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Gardyloo

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  1. Generalizing about the weather in Southeast Alaska is a fool's errand. It can be warm(ish) and sunny, miserable and rainy, or anything in between - within hours. Two photo examples - July 4 in Ketchikan - Two days later in Juneau - Some of the best days I've had in Alaska (lived there for years) have been on the Inside Passage in the winter (in ferries.) Glassy water, silent forests, snow covered peaks through breaks in the clouds, eagles and whales... it's all good. Just come prepared with layers and patience and you'll have a terrific time.
  2. And let me guess, a Motel 6 lodging budget. And you're coming to Seattle. Oy. 😉
  3. It's going to require a bit more work, but the value can still be significant. For example, Alaska Airlines, which has many partners including Oneworld, Skyteam and non-alliance airlines, still has fixed award tiers including some amazing deals, for example one way on Cathay Pacific in first class from the contiguous US and Canada to Asia or the Middle East for 70,000 miles. Most airlines are definitely moving to "dynamic" pricing models for miles/points redemptions. The downside is that more miles are usually needed for peak periods; but there is an upside - when they quote a number of miles for a given trip, it means there are actually seats available at that level. This is different from the "award table" approach which might say you can fly for as little as X miles, but there are no seats available at that level - maybe ever, or maybe not until 72 hours before the flight. Low redemption requirements don't mean anything if there aren't any seats available. There's no substitute for research and a little arithmetic to evaluate options. How much are your miles worth? If you say they're worth a penny each, and a flight costs 100,000 miles, could you purchase the same flight for $1000? How hard is that to figure out?
  4. Uber/Lyft from the airport will most likely be competitive with the STILA towncars that you can get next to the taxi rank in the airport garage. If "surge" pricing is in effect it might be more, but unlikely. Note there are two piers, Pier 66 is downtown; Pier 91 (everybody except Norwegian and I think Oceania) is around 3 miles farther from the airport, so prices will vary depending on the destination.
  5. Eastbound flights are generally overnight; westbound ones like the OP is flying are generally in the daytime, and are usually around an hour to an hour and a half longer than the eastbound ones due to prevailing winds. I'm not able to find any nonstop flights from AMS to MIA for next May. Would you be changing planes someplace like Atlanta?
  6. Sixt is a big German-based car rental company that's been moving into US markets for a few years. According to their website, you'll collect the car over by the Smith Cove Marina, roughly a one-mile/20-minute walk from the cruise terminal. https://www.sixt.com/car-rental/usa/seattle/seattle-pier-91-deliveries I hope the price is pretty good, because the walk with bags is going to be a little annoying. Here's a walking map - https://goo.gl/maps/irMcfKgDAQt7N2wG8
  7. T5B > T5B T5B > T5C Note "FCC" means the T5B Flight Connections Centre. You'll go through security but not passport control there. Your bags will go through to your final destination or first US point of entry if IAD isn't your final destination, where you'll go through both immigration and customs. Same for the flight to YYZ.
  8. Remember you'll only get PE on long haul flights. Any connections on either side of the Atlantic will involve ordinary coach for the short-haul portions. So when comparing PE on SAS vs. going with another airline, be mindful that another airline will probably mean another airport at least at one end, with cramped seating on the shorter flights. Here's a useful PE comparison chart; not sure how updated it is. https://www.seatguru.com/charts/premium_economy.php
  9. In general, "upgrading" from one award ticket to another involves the airline just adding the additional cost in miles (and possibly taxes) and revising your reservation accordingly. I don't know how UA would handle the additional money you paid for the E+ seats, but I'm sure they have some means, maybe a cash refund, maybe a credit against future travel. The big issue is availability in business class. You'll be competing against everybody else for any award seats for your flights; you won't get any special treatment because you're already ticketed in E+. I would start by going on the UA website and pretending you're starting from scratch and see if there are any business class seats available on your travel days. If there are, then I'd phone UA (even if it means paying a phone fee) and ask to switch your bookings to the available flights. If there aren't, then all you can do is wait.
  10. Both departure cities will involve cruises that travel on open ocean for quite some distance, and the Pacific ain't the Caribbean. Both will require round-trip cruises that only go as far as Southeast Alaska before turning around. I would look at round-trips from Vancouver BC before I'd look at either Seattle or SF, or one-way cruises from/to Vancouver to/from Seward or Whittier in Southcentral Alaska. The Vancouver boats travel to the east of Vancouver Island, on sheltered "Inside Passage" waters, while those from Seattle (and SF) travel to the west of the island on open ocean - rougher and not much scenery. If you want to fly into Seattle to save money on airfare, you can drive, take a bus, or take a train to Vancouver, but do the math first; sometimes the Seattle < > Vancouver costs can outweigh the cost of just flying to Vancouver in the first place. Vancouver is also a spectacular city, with many attractions in the city and the surrounding region.
  11. Have you considered a Denali flight out of Anchorage instead? One of the advantages of flying from Anchorage is that if Denali is socked in (which happens often) the operators have other options - flights over the Chugach Mountains and Knik Glacier, or flights over Prince William Sound and the various glaciers and ice fields in the area, or across Cook Inlet to bear and volcano country. Look at Rust's for example - https://www.flyrusts.com/ - which has a wide range of options.
  12. Most of the high end steak houses will cost close to what El Gaucho charges. (Ruth's Chris doesn't even publish their prices.) I haven't been there but have heard good things about Zane & Wylie's, located in walking distance from your hotel. https://zaneandwylies.com/ The prices seem to be a bit lower than the others. For a splurge, Daniel's Broiler on Lake Union has fab steaks and a great view too. https://www.schwartzbros.com/locations/daniels-broiler-lake-union/
  13. Part of the problem is that there's no premium economy on short-haul flights within Europe, so sometimes the airline computers look for a compatible "fare bucket" - basically the fare classification that corresponds to the long-haul premium economy one - that it can use for setting the short-haul portion of the overall fare, in your case the flights to/from Croatia. But because there's no premium economy seating offered on those flights, the computer defaults to the closest thing, namely business class. This can have the effect of increasing the whole (consolidated) fare to a business class one. I know that sounds nuts, but anybody who claims to understand the airlines' fare algorithms and who doesn't have a diploma from Hogwarts is blowing smoke. Try this out. Try two separate bookings, a round trip in PE to London, and a separate "open-jaw" reservation from London to Croatia (to Dubrovnik, back from Split) in economy. You can use the likes of Expedia for the short-haul flights; just be sure to give yourselves plenty of time (say a day or more) between the long-haul and short-haul flights, in case something goes haywire. My suspicion is that you'll end up with a total fare that's far more palatable than the combined fares you're seeing by ticketing through AA. And it case it hasn't been mentioned, I'd try to avoid any same-day transfers between Heathrow and Gatwick. It's time-consuming, frustrating, and expensive. Even if you have to pay more for using Heathrow for all the flights, the savings in aggravation (and the cost of transferring from one to the other) might be worth it.
  14. In August I wouldn't expect any troubles.
  15. Some of the Eclipse itineraries include Sitka and Hubbard Glacier. IMO the Hubbard Glacier would more than make up for missing Glacier Bay if the cruise stopped in Sitka.
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