In the last few years of globe trotting, I’ve learned a really, really important lesson: Pick an airline. Ok, you can just pick a preferred network, but then you have to stick to it.
Traveling casually, I always took the cheapest fair (which, turns out, is what most people do). Typically, I would also sign up for whatever frequent flyer program that airline offered as well. But to what end? I had a couple thousand miles on a smattering of airlines around the world. When I started traveling for business, I realized what the hell those points were even for. Or really, what they look like when applied the way they are intended to be applied. I had a sort of eureka moment when I realized that figuring the loyalty system out was how this middle-class girl could fly Business internationally. Do you know how big of a difference a bed makes on a long haul flight?!
In the beginning, I flew United. Why United? Because that’s what everyone told me to fly and the fares were always agreeable for my company at the time. I could always request a United ticket. A couple hops across the Altantic later and I was sitting comfortably at Platinum.
I’ve flown a bunch of airlines in my time (geez, how do I sound?), with Singapore always being my favorite. After comparing that service to United, I started to complain. You know, general first-world problems; Food was tasteless, no complimentary wine, planes were old. I spent most of last year “trying out” other airlines. I even took a flight on Qantas to Australia! (Which was lovely, if you’re wondering).
At the end of the year, I took a good, hard look at what I really wanted to get out of my travel experience. The answers were suddenly so clear. All I really wanted was a good network of route options, affordable ticket prices, and the occasional complimentary upgrade. United is one of the few that hit all three of those. So yea, the Flight Attendants always seem to be in a less than pleasant mood. And maybe they don’t hand me a “menu” when I sit down. And alright, the screens are smaller than Luftansa. But really, at the end of the day, I’m sitting pretty on the United website, looking for my next big adventure.