How loyal should you be to your airline?

So if you are like most people, you are a member of one or more frequent flyer programs and depending on how often you travel, you may have managed to achieve a reasonable status.  You may have connected your credit card to the program as well so every time you go to the supermarket or full up at the pump you are getting more points.  Every time you plan another trip you start with the airline that you have the most status with it, but does that really make sense?   Here are Travel Coordinates 5 tips to decide how loyal you should be.

1.    The number of points you have

If you are looking to redeem points for your flights or looking to upgrade, then you will obviously want to fly on your favourite airline to enable you to do those things and therefore are more likely to be loyal to that airline or its partners.  So the more points you have the more loyal you will likely be.

2.    Cost is the only thing that matters

If you are cost conscious or are trying to get more into your budget whilst on holiday rather than getting there and home, then price will most likely outweigh your desire to stay loyal.  So if the best price is not on your airline, prepare for a little recognition at the gate but enjoy the extra nights, the special dinner or whatever else you choose to spend your money on.

3.    Flying when you want to is important

Your favourite airline will not always fly at your favourite time, don’t let the loyalty program drive your whole holiday schedule.  If your airline only flies out at midnight on a Tuesday and you really want to leave during the day on Friday, then get yourself on that airline that thinks the same way as you do and perhaps understand that you might be in row 52 rather than 24 but at least you got to your destination when you wanted to.

4.    You love a lounge

Fairly often your frequent flyer status will let you into lounges that allow you to shower, relax, eat and drink.  So if the price and convenience are not driving your decisions, the ability to access a lounge in the stop over or before you start your trek home will usually result in your choosing your loyalty airline.

5.    Depending on where you are flying

Not all airlines are made equal and depending on where you are going that can be even more obvious.  The National carrier will often have priority in terms of best times for take-off and landing as well as having the best connections throughout the country.

So when you make your next booking for an International flight, think how important all those points you have accumulated really are pick the airline that meets your needs.

First Time Cruising

Cruising seems to have become so popular recently and there are more cruise ships coming to a port near you than ever before.  If you are even in a conversation with long time cruisers they seem to have their own language and everybody has their favourite cruise line and even a favourite ship on that cruise line.  So if you have wanted to join the cruising club and enjoy a unique holiday here are Travel Coordinates 5 tips for first time cruisers.

1.    Pick your cruise line

Each Cruise Line has its own signature.  Whether it be the size of the ship (from large to very large), a focus on a particular demographic (kids, seniors or singles) or the types of amenities (from rock walls and ice rinks to waterslides and flow riders).  One thing to understand is that the more cruising you do on one particular Cruise Line the more cruising you will want to do on that particular Cruise Line.  It works the same way as your airline frequent flyer program, the more times you sail and more things you do on board the more discounts you get and the higher your status. So it is worth doing some investigations to find the Cruise Line that meets your needs and then plan on using it as you become a seasoned Cruiser.

2.    Take a short cruise first

There are a large number of cruises that run from 7 days to 35 and beyond and that is a big investment the first time you do it.  These cruises usually visit multiple destinations and have days at sea as well as days in port to experience the different cities and cultures.  Between these longer journeys, many cruise ships will do a three day cruise out of the port they are stationed in and out to sea or to one other port.  These are much cheaper and require a much smaller investment of time.  Best of all they are a great way to get your sea legs and find out if you like cruising.  It is also a great way to sample different Cruise Lines and pick which one you like best, so look out for a short cruise departing from a port near you and start your Cruising Adventure.

NOTE: This is to ‘sample’ cruising – how you survive sleeping in a stateroom, if you handle sea legs, how you find the entertainment.  Be careful not to judge this cruising experience based on others onboard – most short cruisers are not there for the travel experience!

3.    Plan your days as soon as you get on board

It can be confusing when you first hop on board, where will I eat, and when, can I see a show and what about a spot at the pool.  The best thing to do is plan ahead.  So there are a couple of key decisions you need to make.  Are you going to eat at any of the specialty restaurants, which are not included in price or are you going to stay with the variety of restaurants that are part of your package.  So before you even board, check out what is on your ship and map out the meals and things you want to do.  Then when you arrive, book!  Get in quick because the seasoned cruisers will be doing the same thing, but don’t panic or stress because you will find lots of options but don’t leave everything until the last minute or you might find yourself eating at 5.30 or 9.30.  As for the pool, get their early or hang around and wait for a spot on the sun deck to open up, or just drop your stuff in a corner and jump in, you are on holiday so relax and enjoy yourself.

4.    Find your own Cruising pace

There are many different people on board a cruise looking for different things.  The party goers will stay up late and might just be having a liquid breakfast, those with kids will be doing the family activities and spending time in the arcades or the kids centres, whilst others will be reading books or shopping.  The best thing to do is work out how you want to spend your time with your fellow Cruisers and just follow that pace.  Don’t get caught up in the hustle and bustle of anybody else or do not be slowed down by others whiling away their time.  It’s your holiday so just enjoy it.

5.    Try a little bit of everything

If you are on your first cruise or are still sampling then make sure you try everything on board.  Eat at the different restaurants, drink at the different bars, swim in the different pools, and try all of the free things the ships has to offer.  Remember you are here to enjoy all of the different experiences, so don’t spend too much time in your room!

Enjoy!