The not-so-frequent traveler

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Peeve Meister here.

I can't understand the airlines' frequent traveler programs these days. 

All I know is that every time I want to redeem some of my hard-earned miles, there's never any seats available on the dates that I want to travel.  Never.  And on the rare occasion that there are seats even close to the date, it requires that I use 40 or 50 thousand miles to reserve a single seat.

Boy, these programs sure seem to have gone downhill lately. In fact, they're pretty much useless if you ask me.  The airlines seem to be free to change the rules (always more in their favor) whenever they care to.

It's become a losing battle for the customer.  And now on regular flights as you prbably know, they've started charging extra for everything -- including checked luggage, meals, etc.

Heck, I know the airlines are all having trouble due to the increasing cost of fuel and other expenses, but it sure peeves me off they can’t seem to find any solutions that don't involve sticking it to the traveler.

What do you think?  Have you had a recent encounter with your friendly airline lately that you'd like to share with us?

Peeve On!

The Peeve Meister.

P.S. Congrats to Walkingsnake (great username!), our Rant-of-the-Week winner from last week . And good luck to all you Super Peevers this week. We'll be awarding another set of prizes for the best comment to this week's "Rant of the Week."

Comments

I always thought it was a ...

I always thought it was a scam how they call them "reward MILES". If you are a member of a frequent flyer program and get 10,000 miles that should mean you get 10,000 miles, right?

How was it ever permitted that a mile is not a mile? If you got a gallon of free gas then that should be a gallon, right? If you got a pound of free steak, that should be a pound, right? Who would ever stand for that gallon of free gas being translated by the company to mean only a hundredth of a gallon IF you fill up on a certain day of the week within a certain amount of time of the reward, BUT NOT TOO SOON either, and only at certain stations and only if they are on the west side of the street and not during peak times of the day, holidays or when the wind is blowing from the south or the temperature is over 70º but not under 50º and never on a full moon, waxing moon or waning moon?

That is almost exactly what they do with the "free *MILES*" you earn. They are not miles first of all. 10,000 "miles" is something like a mile or two in reality. You can't fly anywhere for that. Then those miles can't be used right away and expire all too soon and there are a zillion blackout times and days of the year and it's also based on how busy they are. Increasingly they are completely WORTHLESS. And yet people fall for these supposed "incentives" by buying more than they normally would with the promise they'll get something, anything, in return for it. They get squat.

The only way to beat this scam is to reject it. The tracking systems for the things are extremely sophisticated. The fewer people who use those programs, the fewer who fall for the scams, the more the companies offering them will be forced to do something else, hopefully something that is not a scam because we show them we are not so gullible. Until then, as long as people fall for it, they will have no reason to change their ways.

<p>My miles are actual ...

My miles are actual MILES for my airline. I get a mile for every mile I fly, and when I fly back east that makes a HUGE deposit into my mileage account (and it has). Plus they run promos constantly for ways to get double mileage, be it where you go or what alternate carrier I have to use (Alaska Air doesn't fly everywhere).

My credit card gives me 1 mile in that same account for every dollar I charge, two if it's a purchase from a restaurant. It was almost impossible to get this credit card too. I filled out FOUR applications for it and never got it, then finally one day in the mail a mysterious envelope showed up. I thought it was junk mail, but low and behold they FINALLY decided I could have the card. My grocery store? They give me a mile for every dollar I spend there too, I wish I had known sooner because I would have put my mileage account on there as soon as I got it! I didn't know it did this so I lost out on basically 2 years of groceries towards my mileage.

I get a free ticket as soon as I hit 50,000 miles. Free round trip ticket to anywhere on the planet I want to go. Only 30,000 miles to get it but hey, when buying groceries and paying bills ADDS miles, it's worth it to have it! Plus, if I want to go anywhere outside of Alaska, I HAVE to fly, I don't have a choice.

I don't know anyone that has ever had a problem with getting a ticket from the Alaska Air Mileage Program. I know many people that have used their mileage MANY times, and not one has ever had a complaint. The only thing I seem to hear is they get bumped up to first class for free.

Alaska Air is a harder airline to get into anyways, and a bit more expensive (worth it if you ask me). I shop for my tickets three months in advance, and it's the only way to do it up here. Cheapest flights, and your pick of seats and when you want to go.

Ya know, I did read something about all the airlines dropping flights so that the flights that DID fly were more full, and that things would be getting harder in terms of getting a seat on them (not just for flier miles either). I don't know what's going on down there but I know our prices have gone up.

i dont do the airline ...

i dont do the airline miles thing because i dont fly enough for it to be worth while. nor can i get accepted for a credit card that offers miles. so, its loose loose for me. as far as bad experience goes, my worst was just recently for my vacation. i had written my long shpeel in my "im baaack" rant but it seemed to have vanished.

chicago to miami there was a 3 hour delay. not TOO bad as we were sitting pretty cozy and not too crowded. miami to chicago was a different story. on our way to the airport it became a nasty downpour that lasted for about an hour. our flight was scheduled for 4pm. we get to the airport at roughly 2:15 or so. print our boarding passes and head to security. we get stopped. they want to check a bag of ours. ok. fine. they say i cant bring on with me my hair cream (which chicago let me take on with me!), sunscreen, and hot sauce i bought for my dads gift. i nearly start crying because i dont want them to confiscate the sauce so we check that suitcase. grrr....
we go back to security and they stop us a 2nd time. they want to look in the other bag we had. he rifles through it and takes out a snowglobe. he tells us we cant take it with us. now we're pissed. we yell at the guy saying that they already checked out the other bag and didnt say a word about it. he just repeated again that we couldnt take it on the plane because it had liquid. so rather than paying the $25 for checking a 2nd bag we just tell the guy to take it. GRRR!

so, after all that, we make it to our gate. its PACKED! not only were passangers from a flight to DC sitting there, but also people for a flight to St louis AND us chicago people started showing up. so we waited. FINALLY boarded the plane and took off at about 7:30. upon arriving in chicago we go to baggage claim. lane 9 shows our flight number. so we wait for our bags. for about 10 minutes. and we wait. nothing. we overhear a girl saying that the things are mislabeled and that our flight was on lane 6. GRRRRRRR!!!!!! so, i walk over there and right away see our bag. we didnt get home until about 11:30.

I can't even comment on ...

I can't even comment on this being that I haven't flown anywhere soooo...

youve never flown, dawn! ...

youve never flown, dawn! EVER!!?? wow!

i guess im not one to talk. first time i flew i was about 4. didnt fly again until i was 19 or 20. ive flown nearly every year since. normally its a fun experience for me. i like to fly. but miami airport just sucked mega booty.

i love to travel. i highly ...

i love to travel. i highly recommend wisconsin. its like going out of the country. lol.

seriously.

The real sad thing here is ...

The real sad thing here is that we let the train system go to hell in a handbasket. Now the airlines HAVE YOU and you don't want to drive because that costs too much too and the bus, well you don't even want to think about the bus. So you're stuck.

I have never done the miles thing either, because I rarely fly. Why? well, mainly because my wife is afraid to fly. What is she afraid of? I don't know but after trying to fly with her a few times I know that I'm afraid of flying with her because I just don't have energy (What was THAT? fingers clutching my arm, drawing blood -- "that was a good sound, that was the landing gear, we WANT to hear that ..")

So we usually drive, but really, I'd like to take the train. But have you ever tried to figure out a really interesting train trip to places that there is no direct service to? No wonder nobody rides the train ... most places? You can't get there from anyplace else. I thought about getting a month pass to just go somewhere, but no, you have to "book reservations" even with that ... why? Four Amtraks a day go through my town ... I wait for them all the time .... empty empty empty empty ... why? because you can't get there from anyplace else and you need a reservation.

I think I'll stay home.

i tried to take a trian to ...

i tried to take a trian to NYC before but my dad had to get surgery so my mom and i stayed home. they were'nt going to give us our money back but by showing them the doctors note and all that they decided to do so.

i LOVE to fly. i cant imagine being scared of it. too bad you cant do it more often. give your wife a big fat sedative (or as eye-gore said from Young frankenstein, a "sedaGIVE" lol).

I don't have a choice... ...

I don't have a choice... Unless I want to spend a week of my vacation getting there, I HAVE to fly..

That's the price I pay for living in the greatest state in America.