Viva Las BAcon! To Las Vegas with British Airways, American Airlines and Aer Lingus
- Viva Las BACon! The second spin of the roulette wheel
- Heading to Birmingham Airport, EI277 Birmingham Airport – Dublin Airport
- HOTEL: Bewleys Hotel, Dublin Airport
- The DAA Lounge, Dublin Airport
- BA831 Dublin Airport – London Heathrow Terminal 1
- An Easy Heathrow Transit and the British Airways Galleries First Lounge
- BA295 London Heathrow Terminal 5 to Chicago O’Hare International
- Tick Tock, Tick Tock – an express connection in Chicago
- AA55 Chicago O’Hare International T3 to Las Vegas McCarran International
- HOTEL: MGM Grand
- HOTEL: Mandalay Bay and BAcon
- One Time Exception: The High Roller
- HOTEL: Luxor
- One Time Exception: A Nighttime walk down an every changing strip
- Back to McCarran Airport, The American Express Centurion Lounge
- AA1239 Las Vegas McCarran International – Dallas Fort Worth
- A quick rush across Dallas Fort Worth
- AA78 Dallas Fort Worth – London Heathrow Terminal 3
- Transit again, The British Airways Terminal 1 Domestic Lounge
- BA831 London Heathrow Terminal 1 – Dublin Airport
- Irish Transit, The Aer Lingus Gold Circle Lounge
- EI276 Dublin Airport to Birmingham Airport
- Another lovely slice of BAcon
BAcon. No, not the lovely porcine strips of goodness, but the conference where Boarding Area’s bloggers come together to learn, meet, digest and go forth.
And for me personally, it’s a nice point to have in my calendar as it gives me the chance to catch up with my fellow bloggers and renew friendships.
Last year, this was an interesting trip to Colorado Springs to meet the Boarding Area family.
This year however, a change of location was in the air – that location would be Fabulous Las Vegas, as both the Boarding Area and Prior 2 Boarding bloggers would be coming together.
It also gives me an excuse to put this bad ZZ Top Video in:
So, how the hell was I going to get to Las Vegas? Vegas is not a cheap destination from the UK in the least, with average fares in the high 600 to 700s (and at some points, pushing into the 1,000s).
Yes, I could do a redemption, but even the tag-on flight between San Francisco or LAX wasn’t exactly stunningly priced.
Therefore, creativity was needed to get back and forth to Vegas.
My target price is about £550 to get to Vegas, with £80 for shuttle flights to Dublin, whilst keeping hotels to “as cheap as possible”.
And the trick here was to use a jumping off point such as Kayak until something cheap or interesting sprung up, whilst keeping within budget.
Eventually, something cheap and interesting indeed sprung up with some two-stop flights turning up. Two stop flights are rather nice in this case as the tier points in Economy class can add up very quickly to something sizeable – converting a 70TP direct £1000 flight into an 110TP 6 segment run.
And Tier points and miles are the name of the game.
I settled on a route that would make some people go loopy… but for me… it’s another challenge. And I *like* challenges.
The route would have me depart from Dublin down to Heathrow on BA, before jumping on a Chicago service (operated by BA) and an AA service onto Chicago. The return leg would take me to Dallas Fort Worth, onboard a clapped out AA 767 back to Heathrow and a BA leg up to Dublin.
Not bad for £539 all in.
It would had been better if I booked it 1 hour earlier where it priced as low as £489.
However, change happens – with an itinerary change coming through. Fearing the worst, I opened it. The change hit two segments on the return leg – namely an earlier departure from Vegas (that I can handle), and a flight change to an American Airlines 777-300ER. This was slightly problematic as I now had to work out where the heck to sit in Main Cabin Extra (I could had sat in Main cabin, but I’m against 3-4-3 seating in all senses of the word aboard a Boeing 777.. heck, 3-3-3 on a 777 is just about passable from a passenger perspective).
But I still had to sort out how I was to get to Dublin and back. Yes, I could book Ryanair… but the timings were nowhere what I wanted in either direction. I therefore fell back to my preferred choice on the Birmingham-Dublin route, Aer Lingus. Playing with this fare engine required a bit of effort as I wanted to check a bag on the way back.
In the end, it was pretty simple to book – and more importantly, not overly expensive at £80 return.
With my hotel at the Mandalay Bay to be paid for, I needed to sort out the next few problems – the night at Dublin Airport (I gave up on sleeping on cold benches years ago), the first night in Vegas (a Thursday) and the last night in Vegas (Sunday).
And of course, in GhettoIFE land, we’re all about the value and experiences. But mainly the value. Well, a lot about the value, as my travel comes out of my pocket as opposed to some corporate shill.
For Dublin, I’m not actually fussed at all, as I just need “a bed” and Wifi. Again, pretty much the same rest of the nights in Vegas. Whilst some crave the luxury and glitz, I’ll settle for good quality basic amenities that will keep me happy.
The other thing to bear in mind is that Vegas just LOVES its Hotel Resort fees. This is actually very important, as it throws any calculation of what is a “cheap” hotel could turn into an expensive one (eg, a night at the Luxor comes in at $49, with a $28 resort fee – defeats the point of the place… why can’t they build it into one cost? It’s almost as if they really want to milk you for every convertible currency token in your pocket).
So, how does it break down?
The Mandalay Bay was booked on my behalf, so that’s two nights sorted for me. For my first night, I stumbled upon the Hotels.com $40 off 4* Hotel – so I opted for the MGM Grand (and why not – it’s not that bad of a hotel).
I booked the Luxor via the Hyatt Website because 1) I ran out of time to use the voucher and 2) I thought it would net some Hyatt points.
Finally (and late in the day), I booked the Bewleys Hotel through Hotel.info to 1) get a cheap room for a night as a crashpad in Dublin.
So, here’s the map of locations, and my route.
So how will this turn out? Will my wallet go missing before I get to Vegas? Will more equipment swaps plague me? Will I lose what spare money I have to the Wheel of Fortune machine? Or will Virgin Trains attempt to ruin everything before this even kicks off?
There’s only one way to find out…