Circling the Pacific to Canada – why fly direct?

Sometimes the best option is not the most obvious one. That’s certainly the case when it comes to airlines and airfares at times. This week we see one of our members having to do a short-notice trip to Canada from Tasmania. While their client is paying, they still need to get the best value they can, and luckily the same travel agent is something both the client and our member have in common.

Most travellers when asked to head to North America would look at direct to the West coast as their main option. There are a multitude of options on offer depending on your preferred gateway, Los Angeles or San Francisco. From there it’s a shortish hop to Canada. Surely the most direct cheap route is the cheapest??

The difference between the most expensive and the cheapest was almost $1,000. So, whacko, its Cathay to Hong Kong and Vancouver, then Qantas back; it’s the cheapest fare for the client and I get Cathay Business class on 2 legs on the way over.

The One World airline alliance has a few fare products that allow travel on any of their partners as if they were all the same airline. While not often advertised, these fares can be great value for those having a need to visit more than one continent, or just as a way of getting more status credits while experiencing a different cabin to normal. The Circle Pacific fare is one such option, offering our member and their client a win-win situation, more miles and status credits while being the cheapest option requested.

Another benefit of such a fare is the opportunity to sample flying an airline that may not be the normal experience for a traveller, in this case Cathay. When you’re used to the luxury and world class product Qantas offer in their First Class lounges, venturing to the Cathay lounge can come as something of a shock

After reading the paper, I decide to wander down to the Cathay lounge to check it out. Big mistake! A horrid, pokey affair with no external windows and only basic food offerings.

To be fair to Cathay, most airlines lounge offerings outside of their home country could resemble those remarks. The opening of the new Hong Kong airport in the late nineties saw Cathay race to the front with their Wing and Pier Lounges, and the facilities they offered travellers, since then they have worked on improving the lounges over time in their home port and even added more!

Of course, flying is not all about the lounges (although some of our members may disagree) and soon our member is having suite dreams and all you can eat Lobster, why not join HERE.


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