Seoul – Dubai -United Global First
Around the world and then some
In June of last year thanks to The Fight Deal and Flyertalk I was notified of an amazing First Class mistake fare to Korea. United Airlines had published a fare from Boston to Seoul through the end of schedule and had pretty liberal routing rules as long as you flew over the Pacific on United. This fare was not cheap at $1700 per person, but it was an A class fare. This meant that you could cancel at any time for no reason and get a 100% refund plus earn a ton of status and redeemable miles due to the fare class bonuses, and it was in First Class!! There are times of year where a coach ticket is more on this route then what I paid for First Class.
Of course my mantra is book or hold and then take 24 hours to decide if the trip is worth it or not. Even though it was 100% refundable spending 5K for three of us to fly to Korea was a little above my spending threshold, I knew if I was to go the whole family would come too. On these mistake fares you just have pull the trigger and then cancel in 24 hours to get a full refund (disclosure US based airlines are required to let you cancel but if you book though a third party beware of their cancelation rules, they might be different). In any event I found dates that worked, basically we were full up for vacation in 2014 so I just found a pair of dates in March that worked. I consulted the boss on any dates that may not work for her and away I went to book. I chose to book for two weeks, so as to actually maximize or time away from home and then went about deciding if we wanted to go anywhere else besides Korea in that time period.
For the next 5 months I toyed with where else to go. We love the Maldives, South East Asia as well as Australia. And they are all relatively close to Korea. But what it really came down to for my wife was two things, having to fly from SFO to get to Boston to start the trip and immediately come back to SFO to get to Seoul. If it was the two of us this was not a problem, but with an almost 4 year old, not a fun prospect even though she’s a great flier, you know what I mean if you’re a parent. I tried to convince her that we could hang in Boston for a few days first and then come back, but that didn’t do it. I even held my breath for 5 minutes, threatening to pass out if she didn’t just say yes. Seriously I’m kidding here, I’m not a free diver. Between going East to fly back West and the more importantly the fact her job changed at work, which meant she no longer really had the flexibility of leaving in March for two weeks. Damn.
Thankfully my wife humored me and said I could still go and take advantage of the trip. I was no longer going to go for two weeks, since I’d rather save my vacation for family time, but now I had the opportunity to find a way to get to/from Seoul to keep the ticket and still get home between departure/arrival from Seoul. In other words, I needed to find my way from Seoul back to SFO and then back to Seoul so I could come home. Crazy huh. This was going to be my trip to nowhere and I was now trying to figure out how I could get home in style and spend as little cash as possible. The hunt was on!!
Cancelling their tickets was easy, I didn’t even have to call the airlines. All I had to do was split our tickets, put my wife and daughter on one and me on the other. All of this could be done on their website, and then cancel their ticket. The refund processed in less than five days too. United really surprised me on this.
Stay tuned for posts on how I decided on my routings and how I booked the tickets as well as reviews on the airlines flown.