There’s No Such Thing As A Free Flight

I’ve addressed this in passing, but I figured I might as well address this head on, since it’s something I feel strongly about — there’s no such thing as a “free” flight (well, unless you’re Marilyn Hartman). On a plane you paid for whatever cabin you’re flying in, whether you’re on a revenue ticket, award ticket, upgrade, or taking advantage of flight benefits.

Let me provide some context. I recently wrote about my Etihad flight from Abu Dhabi to New York in first class where they ran out of food. That was actually the lesser of the two issues I had with the flight — the bigger issue was with Abu Dhabi’s horrible US pre-clearance facility.

I have my fair share of trolls on this blog — I take it as a compliment that they dislike me enough to keep coming back — but sometimes they make points that are so ridiculous that they’re actually worth sharing. And in this case the reason I’m sharing them isn’t to actually point out the ridiculousness of them, but rather to address what they’re trying to get at it in theory (which is easier to respond to when they make it amusing).

The first comment is by Hungry, and was left on my post about Etihad Airways running out of food in first class:

It’s a drag to run out of food and have to be hungry for awhile.

Any thoughts on those on our earth who do this on a daily basis? Most of these comments show people who are fortunate enough to be entitled beyond most of human’s belief.

I used to read this site, when I was a newbie. Now I only read it for the “mental flick” I like in order to keep me sane and grounded.

I’m happy, happy beyond your ken, to not be a part of this greedy, selfish, entitled group of the worst of humanity.

And then s/he leaves a follow up comment, which in part reads as follows:

Nope, you picked it because you felt lucky to have found loopholes in life that allowed you to travel like this even though you weren’t wealthy.

This ridiculous attitude of entitlement that you have, even though you’re using loopholes and not actually paying the thousands of dollars normally charged for this, is one of the things that rub me (and many others who won’t comment) wrong.

I’m sorry, LUCKY, but you, and apparently much of your remaining readership, have turned into an entitled jerk(s), who despite getting travel for a tiny fraction of the price, have decided you’ve both worked for and earned it, and all the rights that come to one who has paid full price (even though griping that you only got one meal and not two is beyond anyone’s “right”!).

You should travel with me sometime, I’d work the humble right back in where it belongs.

Purely from an entertainment standpoint I like the comment left by Ben on my post about Etihad’s US pre-clearance facility even more:

Wow,

So you want Etihad and (UAE for that matter) to do well despite their strong anti homosexual agenda, and you being a practising homosexual…

And if you want them to do well, maybe you should move there and actually fly them REVENUE instead of your profit losing award tickets. If you thought homosexual filtering was bad in the US JFK lounges, you haven’t met the morality police yet.

I don’t think I’ve ever been called a “practicing” anything before. Then again, today he left the following comment on my post about Southwest’s livery:

If you truly think that livery is important for airlines than no one would be flying American right now.

Another homosexual impulse (style over substance).

That after I specifically said the following:

I’m not one of those people that passionately cares what airplanes are painted like — I didn’t think Southwest’s previous livery was amazing, and I don’t think the new one is either.

Ben, is there something you need to share with us? 😉

Etihad-First-Class
Didn’t pay for full fare first class? No food for you! 😉

More seriously, to the people that are convinced only certain people are entitled to the advertised services of a cabin, where do you draw the line?

  • Paid full fare first class?
  • Discounted paid first class?
  • Strategically booking fares out of markets that are cheaper (for example, Cairo to Doha to London in first class is a third the price of Doha to London)?
  • Paid first class with a corporate discount?
  • Full fare business class with an upgrade to first class (which may be more expensive than discounted first class)?
  • Award tickets?
  • Operational upgrades?
  • Staff tickets?

Qatar-First-Class-Fare-2
Paid first class from Doha to London

Qatar-First-Class-Fare-1
Paid first class from Cairo to Doha to London

I’m curious, which of the above fares come with food and the right to complain?

For me it’s very simple — airlines are free to publish who gets certain benefits however they’d like. For example, some airlines offer chauffeur service on all business class tickets, while others (like Virgin Atlantic) only offer chauffeur service on full fare business class tickets. That’s totally fine, because there’s no mystery involved there.

Similarly, airlines can prioritize onboard services however they’d like. On Emirates they’re free to prioritize shower appointments or meal orders by status (especially on a flight like Dubai to Kuwait City, where showers are in short supply).

But to argue that you shouldn’t expect a second meal on a flight because you booked an award ticket (when you get a minimum of two meals in economy) is preposterous.

To the geniuses that disagree with me, let me ask you this about the so called “profit losing award tickets.” If airlines release award space to partner airlines and it’s “profit losing,” why do they do it?

bert

They’re under no obligation to do so. Lufthansa doesn’t release first class award space to partner airlines more than 15 days out, and Swiss doesn’t release any first class award space unless you’re at least a Senator member in their Miles & More program. All airlines have the right to make a subset of award space available to partner airlines.

If you think you know more than the revenue and inventory management departments at airlines, that’s great, and that’s within your rights. But at the end of the day the airlines choose what to charge, what award space to make available, when to offer upgrades, what benefits to offer their employees, and how to run their programs.

And even Lufthansa doesn’t have to release first class award space within 15 days of departure. They’re well within their rights not to. Care to guess why they do? Yes, because they actually make money from it!

And let me actually counter the above argument about a “profit losing award ticket.” I booked my Etihad first class award ticket hours before departure in a completely empty first class cabin. There was virtually zero opportunity cost to carrying me. Anything they got paid by American was pure profit. That’s not true of a passenger that booked 11 months out and paid for first class with a corporate contract, for example. It’s possible that seat could have been sold for more later on, in which case that seat was actually potentially “profit losing.”

My point is this — airlines have created ridiculously complex systems for booking tickets. They’ve done so by design, because it keeps them in “control” of things. It allows them to discriminate between customers easily, in hopes of maximizing revenue with each individual passenger.

As far as I’m concerned, once everyone is aboard they’re all entitled to the advertised benefits of that class of service, regardless of how they booked. That even includes staff travel — at the end of the day travel benefits are written into airline employee contracts, and is part of their overall compensation structure. In other words, if pilots at certain airlines didn’t get space available first or business class travel, they may well look for other benefits in their contract. They’re paying for it, even if it’s not necessarily “direct.” It’s no different than an executive having a company car, personal driver, etc.

Do you agree or disagree? If you disagree, who’s actually “entitled” to the benefits offered by a class of service? Only passengers that booked the absolute full fare for that class of service?

Comments

  1. Everyone who’s in the class of service is – or ought to be – entitled to all that comes with that cabin/seat for everyone else. Except stowaways, of course. And I’d think that airline employee fly for free tickets maybe would or should be the last to get fed or to get their choice of beef or chicken (although it wouldn’t surprise me too much if it was the other way around in practice!).

  2. It’s simple. You have a contract to buy a service from a company using a method of payment, which you believe to be good value. When the fulfilment of that contract results in missing your expectations, you have a right to talk to other consumers about it so that they can avoid a similarly disappointing experience or the company can change their practice so they don’t lose business. Whether you are in the cabin as a result of having paid cash, miles, or the less calculable cost of being loyal to an airline for status and the resultant upgrades, is irrelevant. If other people are paying more than that is simply their loss for not finding out about the possible ways of paying less, or their decision to pay more for a better service (e.g. more convenient routing). I don’t make a judgement on those who pay full fare any more than I make a judgement on someone like you who travels first class on miles: we all have the freedom to decide which services we consume.

  3. Ignore the idiots who have no idea how award travel works or even how airlines still make money from them, if not why would some sell miles….. These ppl have no clue, and there is no way to explain something this simple if they do not already get it.

    You are supposed to enjoy the facilities made available or promised to you regardless of how you got there, if I paid less for my suite than the next person am I supposed to get lesser service? Lol that is just ludicrous.

    There is no reasoning with the feeble minded 🙂 carry on doing what you do, and what is up with the person bringing up homosexuality in every post is in gagging for a well gagging? Lol

  4. Not to mention of course, that the lack of food effects all of the pax, not just the ones on award tickets.

    Have the people who actually got their miles from BIS flying also not worthy? How do you differentiate a good award from a bad one?

    I agree that the airlines wouldn’t have these programs if they weren’t making them money somehow. And as we have seen lately, they are free to change the terms at their whim. People who take advantage of what the airlines and their partners offer are just using the system as has been created by the airlines. Nothing more, nothing less. While some folks push the envelope beyond what was originally intended, the airlines have total control over the program to change it. And those who push the boundaries are such a tiny percentage of all flyers that their effect is probably minimal.

  5. You sacred me when I saw ..”comment from Hungry”. For a second I thought I’m seeing Hungary. That is my “old” country. Small quiet place, and I haven’t met a stu.id person like “Hungry” from there. I’m glad that those thought is from Hungry and not from Hungary. I would be embarrassed.
    Endre, who is always hungry because he is from Hungary.

  6. Agree with all your points Lucky… some people should just be left alone (and happy) with their ideas and thoughts …

  7. Why the hell do jealous individuals have to resort to making petty comments about people’s sexuality.

    And I agree regardless of how someone has paid for said product is irrespective, if the service doesn’t meet the expectations then you have the right to complain, I redeem club Carlson points often and if the service isn’t what I expect on a redemption stay then I’m going to make it known just as much as I would if I had paid cash or any other damned method!

    Keep up the good work Lucky.

  8. If posts replying to idiots/trolls/etc. is going to be a new “thing”, can they please be specially tagged or something? I would like to preserve the few brain cells I have left. TIA!

  9. I’d be shocked if Hungry comes back with some more “but you have no right to complain” arguments after that lashing.

  10. “practicing” homosexual lol. What does that even mean? Are heterosexuals “practicing” too?

    Sorry you have deal with such ignorance Lucky. I wouldn’t have thick enough skin to deal with comments like that. Love the blog and your flare (rubber duckies, hello kitty, livery, etc.). That and your in-depth trip reports make you favorite!

  11. I would argue that it is “more harmful” to respond to some of the ridiculous comments than to take the high road and ignore them………don’t give others the idea that spiteful comments have a voice……….plus you are way too busy to chase knuckleheads………….it’s a form of intellectual pornography we don’t need to see……………you own the site and they don’t have any First Ammendment right to free speech on it…….

  12. Wow. This makes me glad that nobody comments on my blog. I mean, how happy can you possibly be if One Mile at a Time makes you so furious that you just have to leave a comment? I really don’t understand the authoritarian impulses that so many of these folks have. “Stop liking what I don’t like! I sought out your opinions and now I’m offended, so change your opinions!”

  13. I’m unalterably opposed to responding to trolls (life is short), but these were actually pretty funny. More seriously and as we all know, airline revenue management, including all the nuances of releasing reward space, has indeed become a veritable science unto itself. Even distressed “saver-level” award space gets turned into gold, or at least some gold, which I think is amazing. How any of that translates into not serving food is beyond me, but then I consider that little mystery part of the ineffable charm of the original Hungry post.

  14. Hmm. While you make a couple of excellent points here Ben, I see zero need for you to justify your hobby – or share some of your experience with your readers. I’m sure that a few like-minded hobbyists have learned a great deal from your writings and many others read simply for the entertainment value. It is your blog and your space and of course, you may write about anything that you wish. I enjoy reading the vast majority of your posts, perhaps for both purposes. As for the web thugs who seem fixated on ‘practicing,’ why dignify them with a response? The truth of the matter is that most of your vast readership Could Not #uc$ing Care Less. As you remind your readers once in a while, much of your time is devoted to a HOBBY, one that helps to develop activity for a successful small business, providing your award flight expertise to F-Flyers in need and, perhaps, helping to support your hobby. (Am I reasonably close?) Where is the harm in any of that? IMO, the web thug are little more than annoying flies. I know how to apply my Delete Key and use it a lot more often than you should, again IMO. And again, the space is yours. Frankly, I cannot recall having ever read a post in this space that I found offensive; some may have more merit than others, but none has ever been offensive. Yes, funny/strange that those who criticize so much keep returning, apparently often. Please, keep on keeping on and with your often quiet humor. Thanks. How can this be anything other than harmless fun and often interesting reading – for anyone? Congratulations on a very successful, oft-read blog! -CG

  15. Im now dumber having read a part of this post than before I started.
    What a wasted of electrons and who cares?

  16. Whats’ that saying…
    Don’t argue with idiots because they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience. —Greg King
    Never argue with a fool; onlookers may not be able to tell the difference. —Mark Twain

    Life’s good.. Lucky..Live it up

  17. I think the negative commenters miss the point of this blog. I have never construed any of your posts as you feeling “entitled.” It’s meant to educate folks who partake in this hobby and want to ensure that the miles that they’ve earned are spent on the products that best suit their needs and expectations.

    For instance, I flew CX F for the first time a week ago, and knew from this blog that if I wanted something from the FA, to ring the call button. From you, I learned how to maximize my own experience, to have the best flight possible using the miles that I earned based on offers that were made by the airlines to the general public. If someone has a problem with that, that’s their issue.

    Anyway, back to my point. I appreciate you sharing your experience with Etihad. Without your blog, I would never have known about the food shortage or US pre-clearance facility. I wouldn’t want to spend my miles that way. Unless things change, I will probably avoid flying from AUH to the US in the future, and will find an alternate way home.

    Anyway, thanks to your blog, my wife and I got to experience an amazing trip to Australia a couple weeks ago. Keep up the good work!

  18. I love the “practicing homosexual” one the most.

    If I’m a man, and I’m having sex (hot GAY sex) with a man, does that make me a “practicing homosexual?”

    When I’m all done with that hot gay sex, and I’m having lunch, am I at that moment a “non-practicing homosexual?”

    Anyway, you do a nice job ignoring the trolls, and please continue doing so.

    You are 100% right that every ticket is paid for, be it cash, redemption, or upgrade. Those that can’t see it are either uninformed, obtuse, or…or they have problems I can’t even begin to fathom.

    Please keep up the great work you do – it’s very informative, fun to read, and you have scads of readers who appreciate it. I don’t agree with you all the time, and I’ll continue to respectfully say so (sorry, but AF’s first class product really does suck! I mean that respectfully, of course 🙂 ), and in the meantime you keep on keeping on with your awesome blog.

    Oh, and PointsPros ROCKS!

  19. I agree– those who are upgraded to a higher class of service should not be differentiated from paying passengers. Otherwise, it’s a slippery slope, as Lucky alludes to. I would make one possible exception. IF f it is necessary to make an operational upgrade last minute (unexpected oversold flight, broken seat in the original cabin), and there are limited amenities in F, the flight attendant can tell the passenger up front, listen we would be happy to seat you in F, but we cannot offer you a F class meal due to unavailability. That to me is acceptable behavior from an airline.

    With regard to some of the vitriolic comments above, I’m not an advocate of censorship but I would suggest banning Ben (the one who made those remarks above) from the site completely and report him to your parent site/platform for further action. Whereas Hungry’s comments, equally odd as they may sound, are fair game, Ben’s are precariously close to hate speech and harassment.

    My 2 cents.

  20. I will tell Hungry not to travel business or first cause you have more chance to see practising homosexuals next to you,they are big spender with good taste.
    What frustrate me as a UK resident is we earn every mile harder than you in the States,we dint have those credit cards big bonus,european airlines sometimes gives you no miles or a fraction depending on class booked,i just say you lucky over there.

  21. Generally, I’d say there is no need to feed the trolls by responding with an entire post directed at their comments; however, in this case, I think this post was actually very insightful and will be of help to many who are not familiar with how award travel and fare structure works on a practical basis (and without getting too technical).

    To answer your question – I agree that all passengers booked within a given cabin are entitled to the benefits offered in that class of service. As far as non-rev tickets, especially “buddy passes”, I know from experience that some airlines do make note of this and will take meal orders from these passengers last in order to accomodate revenue passengers’ first choices. I think it is completely fair in that case. Of course, in practice I’ve had some great service as a non-rev since a lot of airline employees follow the “treat others as you’d want to be treated” mantra in such a scenario.

  22. This is the best travel blog out there and I have learnt soo much on how to travel better, whether it’s paid travel or using points from my regular cc purchases. As your blog becomes more popular, trolls will start lingering around more. Ignore them and do what you do best. We’re all #TeamLucky

  23. Lol Lucky…Those ignorant homophobic individuals are a disgrace to the human race. Ignore them. Their parents did not bring them up in a proper loving home (one where their mother had to strip to make it through the month and where their father was a filthy man begging for money on the streets).

    If anything, please post their IP addresses so we can expose these disgusting barbaric “things” for what they are; trash. Feel free to contact me to find out how to get their IP addresses. From their IP address we can find out who they are, where they live, etc. Lets see how tough they are once they don’t have a screen to hide behind.

  24. While I disagree with many of the comments these readers provided, I do agree that you have lost (or maybe didn’t ever have) humbleness. The things that bother you simply don’t matter to 99% of the world, because we don’t spend our lives sitting in Lufthansa FIrst Class.

    I dare you to fly a long haul in economy and provide a review- it will maybe make you appreciate that first class seat more.

  25. I thought that I would give some perspective on airline employee travel benefits (also known as non-revenue space available “NRSA” travel). I used to work for two different airlines.

    While the programs from airline to airline have some similarities, there are big differences too. First off, I don’t think it’s correct to call it “free”. Employees most certainly pay for this travel. The bottom line is that employees at the very least indirectly pay for the travel benefits because airlines get away with paying employees less because employees overvalue the travel benefits. Additionally, the travel itself often has some kind of charge attached to it. Many, if not most, airlines charge employees something at least in certain cabins (like International First, Business, Domestic First, etc.). Sometimes the charges are waived based on seniority. While the charges are way better than what the general public would pay, they could be several hundred dollars in some cases.

    As is guessed by one of the other commenters, an NRSA traveler understands that he or she should not expect to get a choice of meal or any meal at all if they run out. That’s all in the guidelines, though it’s unusual that you wouldn’t get any meal at all. One of the reasons for this is that employees, before getting on the flight are required to list onto the flight. At some airlines, it’s actually called “meal listing” even if no meal is served. That shows your intention to try to get onto the flight on a space-available basis. That is allegedly used for catering, weights and balances, and other dispatch data points.

    Other than not getting the choice of meal, etc., employees are supposed to get the same service as others in the same class. This is true only to a point. You aren’t going to be a demanding SOB to someone who could report you to your supervisor and get your NRSA privilege suspended or get you fired. (Though it’s not really easy to do such a report). Cabin crew also generally thinks of NRSA travelers as friendly – people who aren’t going to be demanding and who will help them out, move to get others together, etc., understand what’s required in the exit row, will understand about a missed meal, etc., which is generally true. Most employees want passengers to have a favorable impression of their airline (despite what you might think). It’s also true that cabin crew could be reported by the NRSA traveler, but that’s just not going to happen either and I worked at headquarters at both airlines. No one wants to be an a-hole to a fellow employee – on both sides.

    NRSA travel is nice but it ain’t all that great either. When you are carefree and single with a lot of time and not many commitments, it’s fantastic. Buenos Aires for the weekend, let’s go. Party in New York, I’m there. Giving a buddy pass to a friend who’s Mom is in a coma and not expected to live, priceless. But trying to get the wife and two kids to Disneyland for Spring Break, well it’s just not going to happen. You can go anywhere you want to go so long as no one else wants to go there. It’s standby travel and ALL revenue passengers get on before you. You could be stuck for days.

  26. Here’s something I don’t get…no one is forcing anyone to read this blog or any other blog so why all the complaining?! Just don’t read! That’s not to say there is not room for disagreement on occasion. But the nastiness on blog comments is just beyond me.

  27. As a practicing heterosexual, first class flying(always on miles, never paid) is MY RIGHT! Ok that may have been an over reaction. Love the blog, I think you have a great attitude about what you do. There are no free lunches/flights. Your miles didn’t appear out of thin air. You did something that someone else wouldn’t or didn’t to to earn them. I felt no guilt booking my next AA F transcon. I worked my ass off “gaming” the system. If other people choose to only use one means(paid) to fly in F well that is their choice.
    I did like the idea of posting IP addresses. Cowards tend to shut up when they know there are consequences.

  28. Lucky has helped me out on more than one occasion without charging any fees and providing the right guidance when I needed to get tickets on miles to Asia. So his HOBBY helps him travel and run a small business but that doesn’t mean he is not willing to help out for free.

    Thanks for the blog Lucky, makes my day usually. I live vicariously through it and my SO was a very happy camper back in 2012 when you helped us. Unfortunately she is not too interested in traveling coach these days….#firstworldproblems….

  29. Hi Ben,

    Those envious people have missed your point and taken it personally, which is unfortunate but reflects badly on them not you.

    Trolls only hurt us if we allow them to. Take heart that there are a lot of people out there who value what you do in providing a much needed impartial perspective in the sometimes opaque workings of premium travel.

  30. Ben’s gay? News to me. Do I care? No. Only that Ben the Blogger continues to inform and entertain me is important to me.

    Keep rockin’, Lucky!

    P.S. I noticed you gave up Diet Coke and now seem to be a full blown alcoholic (just kidding). Was that a function of being under 21?

  31. @ Eric — Nope, I just like to mix it up. My mom told me Diet Coke wasn’t good for me. She hasn’t given me the same warning regarding alcohol yet. 😉

  32. Agreed. It’s a similar argument I have made on flyer talk about why revenue based loyalty programs aren’t a good idea. If there was a way for an airline to create a profit based loyalty program they should, but pure revenue doesn’t reflect profit or opportunity cost.

    Anyway, I’m sometimes amazed that you approve some of the comments you do. If I were in your shoes I would probably delete some of them, or just not approve them. You also really are under no obligation to respond to them.

  33. also a former airline employee. Yeah, awards and NRSA travel is on seats that would sit empty. Airline makes a little money even on NRSA travel amazingly enough, because employee pays a little on a seat that would go out empty. Airlines makes a bunch on miles selling. Sure, they have to cough up a little on meals/booze, but often the thinking is that high end customers spend on other stuff (oh, like expensive tickets on expense accts) multiple times over.

  34. Don’t feed the trolls. While I agree with your sentiments here, I think you’re doing those individuals too much of a favor by republishing their comments. They were seeking attention, and they just got it. Now they’ll just have to step up their game.

    Regarding the “loopholes”, miles and points are anything but a loophole – they’re major businesses. Indeed, there’s no such thing as a free ticket.

    And I’m sorry for the bigots who have yet to come to terms with their own sexuality or their overall hatred of life.

    Now let’s refocus on something more constructive 🙂

  35. when i traveled as a non-rev/NRSA, we were taught that the polite thing to do is to point out to the FA’s when they’re taking meal orders that we are staff (whether it’s our airline or another carrier), so they can give the paying pax their choice of meal before us – it was always appreciated – otherwise i don’t see any reason why a revenue pax should be treated differently simply because they’re on an award ticket or operationally upgraded (or paid for the upgrade for that matter) – if, as a previous poster points out, there is an issue with meals, then the staff should notify any affected pax upfront – let me be one of the first to say that if any carrier wishes to upgrade me, i will not complain about missing an airline meal in my new class! (champagne restriction, however, would be considered intolerable)

  36. Lucky,
    Thank you for posting about not getting the appropriate amount of meals on Ethihad Airways. My take-away, I will not be flying Ethihad. No good reason for me to use them anyway. There are so many better airlines that can get me where I want to go. For all the weird comments, ignore them, let them go back to their holes in the ground.

  37. @ Brian & @ Nancy M — thank you for the valuable insight!

    Overall, I find complaints about what Lucky is covering or emphasizing to be misplaced. This site is focused on premium-class travel and reviews/opinions are valuable for readers in their decision-making process when booking travel (award or revenue). Meaning, if Product A costs the same miles/points as Product B but there may be potential issues (like lack of food, bad lounge, pre-clearance, etc.), Product B may be a better choice.

    P.S. If there’s a #TeamLucky, who is our opposition? 😉

  38. First of all: it’s fairly obvious that Ben(not Lucky) is a homophobic stalker who is the internet equivalent of a Mean Girl, just far less stylish and brilliantly sarcastic – seriously, it’s easy as pie to block an IP address if you know the right people. He’s a miserable, jealous jerk who hides behind the internet to take his aggression concerning his own life’s failures out on others and I guarantee he doesn’t have the balls to say any of the stuff he spews online to anyone’s face because he’s a miserable little punk. Ignore him. He’s not worth anyone’s time, let alone yours. People like him will eventually realize that their ignorance doesn’t have any bearing on the world around him and will shrink away and shut up if you remind yourself that they’re meaningless.

    Secondly: I don’t read this blog to contemplate the type of person you are. I read it because I am a student of the mileage game and I have a close relative who lives in New Zealand, and family is everything to me, so I want to be able to go visit them at least twice a year without putting my own household in dire financial straits. I’ve flown coach there and it was horrifyingly miserable, but I can’t afford to spend $6000 on a plane ticket because I’m a regular person. My husband and I have good jobs, kids, a house, a couple of nice cars and plenty of bills to pay. I LOVE traveling. I want to see and explore as much as I possibly can before leaving this earth. BEING in a place is more important than how I got there, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I want to be miserable getting there.

    Travel like the type you write about is something that most people can only dream about. People will leave this earth without ever even sitting in a first class domestic cabin…let alone an international first class cabin, and you get to do it multiple times a week. That’s special. You live out people’s bucket lists and you’re not even close to knocking on the door of 30. Of course I think you’re a little jaded. I think anyone in your position would be – including myself. When you get used to living a life of privilege/luxury, you don’t make it a point to think about the “little people” who have it worst off than you, but that’s a part of human nature. I don’t know you as a person. I just know some of your travel quirks/preferences (ducks, Krug, airplane pajamas, etc). I don’t know if you donate some of your miles or volunteer your time with the needy. That’s between you and whatever cosmic force you do or don’t believe in. If you’re concerned about the way you’re perceived – to be honest – yeah. You sound a little jaded…but, my guess would be because you’re still very young and you’ve been blessed enough thus far to live a privileged life, so you don’t yet know how hard it is to deal with certain hardships, sacrifices, pain and losses. You won’t know how NOT to be jaded until life kicks you in the ass…HARD…a few times.

  39. I have discovered One Mile at a Time not long ago, and have been hooked since. I really love this business and, as a low key traveler for work (I don’t get 3% of the mileage Lucky has), it’s always cool to see so many hints and reviews to try and get some cool flights and promos on miles.

    I don’t think there’s any need for advice, but Lucky, if you want some, it would be to simply don’t care about the nasty comments. People like to complain about everything for no reason. So be it.

  40. Crabs in a barrel. A few ‘regular people’ are mad because some of their own brethren are smart enough to master the vagaries of an alternative currency system and access a lifestyle ‘above their station’. Instead, they should be cheering us and asking how, rather than how dare you.

  41. A lot of people, myself included, find a lot of educational value in this blog. Probably the only time I felt the “entitlement” attitude is when Lucky asked his readers to fund his Residences travel (were you educating us readers that the way for us to experience Residences was to also start our own Kickstarter campaigns?). Anyway I think there was a lesson learned there somehow.

    That said, I agree about the ridiculous comments on food. Plus, who cares who Lucky gets lucky with? 😉

  42. “Regarding the “loopholes”, miles and points are anything but a loophole – they’re major businesses. Indeed, there’s no such thing as a free ticket.”

    Well, churning is free…;) But then, that’s the fault of the credit card companies themselves, not the people taking advantage of that.

    While everyone should be treated well, some people should get preferential treatment. And Lucky has been on the receiving end of said treatment himself, as when he flew on Malaysian Air, due to his Oneworld Status (and I hope it was due to that, and not account to his being the only white person in the cabin, which I have seen noted on other TRs).

  43. The phrase “practicing homosexual” is a direct quote from the Pulitzer Prize-winning play entitled “Angels in America”, written by American playwright Tony Kushner. The phrase is uttered by closeted homosexual Roy Cohn, who in real life was an American attorney who became famous during Senator Joseph McCarthy’s investigations into Communist activity in the United States during the Second Red Scare.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angels_in_America:_A_Gay_Fantasia_on_National_Themes
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Cohn

  44. @wwk5d – link to the malaysia air article or TR you’re referencing? would like to read about the alleged preferential treatment for myself.

  45. LOL at those jealous comments!

    It’s great to have idiots like that, too poor to be able to afford revenue F (even with ticketing out of cheaper fare cities), and yet too stupid to be able to book them on award even though it’s so cheap.

    Let them pay for revenue Y (and rant all they want), the rest of us can enjoy our F flights! =)

  46. @Adam:

    http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2013/09/27/review-malaysia-airlines-business-class-kuala-lumpur-hong-kong/

    “Interestingly when meal orders were taken the flight attendant specifically came to our row first and addressed us by name, as did every flight attendant throughout the entire flight. Malaysia does a phenomenal job taking care of OneWorld Emerald members, better than just about any other airline I’ve flown.”

    http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2013/09/26/review-malaysia-airlines-business-class-bali-kuala-lumpur/

    “I found it rather interesting that they started service at our row, and addressed us by name the whole flight, while they didn’t seem to address anyone else by name. Based on all my experiences on Malaysia Airlines so far, it seems they take really good care of their OneWorld Emerald members, as I’ve always had my meal order taken first and have always been addressed by name.”

    http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2013/03/28/oneworld-welcome-malaysia-airlines-first-class-london-to-kuala-lumpur/

    “One other interesting note — on both the outbound and return flights our meal orders were always taken first. I’m not sure if this is because the other passengers were op-ups, if it’s because we’re OneWorld Emeralds, or if it was a coincidence, though I’d be curious to hear if anyone knows why that might be.”

  47. Ben, stay just the way you are and dont mind those idiots who have nothing better to do in their miserable lifes.

  48. I think there are two issues that have been raised by the trolls.

    The first is whether a commercial passenger (as opposed to NRSA) should be treated the same as every other commercial passenger in the cabin in which they are booked, regardless of how they “paid” for the ticket. The answer is clearly yes – the airline has the choice to give you that seat or not, and if they do, you should be treated the same as everyone else.

    The second issue is far more interesting to me, and has been raised in various contexts on Lucky’s blog over the years: as an out, gay man, should he be supporting companies and / or countries who actively discriminate against his own “tribe”? If one believes that a commercial passenger is a commercial passenger, regardless of how the fare is paid (as above), then I believe that the ethical question applies to a passenger traveling on “free” tickets.

    Lucky is a young, gay man, who is fortunate enough to grow up in a era in which his own country has turned the corner on discriminating against gays and lesbians. This is on the backs of tens of thousands of people who fought and died for that evolution (literally) while the vast majority of the country looked the other way. I am so pleased that he is able to enjoy some of the fruits of this long, long struggle, even as it continues.

    Many middle eastern countries punish gays by death. If Lucky “practices” his homosexuality, or even just admits it, he may be in life-threatening danger. That includes the United Arab Emirates, the country of Etihad.

    My personal view is that, ethically, Lucky should not be flying Etihad. That is not to say he shouldn’t be visiting the middle east, or countries whose laws are unfavorable towards his community. It is not to say that he shouldn’t fly any airline that treats its workers poorly (in which case there aren’t THAT many left).

    But traveling to different countries is a two-way, educational experience, that can make the world a better place. Flying first class on an airline run by homophobes does not. Of course, in the end it’s a decision for Lucky, and one that he has to feel comfortable with.

    But the decision to do so is a conscious one, and should not be taken lightly. I didn’t go to South Africa during apartheid, despite desperately wanting to. Not because that decision mattered to anyone else, but because it mattered to me.

    I hope as Lucky gets older, and as he fights for his right to get married or have kids in one of those American states that hasn’t “evolved” yet, that he’ll understand that the personal is political. Coming out is a very important first step; the second step is taking a stand, even if it’s just a quiet one.

  49. As Lucky points out in his “about” page: I’m never going to try and sell the idea that travel is free, … And I agree with that.

    Let’s face it Lucky like other bloggers uses his blog to generate an income stream from either his credit card/product referrals or his award help business next to his sharing of trips he has taken.

    And just like other bloggers he provides the same info about deals/specials, he just got slower in posting them than others, maybe not having a real home slows him down. They all report the same news and deals. What differentiates Lucky’s page from pure points deals pages is that that he is providing excellent information about *premium* travel on airlines and hotels based on his own experience providing his own pictures which makes them a good resource when I plan a trip because who can trust trip advisor etc. these days?

    Yes I know he is biased when it comes Lufthansa to an extend that is actually unhealthy, but I possible am going bias for the main airline I use too.

    Do I think that he sometimes forgets that some his non US audience can’t generate miles as easy as he can? Yes, I live in a country where you can’t get a single airline/hotel miles credit card so my miles are generated by traveling on business trips or weekend trips by actually staying at properties or flying. I know I’m one of those who actually prefers a revenue based frequent traveller program because of my travel pattern. I earned my award travel by actually sitting in a plane and hence it’s not really free when I cash it in (never mind the fuel surcharge some carriers impose).

    A good airline will not care how the ticket was purchased and staff on board should not create 2nd class travellers by differentiating revenue/non-revenue travels’ and not once have I experienced that. Sure, some airlines take meal orders first from their own best customers, some airlines won’t give you car services and some airlines will tell you in case of problems that you should contact the ticketing airline but on board I have not seen a difference in service because of the way I paid for my ticket. The only time it ever came up is when an LX maître de cabin noticed I was on a mileage run with loads of segments the same day, he actually asked me to change seats to an empty row and made a make shift bed out of it.

    As to what Lucky is practising in his private time it’s none of my business (unless he wants to practise it with me), it does not matter for the purpose of this blog, after all it’s not a rainbow blog featuring special travel, it’s a travel blog aimed at points/mileage users.

    I will continue to have his blog in my feedly settings because it gives me some nice ideas of what airline/hotel to take and what to do to ensure I get a good experience, after all, that is what we all are after, maximising the travel experience and making it less stress for us.

  50. I often wondered people who put comments like
    “I don’t care about what type of aircraft”
    “I don’t care about the look of the aircraft, cabin, paint, livery etc”
    “I don’t care about service…. just get me from point A to point B”
    “I don’t care about Airlines food or seats…. just get me from point A to point B”

    Well this blog or website like Flyertalk or airliners.net or the like are for people who are passionate about flying, aircraft, and aero-industry to discuss about many aspects of it.. so it is a place to share thoughts among people who actually “care” about all these.

    I don’t get why these commenters even come read it here, let alone comment on it.

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