Wednesday, February 23, 2011

THE BASICS: First things first. Making your international travel arrangements.

In the “old days” (1972) when I was first flying to Asia on Pan Am (no, not on the famous Pan Am China Clipper) and other carriers using Boeing 707 jets (yes, even before 747s), one of the benefits of that stage of air travel was that planes couldn’t fly long non-stop flights. This meant that to get from “A” to “B” one usually had to stop in one or more “other” places along the way, usually for no extra cost. This made it easy to see many of the large capital cities, since that is normally where the only international airports were in most Asian, and other, countries. These tickets looked like A to B to C to D

Fortunately, or unfortunately for those of us who want more stops rather than less, today’s high-tech aircraft can fly farther and faster such that there are more and more non-stop flights between most international destinations. The result is that instead of getting a “once over lightly” just in the capitals, one now can have a more “in depth” experience in each destination. These tickets look like A to B and back to A.

Another significant change is that many countries now have more than one international airport. This means that one doesn’t have to retrace one’s steps back to the same airport, but can enter a country from one airport/city, and exit it from another saving valuable travel time and expense. This type of ticket is called an “open jaw” as you fly from A to B, but back from C to A.

So when you are beginning to plan your trip, but sure to check out what airports you can fly to and see if you can use multiple “gateways” to your destination. Once you have issued your ticket it is too late.

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