Is today the worst day of the year to travel as an elite member… at least on American? Traditionally airline elite status expires at the end of February, so this is the time period where you have the most elite members flying. That’s because even those that didn’t requalify for status still have their 2014 status.
And it’s Thursday afternoon, which is traditionally the most popular time for business travelers to be gracing the skies.
So does that make right now the busiest elite travel period of the year?
A vast majority of my travel lately has been international, which doesn’t have quite as much day-of-the-week variance in terms of demand as domestic travel. Beyond that, most of my domestic travel the past year or so has been on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and weekends (by design).
I’m presently enroute from the east coast to the west coast via Dallas, and I can’t even remember the last time I felt so overwhelmed flying. My goodness, I don’t know how you Monday/Thursday commuters do it. As an elite member, it’s a totally different experience flying during peak times vs. off-peak times (I know I’m stating the obvious here — with this post I’m reflecting and not making any startling revelations).
I’ve always been perplexed by the existence of the Admirals Club in Tampa, since I’ve never seen more than a handful of people in there. This afternoon every single seat was taken.
What the Admirals Club Tampa usually looks like
My flight out of Tampa had an upgrade list 20 people deep after everyone had cleared. Tampa is typically a light market in terms of elite flyers. In my experience it’s rare to see anyone on the upgrade list at all with American, let alone 20 people.
On second thought, I would have rather not cleared that upgrade, since the guy seated next to me farted literally the entire freaking flight. Like, nonstop. I wasn’t sure whether to congratulate him for the consistency of his efforts or offer him a pair of my underwear. Holy $hit…
During my layover in Dallas I visited the Centurion Lounge. It was as busy as Wal-Mart on Black Friday. Usually there are servers roaming to offer drinks, but I couldn’t even get a drink at the bar without waiting for 10 minutes.
What the Centurion Lounge Dallas often looks like
I had a four hour layover, but they didn’t have a massage treatment available during that time period, which was a first for me (usually you can get one within a couple of hours, given that most people aren’t connecting for longer than that).
I didn’t even clear my upgrade on my connecting flight, even though there were 12 empty seats in first class when I booked just four days ago.
Flying mid-week or over weekends is relaxing — upgrades clear easily, lounges aren’t overcrowded, etc. But it’s a whole different ball game when I’m competing for upgrades and space in lounges with all you guys!
Like I said above, there are no revelations here, just observations. But seriously, my hat off to those of you that do this every week.
To those of you that normally fly Thursdays, did I just hit an especially busy travel day, or is this the norm?