OK, been having a lot of fun trying to work out the best deals and the like, and no doubt a better deal will reveal itself now I've booked it all, however I've now booked the flights, timmypup
has booked the hotel and I've just registered as a sponsor for Anthrocon (yeah, I know you only get a t-shirt and a faster registration for the extra $40, but I thought why not as the dollar's so weak and all).
It's looking to be quite an expensive month with the flights and the laptop I'm paying back through work, but at least I won't have to worry about such things closer to the con. Come con time, I'll have debts paid off, have enough to pay back Tim for the hotel and also have spending money. For those interested, the flight itinerary for us is as follows:
Depart Heathrow on Virgin Atlantic at 11:15 on the 30th June 2007 arriving in Chicago at 14:10 on the 30th June 2007.
Depart on connecting flight with United at 15:55 on the 30th June 2007 arriving in Pittsburgh at 18:25 on the 30th June 2007.
Depart Pittsburgh on Delta at 18:15 on the 10th July 2007 arriving in New York (JFK) at 19:54 on the 10th July 2007.
Depart on connecting flight with Virgin Atlantic at 21:25 on the 10th July 2007 arriving in London Heathrow at 09:05 on the 11th July 2007.
As you can see, getting to Pittsburgh is not fun. Mostly because it's not got an international airport. Basically our criteria was to use a decent airline such as AA, BA or Virgin for the transatlantic flight and then use a connecting flight to get to Pittsburgh. Ended up finding the above on Travelocity for £491.50 + £5 DHL postage and £6.21 CC surcharge. Couldn't really get anything else under £500 which didn't involve 2 stops or crappy airlines for the transatlantic flight.
Oddly, there was a peculiar occurrence of a flight which went AA to Boston and then Boston to Pittsburgh using United and then the same in reverse for the return journey for only £472.50. However every time I tried to book the flight, I ended up either finding the flight disappeared off the site or when trying to book it, the page would just fail to load. I gave a travel agent a call and he said he couldn't find the flight either. He also said that AA and UA were rival airlines and so it's not advised to try and transfer between the two. Also it was only a 1hr 30min stop over meaning that it's increasing the chances of lost luggage. As it seemed to be fraught with danger, I decided we should just use the safer option of the Travelocity flight plan.
Now, during my time in the states before the con, I'll be staying with keihound
at the con hotel. I really wanted to make a holiday out of the trip but this is the best I could manage. I think the main problem was that the American furs I've been talking to don't want to commit this early when I really wanted to get the flights out of the way this month as prices start to rise sharply after 5 months remaining. Incidentally, we are going on the 30th because if we went on the 1st, it'd be £150 more expensive to fly. Seems that 30th June is the last cheaper day before peak summer rates in July.
Anyhoo, when we're there, it'd be nice to meet up with furs who are in the area or will also be going up early. I'm planning to stay with some American furs during the con itself to help me mingle with new people. My main annoyance from FC last year was that I generally hung about with the UK furs. This time round, I want to be able to say go out for a meal with a bunch of folks and get to know people better during my time there. Should have a fun time I think, even if it's not more of a holiday. I mean Pittsburgh isn't exactly oin the top of everyone's holiday destinations!
Things left to organise in preparation for the con are travel insurance, take time off work, and keep on at Jax the Bat until he finally decides to finish my fursuit (which annoyingly should have been done in time for FC 2006, which is pretty much this time last year!).