Archive for December, 2013

“Did you know…Airplane food is taking off?”


airplane foodThe Gulliver blog questions in a recent post, “…is it true that airlines have reached the logical end-point of premium-class seat competition and are finally focused on improving their food? It’s worth considering. But the improvement in food quality that would be required to give one airline a decisive advantage over another would be staggering, and airline food has to overcome some significant structural disadvantages…”

Read the full post here:

One-on-One with Michael Salem, author of “Brave Flyer – How to End Your Fear of Flying”

In this month’s One-on-One blog, ExpertFlyer talks with Michael Salem, the author of “Brave Flyer – How to End Your Fear of Flying.”

For years, Michael Salem counted himself among the ranks of petrified flyers. Unable to get on a plane, Michael counted many a missed opportunity, both personal and professional, which led to his search for a solution that would end his fear of flying.  His book is a culmination of research, self-exploration, experimentation and results.  Michael not only overcame his fear of flying, he is now an expert in helping others through his unconventional proven methods.  In this post, Michael shares his techniques to help fearful flyers overcome their phobia and join the friendly skies.

michael salem“From my research, I have learned that most fearful flyers are not overly concerned with the possibility of an airline accident. This is exactly why statistics that tell you how driving a car is more dangerous than being on a plane or how well planes are engineered, will do little to calm your fears.”

— Michael Salem, author of “Brave Flyer”

There are scores of experts and as many books touting remedies for fearful flyers.  What’s different about your book?

I am certain there are great books in the market and I appreciate all of them, but unfortunately many of them address the fear of flying phobia from an airline safety point of view, and most of them are written by people who do not suffer from this fear to begin with. The Brave Flyer book addresses this matter from the fearful flyer point of view. It talks very little about airline safety statistics, and goes into the details of the fearful flyer state of mind. It is the first book that I am aware of that speaks directly to the victim’s actual concerns and fears, and written by someone who feared flying for many years and overcame that fear.

How did you go about conquering your own fear of flying – how long did it take and what was your biggest “aha” moment in the process?

It took me roughly four years to conquer it. I wish I had a Brave Flyer book in my hand at that time; I could have done it in a few short weeks, if not days. I conquered my fear of flying when the ‘aha’ moment finally happened. This is the moment I came to realize that fear of flying is not a stand-alone phobia; it was actually only a front-end to one or more fears hidden in its shadows. Think of fear of flying as a symptom of a disease, if you cough, in reality your cough medicine is healing what is causing the cough (allergy, lungs, etc.), and not the actual expulsion of the air out of your mouth. The same applies to fear of flying; it is only a name of a symptom, addressing it as a stand-alone will not resolve the issue, as the underlying root causes are still strong at work. Addressing the root cause (fear factors) behind it is the trick. Continue reading →

5 more ways to earn miles without stepping foot on a plane

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

In part 2 of our Hot Topics feature, Clint Johnston, author of the popular blog, discloses five more of his off-board mileage running tactics. If you missed part 1, catch up here.

1. Airline Promotions

Airlines are offering new promotions all the time. For example, in the past there have been Netflix promotions offering thousands of miles for signing up. Airline shopping portals frequently offer bonus miles around holidays and throughout the year. Stay up to date on promotions and never miss out on a mile.

the art of travel hacking2. Newsletters

Airlines, such as Delta, will have promotions displayed on their site that you can search for and find. However, newsletter offer a simple alternative and new deals will be delivered to your inbox when they are available. Airline newsletters are one of the best ways to stay up to date on the latest promotions and partnerships.

3. Car Rentals

Airlines have partnerships with many companies and this even includes renting cars. You can earn frequent flyer miles every time you rent with these partnering companies. For example, Delta allows you to earn up to 3,400 miles by renting from Hertz. If you plan to rent from Hertz anyway this might be a good option for you.

4. Debit Cards

If you would prefer to not sign up for another credit card then a debit card is a great solution. There are not many left but Delta and Suntrust Bank still offer a debit card for travelers. You will earn a few thousand miles sign up bonus on your first purchase and miles for everything you buy on the card after that.

5. Mileage Transfers

Generally I would advise against mileage transfers unless they are offering a 100% bonus on the miles. Even then it isn’t cheap to transfer miles between accounts but it is still possible to get a lot of value from this method, although it will cost you money. Sometimes you have to spend a little to save a little. If you come out saving money in the end it is a good deal and a great way to save money on your next flight.

Master the Art of Travel Hacking

There are many ways to earn miles travel hacking and earning miles all year long. However, it doesn’t have to stop here. You can earn enough miles every year for multiple free flights by taking travel hacking to the next level. In fact, I just wrote a new book all about travel hacking and earning miles. If you want to master the art of travel hacking be sure to check it out and start flying for free.


“Did you know…WestJet Airlines Plays Santa to 250 Passengers?”

(ABC News)

westjetCanadian airline, WestJet, surprised 250 Calgary-bound passengers with a bounty of Christmas gifts – straight from their own wish lists.

ABC News reports, travelers at two Canadian airports who got the chance to video conference with Santa giggled as they shared their requests. Little did they know that Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick and 175 WestJet employees were listening.

After the travelers boarded their Calgary-bound flights, from Toronto and Hamilton airports, the WestJet elves got to work filling the Christmas wishes of their passengers.

Watch the video here:

5 ways to earn miles without stepping foot on a plane

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

Earning miles in the air is very straight forward. Get on the plane and earn one frequent flyer mile for every mile flown in the air. Although, elite flyers may earn a mileage bonus for every mile flown, there are much better ways to earn miles on the ground. In this Hot Topics feature, Clint Johnston, author of the popular blog, has several clever off-board methods to increase your mileage bank.

clint johnstonThe fastest way to earning miles doesn’t require you to board a plane. All you need to do is take advantage of the miles that are already being offered to you by the airlines from various programs. This is what travel hackers do every year to take free flights around the world.

Travel hacking is the art of accumulating as many miles as you can to redeem for free flights and hotels. These are some of my favorite travel hacks to earn as many miles as possible every year.

1. Sign Up for a Co-Branded Credit Card

Apply for a co-branded airline credit card that has a large sign up bonus. These cards will earn you 30,000 miles or more once you meet the minimum spending requirements. Most cards do not have annual fees the first year and you can choose to cancel the card before the fee is due or keep it if you find the benefits valuable to you as a traveler.

2. Sign Up for a Points Credit Card

Points cards also have large sign up bonuses and they offer more flexibility. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card comes with a 40,000 point bonus and this can be redeemed on many different airlines. The benefit of a card like this is the points are more flexible than miles but both types of cards offer a jumpstart to earning more miles.

3. Shop Through Online Portals

Every major airline has a shopping portal where you can earn miles for items you buy online. To earn miles simply login with your frequent flyer account on the portal, find your favorite retailer, and you will be redirected to the site. By starting your shopping at the portal you will earn miles for every dollar spent. If you already planned to buy something online you might as well earn miles in return. 

4. Earn Miles Sleeping at Hotels

Hotel loyalty programs are great and there are great hotel credit cards with large sign up bonuses worth multiple nights in a hotel. However, if you would prefer to earn miles every night you book a hotel you should use Rocketmiles. By booking hotels through their site you earn thousands of miles for every night spent in a hotel. Over the course of a year this can really add up and even earn you enough miles to book a free flight.

5. Earn Miles with Dining Programs

Every major airline has a dining program where you can earn miles for every dollar you spend at participating restaurants. Simply register a credit card or debit card with the airline dining of your choosing and go out to dinner to earn miles. Once you swipe the card the miles will automatically post to your frequent flyer account.  This program is nice because it will earn you more miles than simply using your travel credit card alone. Some restaurants offer multiple miles per dollar and even bonus miles.

Next week Clint will share 5 more tips for racking up frequent flyer miles without actually flying.