So, you’re flying with a new airline, have no status with them and in fact, you’re not even a member of their frequent flyer scheme. You haven’t joined as you might never fly them again. Your main carrier is someone else, so there’s no reason to join, right?
While that logic is pretty sound, it’s actually perhaps not the best thing to do. There are a couple of important benefits you might be leaving on the table by not joining and one might surprise you.
No Status? No worries!
There are three main alliances, Star Alliance, oneworld and SkyTeam. These cover pretty much all the airlines you’re likely to fly and if you’re a frequent flyer you’ll probably hold at least one card. That’s your main airline, the one you’re loyal to, where you put all your points and fly the most.
When you are going off piste and using another carrier, you should join their programme. Obviously you’ll collect a few points, which may or may not be useful in the future. There is one unwritten benefit though.
Airlines often oversell flights. They work out the usual booking profile and know that on certain flights, X amount of people just won’t turn up, so they sell more tickets than seats, anticipating the usual amount of cancellations, so they can depart with almost all seats taken.
However, if everyone turns up, they need to offload people and move them to alternative flights. In this instance, the last people to be removed are their top level frequent flyers. Next to last are the second highest level frequent flyers and so on. What is important to know is that even those members of the programme who have no status will be kept on board over those who do not hold a frequent flyer card at all.
You really don’t want to be first choice to be moved off a flight. Joining an airline’s frequent flyer programme, even if you’re only going to fly them once, will protect you in the unlikely event that the service is so oversold that they are selecting people to be bumped.
It never occurred to me that this would be a thing, however it really is. Obviously it also moves by fare class, so if you’ve paid the cheapest of cheap fares and are not a member of the airline’s frequent flyer programme, you’re a prime target to be bumped off the flight if in fact it’s oversold on flying day.
Did you know that having no status was still better than not being a member of an airline’s frequent flyer programme at all? Have you experienced being bumped before? What happened? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Featured image by L.G. Liao on Airliners.net via Wikimedia Commons.