I was helping my dad buy an airline ticket the other day, and the idea for this post came to me. For the better part of all of our lives booking travel wasn’t the way it is now. I’m young enough to have missed air travel in the 1970’s, but I was around for it in the 80’s. I recall airlines taking out ads in the newspaper announcing their fare sales.
What you would do is sit and wait for these newspaper ads to come out, and then call them and book. Or if you were lucky, like we were, you had a travel agent, who would know some tricks to buy cheaper tickets. Either way you’d get a hard, cardstock ticket, in the mail for your flight.
Hotels were booked over the phone. OVER THE PHONE. You’d call up and talk to a human being and book a few nights. You paid cash. Having a credit card was a luxury, and hotel promo codes started at AAA and stopped there too. (Sorry Mr. Pickles).
The 1990’s brought the world wide web. The internet has changed a lot, it has brought information to the masses, and overthrown governments. I can remember buying tickets online during the 90’s and still having them mailed to me. This was before e-tickets had been perfected, and it had to have been costing them a fortune to fed-ex one ticket I paid next to nothing for.
Without a doubt the last decade has seen things explode. The amount of information out there on travel, and expecially FF Miles has become amazing. The problem is that our brains have “grown up” in a different travel reality.
Lets go back to my dad and his ticket. He never wants me to book for him with miles, because to him miles only come from flying. He thinks I’ve spent the better half of the last decade earning miles by flying and doesn’t want me to “spend” them on him. I’ve tried to explain to him, and sometimes he lets me book for him. Other times, like this one, he insists on paying for a flight. If I didn’t help him he would probably still be looking in the newspaper for fare sales. I showed him the ITA Matrix, and he was blown away by the speed and power of it. Now I know this is an extreme example, but we all have some of this “old school” thinking holding us back.
Retrain your Brain
We really do need to shake off the last 30+ years of how flying “works.” Yesterday’s post talked about the hybrid system–putting two trips together to save money and miles. I also mentioned how you can get a free room in Vegas. Make a connection between the two; flying to Vegas for next to nothing on SWA, staying the night or two for almost nothing, and then doing a return on DL stopping in LAX, and continuing on at a later date.
When you study route maps, and award ticket rules you start to rethink your travel. The idea of a “trip” becomes much more fluid. Booking LAX-SYD-LAX is probably how you’d book a paid ticket. Inside the country you might buy another flight, or a bus, or a train. For an award why not do LAX-SYD stop there for 4 days, then fly on an avios ticket SYD-BNE, and book your return as part of a trip BNE-LAX, stop there and then continue to JFK in 6 more months in F? The trip will only cost you the extra Avios.
I guess what I’m trying to say is: How much of what you read on travel and points blogs is reality? And how much is the view that the blogger want you to see? The truth is, we can never know the answer to that question for sure, so to me the safest bet is to make my own reality. I’ll ask you to do that as well. Think about stepping onto an airplane that is painted a different color than your usual. If you’re an AA Flyer, try out United for a flight or two. If you fly DL all the time, get on a Southwest flight. The process might pleasantly surprise you.
You owe it to one person: yourself, to try things out, push
the limit. your limit. When we are comfortable, and complacent someone is likely making money off of us. When we’re active consumers, and rethink the way we approach a situation we’re likely the ones winning.
You need to empty your mind of the old way of thinking: Book a flight, then a hotel–or “Save” by booking them together. A-B,B-A. Booking at the same websites and same hotels you’ve always booked. Re-qualifying for a status level to earn extra “perks” that used to be free. Using the same airline you’ve always used, never stepping outside your travel box. Throw it all away, and start fresh.
- We’re going to change the way we travel.
- We’re going to #BYOE.
- We’re going to be loyal to ourselves and our wallets.
- We’re going to be #Milenomics.
Join me, @Milenomics, together we’re going places.