I wish there was some other way to get around the world as quickly as flying, without the actual need to fly. I can not wait for teleportation to become a reality. Planes are crammed, inaccessible and if you feel ill from the smell of airline food, there is no escape. Airlines also have a tendency to break wheelchairs. Although, all services to do with air travel air improving and getting better slow, but getting there.
Ok, so it's time to go on a nice holiday! Have a break from the stress of work and relax until your Boss' voice is but a very distant murmur. We all like to get away once in a while and recharge the batteries, but the act of travelling to the destination is an important factor that shouldn't be overlooked.
For the sake of argument the destination is France (yes I know it's not exactly the caribbean but it works well for my travel analysis)
Boat's take too long, but are well priced. Eurostar is fast, but can be quite expensive. The shuttle means you get to bring your car and drive around France - an arduous and confusing task without prior knowledge of either the language, the area or the crazy french driver's behind the wheel. This leaves the option of airplane's - quick, comfortable and sick bags are thrown in free of charge.
If you want to get somewhere in the quickest time possible, an aeroplane is the best bet. What the airline's don't tell you is that despite the quick flying time,it can seem like forever if you have a nightmare of a flight.
For all intensive purposes, being on a plane can be a weird feeling. Trapped inside a big metal tube with wings many thousands of feet in the sky. Short flights are normally fairly good. However, anything longer than 6 hours on a plane can start to feel like a personal mission. The people on the flight are your new neighbours for either 2 hours or 24 hours and any privacy that you thought you had has quickly exited via the cabin doors to your left. The friendly guy sitting next to you, who just happens to have an extremely contagious cold, will be sniffling, blowing and spreading his germs for the duration of the flight. This would be mildly acceptable (we all get ill sometimes) if the in-flight movie and service were up to scratch. Staring at a screen that looks like a postage stamp from your economy seats with one earplug of the 'couldn't be more badly made' earplugs you were supplied at the beginning of the journey just isn't fun.
Well the film is bad and unwatchable (maybe a good thing) so hopefully food will arrive soon - that might cheer me up. 2.00pm and they are still ploughing through the aisles serving drinks. Time for a third Jack Daniels then. Food arrives around 2.30pm (in anyone's book that's a late lunch) and the sumptous chicken chasseur with baby carrots, green beans and grated emmental, that you wish you had, is actually some sort of dry beef and a couple of potatoes. I actually saw an advertisement on the London underground saying something along the lines of, 'How about airline food tomorrow?' promoting last minute flight booking. Seriously, what well paid genius thought of that belter?
The reason why all these thing are disappointing and I'm ranting on is that they are all included in the price and you expect them to meet a working/edible standard. Flights are meant to be enjoyable. Airline food has improved over the years and there are some airlines which truly are exceptional on long haul flights. If you knew beforehand that the film wouldn't work, the food would be terrible, the seats cramped and the toilets out of order because of 'unforeseen circumstances' then you wouldn't fly. All these variables and the fact that more often than not(and this isn't meant to offend) you get stuck near a baby or a small child who is either teething, kicking your seat or being so hyperactive, noisy and irritating you would have thought they had eaten ten packets of sugar - more of a meal than the lovely beef dish earlier.
I have just explained a fairly bad flight and they are of course not all like this. However, the number of options and variables that flight's entail mean that there is normally something that doesn't go quite right. At the end of the day, if you arrive safely to your destination that is all that matters and whatever gripe there was with the airline can be resolved with a pleasant filling out of a flight evaluation form. 'Thank you for flying with us and we all wish you a pleasant stay at your destination'. By the way, the airplane had to be diverted and you now have an overnight stay in Iraq - Enjoy!
bmiBaby is the low-cost airline bought to us by 'BMI British Midland Airways'. The budget company operate Boeing 737's from East Midlands, Cardiff International, Manchester, and soon to be Teesside Airports to numerous UK and European destinations including the popular Palma de Mallorca, Alicante, Malaga, and Faro airports. Also the company have had an excellent success story, they are the FASTEST GROWING LOW-COST AIRLINE IN EUROPE, and officially Europes 3rd LARGEST LOW-COST AIRLINE!!! I have put together many news resources as well as my own personal experience to help dooyooUK people make better decisions. For more information on bmiBaby flights visit: http://www.bmibaby.com ***BMI BABY SMASHES FIRST YEAR SALES TARGET - www.eyefortravel.com*** Tony Davis, managing director of bmiBaby has to say "To be heading towards this milestone ahead of schedule is an enormous achievement for us and I am proud that we have proved the critics wrong. We are a successful airline in our own right, bookings are very strong and we are looking forward to soon reaching the one million mark. bmibaby is now operating 26 routes from the UK across Europe, this will increase to 31 next month with the introduction of more services from both of our UK bases." This basically means that bmiBaby have been so popular over the past year they have succedded and passed their sales target mark. This is a very positive point about the airliner. *** BMI BABY BOOMING AS THOUSANDS FLY - www.icwales.co.uk*** More than 28% of the passengers flying from Cardiff International Airport in bmiBaby's first week in operation at the airport were carried by the low-cost carrier. They carried more than 1/2 the scheduled passengers flying out of Cardiff last week, yet their first day was disrupted by extreme weather conditions the first flights to Malaga and Alicante did depart approx. 1hr. 20mins. behind schedule. Passengers
returning on bmiBaby flights into Cardiff International last week were said to be very pleased with the airlines services. So there are two and more news articles coming as soon as I find them. I'm sure by that you can see that bmiBaby is a highly recommended airline and look out for them coming to your home town soon as they are now seeking a third UK base for the Summer 2003 season. After flying with bmiBaby myself to Edinburgh this week I found that the company were very, very helpful, and their punctuality was very good. I would personally highly recommend the company to anyone who wants a safe and great experience! Destinations on the bmiBaby network are as follows:- EAST MIDLANDS DESTINATIONS Brussels Prague Paris Charles de Gaulles Nice Toulouse Munich Milan Bergamo Pisa Faro Cork Dublin Alicante Barcelona Málaga Palma de Mallorca Ibiza Murcia Geneva Amsterdam Schipol Belfast International Edinburgh Glasgow International Jersey CARDIFF DESTINATIONS Prague (As of October) Paris Charles de Gaulles Toulouse Munich Milan Bergamo Cork (As of October) Alicante Málaga Palma de Mallorca Geneva (As of October) Belfast International Edinburgh Glasgow Prestwick Jersey MANCHESTER DESTINATIONS Prague Cork Alicante Barcelona Málaga Palma de Mallorca Murcia Geneva (As of October) Belfast International TEESSIDE DESTINATIONS (Operations begin on October 28th/29th 2003) Málaga Geneva Belfast International More destinations for Summer 2004 schedule shall be announced in December and added to this report as soon as possible. ***FOR MY PERSONAL REVIEW, SEE BMIBABY REVIEWS***
Things that go bump in the night…or the day. We left off somewhere back at the gate. Let’s see here…Preflight Checklist, Before Starting Engines Checklist, paperwork, I plugged in my headset, coffee with cream – ready to roll. As the engines are started and the aircraft taxies out for takeoff you’ll notice a number of sights and sounds. So… let’s make you all experts. After all, the sweet old lady sitting next to you appears to be a little nervous and could use some reassurance from someone with your newfound wealth of knowledge. ENGINE START - The air used to start the engines is normally the same air that supplies the air conditioning system. Since that air supply typically can only supply one source at a time the air conditioning shuts off during engine start. That’s why you may notice a change in the sound of the air within the cabin during that time. It might get a shade stuffy for a minute, too. Once the engines are started the air conditioning gets it’s air from the engines themselves. TAXIING – Ever try to drive a shopping center? My office (the Boeing 767-300) is 176” long (53.87 meters) with a wingspan of 156” (47.57 meters). I have to plan every turn on the ground because the main landing gear sits so far (about 87’ or 25 meters) behind me. Cutting one turn too sharply can put the mains in the mud and ruin everyone’s day. The jet blast behind a big jet is phenomenal so we try to keep our power down especially around the gate areas. The idea is not to blow over the baggage carts, busses, or catering trucks (although, after reading a few airline meal ops that might not be all bad…). This rig weighs over 400,000 lbs (181,437 kg) and it takes a great deal of thrust to move it let alone make it fly. The 747 and 777 are even bigger and we’ve seen demo tapes that show a big jet blowing a truck a couple hundred meters. Th
e ground personnel also get some serious “stay way back” training. During our taxi out, the final takeoff weight, center of gravity, control trim settings, etc. are transmitted to the aircraft onboard computers. We check it against the planned numbers since typically the final numbers are different depending upon how many people overslept or got caught in traffic. We cross-check everything right down to runway length and takeoff conditions and when I’m happy with what I see, we’re good to go. At the same time we’re doing our pre-takeoff systems checks and reconfirming our planned flight clearance. Meanwhile back at the ranch…what’s happening on your side of the cockpit door? The flight attendant announcement or recording…”Ladies and Gentlemen to fasten your seatbelt, insert blah, blah, blah”. Okay, so maybe you don’t exactly listen to this whole speech every time. In all honesty, if you can’t figure out how the seatbelt works I don’t think this article will help much either. There are a couple important things I would like to point out that aren’t mentioned but really important to know. An emergency evacuation is extremely rare. The aircraft emergency exit lights can illuminate when either turned on or come on automatically during certain types of power failures. Just because they’re “on” does not mean there is a need to evacuate. With that in mind let’s move forward a bit. Here’s airliner trivia 101. The emergency exit lights usually have there own self-contained power sources…they don’t work like Christmas lights. Even if the airplane were to break (heaven forbid) into two pieces the lights operate independently and would still work. Here’s a more non-trivial fact I want you all to store in your memory banks. Almost all aircraft now have a floor emergency lighting system. It’s intention (dur
ing an emergency evacuation) is to direct you to the exit if the cabin lighting has failed or the cabin fills with smoke. Next time you are on an airplane take a look at the spacing between those floor lights. The spacing of the floor lights gets closer together when you are adjacent an emergency exit. Also, if you are still walking down the aisle you’ll feel a notch or bump on the overhead bin right at the emergency exit. Back to what’s happening on my side of door. FLAPS - During taxi-out the flaps are extended for takeoff. Take a look at both the front and back of the wing the next time you fly. On Boeing aircraft as well as most others you’ll notice devices extending on either side of the wing. The size of the wing literally increases when leading and trailing edge flaps extend. This allows the airplane to fly at a slower speed thus requiring less runway distance. A bigger wing equals more lift. The flaps never extend fully for takeoff as they do for landing. The last notch of “flaps down” simply creates too much drag to be effective for takeoff. Although payload is a factor in determining takeoff flap settings, the airport elevation, runway length, and the obstruction height of our initial flight path are often even bigger players. TAKE OFF POWER – why is this airplane using so much runway for takeoff? Because it can. The misconception that an airplane sets maximum power for takeoff is just that – a misconception. We use the extra runway simply because we have it available and we’d rather not toast the engines. Don’t get scared and don’t let me lose you here. The airplane typically uses a standard power setting (less than maximum) for takeoff. Here’s the good news. The engines hanging off those wings are monstrous and max power simply isn’t necessary. It’s a very exact science. At standard power, the airplane can fail one engine at it’s most
critical point and still takeoff, climb and clear obstacles on it’s remaining engine. This is referred to as the infamous “V1 cut” and is an intricate part of our training and certification. In the event of an engine failure, I have to keep the aircraft within a specific distance of an imaginary line extending from the runway centerline and within an exact set of speed and altitude parameters. Our simulators, which run about 12-15 million dollars a pop, are used to track our exact actions, inputs, and flight paths. Those who can’t meet the criteria are welcome to apply at McDonald’s. Nobody squeaks through this program. Back to takeoff power – Why not just use maximum thrust? Can you say “Space Shuttle”? Actually, standard power isn’t really that far from max and we are required to use max in some cases i.e. wet or contaminated runways, possible windshear in the area, etc. - all things that we consider less than ideal conditions. The truth is, max thrust is hard on the engines and seriously limits their lifespan. Ahh – airborne at last. Next episode we’ll talk about the flight itself, turbulence, maybe a little navigation and air traffic control. Thanks for your input. Captain Tom ADDITIONAL REMARKS This review is probably a bit misplaced as it is more a statement of facts than it is an “op” or opinion. Please allow me to share a brief background of my qualifications. I have a degree in Aeronautical Science, a flight engineer certification, an Airline Transport Pilot license with seven heavy aircraft type certifications, and 25 years of flying experience. I have written numerous aviation-safety related articles for industry journals as well as published pilot study guides for Boeing aircraft. I recently began participating with DooYoo as a diversion away from flying which is why my first few ops are regarding
my play-toys… then I ran into the Airlines category and started reading. The first article I read was “crowned” and referred to by some readers as brilliant. It was actually extremely inaccurate. A subsequent article (also crowned) with rave reviews was more researched but also required correction – so I thought I’d set the record straight. I simply wish to give those nervous or curious flyers out there a more knowledgeable perspective. To those who are unhappy with the segmented approach to my airline entries please bear with me and consider the following. My cup runneth over. I am a full time airline captain, a father of three young children, volunteer as a police officer for my community, presently chair our Pilot Professional Standards Committee, and work as a communications officer for my union. I’ll sleep when I’m dead – in the meantime I’ll make additions when I can. Notoriety, fame, or DooYoo miles are not my goals here. The goal is a little escape with a bit of light reading and sharing ops with good natured DooYoo’ers. So be easy on the old man. To those of you who have benefited from these segments – Mission Accomplished! - Thank you for your kind words.
I was recently told that Ryan Air were heavily discounting lots of their flights from England to just about anywhere in Europe. I was thinking about going to Ireland so I rushed onto the net and bought two return tickets, the offer ran out at midnight that night. I was very happy, I was ecstatic. I went to the pub and got pissed to celebrate. The next morning I had a headache. Today (about two weeks later) I have recovered but I found out I may not be able to go because the person I was going with has to re-take exams. So I went onto the website to check how much it would be at full price if we went in September instead. Imagine my shock to find its even cheaper. If anyone is interested it now £1.95p to fly from Leeds to Dublin before tax (which is quite a bit). But the moral is, if you see an offer and you were not about to buy that product at that second anyway, wait because the offer will be there again or even better the following week. I now have to buy again and even though they are cheap it’s a total arse.
Before I begin, I'd like to make an apology to the following people; 1)Those who read my Big Brother 2 op - it's tired, uninspired and generally rubbish 2)Those who read my Britannia op - just in case I cover the same ground here as I did then Right, to the matter at hand... Aeroplanes can be great places. Sitting reclined in your seat, watching a Hollywood feature film while a magnificent cabin crew cater for your every need is a glorious experience. It's also a very rare experience, at least for me. My Britannia op is more detailed on this, but basically, I'm usually canned in like a sardine, watching a 50's B-movie while Satan and his chums hand out meals. Experiences like this have made me pretty good at criticising airlines, but there is another reason why my whinging skills are so finely honed. I'm a very nervous flyer. I'm scared of heights and become jumpy when I can't see land, which makes me a bad candidate for trans-Atlantic crossings. Despite this, I've been to Orlando three times, and came back three times, something which the finest doctors in the land have yet to understand. Sitting, terrified, in your seat while tightly gripping the armrests, constantly looking around the plane in an edgy manner while all the time fighting that bizarre desire to look down is actually a lot of use when it comes to evaluating airline practices. So, after years of study (well, minutes of gentle thought, anyway), I have reached the conclusion that the airlines are trying to kill us all. Confused? Unfortunately, so am I, so bear with me while I try to piece this all together. There are loads of strange little things that happen to me on planes. Things like how a plane always hits turbulence just as I reach the front of the toilet queue, or how I'm always the person who asks for tea, only to find that they've ran out. These can be inconvenient, as no repeat of The
Vicar Of Dibley is ever complete without a nice cup of tea and a biscuit. Actually, no repeat of The Vicar Of Dibley would ever be complete unless someone took a shotgun to the T.V sets, but that's another story... It was while staring intently at the cabin crew as they whirled into action at feeding time that I got to considering some of the faults that most airlines have. Like the cabin crew themselves. They're like Daleks, aren't they? Watch them the next time they wheel down the aisle towards you, chanting the mantra, 'Turkey-or-pork, turkey-or-pork?', and there's a good chance that you'll see what I mean. I'm also a little lost as to where the stereotype of air stewardesses all looking like models came from, unless the model in question is a 1979 Ford Capri. On every flight I take, the stewardesses are almost pensionable and look like God's horse with a frock on (an expression used by Hartlepool's older population to describe someone who looks ridiculous - don't ask me why). Go figure. I've also found something more serious than that. As you might just have grasped from this op's title, I think that every airline in the world has an interesting approach to in-flight safety. After all, how else do you explain the quality (ahem!) of airline food! I have a few (not sure how many yet) other problems with safety on flights; 1) When the safety video is played, watch and listen very carefully. You'll have to, as the cabin crew always seem to leave the volume at a very low level throughout the video. Provided the plane stays up, as it will 99.999% of the time (remember, you aren't a nervous flyer, you're a nervous crasher), this doesn't matter. If any of the flights I've taken had hit problems, there's a very good chance that I wouldn't have known what to do. Admittedly, blind panic would have been my main problem, but this panic would only arise if
I was completely clueless in the first place. 2) Why does that card on aeroplane safety that you'll find in the seatback pouches never match the one on the safety video? Next time I'm on a plane, I'm going to make extra-sure that I directly compare the card with the video, to see if any information is actually shared between the two. They don't tell you what to do if you hit water and the plane breaks up either (I think I'm being sarcastic towards myself here, but there may be a shred of seriousness somewhere). 3) If my plane has a sizeable accident (as if it'll have a small one!), there'll probably be a fire at some stage. If I survive the impact, I'll want to escape the fire, and probably even try to partly extinguish it. So why are there no fire extinguishers on passenger flights? To be fair, this is a very picky point which relies on an unlikely situation, but while the chances of the above scenario being played out are remote, it IS still possible. Anyway, I've wittered on for long enough. I'll be absolutely staggered if anyone agrees with much of what I've said, and equally surprised if I don't get at least one comment calling me a raving pilchard, or something similar. Regardless of what you think, leave a comment - it's the only way I can get feedback, after all. N.B - I now understand why there aren't any fire extinguishers - thanks, Waikie! Don't suppose a sprinkler system would be much use, either...
I am not surprised by the growth in what is now commonly termed "Air rage". Flying overall has become a real pain as airlines are forever moving the goalposts with schedules to maximise the seats filled on flights. 90 per cent of delays are caused by connections from other flights not being on time, frustrations arise before one gets on a flight. The cramped conditions on most flights now are another contributory factor. I have heard cabin crew comment about alcohol being a big factor re air rage, why do they ply you with so much of the stuff. It is well known that alcohol has an enhanced effect at higher altitudes. Business class is reportedly the worst for air rage according to reports. The amount of alcohol given with and between meals is way over the top. Airlines were very quick to ban smoking though, even though a significant amount of passengers cannot give up, and find it very diffcult, especially on the long haul flights. Come on airlines get real, ban alcohol, and re-introduce some smoking seats back on long haul flghts. Reduce the pressures a bit on folk, and air rage may disappear from whence it came. I see I have already evoked a reaction from the no smoking side, there should be tolerance for all, some people do have a problem trying to stop smoking. There was a cubicle on the Air France lines and this never caused a problem to anyone who didnt smoke.
Ever wondered why you have to go to stansted or luton to get a flight to some obscure place? Because dominant airlines control Heathrow and Gatwick and only fly to the profitable routes. Ok it makes sense - why would they not!? Similarly when flying on highly competitive routes into North America - new entrants are priced out of the market (Laker Air) etc. It's all about dominance, and whilst it may seem justifiable to ensure profitability - it does all seem rather mean. The worst abuse of this is antitrust laws in the US - where a US airline teams up with a European one to offer internal connecting service in Europe or the US on routes only they can fly. The US struts about 50 new bilateral agreements it's made with developing nations - yet won;t allow european airlines access to domestic routes within the USA (cabotage). It's clear that protectionism is an unavoidable consequence of global domination by airlines - but when a new starter is ruthlessly priced out - or often by more underhand tactics such as illegal state subsidies and manufacturer bias - it's going too far. I used to work at a leading European airline - and just from where I sat i learnt all sorts of things about big business - things i'd rather not know. Unfortunately all I can tell you as a prospective member of the flying public is to do your best not to get ripped off, look around for the smaller airlines that DO offer better fares than the established encumbents, oh and don;t forget to buckle up - it's going to get bumpy.
I think it is disgusting how people can turn up late for the flight and then blame the airport staff for the inconvenience. I think that the people complaining need to sit down and think is it the airport staffs fault. I was watching the program called airport yesterday and I would of hit most of the people who were complaining about the service. They were blaming the staff for them being late for there flight and they wouldn’t listen to any alternatives that were offered to them. If I was late for my flight, ok I wouldn’t be to happy and I would try to see if anything could be done to get me on the flight, but I wouldn’t make a scene because I know that it is not there fault. I really feel sorry for them because of the verbal abuse that they get. They should have the power to kick them out of the airport because of the inconvenience that they are causing not only to the airport staff but also to other customers who need help from them more than they do.
Being inside the industry, I feel I am at liberty to pass on my comments that I hear from passengers about which airline to use, depending on where you are flying to. If you are on a tight budget and want to go to Ireland, Your cheapest option is RyanAir. Aer Lingus offer a similar service but not as cheap. Very little to decide between them. America has several options. United Airlines are quite cheap but Delta offer the best service and more routes that the other excellent alternative, Virgin. Virgin are the only direct flying airline from the UK to Las Vegas if you want o go there. European short haul flights are becoming popular and my employer is one of the better ones at the budget end of the scale. Buzz offer flights to 8 destinations in Europe daily and are about to take on some summer destinations after purchasing some of the Go! planes from BA. Look out for an Ibiza flight. Long haul to the Far East are best taken with Singapore airlines. They provide a service second to none for atentiveness. If you want to go to Australia, try Emirates as they offer cheap flights or Even BA as they do a good stop over service. Failing that Quantas also provide a great route and a reasonable price. I hope that has been some help to you on choosing your airline. Let me have your comments on other you have tried so I can improve my opinion for others.
Richard Branson has certainly out done himself with this unique and friendly airline! When you first arrive at the airport you are normally excited about your flight and so the check is normally a downer. But not on Virgin, you are through the checkin and on the flight before you no it and the service is great from the minute you step aboard. The stewardess are waiting to help and make you journey a pleasent one. The food is good (for plane food) and the entertainment is excellent. There is about 20 channels and a games channel. Saftey is of course first priorty and Virgin have not had one crash in the history of the airline. An alround brilliant way to travel.
Buzz is one of several low-cost airlines and flies from London Stansted to several European destinations. Stansted airport is not actually that difficult to get to from London. I booked my flight to Vienna over the internet, which was very easy. The flight was on time and comfortable although no entertainment was provided onboard and refreshments cost extra. Be careful when booking to look at the terms and conditions as you cannot cancel/change a flight booked under a 'done deal'. Buzz fares are cheap, particularly compared to main scheduled airlines such as British Airways.
Whilst travelling recently I had my luggage tampered with and several items stolen. My first gripe with the flight operators handling of this situation is that I was expected to report this there and then at the airport. However, as it was only the padlock and zip on my holdall which had been tampered with it was not immediatley obvious and I didn't realise anything was wrong until I reached my hotel. Furthermore, after a 20 hour+ journey I would have been in no mood to stand about filling out forms and trying to cope with language barriers. In addition I had transfers to get. When reporting this the next day by phone I was in no uncertain terms told that they would just presume I was making this up as I had not reported it at the airport on arrival. Infuriated I decided to wait until my return to the UK before taking it up there - I was not going to spoil my holiday trying to argue my case. On my return my complaints were eventually passed on and I had to fill out a very lengthy form detailing the items stolen, values etc etc. I was also asked to enclose receipts. In response to all this I received a letter detailing how they were only obliged to compensate in terms of the weight of the items stolen. This is absolutely ridiculous! How can they justify this when the value of items are obviously not going to correlate to their weight. And why on earth did they get me to fill out the lengthy form. In addition, to receive the measely compensation offered I need to sign a form which states that the operator has no liability for what happened! When we go on holiday we pay airfares that are by no means cheap. We then entrust our baggage to airlines without a second thought. It seems positively bizarre that their staff can damage and pilfer our possessions without us being properly compensated for this. Furthermore it appears that no further action is being taken to trace what exactly happened to my
baggage and who was responsible. The thought of anybody invading my privacy in this way is infuriating, let alone the thought that they are actually being paid to look after my interests at the same time. I want to know that actions are being taken to stop this happening.
I used to save airmiles. Every time I went to Sainsburys I cashed in my vouchers and transferred 40 airmiles to my account. I even received them on my credit card and I also had an airmiles savings account with my bank, and I got them for petrol as well. But try to book a flight anywhere and you are told that there are none available, that they only have a limited few. When I queried this the airmiles operator told me, did I not realize some people actually book 12 months in advance and you have to be in early if you want the flights at all. This sort of takes the fun out of all the saving and booking. With the cheap flights we have now with many airlines, airmiles in my opinion do not work out reasonable when you add on the airport tax. You would be much better taking your Sainsbury vouchers to the likes of Principles where they will allow you double the value on them.
My wife and I have saved Airmiles ever since they were launched. On day one , accrual of the valuable Miles proved to be very laborious and slow , being reliant on the 1 mile for every £20 spent on my NatWest Credit Card and the occasional promotion through Sony (for buying their electrical products) and Allied Carpets. However , things have moved on considerably since then , you can now get Airmiles for buying your Petrol at Shell , swap your Electricity to Scottish Hydro-Electric , move your Gas to Amerada , take a Mobile Phone from Vodafone , sign up with RAC etc.etc. The best of all (in my Opinion) is the use of Sainsbury's Reward Points in conjunction with their Credit Card for doing your weekly shopping at Sainsbury's and buying your Petrol from Sainsbury's. You now get 2 Points for every Pound spent at Sainsbury's and a further 2 Points from your Sainsbury's Credit Card for every Pound spent at Sainsbury's and put on your Sainsbury's Credit Card. So if you spend £75 per week at Sainsbury's shopping and £30 per week at Sainsbury's buying Petrol , it will work like this. Shopping £75 per week * 52 weeks = £3,900 Petrol £30 per week * 52 weeks = £1,560 Total Spend £5,460 You get 2 points for every £1 spent plus an extra 2 points for every £1 put on your Sainsbury's Credit Card , making 4 points per pound. Therefore , in a year you will make minimum 21,840 points. I say minimum since this takes no account of any extra Bonus Points that you may accrue throughout the year from buying Special Offer products. So what is 21,840 points worth. Each 500 points equals 40 Airmiles so if we round the points up to 22,000 , we get 44*40 = 1,760 Airmiles. This is equivalent to Two Flights to Paris 2 * 450 Airmiles = 900 2 Adult & 2 Children Passes to Alton Towers = 560 2 Free Ticket
s to UCI Cinema = 120 2 Free Tickets to Sealife Centre = 160 Total 1,740 Airmiles Not bad for doing your Shopping in one place for year. Personally , what my wife & I have done is to save up over a couple of years , as well as Shopping at Sainsbury's , we put all other expenditure onto our NatWest Credit Card and our Airmiles grow quite quickly. Last year , we went to San Diego (in June) Normal Airmiles to San Diego 11,000 , reduced to 4,500 for June , Sept & Oct - sometimes can go even lower though. Two flights to San Diego 9,000 Airmiles (all we had to pay was Airport Tax of £50,10 each). It had taken us just 2 years to save this amount of Miles. The actual flights would have cost circa £350 plus tax each therefore , we saved ourselves £700 from two years worth of shopping. Not bad. Have a look at www.airmiles.co.uk