There is something disconcerting about booking open circuit airline tickets. I purchased five airline tickets this morning to connect my open jaw summer travel from San Francisco SFO to Stockholm ARN with a return flight from Stavanger, Norway SVG airport.
The tickets I purchased this morning fly me from Stockholm ARN to Krakow KRK, Poland, then Copenhagen CPH, Denmark from where Kelley will return home to Monterey on an AAdvantage Business Class award and I will fly to Stavanger SVG for my United Airlines flights home to San Francisco.
My total ticket cost is $760 for round trip economy class travel July 2016 from San Francisco to Stockholm, Sweden to Krakow, Poland to Copenhagen, Denmark to Stavanger, Norway to San Francisco.
I will fly back to San Francisco on United Airlines from Stavanger, Norway on my fifth airline ticket of this trip. I have five tickets for this round trip itinerary with American (50% of $500 rt fare = $250), Norwegian (2 tickets $152) , SAS ($62) and United (50% of $592 rt fare = $296).
Kelley’s total ticket cost is $459 + 57,500 AAdvantage miles for SFO-LHR-ARN-KRK-CPH-DUS-ORD-PHX-MRY with the award flights from Copenhagen to Monterey in Business and First Class. Norwegian $86; SAS $62; SFO-ARN $250; CPH-MRY $61 + 57,500 AAdvantage miles.
What is Closed Circuit Travel?
On Loyalty Traveler I sometimes create my own travel jargon. Last month I published a post Don’t fear Open Circuit travel planning (March 2, 2016).
Closed Circuit Travel
Completing a circuit so that travel takes you from one end of the circle (your home town ) to the other (your destinations) and back home is an example of closed circuit travel.
I purchased round trip Stockholm to San Francisco tickets on American Airlines last October with the outbound flight after Thanksgiving that got us home to California after a week in London. We got to London on two AAdvantage 20,000 miles economy class award tickets + $5.60 in taxes for each ticket. The deal I saw back in October 2015 was I could book a round trip ticket from Stockholm ARN on American Airlines with the return flight for July 2016 at $500 round trip.
This is what I call open circuit planning since I have had a ticket to Europe for six months traveling to Stockholm, Sweden in July 2016, yet I only bought a ticket flying back to San Francisco from Stavanger, Norway three weeks ago.
Kelley’s return ticket on American Airlines in Business Class for 57,500 miles was only booked four days ago.
Loyalty Traveler – AAdvantage Europe Awards Alert Business and First availability on AA July-August (April 16, 2016).
The transatlantic tickets from Europe back to the USA closed the primary circuit of our summer 2016 travel plans. We both have ticketed flights to Europe and back to California.
The second part of our Europe itinerary was only possible to ticket after we had return flights ticketed back to California. I ticketed those flights this morning to close the circuit on our intra-Europe travel.
Closed circuit intra-Europe travel Stockholm – Krakow – Copenhagen – Stavanger $212
After booking Kelley’s AAdvantage award on Saturday, I spent the past few days researching hotel rates and flight itineraries to determine where we would go from Stockholm.
Krakow, Poland won out for our primary summer destination.
Stockholm to Krakow Norwegian Airlines $60
Stockholm ARN to Krakow KRK on Norwegian Airlines was ticketed at $60 for me and $85 for Kelley. I booked this ticket so Kelley has an assigned seat and checked bag. Sitting together would place me in a middle seat anyway, so why pay $18 for any seat. We don’t need to be seated together for a flight under 2 hours. I paid $25 more for Kelley’s ticket so she has a seat and we have one checked bag, in case we pick up too much stuff in Stockholm from the TBEX conference and exceed the 10kg weight limit for our carry-on bags.
We enjoyed our trip this month to Vilnius, Lithuania and that experience persuaded us we want to visit Poland this summer. The cost of living in Krakow is one of the lowest in Europe and hotel rates are among the lowest in the world. Around 2.62 million international visitors to Krakow last year makes it one of the most touristed cities in Europe (London has 16 million international visitors). There are numerous chain hotels in Krakow with Hilton, IHG, Carlson, Best Western, SPG. Many of the hotels in Krakow are at or near the lowest hotel reward categories of these programs.
Loyalty Traveler – Hampton Inn Krakow Poland 5K per night, but air pollution may kill me prematurely (April 17, 2016).
One of the big attractions to Krakow is its history as a center of Polish royalty and scholars for over 700 years. Krakow was the administrative HQ of the Nazis in Poland during WWII and remains as one of the few cities in the country that was not destroyed during the war.
Auschwitz concentration camp is also in the region, although I prefer to think about visiting the mountainous wilderness of Poland National Parks, two hours south of Krakow along the borders with Slovakia and the Czech Republic, as a more appealing tourist destination.
Krakow to Copenhagen SAS $62
Copenhagen, Denmark was a blast on our visit last summer. There was a party atmosphere day and night around Copenhagen that I have not seen in Norway or Sweden. Perhaps the TBEX conference in Stockholm will change my mind, but Sweden seems even more staid than Norway in my previous travel experiences.
Kelley wanted either London or Copenhagen as part of our summer 2016 trip and the flights worked out for Copenhagen. We pray it won’t be in the mid-90s this July, but we also hope for clear skies sunshine again.
Loyalty Traveler Blondes in Black in Hot Copenhagen (July 5, 2015).
Copenhagen to Stavanger Norwegian $92
I paid $92 for LowFare+ from Copenhagen to Stavanger Norway on Norwegian. I bought my ticket through the Denmark Norwegian Airlines site to save $4 on the US site price. I booked ARN-KRK on the US site to save $8 on the Norwegian Airlines Sweden website price. Small savings, but hey I guess I can read Danish well enough to ticket my flight. Hopefully I don’t end up in Longyearbyen.
And that is my intra-Europe closed circuit summer travel itinerary. I fly back to San Francisco from Stavanger SVG, Norway on a United Airlines $592 round trip ticket. In September, I will return to Stavanger, where I have a $71 Radisson Blu Stavanger hotel rate. I want to hike Preikestolen while in Stavanger.
September is still an open circuit trip I have a few months to plan for closed circuit travel.
From Stavanger, Norway???
I am looking for the next good airline ticket deal to get me home from Europe in September to close the circuit on my next open circuit travel itinerary. And I’ll see how my preferences develop over the next few months about where to travel from Stavanger.