Maintaining Perspective in Life: Do Frequent Fliers Need to Adjust Expectations?
“A n announcement was released during the investor relations presentation of Delta Air Lines yesterday that within the next eight months, seven seats will be removed from the Business Elite cabin of its fleet of Boeing 777-200 aircraft and replaced with 30 seats in the economy class cabin” is what I wrote in this article which was posted on Thursday, December 12, 2013. “This, of course, elicited the response by some FlyerTalk members that this news negates the perceived benefits announced two days ago with the introduction of Global Upgrades and Regional Upgrades, of which there will supposedly be fewer opportunities to use these upgrade instruments.”
I then asked: “Does it?”
The answer: that was apparently only part of the equation.
Along with a number of other changes implemented over recent years, René de Lambert of Delta Points points out in this article posted yesterday the lament of how the upgrades to the premium class cabin of Medallion elite status members of the Delta Air Lines SkyMiles frequent flier loyalty program “will suffer more than ever.”
Of course, frequent fliers — especially those who do not contribute significantly to the bottom line of an airline — will not be happy and complain that there will be even fewer upgrades than before, as René de Lambert has done.
Meanwhile, Keri Anderson of Heels First Travel reported in this article — also posted yesterday — that Avis has launched a new frequent renter loyalty program based on revenue instead of being based on the number of times you rent a vehicle.
Do you abhor resort fees as much as I do? If so, we are out of luck — for now, anyway. “Mandatory hotel resort fees that aren’t wrapped into the advertised nightly rate can be frustrating but they don’t represent a deceptive business practice”, Hugo Martin of the Los Angeles Times reported in this article. “That was the response from the Federal Trade Commission to a nonprofit group that complained last week about the expanded use of mandatory resort fees by hotels.”
If it seems to you as though the frequent flier keeps losing out on benefits while spending more money to travel, you are not alone in that thought — although there are those people who would disagree with that thought as they would benefit from such changes; and I expect some of them to respond to this article — which brings me to a question I have asked numerous times in past articles over the years:
Is an adjustment in expectations in order?
Whenever I fly as a passenger and I purchase a seat in the economy class cabin, that is what I expect to have. If I am upgraded to a better seat free of charge — and, being human, I do hope for that — I consider it a bonus. If not, it is not the end of the world for me.
I think it is important to be reasonably comfortable while sitting on an airplane — no matter the cabin to which I am assigned. If I am indeed reasonably comfortable, I do not miss the upgraded seat — especially when those sitting in those upgraded seats are served something covered in melted cheese.
Blech. I would rather starve.
Expectations eventually lead to disappointment. When expectations are lowered, experiencing disappointment is less likely to occur. It is that simple.
When an experience is beyond expectations, it is a welcome and pleasant surprise about which I seem to be more appreciative.
Perhaps we frequent fliers simply need to adjust our expectations when traveling. It is not an easy thing to do — but if I can do it, anyone can. If that is not possible for you, perhaps you need to consider either reducing or eliminating travel — especially as the entire loyalty “game” in travel has changed considerably and it is generally not as much fun as it used to be.
I recently endured an ongoing personal situation which lasted greater than a year; and because of it, I have adjusted my perspective in life. After all, does a missed upgrade really mean all that much? Like the sale of a seat aboard an aircraft, the experience of a missed upgrade is pretty much just as perishable. Think about it: when was the last time you experienced a missed upgrade and had it haunt you for an extended period of time?
Regardless, I am reminded time and time again that even that ongoing situation which I experienced — as miserable and incredibly difficult as it was for me — paled in experienced to the personal experiences of other people I know which I cannot imagine experiencing myself:
- In the past year, two people revealed to me that they were losing a significant amount of their hearing — a loss which both have been diagnosed as irreversible
- A friend of mine who just celebrated the anniversary of his wedding to his wife of many years has a daughter who — because of the careless mistake of a doctor upon delivering her at birth — is severely disabled with virtually no hope of ever improving
- A former travel “blogging” colleague went through a potentially life-threatening experience which I would rather not share the details here — but it was serious enough that it was not certain as to whether this person would survive, which thankfully this person did
While the communications with the aforementioned people — and there are more people whom I have not mentioned in the above list — did not alleviate the actual ongoing situation which I went through, it did help me adjust and maintain a better perspective in life. Things could always be worse. Missed upgrade opportunities? Please — I have more important things about which to worry. While it was nice and certainly appreciated, do you really believe that that upgrade I received on my flight home years ago after witnessing the death of a loved one really made me feel better?
How do you maintain perspective in life so that you better manage your expectations? Please share your thoughts, experiences and advice in the Comments section below so that we may all better maintain perspective and manage our expectations in life.
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.