General Travel

Flying For Less or Loyalty Points?

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I’m at the Corfu, Greece airport ready to fly to London, then off to Ireland. (Dublin to Killarney).

I’m looking through my IPhone and when I click on the wallet to check out my boarding pass…I realize I’ve flown with over 7 different airlines this summer.

I’m a huge advocate of loyalty to an airline or points group so you can earn points for free flights or upgrades. However, today’s European low cost carriers are so much lower in fares that the math doesn’t always work out. Why save points for one flight over time when you can book 3 yourself for the same fare? Even when you add in extra luggage, front of line and pick a front row seat the cost ends up being lower. I’ve actually found the service better on Jet2 than on British Airways.

Norwegian Airlines (London to Gatwick), offered a order and pay at your seat option. It was simply brilliant. Swipe your card once and then just click on menu items on the screen which are promptly brought by the flight attendant on a platter (not a cart…). How cool is that? They flew a new Jet with new on demand video screens offering games and music along with movie choices. The windows had the cool dimmers instead of shades. Beautiful!

Many of the low cost airlines in Europe offer points called “Avios” (shared points program for many EU airlines including British Airways). They also combine earnings with shopping and gasoline purchases. I will do more investigating and find the best way to combine them all. If there is a way to maximize the points, I will find it!

Loyalty and Points: My flight on American last year was completely free from LA to Cleveland Ohio using points. I flew on Christmas Day for a family funeral and only booked the prior day. It would have cost a small fortune to book so late so having American Airlines points saved me from forking out a large sum to purchase a high cost ticket. American was easy to use and it was only 30k points.

I’m an advocate of American Airlines after being treated poorly by United one too many times. They destroyed a precious vacation with my husband when we only had a limited amount of travel days.

American Airlines actually picks up a phone call and has a call back service if there is a wait. They also and allows same day changes for FREE if you want to change your flight to an earlier or later one. I booked a later flight online while on a trip with my son. It took two clicks of the mouse and NO FEES at all! It didn’t seem plausible so I called to check before I hit the button. Yup it was free and easy.

When I called the American Airlines phone system it recognized my cell phone number which is associated with my frequent flyer number. It greeted me by name and All of my data was attached to the number so it was a quick and easy phone call…with a HUMAN!!! United? not so much. You have to email for any service or wait forever on customer care lines when you need assistance while traveling.

I know we all have the travel horror stories but when things go wrong we just need a human and some great customer service.

I will do a review of the low cost carriers in Europe after my last flight from Ireland to Portugal. It is with Ryan Air, currently on the news for stranding a bunch of passengers after a pilot walk out. So funny…a fellow traveler from the UK alerted me to the issue before I saw it on the BBC news. She informed me that her friend was on a Ryan Air flight where the pilot left the plane with an announcement to the passengers saying “screw this and screw the airlines”. Ba ha ha ha. Apparently the pay and treatment of the staff isn’t phenomenal.

Cheers and happy travels. TQV (Traveling Queen V)

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