While I'm on the road, September 15-30, 1996, you can contact me through Rohit if absolutely necessary. If not, wait until I get back.

From overseas, for emergency, call the travel agency collect 1-402-255-7820. x4044 is our ticketing agent, Fay. x7833 is her supervisor, Barbara.

Adam On the Road?

You could say that the main reason I want to go around the world is to bump up my United Airlines frequent flier Mileage Plus account up to Premier Status. Being Premier is more fun than being a member of the Red Carpet Club. I think of this road trip as a full-fledged, honest-to-goodness learning experience. Around the world in 237 hours.

Naturally, Rohit scoffs at this paltry objective, mostly because he already has qualified for 1K Status in 1996; for some unknown reason though (maybe it's the 100,000 frequent flier miles he stands to gain?) decided to accompany me around the world, like he's Hunter S. Thompson and I'm playing HST's lawyer globetrotting with him. Not to mix metaphors or anything, but Rohit and I will be globally on the road like a couple of beatniks. Hopefully this will be nothing like that Mardi Gras trip I took in February.

Did You Say Rohit Was Getting 100K Miles for this One Trip?

From khare@pest.w3.org Sat Sep 14 16:15:08 1996

You know, maybe I've just peaked too early in life. I mean, look, after
this little escapade, I have scaled the Mt. Everest of frequency
programs; there is nothing left to challenge in the system. In nine
months of study I have analyzed and destroyed my opponents, the Airline
Reservation System and Mileage Plus. What more crushing defeat is there

Round-the-world tix (for cheap!)        22,389 base United miles
Business, First class bonus              6,037
Premier Executive 100% matching         22,389
Threshold bonuses                       22,389
MasterCard miles for tickets             8,090
TripsPlus double miles for tickets      16,180
TripsPlus initiation bonus               1,000
Avis rental (HNL)                          500
Sheraton (AGR)                             500
Shangri-La (HKG)                           500
                                        99,974 for a single trip

Sigh, I have so little left to achieve in this meager life...


PS. I would note, though, that the retail value of this mileage exceeds my  
monthly take-home... :-)

Leaving the City of Angles

So we're doing the fabled United Flight 2 around the world. Rohit is taking a vacation from W3C, and I am taking a vacation from Caltech, even though I haven't been there in 3 months, since I spent the summer working at HP in Palo Alto.

Business or Pleasure?

Is it business or pleasure? Well, some of both: when we're in Tokyo, Rohit and I will be operating under the capacity of Roadrunner Technology. Don't try to find a Web page for them in Altavista, though: they have no Web presence. And I can't tell you what it is that Roadrunner does, except that it has something to do with outsmarting Wile E. Coyote. We could tell you more, but we'd have to kill you.

For the rest of the trip -- Washington DC, Paris, London, Delhi, Hong Kong, Honolulu, LA, and New York -- Rohit and I are just being general tourist slackers. Which means, of course, that Rob Harley has to join us at some point in the trip: it's a moral imperative. The current plan is for us to rendezvous with him in Hong Kong, and do Tokyo, Honolulu, and LA together, too.

Oh, another side plan is that Rohit and I want to determine the Future of the World Wide Web while we're globetrotting. At least, that's what we keep threatening on FoRK. Wish us luck.

Rohit Works His Magic

How did we come to get round-the-world tickets? Originally, Rohit and I were supposed to only go to Tokyo for Roadrunner. Rohit did some research and determined that in business class, the Tokyo tickets would cost $4500, and a loophole in the United pricing schedule (designed to promote United's single-airline round-the-world service) meant a round-the-world ticket would cost $3600. It's actually cheaper to fly around the world on United than it is to fly to Tokyo.

Incidentally, this loophole exists for economy class, too: Japan alone is $2800, whereas around the world is $2570.

The terms of this loophole are unlimited stopovers, no more than 4 in the US and requires one in Europe. Changes to day or time are OK. Change to route -- 1st reissue is OK, $35 each additional. Any segment can change date/time as long as stopovers don't change. Also, there's a $35 fee for prepaid ticket service.

So, my trip is thus:

lax-iad-cdg-lhr-del-hkg-nrt-hnl-lax-iad-lax-den-ord-hpn-ord-lax = 28,422 miles

That's Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. to Paris, then a day with Rob on the town in Paris. Then a connection Paris to London to New Delhi. In India, a tour of Agra, Varanasi, and Delhi, then onto Hong Kong. One full day in Hong Kong, then on to Tokyo for three days and Honolulu for one, stopping back Los Angeles to hop a 777 through Denver to Chicago, and then a jet to White Plains to see my family for a few days in Wilton, Connecticut, and then back through Chicago to Los Angeles. Around the world in 10 days (well, 237 hours!), then 4 days with the family to round things out.

(Rohit says the following passage makes me sound like a loser.) My mom says no sane person would even think of doing this trip, and she guilted me into doing all the immunizations I could get shot into me (which Rohit claims makes me a fool twice over since he thinks most of these innoculations are redundant, but I'm scared because I catch a cold when it's 71 degrees out and I really don't want to deal with malaria) on September 9 at Palo Alto's clinic (for the low price of $522, and of course I have no medical insurance coverage, doh!):

As I write this, I feel a little sick from all the little beasties currently raging through blood in an attempt to boost my immunity. On the other hand, I feel strong. I feel like I have the strength of ten men. Death, where is thy sting?

Adam's Itinerary

First off, Rob's itinerary is

Start Friday 20th of September 1996:
  10h15 - 11h00: D.E.A. defense, followed by either hara-kiri, or:
  14H50 - 16H10: Paris Charles de Gaulle -> Frankfurt
  17h20 - 10h55: Frankfurt -> Hongkong arriving Saturday (Lufthansa)

Then HK -> Tokyo -> Honolulu -> L.A. with Rohit & Adam (United).
Finally L.A. -> Paris anytime after 5th of October (United) perhaps
via Boston to see Rohit again!  All for 13955FF ~=  $2736.

Now, assume Rohit's itinerary is similar (if not identical) to mine, which I've outlined below. The travel agency is TripsPlus, 800-898-PLUS (7587). Our agent is Fay, the supervisor is Barbara (x7833). The total for the two of us, including prepaid ticket fees, is $8090.30.

Friday, September 13. Palo Alto, CA.
Last day at HP; do demos. Take Rumman out for his birthday.
Take a typhoid pill.

Saturday, September 14. Pasadena, CA.
Hop 9:45am Southwest shuttle from San Jose to Burbank.
Spend the day with Michelle. While I'm gone, she's taking messages for me. (818) 449-4123.

Sunday, September 15. In the Air.
lax-iad, UA Flight 62. 8:10AM - 3:51PM. 777 service!
Take a typhoid pill.
Meanwhile, Rohit's plan is bos-iad, UA Flight 1208. 2:55PM - 4:26PM. He's on a jet plane.
iad-cdg, UA Flight 914. Sun 6:20PM - Mon 7:35AM. 777 service! Looks like Rohit and I are in two biz seats, one row apart, so we'll ask at the airport to reassign. We would have done this trip on Saturday to get a day in London too, but UA was sold out on Saturday Dulles-Paris (5 coach left, no biz or 1st). Forget that, man, we want business class. We'll fly Sunday if we have to. Which we are.

Monday, September 16. Paris.
Spend the day in Paris with Rob.
Take a malaria pill.

Tuesday, September 17. London and In the Air.
cdg-lhr, Air France Flight 804, confirmed #EA3SRJ. 7:25AM - 7:35AM. Love those time zone switches. This is a separate total of $673.20; no idea if AF knows we're sitting together.
lhr-del, finally on UA Flight 2. 8:55AM - 10:40PM. Not a 777, but it's connosseiur class, which Rohit says means free unlimited alcoholic drinks. We should be drunk as skunks by Delhi.

Wednesday, September 18. Delhi and Varanasi.
dlh-vns, IC Flight 807. 10:00AM - 11:15AM. (Cost: $90 * .75 with under-30 discount. I love Indian Airlines.)
We will spend the night in Varanasi, India.

Thursday, September 19. Varanasi and Agra.
vns-agra, IC Flight 408. 1:25PM - 3:25PM. (Cost: $76 * .75 with under-30 discount. I love Indian Airlines.)
Car and driver will meet in Agra 19th, night at Mughal Sheraton. Actually, probably the Novotel, since the Mogul Sheraton is, ohmigosh, $200?! Novotaol is okay by me.

Friday, September 20. Delhi.
Drive to Delhi, with a few stops along the way, OR agra-dlh, IC Flight 408. 3:55PM - 4:35PM. (Cost: $35 * .75 with under-30 discount. I love Indian Airlines.)
Tour Delhi in the afternoon, dinner, flight out at five minutes to midnight.

Saturday, September 21. Hong Kong.
del-hkg, UA Flight 2. Fri 11:55PM - Sat 7:50AM.
This segment is crazy -- I have to travel in economy since business and first class are sold out the entire week with dozens-long waiting lists! (Rohit's Premiere status got him bumped up to first, but he might go economy just to be with me.)
Travel tip: To avoid long lines for taxis at the Hong Kong airport, we'll arrange to be picked up by our hotel's Mercedes limo. (Either the Shangri-la Kowloon or Mandarin Oriental. Both have courteous staffs and excellent food, and deliver messages promptly.)
Accommodations in Hong Kong for the night at the Shangri-La Kowloon on Mody Road -- on the waterfront, in the heart of shopping district. Price is 1750 HK $ - $226 with the United 50% discount certificate room only, add'l HK$270 / $35 for transfers 5-star hotel. Apparently, the double rate HK$2750 can be cut by 25% for internet users, or by 50% with my United certificate, or we can pay the full rate for an upgraded room and services. 72 hour cancellation policy. Rohit is still investigating whether the "Internet Special" rate is better or if it's worth full price (~$300+) to include free limousine, breakfast, laundry, phone charges.
Kowloon has misspelled Rohit's name as Khari, in case that propagates. The Harbor View room at HK$1750 (~ $225) is very nice, several grades up from the basic garden room. The whole hotel is sold out otherwise -- we are lucky to have a reservation. Confirmation #8620140. Limousine service is HK$350 = $50 US; they suggest this because they are punctual and taxis are not trustworthy. 72 hrs advance notice for executive limo service. Their 800# is 670 6756 in the USA. Looks like we got a good deal here!
Meet up with Rob and Tony. tonylee@cs.cuhk.hk, 2784-1632. Tour the city, do dim sum on a floating restaurant, and dinner cuisine specialties (Peking duck, seafood, or roasted pigeons?).

Sunday, September 22. Tokyo.
hkg-nrt, UA Flight 800. 9:35AM - 2:40PM. We're in the upper deck of a 747!
Staying at the Hotel Pacific Tokyo, though there is a chance we'll be staying at the Takinawa Prince Hotel instead. Bob says he and Ira will meet us outside of the airport Customs in Neruta and get us back to the hotel via the TCAT (Tokyo City Air Terminal) bus.
Check into our hotel, explore Tokyo.
Cash estimate needed for a night in a geisha bar these days: $500-600. Worth it for a night of poetry reading and classical music? I think not. Let Rob and Rohit do this; I'll spend my money on a phone call home to Michelle. $600 should buy me what, 3 minutes long distance from Tokyo?

Monday, September 23. Tokyo.
Tourism in Tokyo.
National holiday in Japan.
Rendezvous with Roadrunner in evening.
Take a malaria pill.

Tuesday, September 24. Tokyo.

Wednesday, September 25. Tokyo and Honolulu.
Possibly more business.
nrt-hon, UA Flight 822. 9:00PM - 9:10AM same day (love that International Date Line!)
We spend 12 hours in Honolulu, renting a mid-size Avis car to tour the island.
hon-lax, UA Flight 192. Wed 9:25PM - Thu 5:24AM.

Thursday, September 26. In the Air and Wilton, CT.
lax-denver-chicago, UA Flight 230. 6:30AM - 2PM. 777 service with a stopover in which I don't have to get off the plane. Oh boy.
chicago-white plains, UA jet Flight 1686. 4PM - 7PM.
Car ride from White Plains, NY to Wilton. I'm home. (203) 762-2676.
Meanwhile, Rohit returns home. lax-iad, UA Flight 946. 8:10AM - 3:15PM (777 service!) stop over in DC. iad-bos, UA Flight 274, 9:35PM - 10:55PM. Boston, sweet Boston. He's off to prepare the WWW Journal.

Friday, September 27. Wilton, CT.
Get my driver's license. Long story.

Saturday, September 28. Long Island, NY.
Some kind of party.

Sunday, September 29. Wilton, CT.
Relax with family.

Monday, September 30. Pasadena, CA.
white plains-chicago-lax, UA Flights 1135 and 105. 7:50AM - 11:53AM.
I then plan on sleeping for like 18 hours straight.
Oh, and take a malaria pill.

Coming Soon...

By Adam Rifkin, adam at xent dot com (last modified September 10, 1996)