Pet Peeves: What Really Bugs Travelers About Frequent Flyer Programs
Travelers join frequent flyer programs for a number of reasons, including racking up miles, qualifying for elite status, earning travel awards, and obtaining a higher level of customer service. But for every perk an airline’s frequent flyer program offers, there appears to be a list of grievances and pet peeves that go with along with it.
This being the case, Frequent Business Traveler and FlyerTalk, the world’s largest online travel community, conducted a survey to find out what the top pet peeves with respect to frequent flyer programs are. The survey was conducted in parallel with a discussion on FlyerTalk.com that elicited roughly 100 comments and garnered 10,000 views.
More than 1,000 Frequent Business Traveler readers and members of FlyerTalk participated in the survey, and what was found may very well be a revelation to some. Despite how airlines market their frequent flyer programs as an easy means for free air travel, the greatest obstacle that members encounter is a simple one: even with what should be a sufficient quantity of miles or points, it’s not easy to find and book travel using them.
The top pet peeve on the list was a dearth of available tickets for the dates on which customers wished to travel; this was closely related to the number three peeve, tickets that are available, but only for a much higher-than-usual number of miles or points. The number two peeve concerned presumably high taxes, booking fees, and surcharges, which to many simply added insult to injury in their quest for a free flight.
Of course, some frequent flyer program members might have simply overlooked available flights given the complaint regarding poor search tools, number four on the list, and the difficulty (including flights not showing up in a search) in booking awards on partner airlines, a peeve that rounded out the top five.
Other peeves in the top ten included: fees for booking by phone if the website doesn’t support booking the flight, the redemption price turning out to be higher than one that was advertised, mixed segment awards pricing out at the higher class, change fees, and a call center staff that is sometimes not the most knowledgeable
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