Today, I tackled the daunting task of beginning to research flight options for a visit to my girls. I have specific things I'm looking for: a non-stop flight from the U.S. to Manila, from a city to which SWA flies, on an airline on which I can Non-Rev travel (aka, save myself a whole lot of moolah by using my airline-employee benefits).
My first choice was Delta. I had been told that they have a non-stop flight from Detroit, MI, to Manila. Unfortunately, I was told incorrectly. Delta does not have ANY non-stop flights from the U.S. to Manila. Strike One.
Next, I did a general search for airlines that fly non-stop from anywhere in the U.S.to Manila. Most were airlines that I had never even heard of. Strike Two.
Philippine Airlines DOES have a couple non-stop connection to U.S. cities. However, I have been warned in the past about the questionable levels of safety on non-U.S. carriers, so more research was in order. Like any airline, PAL has its share of incidents and accidents. However, it doesn't seem out of proportion compared to our U.S. carriers. And they are accredited by the IATA. So things look good on that front.
Even better, PAL has non-stop flights to Manila from San Francisco AND Los Angeles, both of which are cities served by SWA. Score! I think we will opt for SFO, if the flights cooperate. I'm not overly fond LAX.
There is currently one flight per day from SFO to MNL. It leaves SFO at 9:15PM and makes a "technical stop" (whatever that is) in Guam. It arrives in Manila at 5:30AM ... two days later. So if we leave SFO on a Tuesday night, we land in Manila on THURSDAY morning! Yow!
Coming back, there is no stop in Guam. The flight leaves at 10:30PM, and arrives in SFO at 6:30PM on the same day. Haha! That's pretty whacky. =) We'll probably wind up spending the night in SFO, and then flying on Southwest back to Baltimore the next morning.
So there we are! It's still far too early to actually arrange for travel passes ... but now the initial research is done!