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Thread: Frequent Flier Tips

  1. #1
    Master
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    Frequent Flier Tips

    It looks like I'm going to be a frequent flier and traveller in general. It will be mainly European trip sand most won't be longer than 36 hours with the occasional longer or further journey. I'm found a number of threads on TZ about bags, credits cards etc. There are also umpteen Youtube channels and Instagram post buts many seem focused on a Gen Z minimiser/optimiser type of traveler. I like to travel light but I won't be washing my own underwear in the shower to cut down on weight or cost. I'm interested in suggestion on what to bring, packing, lounge access, all of that but also general tips on staying sane and healthy when on the road and in the air.

  2. #2
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    Donít ever check a bag unless you absolutely have to. Shouldnít be an issue for you if youíre just doing short hops in Europe. Youíll soon become an expert at packing what youíll actually need on the trip rather than what you think youíll need.

    Aim to reach silver status with BA which will give you give you lounge access and generally a marginally better level of customer service. This is their sweet spot really, and gold and GGL status require lots of long haul flying.

    Iíve generally had pretty good experiences with easyJet. Avoid Ryanair like the plague if you can.

    Try to avoid excess booze and the crappy food folks tend to eat on the go if you can. Your waistline will thank you.

    How many flights will you be taking per week? The sanity question is really determined by this number!

    Good luck. I did lots and lots of flying for many years. Enjoyed some parts of it, hated others. Like anything youíll carve out something that works for you

  3. #3
    Grand Master Mr Curta's Avatar
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    For Europe flights book a window seat and go for a pee before boarding. Plug in your headphones, listen to whatever chills you out, and if you can condition yourself to sleep on flights it makes the trip feel a lot shorter plus you can bank a couple of hours kip and enjoy the late night delights of wherever you are heading. Use a folded jacket to rest against the bulkhead, or an inflatable cushion if you must, and use a sleep mask if it helps. Have wet-wipes, tissues, cough sweets, snacks, reading material, etc. in a small bag you can chuck under the seat so you don't need to access your carry-on in the overhead bin during the flight. Clap enthusiastically when the plane lands.
    Don't just do something, sit there. - TNH

  4. #4
    Grand Master ryanb741's Avatar
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    I echo the points made earlier. Don't check in bags, it will cost you a lot of time. If you are flying with BA get an executive club account as well as an Avios credit card. Absolutely don't fly Ryanair ever. Also if you are flying from Heathrow a lot get the Heathrow rewards card.

    Invest in a good piece of carry on luggage. The extra cost will be worth it as it will last a long time. And enjoy it - make sure you take the time to go for a walk in the evenings and check out the places you are travelling to. One thing I like to do when travelling for business is go for dinner on my own in a local establishment and just observe what is going on and absorb the atmosphere. Much better doing this solo as opposed to with a work colleague droning on about 'gap plans' and 'North Stars'.

  5. #5
    Master draftsmann's Avatar
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    I donít any more but did this for many years.

    Contrary to what others say, if you accept Ryanair for what they are, they generally do deliver and Iíve used them countless times. For the record, my worst experiences service-wise have been with BA.

    A pair of mini iPads (more convenient than large screens in an aircraft seat), a modded old iPod classic with 10,000+ tracks on it, a heavy duty charging brick all stayed in my small carry on. I couldnít avoid taking a windows PC and got bored lugging a heavy laptop so eventually got a Toughpad which was about the same size as the mini iPads.

    For lounge access I spent around £400 per annum on an unlimited priority pass card- it may well have gone up now- but it more than paid for itself as I didnít shell out on drinks or snacks and it definitely made the whole thing more bearable.

  6. #6
    Master draftsmann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryanb741 View Post
    And enjoy it - make sure you take the time to go for a walk in the evenings and check out the places you are travelling to. One thing I like to do when travelling for business is go for dinner on my own in a local establishment and just observe what is going on and absorb the atmosphere.
    This, definitely. Itís important to have some time for you to unwind and de-stress.

  7. #7
    Did this for 7 years (100+ flights per year).

    Get a priority pass for lounges and, if possible, one that allows you to be escorted to the front of the security queue (My KLM Plat allowed this). At least until you get some Airline loyalty status. Same for Hotel chain status, but you have to stick to one Hotel/Flight chain as much as you can. High loyalty status *can* lead to upgrades on flights and rooms.

    Be prepared for flight delays and cancellations. Do you have a 'tame' Travel Agent (TA) arranging things? I was lucky that the large company I worked for had one. This was invaluable when cancelled flights led to massive queues to be allocated Hotel accommodation for the night or alternative flight routes to get you home. I was stranded in Amsterdam during that Iceland volcano debacle. This led to American Insurance companies block-booking hotel rooms for their stranded passengers. Luckily, I was able to quickly phone our TA and get a room booked before this happened. Otherwise I'd have been in some doss-house in the back of beyond.

    Do not keep passport, currency, credit cards, tickets and mobile phone in one posh 'Travel Wallet' - one dumb, self-important colleague did this and lost it at the outgoing airport. He went home and we laughed.

    If you're on expenses be diligent about receipts. I used an app to scan them just in case. Also check receipts - I recall the £400 Spearmint Rhino added to my bill for a corporate event I was hosting. They thought I would be too embarrassed to query the charge. I wasn't.

  8. #8
    As others mentioned, lounge access is a useful thing - especially when travelling alone. I used to do the same but if you are going to pay 400 for all free access (opposed to 200 for 10 visits and then pay per visit) consider an Amex platinum card. For 575 gets you Priority Pass membership (which if you get your partner a free 2nd card lets 4 of you into a lounge) but also Gold status at Hilton, Melia & Radisson (more useful than PP to me as we predominantly use Hilton) and travel insurance.

    Also echo even cheap noise cancelling headphones (I use the cheap ones from Amazon) and an inflatable pillow.

    Register for any airline/flight loyalty prorgammes and learn how they work - eg Hilton value stays over nights

    I have just started travelling again and so far the lounges seem much fuller so my last tip (assuming you have PP) is hit the lounge first to either get a place or in a queue before browsing or picking up anything you need at the airport.

    If you can and know it is long term consider moving nearer to the airport !

  9. #9
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    Thanks all. Some great advice. Not sure how frequent it will be yet, but my sense it by the end of summer is will be once a week and possibly more. I did have lounge access via an Amex Gold previously, but found I either didn't use it or the lounges were a bit grim, especially compare to Airline lounges. That said it may well have been the airports I was flying form and I am considering an Amex Platinum as my work no longer require me to use a business card. We have changed to a new travel agency, but I haven't had to use them in anger yet.

    I definitely need better luggage and a few other "essentials". I do enjoy having some time to myself to unwind. One of my favourite trips left me with a spare afternoon in Rome where I crammed in as much sightseeing as possible in 3 hours, hint, not much.

    And moving closer to the airport sounds like a great idea, but unfortunately not an option. :)

  10. #10
    Master smalleyboy1's Avatar
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    I fly regularly and have several backpacks by GoRuck. They are black and fairly low key. I prefer a backpack as it leaves both hands free.

    Not checking in bags is key. If you are travelling to the same location ie workplace, see if you can get a locker to stash things like toiletries, laptop charger cable, keyboard and mouse etc. Minimising what you have to carry is good.

    Access to lounges is nice but if you settle into a routine, you might be able to minimise your time in the airport. I fly inside UK and typically get to airport 60-90 minutes before takeoff and by the time Iíve cleared security, itís nearly time to board.

  11. #11
    Did this for years pre covid. Depends where you are flying from, try and get some trousers that donít need a belt, I always had bars of shampoo/conditioner/soap, solid deodorant stick too, less to take out and left me in control of my toiletries. Travel perfume bottle for your aftershave if you wear it.

    If your travelling from a regional airport on klm, a fair proportion will have the lounge access and can generally sign you in (I did this a few times with faces I recognised/chatted to previously) donít expect some sort of utopia, often find them more crowded than the main bit.

    Decent cabin bag is a must, donít go for a flashy metal one, they look nice, but they are heavy. Rare to see them weighing cabin bags, but Iíve seen it done.

    If you have to check a bag, have a spare pair of socks and undies in the hand luggage.

    Download a few things to your iPad - Netflix/iPlayer etc, some wired headphones and a battery pack can be useful, book and a magazine.

    Youíll find a routine and itíll become normal!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barton Red View Post
    Did this for years pre covid. Depends where you are flying from, try and get some trousers that don’t need a belt, I always had bars of shampoo/conditioner/soap, solid deodorant stick too, less to take out and left me in control of my toiletries. Travel perfume bottle for your aftershave if you wear it.

    If your travelling from a regional airport on klm, a fair proportion will have the lounge access and can generally sign you in (I did this a few times with faces I recognised/chatted to previously) don’t expect some sort of utopia, often find them more crowded than the main bit.

    Decent cabin bag is a must, don’t go for a flashy metal one, they look nice, but they are heavy. Rare to see them weighing cabin bags, but I’ve seen it done.

    If you have to check a bag, have a spare pair of socks and undies in the hand luggage.

    Download a few things to your iPad - Netflix/iPlayer etc, some wired headphones and a battery pack can be useful, book and a magazine.

    You’ll find a routine and it’ll become normal!
    Always travel wearing one of these: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Regarding the Rimowa / equivalent comment, I would not travel without mine and wouldn't describe it as heavy - a couple of kilos heavier than an Eastpak rucksack, but not exactly made of lead.
    Last edited by Mj2k; 7th June 2023 at 20:29.

  13. #13
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    Not so much a flyer tip, more an airport tip. I find them boring and itís easy to end up eating and drinking to pass the time (which you might want to do on the plane anyway to pass the time), so I tend to get my 10,000 steps in walking around as Iíll have up to two hours generally. Exercising my legs beforehand, knowing Iíll be sitting down on the plane for hours is a good way to spend the time for me.

  14. #14
    I did three years taking 4-5 European flights a week, Easyjet or Ryanair, here is what I found.


    - get as close to front row as possible, every row back is 5-6 people in front of you at passport
    - buy a good light hard carry on suitcase to Ryanair size, Samsonite is a good one get from their outlet
    - when packing you need to put all the things you get out for security in a sleeve so itís easy to separate
    - look at a ďPrority passĒ itís about £400 a year unlimited but all airports have a lounge and itís always nicer than sitting or standing somewhere else, plus food and drink included.
    - if you fly Easyjet enough you get their priority club, free speedy boarding, select seat and dedicated number to call customer care
    - book as early as possible to save on flight and parking
    - if you need to change a flight do the maths, I did Cork the other week and it was cheaper to rebook new flights and forget original than it was to change flights.
    - good small pocketable headphones, mini iPad and download Netflix and podcasts
    - travel light, invest in good quality light things and packing cubes or bags
    - comfortable shoes, there were days Iíd put them on at 3 am and take them off at 23:00 hrs 20 hours on your feet is demanding.


    Thinks thatís all.

  15. #15
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by justin44 View Post
    I did three years taking 4-5 European flights a week, Easyjet or Ryanair, here is what I foundÖ
    Hardcore. You have my sympathy!

  16. #16
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    Iím also reading with interest as I will be flying a fair bit over the next couple years.

    I really need to travel with a blazer/jacket - does anyone have a recommendation for a rucksack cabin bag that helps in that regard? ie folding said jacket.

    I will be using BA and have downloaded the App but will investigate paid lounge access.

  17. #17
    Journeyman
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    Be relaxed about missing flights I used to fly 4 flights a week

    London-Dublin
    Dublin- Paris
    Paris-Prague
    Prague-London

    Plus regular trips to Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo

    This involved many early mornings on the M11/M25/North Circular so missed flights were inevitable without leaving many extra hours which I wasn't doing as I gave up an inordinate amount of personal time as it was.

    I was chilled, it was only work after all and there are always other flights and rearranged appointments


    Sent from my SM-A526B using TZ-UK mobile app

  18. #18
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
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    If you need to travel smart-ish, Rohan has a jacket/trousers that fly really well. Envoy I believe the name is.
    'Against stupidity, the gods themselves struggle in vain' - Schiller.

  19. #19
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    Frequent Flier Tips

    Quote Originally Posted by Noaksey View Post
    Be relaxed about missing flights I used to fly 4 flights a week

    London-Dublin
    Dublin- Paris
    Paris-Prague
    Prague-London

    Plus regular trips to Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo

    This involved many early mornings on the M11/M25/North Circular so missed flights were inevitable without leaving many extra hours which I wasn't doing as I gave up an inordinate amount of personal time as it was.

    I was chilled, it was only work after all and there are always other flights and rearranged appointments


    Sent from my SM-A526B using TZ-UK mobile app
    Best advice this. I must have spent hundreds of wasted hours at Manchester airport to avoid the one in 50 flight miss disasters before I clocked on to the same thought process.

    As others noted I always avoided any checkin bags not for time saving but for the risk of misplaced bags which is a major pain.

    Ryanair I have no problem with. I used Flybe as well a lot and they were worse as they had different carry on size. In the end I had a wide range of carry ones for the variety of airlines i used to fly on.

    I gave up on bulky noise cancelling headphones and made do with noise cancelling on ears (Sony). 90% as good for 10% size.

    Unlike others though it was always the aisle seat. Hate window seats.

    Cat napped where I could and the aisle was fine for me

    iPad mini the entertainment portal of choice for size / weight


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Last edited by chrisjones3; 8th June 2023 at 12:34.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisjones3 View Post

    Ryanair I have no problem with. I used Flybe as well a lot and they were worse as they had different carry on size. In the end I had a wide range of carry ones for the variety of airlines i used to fly on.

    I gave up on bulky noise cancelling headphones and made do with noise cancelling on ears (Sony). 90% as good for 10% size.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Flybe no longer exist so not an issue and do you mean ďin earĒ ??

  21. #21
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    After many years as Tumi-carrying self loading cargo, my advice would be to carry some tiger balm in your bag.

    When you get stuck places or have to sit next to stinky people in order to get a seat a dab on the end of your nose makes a big difference.

  22. #22
    Master blackal's Avatar
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    Secrete an Apple AirTag in any luggage, cabin or hold (or Samsung equiv).

    Always handy to be able to tell the lost luggage that your bag appears to be on a carousel. In the arrivals hall in Frankfurt.

  23. #23
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackal View Post
    Secrete an Apple AirTag in any luggage, cabin or hold (or Samsung equiv).

    Always handy to be able to tell the lost luggage that your bag appears to be on a carousel. In the arrivals hall in Frankfurt.
    I have trackers on my bikes. In communication with the company that monitors them I was able to show them via the Apple air tag in my luggage where the bike was in London, they were insisting the bike was still in Iceland.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by craig1912 View Post
    Flybe no longer exist so not an issue and do you mean ďin earĒ ??
    Yes in ear. Flybe going under left me with those orphan 35cm width bags!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  25. #25
    Grand Master Mr Curta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisjones3 View Post
    Unlike others though it was always the aisle seat. Hate window seats.
    It's just down to personal preference. I prefer window because I'll never ever get bored of looking at the earth from above, can rest up against the bulkhead when dozing and won't have anyone disturbing me to access the aisle, or feeling awkward about having to do so. I don't eat or shop on short haul flights so those who want to can crack on without leaning or talking across me.
    Don't just do something, sit there. - TNH

  26. #26
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    I don`t fly frequently and I`ve no wish to, but having ridden in the big bird yesterday I`ll offer my snippet: travel in dark-coloured cargo pants with plenty of pockets, ideal for passport, money etc and very safe if zipped.

    Dark colour is preferable for the following reason: if you need the toilet on the plane you will inevitably splash water on yourself whilst washing your hands. This will deposit around the nether regions and if you're wearing a pale colour it creates the impression that you've pissed yourself, or had a dribble or minor loss of containment. Indeed, if such an event has come to pass the dark colour will spare your blushes.

    As ever, my advice is based on experience, I don`t make it up!

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