

Once you know which flights you want, you can use the Seat Guru website to identify the best seats on each plane (not an insignificant factor on long flights):

www.seatguru.com

I have flown Houston - Los Angeles - Auckland - Melbourne and Melbourne - Sydney - Honolulu - Vancouver - Calgary and various other trans-Pacific combinations. I also have flown those routes on a variety of airlines. In my estimation the Hawaiian Air / Air Canada combination that I identified above is probably about as good as any you'll find.

I do not have experience of Hawaiian Air, but I do have extensive experience of Air Canada. People's opinions of Air Canada differ. Some people like it, some people hate it. I think that, as international carriers go, it's okay.

Let's face it, that trans-Pacific flight is brutal. Those Qantas advertisements that tell you that Australia is closer than you think are a stretch. Yeah, sure, it's closer than it was in the days when you had to sail there. But, when it comes to flying, there's no escaping the fact that it's a long flight. Whether you do the trans-Pacific crossing with Air Canada, Air New Zealand, Qantas, American Airlines or whoever else does not really make that big of a difference to the overall experience in my opinion.

When it comes to doing the trip in the other direction, that is, from North America to Australia, I think the discomfort of the flight is infinitely worthwhile. I would jump through many more hoops than that to visit a country as wonderful as Australia. I'm just suggesting that we not kid ourselves about the nature of the ocean crossing, that's all.

Anyway, I hope the above information has been helpful.

ALR
Sydney
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3. Re: Flights in US & Canada

Many thanks for your replies, all information taken on board. I have done a lot of research on the internet, probably to the point of total confusion which is why I posed the question on Trip Advisor! At one stage I thought I had found a really great deal on a one way flight from Honolulu to Sydney when my husband suggested this was probably only available to American residents.

Anyway time is on our side so I will keep checking and when I feel I am informed will also talk to a travel agent.

My other problem is to convince my husband that the weather will not be too cold in Vancouver in late April!

Thanks once again for your help.

Calgary, Alberta...
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4. Re: Flights in US & Canada

>>>>>>My other problem is to convince my husband that the weather will not be too cold in Vancouver in late April!<<<<<<

I used the Trip Planner feature of the Weather Underground website to find out what Vancouver's temperatures had been between April 21st and April 30th over the last ten years or so.

During that period the average daily high has been 14 deg C, but it has varied from 8 deg C to 20 deg C.

The average night time low has been 7 deg C, although it has varied from 1 deg C to 11 deg C.

In every year there has been some rain during that period, more in some years and less in other years.

The kind of rain that Vancouver gets does not stop you from doing anything. But you do need to dress for it.

If you want to use the Weather Underground's Trip Planner feature for other dates and other destinations, go to

weatherunderground.com/tripplanner/index.asp

Once you're there, you can go to the left hand margin and choose between English (imperial) and Metric units.

Hope that helps.

ALR
Sydney
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5. Re: Flights in US & Canada

Thanks Judy will check that website and thanks for your helpfulness. Will let you knoe how we get on.

ALR
Sydney
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129 posts
38 reviews
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6. Re: Flights in US & Canada

Just wanted to let you know Judy how great that website was - www.itasoftware.com. Hadn't seen it before but after using it & refining flights with other info I had found out, we went along to the travel agent with the flights we wanted. We asked him if he had any other suggestions but he thought they were all fine so looks as if that is sorted. Not that it is cheap mind you - over $AUD3,000 each- but at least the connections and flight times are good! Anyway thanks again. I will now be posing questions re hotels etc.

7. Re: Flights in US & Canada

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