Not all airlines are the same. They have huge differences when it comes to the processes and the services that they offer. What a particular airline features, might not be offered at another, and vice versa.
For today’s episode, I’d like to talk about airline loyalty and its importance to a passenger – especially if you’re an introvert who travels a lot. Aside from that, I’m going to share with you a different experience flying with a totally different airline to show you how confusing it can get.
Hello, and welcome to The Traveling Introvert! Today we’re going to talk about airline loyalty. I’ve realized I haven’t been done a travel one in a while. It’s not because I haven’t been traveling, it’s just because – yeah, there’s been a lot going on. Alright, so, traveling and being loyal to an airline. A lot of people, especially now with this low-cost airlines, this ultra-low cost airlines and where I do a lot traveling, there’s maybe three or four big airlines. So, why should you or shouldn’t you be loyal to a particular airline?
A lot of the time when people are shopping, when they’re looking for flights, they’re looking for availability of the flight, timings so that it fits in well with what you want to do, and cost – and that’s great. And over the last trip I took, I took a flight with an airline that isn’t my airline of choice, and here’s the differences in how I travel, when I’m traveling with my airline of choice because I am a frequent flier with them and I have a certain level of membership with them, I don’t worry about if I miss the connection that they’re looking to make sure that I get my next flight or that I’m not going to be taken care of in some way, shape, or form. I’ve definitely been stuck in an airport due to weather, and they’ve put me up in a hotel and put me on the next flight out. They’ve even re-routed me on the odd occasion, they lead me to an airport that wasn’t my original airport because I was like, “Well, I can go to this airport instead!” and they managed to do that for me. That was something I didn’t have to worry about. I knew all the procedures, I knew how to check in. I know I can check in on my phone for this, or if it’s international, I know I have to get to the airport. I know what the lines are like for them because I have the status, but with this other airline that I traveled with once before but it was a day trip from San Francisco to LA. But this one was a different trip with a layover and it was only a 45-minute. That was the best time they had.
And so this trip was different from a mindset point of view. I went, I can check in online, or they had what was called like early bird check-in process, but they didn’t let you know if it happened or not – which I found really interesting. So I ended up messaging them and tweeting them, and be like, “Hey, I paid for this extra thing but I didn’t know if it happened. How will I know?” And they’re like, “Well, we do it 72 hours beforehand, but you won’t know until 24 hours beforehand, but if didn’t work then it’s too late for me to do anything, anyway.” So there was that form of communication. I got to the airport extremely early because I didn’t know what their lines would be like, and it was over the holidays. And so, I was spending extra time in the airport that I wouldn’t have done normally. And then their boarding system I didn’t know about, so I wasn’t sure [do I line up over here, do I line up over there?] Does it have to be in numerical order exactly, or is it just a rough assessment? It was very, very different.
It wasn’t stressful per se, but definitely, I wasn’t on autopilot. I had to be paying attention and asking questions and being unsure, I spent a lot of extra time in the airport that I wouldn’t have done normally. A lot of extra time lining up that I wouldn’t have done normally, getting on the plane, was I getting service? What kind of service was I going to get? What were the options, because each airline has different drinks options, and food options, etc. Do I have to pay with a card? Is there a TV on the plane? All these little things ended up, it was not a bad travel experience. Oh my goodness. But then, when we finally get to the end destination, it might have been because it was that time of the year. It might have been, this is what they normally do, but I got told, “Your luggage is on carousel 1!”, “Your luggage is on carousel 3!”, “Your luggage is on carousel 5!”, “Oh, actually, wait a minute. Your luggage is on between these two carousels, have fun trying to find it.” It was a mess, and there was no tracking for my luggage. The airline of my choice, my preference, I can track my baggage, I know if it’s got on the plane or not. There’s something very satisfying about knowing that your luggage is on the same plane as you.
So, as much as it was fine traveling with that airline, and I would probably do it again. I realized looking back that the time that I loss and the stress that I had, and just the general sort of awkwardness might not have been worth that cost or time-wise. And so this was just a different view on why to be brand loyal to a particular airline because we do something often enough it becomes autopilot and so with an airline that I know, I know how to check in and know how to book. I knew the whole process unless it gets tweaked, but that’s one less decision-making thing that I have to do per day and it makes my travel easier.
Thank you for listening, this is Janice at The Career Introvert. Please email me with any of your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
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