The Smart Traveler Playbook
Scoring Comfort and Convenience in the Year Ahead
By Michael Roney
We’ve all heard the famous Vince Lombardi quote, "Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing." We’ve also heard the litany of complaints about traveling these days: the à la carte airline pricing, long security lines, crowded flights and so on. Well, the smartest frequent travelers, like Coach Lombardi, play to win with a game plan for taking full advantage of the countless opportunities for comfort and convenience coming online every day. Plenty of benefits will accrue in the months ahead for these pros, so why not take a few pages from their playbooks?
Stick to a Loyalty Program
The overall best strategy for squeezing the most enjoyment from your travels is to enroll in just one or two loyalty membership programs. The bigger the program, the better, since reciprocity agreements have turned rewards into currency that can be exchanged among numerous partners for upgrades and special promotions, personalized hotel room perks, free flights, hotel stays and other exclusive deals.
For example, you can earn and spend exchangeable rewards not only by flying as a member of Lufthansa’s Miles & More, but also by staying at a number of partner hotel companies, including Hilton, Marriott, and Sheraton; or by renting through Avis, Hertz and Europcar.
Leverage an Airline Alliance
A key play for travel comfort and convenience is always booking within a global airline partnership, such as Star Alliance, which offers over 21,000 daily flights to 1,172 airports in 181 countries. This yields faster and more comfortable connections en route, thanks to code sharing and sleek new transfer-friendly terminals; and when combined with a loyalty membership, you enjoy expanded access to both alliance and partner airline lounges.
Get Particular About Airports
Focus on leading airlines that recently have been pouring money into new terminals and lounges, offering such conveniences as fine dining, refreshing showers and fully equipped private workstations and business services.
Among recent standouts are the United/Star Alliance Lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 1; the superb Lufthansa lounges at Frankfurt, Zurich and Munich; and airports at Singapore and Seoul Incheon, awarded the two top rankings this year by Skytrax for their overall superiority in terminal design, amenities and comfort.
Play to Win
As in football and business, your level of success in scoring travel comfort and convenience over the next year will depend on how well you execute, making sure that all of the moving parts work together smoothly for optimal results. With a travel insider’s playbook, you’re already well on your way—so why settle for anything less than winning?
Harnessing Social Networking Benefits
LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. These social media platforms are part of a revolution that has touched everyone. They combine the power of collaboration with compelling immediacy and provide new ways for networking among friends and colleagues. Now these benefits are reaching new heights, literally, thanks to Lufthansa’s MySkyStatus, a free Web-based tool that offers travelers a new level of functionality, practicality and personality.
Since its launch in October 2009, MySkyStatus has sent over 400,000 status updates and engaged travelers from 199 countries—a fitting achievement for one of the world’s largest airlines, which serves 203 destinations worldwide. Yet MySkyStatus isn’t just limited to Lufthansa; it works for any flight on nearly any airline around the world.
Updated to version 2.0 earlier this year, this unique service has gained even more utility, offering a set of innovative features that enable you to:
MySkyStatus keeps friends, family and colleagues up to date on your travel status and location—a particularly useful tool for helping those awaiting your arrival to figure out exactly how far away you are and when you’re likely to land.
Essential Communications and Value
"Social networking has become an essential communications tool for many, and especially for people on the go," notes Markus Roos, Lufthansa’s Marketing Manager, The Americas. "Keeping your colleagues informed of your whereabouts with updates on your LinkedIn page, for example, definitely provides extra value, eliminating the need to send your own e-mail updates."
Lufthansa has even issued a mobile-friendly version of MySkyStatus, enabling users to post regular updates about their travel plans while on the go—part of a growing selection of free mobile services from the airline. These include:
In an era when frequent flyers often have to deal with increasingly cumbersome restrictions, it’s heartening to see one of the world’s most prestigious airlines moving the other way: using technology to create an experience that actually makes flying more convenient and enjoyable.
"Now, we not only offer travelers an extensive route network but also the ability to update their own network when they fly," says Roos. "With this tool and others, we are dedicated to finding innovative ways to make the travel experience more exceptional, fun and social."
To find out more, visit MySkyStatus.com
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