Flying is a pain for people. We can all admit different times when we’ve been aggravated by flying, and swear to never ever do it again. To the novice traveler, flying can be a pain, but there’s one thing that I think can improve the experience greatly, and that’s elite status.
I take for granted sometimes, and as much as frequent flyer programs are devaluing, I think it’s worth taking a step back and being appreciate of the “strings that are pulled” so many times.
I’m a 100,000 mile a year flyer with American Airlines, granting me Executive Platinum status, which comes with a nice list of perks. The same goes for United and Delta flyers, each in their own programs. For Southwest loyalists and other smaller airlines, there may be no elite status…and that may be a reason to switch to a legacy airline, if it makes sense for you.
The Executive Platinum phone desk and airport agents have been really helpful for me, and they’ve done things I wouldn’t dream possible:
- I missed a flight to Dallas by my own fault. I didn’t leave enough time to get to the airport. The agent at the airport offered to re-book me on United (a non oneworld carrier, mind you) at no-charge or penalty to get me to my final destination, which had limited flights.
- I was scheduled to fly out of Dulles airport to Miami, and weather canceled the majority of Dulles flights. I was re-confirmed on a set of flights out of nearby Reagan airport at no-charge, and had a confirmed First Class seat in both directions.
- I’ve made errors in booking tickets, only to have the kind folks on the other end of the phone fix my errors.
- I was flying from Dallas to Reagan and snow had canceled the remaining Reagan flights for the evening. I was able to secure a seat on a then-sold-out flight to Philadelphia.
- I was flying from Philadelphia to Washington Reagan, and due to a ticketing mix-up, was never actually booked on my connecting flight fro PHL to DCA. The US Airways agent at the airport told me the flight was overbooked and no seats available, and standing by would have me number 20 on the list. A simple call to the EXP desk got me a seat (by what miracle, I’m not sure), and the seat was even a preferred aisle, exit row seat.
Flying can be a pain, but when the airline makes your life easier, sometimes those challenges in flying are fun. I have fun with flying, and further enjoy my elite benefits. My friends who fly other airlines speak highly of their top-tier status levels, and in many cases, it makes sense for folks to ‘mileage run’ or pay outright for status. Yes, I’ll be the first to admit that I wish I had more perks as a Delta Silver. Moving to American, I was always jealous of the Executive Platinum’s clearing their upgrades before I did as a lonely Platinum. Lower tier status always has that yearning for the higher tiers, so I’m a huge proponent of making that leap to a higher level, when it makes sense. Does it make sense if you fly 20,000 miles a year? Probably, not so much. But if you’re at 65,000 miles, I’d say go for it.
My point here? Flying is a pain unless you have elite status. Then, it’s only “partially” a pain. 🙂
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