Shipra is my fiancée and the first of contributors at the blog. She has worked with one of the largest airline conglomerates in the world, and is now based in Mumbai. Shipra has lived, worked and travelled across 4 continents. We travel often enough, together and separately. These are her perspectives, as she gets used to the world of business and leisure travel and our hobby!
- The Novice Perspective: Initiating my Fiancée to Points & Miles
- The Novice Perspective: Getting used to Airport Lounges
- The Novice Perspective: Benefiting from hotel loyalty programs
Like many, for a long time the primary thing that would drive my decision when buying an air ticket would be the ticket price. I couldn’t care much about food, seat and service for a 2.5 hour flight between Mumbai – Delhi as long as I reached my destination on time. In India, the battle of air fare sales is intense and with a pool of no-frill carriers, ticket prices are competitive.
I used to vouch for Indigo until last year and then they charged me for 1 kg extra baggage for a box of sweets last Diwali. Not to miss, I was only travelling with a hand purse. I have never flown Indigo after that and it’s not because they charged me but because the lady at the counter was cold as a stone and only repeated mugged up lines.
So, eight months back when Jet Airways was running a flash sale, I managed to get a pretty good deal for my travel to Lucknow, Singapore as well as Saigon. I have to admit while it’s not essential to have food served yet it was a welcome change to be taken care of. Looking back, in all my previous low lost flights I have bought or pre-ordered meal on the plane. How many of us don’t eat anything on a flight??? At times, I have also paid a couple of hundreds for a better seat.
In hindsight it was a great decision, because with JetPrivilege, in just 8 months I am Silver and just 1 flight away from becoming a Gold. Actually, I was going to be taking longer to be Gold, but with Jet revamping their frequent flier program, my last two flights counted double than what I calculated. Now, a Silver may not mean much but the status earned me an upgrade recently.
As a Gold I am looking forward to:
- Lounge Access: I already have a Priority Pass and an AMEX card, so this is not a deal breaker for me.
- Priority baggage tagging: Very important, I have waited for as long as 40 minutes at the baggage belt hoping for some miracle to happen and my bag to arrive.
- 15 Kgs of Excess baggage: This really is the deal breaker. I don’t want to be bothered about packing and repacking and weighing my bags and being asked to reshuffle and pay. Whether I am travelling heavy or light I don’t want to think about not buying that extra box of sweets because I’ll have to pay for it.
- 3 upgrade vouchers: Of course apart from the fact that I get priority on operational upgrades, I would love to travel comfortably, being taken care of in business at the cost of economy an economy ticket. And now, I will have 4 upgrade vouchers in all (one from silver as well).
Also when I did compare the fares closely, I was paying low fares on low-cost flights with odd schedules. Busy slots still sell at a premium all across.
So, bye bye low cost carriers. I am happy to pay a little extra and get much more in return for the long term.
Lesson #6: Airline loyalty is the oldest trick in the book to retain customers and it still works
Which airline loyalty benefits do you enjoy?