Frequent Flyer Plan

It pays to have a frequent flyer number. What, don’t believe me? If you fly to a lindy event at least once a month, it’s worth your while.

On average, it costs me $30 each way to check a bag. Let’s say I do one round-trip each month for a year: 12 months x $60 = $720. Holy cow, think of what you could do with an extra $700. I can think of plenty….but let’s stay on topic here.

I fly. A lot. Maybe too much. The point is, that if I am already flying, I might as well get the miles. Kevin, on the other hand, didn’t focus on this the past year and now one of us has status on two airlines, and the other has status on none (how very Dr. Seuss of me!). All I had to remember to do was when I checked in, either online or in person, I made sure my frequent flyer number was in the system, and viola, I got miles.

But who should you join? I’ve joined the major groups so that I can get miles on just about everything, minus the puddle jumper while I am in Europe.

Northwest Airlines (now owned by Delta) – SKY TEAM – partners with

I like Air France, but I don’t like the CDG airport (Paris). If you fly through here, make sure you have at least an  hour layover otherwise you might miss your flight because you won’t physically be able to get to your gate in time. I am serious….consider this your warning! KLM is a favorite. I just flew Korean Air and I liked it. The bathroom areas were hidden, so they felt a bit more private, and the soap in the restrooms smelled fantastic! They also offer complimentary tooth brushes! Final note, stay away from Aeroflot if you can. I think I’ve already written a blog about it, but it’s more like Aero-fuck if you ask me. I had a hellish time on them two years ago. Bad food, bad service, LONGass layover in Moscow. Stay away from them if you can. 😀

United Airlines – STAR ALLIANCE – partners with:

I like Lufthansa, SWISS, and Austrian Air, but the others I’ve flown, I don’t really like. US Airways is a little ghetto, United is snobby (yet I still have status with them), and LOT is kinda sketchy. Nonetheless, I have heard good things about bmi, Brussels Air, and Ana.

Alaska Airlines – Mileage Plan – partners with:

Mokulele Airlines
Northwest Airlines
PenAir
Qantas

“The airline’s frequent flyer program is called Mileage Plan. Alaska Airlines is not part of any of the three major airline alliances, but Mileage Plan airline partners include prominent members of SkyTeam, such as Delta Air Lines, Korean Air, Northwest Airlines, KLM, and Air France, as well as members of Oneworld, including American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, and Qantas.”

When I lived on the West Coast, I would fly Alaska as often as I could. I really liked them. Once I moved to the East Coast, I started using NWA more (because they were partners) and kept my miles with Alaska. Unfortunately, Alaska values a number of airlines, but the love is not reciprocal. Sigh. My Alaska account primarily gets miles from American Airlines (which I don’t particularly like flying), British Airways, and Qantas.

Long of the short of it is: if you fly on a semi-regular basis, it’s worth joining one of the airlines alliances. Get miles, use them for vacation (I’ve done 3 trips down to Argentina on miles), check your luggage for free (yup, that’s a perk….perhaps the best one), get priority seating, get a special number to call for booking and/or help, and just feel special.

Check-in Early

You might think it’s silly to check in early if you are going to check your bags (since you’ll still need to go to the kiosk), but it’s not stupid. It’s smart.

For one reason or the other, I decided that I didn’t need to check-in for my flight to Korea the night before. Because of that, I was assigned a sucky seat for a 13.5 hour flight from Los Angeles to Korea. Luckily for me, I have status so I ended up getting a window seat, but because the flight was full, I was on the verge of being shafted, and I would have had no one to blame but myself.

So! Aspiring International Lindy Instructors: if an organizer has booked your flight for you, make sure to tell them to choose either a window or aisle seat for you ahead of time so you don’t show up to the airport without a seat. If you forget to do that, or the organizer can’t manage, make sure you check in online the night before and do this yourself. Don’t forget your mileage number! Often times that can help out.

Thank you for tuning in to “Quick Life Lessons.” 🙂

QLL – noise on airplanes

Travel with a pair of earplugs if you’re going to be flying, especially during the holidays. Not only are parents stressed out, but so are their children (perhaps causation and correlation?). This in turn can possibly mean that the children will be screaming and crying on the airplane. Now, if you’re like me, you’ll have the luck of being right near that lovely and charming family…different issue 🙂

If you don’t have noise canceling headphones, at least have earplugs. They come in a variety of colors, are cheap, and they can block out a decent amount of noise. Once you start wearing them on a flight, you’ll never travel without them. Unless of course, you forget them. Grrrr.