Air Travel Tips

I've been doing a bit of travel (planning) in the recent past -- here are three tidbits I've found useful.

Best Reason to Join Southwest's Rapid Rewards Program.  At SeaTac (that's Seattle Tacoma International -- SEA -- for you non-locals), Rapid Rewards members can use the priority queue reserved for "premier" travelers at the airport security check point.  On most airlines, only first/business class passengers or passengers that have elite status on a frequent flier program (i.e. you've accumulated a bizillion miles) get access to the queue.  Sign up for the Rapid Rewards program and you can avoid those long lines at security and zip straight to your gate.  It's free and you don't have to have flown any flights.

Hopefully, this feature will be extended to other airports as well.

Also, Southwest remains the best carrier for frequent travel up and down the west coast.  Low cost, flexible scheduling, and no penalties for cancellations make it the best experience for those quick trips between SFO/OAK, LAX, SEA, LAS.  And it's fast and easy to accumulate free trips once you've signed up for Rapid Rewards.

united.jpgBest Use of United Mileage Plus.  I rarely fly United anymore.  Service sucks and I don't travel  SEA/SFO->NYC/BOS with regularity anymore, where United flights were convenient (Plus JetBlue and Virgin America are much better experiences for these trips.)   However, I've accumulated a lot of frequent flier miles on United.  Using miles on their Mileage Plus "saver" program, you can fly to Asia for 60,000 miles . For a mere 30,000 miles more (90,00 total) you can go business class.  Well worth it if you can find a seat.   If you can't find a seat, don't start looking for a "standard" award (which will cost you 200,000 miles).  Try booking a first class saver seat -- there's more inventory than that for business class -- and it will only cost you 120,000 miles.  In short, using frequent flier miles for business (or first) class instead of coach for international travel is a great deal.

tripit.gifUse Tripit.  When you book a flight online, send a copy of your booking to  You get a master itinerary and more.   No registration at Tripit is required.

What I really like about Tripit is the "no registration" part.  You don't have to register, login, or even visit their  website.   It's a clever application design that I haven't seen anywhere else.  From an end user perspective, the friction to use Tripit is minimal.  Kudos to the team for figuring this out. 

[Caveat:  Seems like there might be some Terms of Service issues with respect to privacy since you, the end user, don't agree to anything.  Hopefully Tripit has done something reasonable here.]

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This page contains a single entry by posted on February 27, 2008 9:40 AM.

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