Well for the last day and a half I've been busy getting quotes from airlines for our trip to Kona, including a BIKE. After I contacted the agent and got my first quote to the final quote for payment it differed by R9000($1000) and that was even excluding the charges for the bike. I ask the agent why, but she had all these stories and explanations. When I asked her to see if there is no cheaper alternative where I don't have to pay $950 for a bike to be flown along, she came back and said no. "The BEST price I can get you is the one I quoted you on"
I then decided, no way there must be somewhere, somehow a cheaper option. And although it took me a whole day guess what, I did get a better price. And I must say I don't have all the resources the travel agents have and it was by searching the net, airline by airline. So with all the resources and systems they have I am sure it won't take her the whole day. Wonder if these travel agents are just to lazy to put some effort into it and try to really help you or do they get additional incentives from certain airlines to promote those flights.
All I can say is Virgin-Atlantic and Sir Richard Branson you rock. I eventually found the best price on Virgin-Atlantic whereby we will fly to Los Angeles via London. With Delta it would have been LA via Atlanta.
I then found a good price on Hawaiian airlines from LA to Kona. But here is the best parts.
Virgin-Atlantic will allow one sports equipment bag on the flight at NO extra charge as long it is less than 32kg. They also allow two checked suitcases at 23kg's per bag per person. Compare that to 23kg's checked luggage from Delta and $600 for the bike. I couldn't believe my eye, the only other airline that came close was Emirates which allow you 30kg's checked luggage at no extra charge if it includes your bike.
Just to make sure I phoned the Virgin-Atlantic customer care line and the lady was so help full. She even offered me a stopover in London for the same price and yes they take your bicycle at no extra charge.
Hawaiian Airlines will charge me $100 to transport my bike from LA to Kona whereby Delta and United Airlines charges $175 and American Airlines $150.
So was it worth it to spend the whole day searching for a better deal. Yes, I think so. We are now flying Virgin-Atlantic and Hawaiian Airlines, have a stop over in LA and London and I saved R9000($1000) compare to the travel agents best deal she could find and R18000($2000) from the first quote she gave a week ago.
With the airlines and the accommodation in Kona, thanks to Tritravel sorted out I can now put that behind me and concentrate 100% on my preparation for Kona.
I still have issues with the gym. It is now Friday and the water this morning was 16c. After 20 minutes I just could not face the cold anymore and it felt like my whole body was going into a spasm. With the outside temperature at 9c it is not fun swimming at 5am. They keep on having different excuses for the heater not working. I need to make a decision very soon if I want to continue like this or go and swim in the town I am working in, which is 100km from home. This will be a big sacrifice but at least the water there is 27c. But more on the swim/gym story later as it unfolds.
Gym: 41 min, 443kcal
Bike: 1 hr, 33.5 km, 134 bpm ave, 849 kcal
Swim: 25 min, 1 km.