September 7th, 2006

Conrunner Kevin

Paying for Two Worldcons at Once

As spotted in this message, online booking for Nippon2007 is now available. It's not a very good system -- certainly not compared to the excellent online booking that Interaction had -- but at least it works.

I knew the prices were going to be bad, but this is worse than I thought. The hotel closest to the convention center is the Intercontinental (the highest end hotel in the IC Group, which contains Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, and Holiday Inn Express). Rooms in that hotel for July 2007 are running as low as JPY13,333 through IC's web site. That's the price per room, not per person. Rooms in that hotel through the booking agency during the convention (I booked the maximum stay allowed -- August 28 through September 3 -- are JPY15,500 per person per night. JPY31,000 per night is about USD272 per night!

Rooms are only available from the Tuesday before the con to the Monday of the final night. That's an awful narrow booking window, it seems to me. It works okay for me, assuming I get the flights I want, but I would have thought they'd want more rooms around the shoulder nights. On the other hand, at those rates, I'm not sure I'd want to say any more days than that.

Adding to the burden is that the booking agency required full payment in advance. That is, my credit card was charged about $1800 today, while I'm still dealing with the charges from this year's Worldcon trip. It appears this charge is refundable up to 14 days pre-con, although the web site isn't very clear about that.

When I first submitted the charge, it declined. I decided to leave it alone for a while and went to take a shower and have breakfast. When I got out of the shower, I found that my credit card company had contacted me about what looked like a fraudulent charge to them. I called them back and reassured them that the Japanese charge was legitimate. They told me I'd have to re-submit it, which I did, and it went through.

I guess the good news is that when I get there, the room will be paid for. I just wish I could get to work on booking the airfare; however, I don't think I'll be able to do that until late October, on account of the last day of one's travel needs to be at least 330 days in the future, it seems. There appears to be such a thing as planning too far in advance.
Conrunner Kevin

It Was 40 Years Ago Today...

My company's intranet has a "this day in history" on it that turns over at 0000 GMT. I assume it's syndicated from somewhere else, but I can't link directly to it here because it's on a private site. Anyway, the item for September 8, 2006, is:

Collapse )
  • Current Mood
    amused amused
Conrunner Kevin

Making Travel Arrangements

Making the Worldcon travel arrangements and posting the reminders about the SMOFCon Scholarships reminded me that I hadn't booked my hotel room or air travel for SMOFCon. Thanks to forgetting to do this months ago, I couldn't use USAir (ex-America West) miles to fly to Kansas City, because the only flights available at the level for which I have points are ones that would put me into KC at about 10:30 PM on Friday night, and I'd miss the whole first day. I even tried booking through USAir's Partner desk, but there are no available flights at those point levels on United, anyway. I tried looking into a red-eye on USAir coming out Thursday night, but the only routing went by way of Charlotte, which is pretty silly for a flight from San Francisco.

So there was nothing for it but to stump up the $270 for a flight on United that arrives in KC at 12:32, so I will arrive mid-afternoon at the hotel. The bad part is that it leaves SFO at 6 AM, which will be annoying and require driving to the airport, as there is no way to get there on public transit early enough. (The earliest BART departure from Fremont is 4:02 AM, arriving SFO 5:31 AM. While perhaps the earliest flights don't really need two hours advance arrival, 30 minutes won't cut it.)

There is no way to book a hotel room at the SMOFCon hotel through the internet, so I had to call to get the convention rate. Not that big a deal, but I prefer to book on-line whenever possible.
  • Current Mood
  • Tags