disclaimer: no, i don’t work for ExpertFlyer but i highly recommend that site, especially if you are of the earn-and-burn type like me. while the paid version of EF gets you a lot of features, the most useful for me is setting email alerts for when there’s new availability, in my case, an award seat on an otherwise award-seat-less flight. these alerts have helped me improve my award itineraries more times than i can count — yep, i’m totally taking advantage of the free award changes i get as a higher-level United elite member.
i’m a Hello Kitty Jet virgin and have been looking forward to flying on one ever since i first heard about them a couple years ago, only to be even more pumped now that they are part of Star Alliance and i can redeem miles for Hello Kitty flights! once they joined i jumped on the chance and booked a flight — SFO-TPE-ICN with the last flight (Taipei to Seoul) being a Hello Kitty flight (on their apple-themed plane).
for those of you who are not familiar with EVA Air’s Hello Kitty offering, this shall be mine! (hint: use the fullscreen button on the bottom toolbar)
recently, EVA Airways announced LAX-TPE would be Hello Kitty several times a week (their first long-haul), and i had mostly written it off since there was no business class availability*. i set an ExpertFlyer alert, though, and guess what i got today?
*sidebar: on flying business yeah, i think my Coach 4 Lyfe mantra may be getting a bit old as i get older :P. my plan has been to get out and see a bit of Taipei before my connection so i wanted a good night’s sleep the night before — the original SFO-TPE would have me land in Taipei in time to get into town and into a hotel, but the LAX-TPE gets in in the wee hours of the morning. so, no hotel + MOAR HELLO KITTY AMENITIES = gotta spring for business class.
i should have just tried to make the change online but figured if i called it in, it’d be quicker. nope. it took me 25 minutes but even though i fed her which EVA Airways flights i wanted (the new LAX-TPE Hello Kitty, keeping the same TPE-ICN one, but upgrading to business), it took a while for her to understand, and then she said it would cost me something crazy because the only SFO-LAX flights available in business/first were not at the saver award level. (also, she didn’t know BR was the airline code for EVA Airways, but this seems to be common among agents.)
i guess she didn’t understand how desperately i wanted this flight.
“oh,” i told her, “i think i saw a flight that left at noon or something at the saver level?” she put me on hold again (well, no, she was a big fan of dead air; i had to ask “hello?” at least once to make sure i wasn’t disconnected) and voila! that 7h42 min connection in LAX is fine with me — i can get work done in the new lounge!
ahh, i’m so excited! while this will basically be a repeat of my Royal Laurel experience (complete with connecting to to the same type of plane, also in business), this time it’ll be with a double dose of Hello Kitty, and since i’m leaving the airport to go into Taipei, i’ll be sure to check out the Hello Kitty check-in area as well on my way to Seoul!
and you know i’ll have these on:
(and of course i set ExpertFlyer alerts for later SFO-LAX flights — *cross fingers* — while i don’t mind spending time at the airport, it is a workday and hopefully i won’t have to leave for the airport in the middle.)