Browsing Tag: Unsolicited Travel Advice from David

What do you get when you combine writing about airline travel since 2008 with a few decades of being a sarcastic chap? Unsolicited Travel Advice from David (the Editor-in-Chief of this dog and pony show) — that’s what! There are way too many travel-related click-bait stories out there that give you boring and questionable information from “experts.” This series will be different — I will give you entertaining, possibly less questionable information, while not caring about any sort of clicks or bait. Let me set the mood. Imagine that you and I are hanging out, when we have just hit upon an interesting airline/travel topic (when is the best time to buy airline tickets?) and I am fired up and ready to spew my thoughts and opinions. When I wrap up, I hope that you won’t just awkwardly stare at me, but instead continue the conversation in the comments. Let’s do this…

There are lots of seats in lots of planes out there, but tickets go fast!

There are lots of seats in lots of planes out there, but tickets go fast!

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO BUY MY AIRLINE TICKET?

Now! Crap, you just missed it… do it now! I am serious… don’t overthink this, buy them now! There are all sorts of thoughts/theories on this. Some backed with actual data, others sound more like snake oil pitches. Here are some “suggestions” that I have heard over the years:

  • Buy on a Tuesday
  • Earlier the better
  • Wait until the last minute for great deals
  • Buy on Travel Deal Tuesday (Tuesday after Thanksgiving)

Although those opinions might sound fun, I decided to search for some data to back these up. I ventured onto quite a few “legit” travel sites where there was no shortage of experts giving advice on the best time to buy airline tickets. Here is (no joke) what I found… the best time to buy a ticket before your flight: 70 days, 62 days, 90 days, 47 days, 69 days, 21 days, 110 days, 49 days, 217 days, 147 days, 50 days, 76 days, 99 days, 66 days, 94 days… I had to stop. There were more, lots more… but I could already see the total lack of trends. Or reasoning. I was starting to get the hint that there might not be some magical number, but more of people wanting you to read their story and click an ad (or two) before you leave.

Eastern Air Lines ticket from the 1950s. You waited WAAAAY too long to buy this one.

Eastern Air Lines ticket from the 1950s. You waited WAAAAY too long to buy this one.

Even if you did have a magic number, there are so many variables that can change prices; load factors, oil prices, competition, and of course my favorite… Murphy’s Law. It is a gamble and if you love the thrill of a winning streak, I will try not to judge, but I have seen enough movies to know that the house (or airlines) will always win in the long run.

I don’t use any special tricks or secrets, I just ask myself these three simple questions:

#1 Do I want to go on this trip?
#2 Do I have the money/miles to buy my airline ticket now?
#3 Will I be less happy if I do not buy them now, and the prices go up?

If I answer “yes” to most of these questions, I say the time to buy is now! Of course once I buy, there is one thing I must not do, or it could ruin EVERYTHING…

An AirlineReporter ongoing series. Unsolicited travel advice from David. What is the best airline credit card?What do you get when you combine writing about airline travel since 2008, with a few decades of being a sarcastic chap? Unsolicited Travel Advice from David (the Editor-in-Chief of this dog and pony show) — that’s what! There are way too many travel-related click-bait stories out there that give you boring and questionable information from “experts.” This series will be different — I will give you entertaining, possibly less questionable information, while not caring about any sort of clicks or bait. Let me set the mood. Imagine that you and I are hanging out (before all the COVID-19 stuff ), when we have just hit upon an interesting airline/travel topic (what is the best airline credit card) and I am fired up and ready to spew my thoughts and opinions. When I wrap up, I am hoping that you won’t just awkwardly stare at me, but instead continue the conversation in the comments. Let’s do this…

Our very own AirlineReporter airline credit card with rewards like being able to read fun stories like these.

Our very own AirlineReporter credit card with rewards like being able to read fun stories like these.

WHAT IS THE BEST AIRLINE CREDIT CARD?

Heck if I know.

Which airline do you fly the most? Pick that credit card. Done!

Since all my friends and family know I write about airlines, I get asked about this a lot’¦ too much. I say that because I am bad at the airline miles / credit card ’œgame.’ A game that can be played with-in the rules and ethically, or it can be done by trying to scam (or some might say “work”) the system.

In a recent AR story comment, my friend, and AR Managing Correspondent, JL Johnson stated how passengers can just, ’œopen up a personal and business ChargeMart Plutonium Card, and max them out a time or two over a 90 day window that I might get enough points to buy a FREE one-way first class ticket from Lampasas, TX to Fargo, ND.’ Sign me up… three times over again!!!

(This would probably be a good time to tell you that AR gets ZERO kickbacks from any real, or fake credit cards that I talk about or make fun of in this story. Not that I am against it. If anyone from ChargeMart Plutonium Card is reading’¦ let’s make a deal!)

Keep on reading to find out the 5 BEST AIRLINE CREDIT CARDS THAT WILL GET YOU FREE FLIGHTS TODAY’¦

An AirlineReporter ongoing series. Unsolicited travel advice from David.What do you get when you combine writing about airline travel since 2008, with a few decades of being a sarcastic chap? Unsolicited Travel Advice from David (the Editor-in-Chief of this dog and pony show) — that’s what! There are way too many travel-related click-bait stories out there that give you boring and questionable information from “experts.” This series will be different — I will give you entertaining, possibly less questionable information, while not caring about any sort of clicks or bait. Let me set the mood. Imagine that you and I are hanging out (before all the COVID-19 stuff ), when we have just hit upon an interesting airline/travel topic (free first class upgrade) and I am fired up and ready to spew my thoughts and opinions. When I wrap up, I am hoping that you won’t just awkwardly stare at me, but instead continue the conversation in the comments. Let’s do this…

Now, that is what I am talking about -- what I think about when I think "first class." (this is on a Etihad A380)

Now, that is what I am talking about — what I think about when I think “first class.” (this is on a Etihad A380)

HOW DO I GET A FREE FIRST CLASS UPGRADE?

This one is easy. You don’t. Conversation over.

“This is not what I was expecting,” you might be thinking to yourself. “I have heard about special tricks, some have to work, right?” Okay, okay, this wouldn’t be any fun if I didn’t at least talk about some of my favorite “tricks” that travel “experts” have given over the years. Or at least make fun of some:

  • Dress to Impress: I have seen this one for years. The idea is you dress to the nines, and the flight crew will be so impressed, that they will upgrade you for free. Right. Maybe (just maybe) this would have worked decades ago, but flying has changed. First class passengers wear everything from suits to PJs (and worse).
  • Suck Up: There are a number of valid reasons to bring a little present for your flight crew (like if you have loud kids, or you plan to act like a kid), but some passengers will try to butter the flight crew up before asking for an upgrade. It is not very genuine and I am guessing that the success rate is pretty low.
  • Be a Frequent Flier: If this is the first time you are hearing about being a frequent flier, you probably don’t deserve first class upgrades. #sorrynotsorry
  • Hope Your Seat is Broken: Seriously, I saw this given as real advice. Because if it is broken, you might get sent to first class. Heck, why not go one step further and just break your seat? Then demand to be put in first class (this is me being sarcastic — do not do that). Of course, this could all backfire and you’d end up in a back middle seat, delayed to the next flight, or permanently banned from the airline.
  • Lie: Just tell them it is your birthday (hope they don’t ask for your ID), your anniversary, or you are going on your honeymoon (make sure you have someone with you). Maybe they will upgrade you on your “special” day.
  • Be Sneaky:  Be one of the last to board or wait until the plane takes off and go find yourself an empty first class seat. Even if you ignore the fact that this is pretty much theft, the flight crew has a pretty good idea who is supposed to be in the premium seats and it is not you!

This classic first class is totally worth trying all the tricks in the book… it even has a sweet projector!

Those are all pretty worthless, but have no fear! I have 5 WAYS TO GET A FREE UPGRADE TO FIRST CLASS, that are 100%* legit. Keep reading to find out what they are (you won’t believe #4)…