Monday, October 28, 2013

Baggage Fee Pitfalls with United and ANA Long Layover Flights

If you're looking into booking a flight with a long or overnight layover and carrying more than 1 bag, think twice ...
First off, you should know that even for international flights, United Airlines and ANA (All Nippon Airways) now only allow one free check-in luggage (I'm used to 2 free luggage on Singapore Air or Cathay Pacific). The second bag is $100. So on my last trip home to Indonesia, I flew United/ANA home for the first time, because the flight was $300 cheaper than Singapore Air's. This itinerary included an 18-hour overnight layover in Tokyo on the way there and a 10-hour layover (again in Tokyo) on return flight. Usually I'm a light packer and only travel with carry-on, but my trips home are different, with my family and so many relatives wanting me to bring this and that (shoes, Disney toys, Flamin' Hot Cheetos ...) and I always end up with a check-in luggage.
So. The long layover was attractive at first, allowing me to see a bit of Tokyo, but beware before you book a flight like this next time.
Apparently when your layover is more than 12 hours, they cannot check you in for your next leg, so I had to take my luggage out and put them in storage at the airport before going to Tokyo for the night. Fast forward to the next morning when I checked in for my next leg of the itinerary to Jakarta .... guess what? They said I need to pay the extra baggage fee AGAIN. Never mind that it was on the same itinerary and that I had already paid $100 in Los Angeles, because I was only checked in to Narita before, my $100 was only valid for LA-Narita. So now they've tacked on $200 already for the flight that was only $300 than Singapore Air! Not to mention the service sucked and the food was not as good. With a 11+ hour flight from LA to Narita they managed not to have time to give me the arrival forms on the plane, despite having asked for them.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Knott's Scary Farm: Haunted Mazes for 2013

Have you started thinking about Halloween yet? Because Scary Farm has started at Knott's with their haunted mazes.

This year, they've added a secret room to each maze that you can unlock with a "skeleton key". With this you go in from a separate line in small groups (up to 6) for a short interactive experience. You can buy this as a combo with the Fright Pass (like a fast pass but only for the mazes), or book a dinner "boo-fet" that lets you into the park earlier.
Personally, though, if you have to choose where to splurge, I would opt for "Trapped", where the whole maze is interactive. The Trapped maze is $60 for up to 6 people (so if you can get a group of 6 together that's only $10 per person). I was lucky enough to be invited into this maze last year and it was quite fun (i.e. scary). You may have to do some scary things, though, like getting into a coffin ... the eating crickets part was easy.
Some of the new mazes this year is raven-filled Forevermore.
Knott's Scary Farm