Travel Like a Boss!
Let’s face it, the airline industry is out to screw us all! The days of quality customer service, meals on every flight, seats that actually fit your behind, and bouncing on the captain’s knee while touring the cockpit are over. The only thing airlines have done right in the span of the last few decades was banning inflight smoking. Airlines and airports now operate focused solely on their bottom line. While I understand fuel prices and operating costs must be adjusted over time, I didn’t realize shitty attitudes and physically dragging passengers off flights were also byproducts of inflation. My point being: LEARN TO WORK THE SYSTEM!
Reward points systems and bypassing snotty lower level minions are the key to travelling like a boss. This is all the more important if you’re constantly flying for work. The difference between spending your lay over in a fully stocked business lounge or spending 6 hours in a noisy, crowded, and over priced airport on a long haul flight is a life saver, especially when you’re expected to hit the ground running when you land. It will take a short while to obtain status, but sign up for flight rewards programs such as Star Alliance, One World, and others depending your airline of choice. These programs are free to join and overtime the benefits are substantial: complimentary business class upgrades, access to airport lounges, priority check in lanes, and waived baggage fees.
Theres no better feeling than bypassing chaotic line ups to check in hundreds of pounds of gear, being whisked through security only to proceed to a business lounge stocked with free food, free drinks, and a quiet and comfortable nook to nap or get some work done before your next flight. When constantly travelling for work, an efficient and hassle free process with your airline is priceless. Not to mention the thousands of dollars in savings on baggage fees and complimentary food and beverages; and the occasional business class upgrade on long flights speaks for itself. Also, status members of such programs get dedicated customer service lines, much like the bat-phone, which are usually answered on the first ring by a REAL person whose only goal is to solve all of your problems with a smile you can practically hear through the phone.
Finally, there are the actual reward points themselves which you accumulate with your travel. For logistical reasons, my program of choice is Aeroplan which has afforded my wife and I trips on the company dime, so to speak; and one particularly swanky trip to Africa which was particularly nice on a 36 hour itinerary! The way these point systems generally work is the old “rich get richer” structure, meaning that the higher your status then the more points you are awarded for travel resulting in increasingly better loot and levels of treatment. It doesn’t take as much time you may think to attain some form of status, and if do this for work then the sky’s the limit; pun intended! Additionally, there are many ways to further work the system of the system you are already working! Check out the blog One Mile at a Time to get a sense of the life of luxury one can live by doing a bit of research and taking advantage of cross promotions and the like. It will blow your mind!
If you really want to up your travel game yet another level I would also recommend applying for a Nexus Pass or equivalent which allows you to really stick it to security lineups/agents at the airport. These programs cost a few hundred dollars and are only granted pending a thorough background check, but, unless you’re a criminal, are well worth the money and the effort if you travel often.
I could go on about the pitfalls and work arounds of navigating airports and their sneaky ways, but this should give you a jumping off point to becoming a more savvy traveller. You can thank me the next time you walk off your flight and straight onto set after a long haul flight in business feeling fresh and ready to shoot for the next 20 hours…for the next week…every single day!