I promised some of you that, after I got back from my trip, I would tell you how I get the best deals on airfares.
As I mentioned, I signed up as an AA Advantage member a year ago. It costs nothing and has wonderful benefits. When I plan to go someplace I try not to lock myself into specific departure dates. For this last trip the best I found was leaving on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Since I had to be back for an event here on Saturday, Dec. 1st, I found a return the day prior (Friday). Whenever you can avoid flying on the days everyone else does. I have even opted to spend a night at the Embassy Hotel at the Belize City Airport ($49 per night per room) in order to save a lot on the airfare. Then I can get out to A/C first thing the next morning.
On this trip, after selecting a RT flight for $515 (includes tax) AA called to tell me they had canceled their weekday flights from DFW to BZE and routed me through MIA (SFO-DFW-MIA-BZE). Instead of leaving at 6 AM I had to leave right after midnight. I complained about not being able to get any sleep with this schedule and tried to get them to upgrade me. I got passed through a number of people, all who said NO. I called back the next day and still got a no. Remember, if at first you don't succed, try, try again. The following day they had an announcement on the Advantage board about upgrading for as few as 25,000 miles. I called again and explained that I only needed 1st class outbound and would they use my 17,000 miles? He said yes, but it only took 15,000. GREAT SERVICE!
On my way back at the Belize airport I showed them all my papers and they upgraded me for the two legs coming back (BZE - DFW = business class, DFW - SFO 1st class). There were only two of us with two flight attendants on the first leg, second leg had only 2 empty seats and they have not taken anymore of my bonus miles.
Iíve heard a lot of complaints about problems getting film through without being scanned. Maybe Iím just lucky but I simply place all my film (in zip lock bags) along with my keys and loose change in the basket, saying nothing. Never had a problem. Iíve watched people approach the gate intent ..... (fill in the blank) they seemed to always ďget hassledĒ. One of my travel companions always expects a fight, and she always gets one. Need I say more?