ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway
ExpertFlyer co-founder and president, Christ Lopinto, was recently interviewed by FOX News anchor, Ernie Anastos, on little-known facts and tips that the airlines won’t tell you. Watch the segment and read the Q & A.
Ernie Anastos: Listen, we just heard a lot about what the airlines are doing and so forth. You’ve got to be kind of like your own travel agent these days, don’t you? Really, all the details.
Chris Lopinto: Unfortunately, yes. Our motto is information is empowering, and that’s why we like to give as much as possible. Really, with a little bit of research, you can do quite well these days.
EA: Okay, let’s talk about how you get the best seats, because that’s what a lot of people are concerned about. How do you do that?
CL: Absolutely. Unfortunately nowadays, airlines reserve the best seats for their elite customers or those who are willing to pay for them. However, what they don’t tell you is that within about four or five days before departure, the airlines upgrade their best customers into business or first class. That means that a lot of good seats open up in economy class just waiting for someone to grab them.
EA: What do we do?
CL: What we do is we log into the airline website or whatever website you used to buy the ticket from and check the seat map again to see if you can get a better seat assignment within a few days of departure. By that time more economy seats will be available.
EA: A lot of people are concerned about frequent flyer programs. Is there a real payoff with that?
CL: There can be, but you have to be careful. Think of frequent flyer points as money in a bank account. However, unlike a real bank account, you don’t earn interest and the bank can basically devalue that money at any time.
EA: What do we do?
CL: There’s a term in the industry called, “Burn as you earn,” which means don’t save up a lot of frequent flyer miles thinking you’re going to have some big vacation somewhere down the line. If you have enough to use and you can use them, use them now because frequent flyer miles will never be as valuable tomorrow as they are today.
EA: Any other quick suggestions if you’re traveling alone or with other people? Your family and so forth?
CL: Well, one suggestion is that if you’re trying to buy a trip with multiple people, say a family of four. What the airlines do is, they’ll price the ticket for the amount that is the same for everyone. Let’s say there’s one cheap fair available. What they won’t do is they won’t give you one cheap fair then three of the more expensive fairs. In order to figure that out, you price it twice. One at the quantity you want, say four, and one with just one ticket, and if the price per ticket is different, you know that there’s some cheaper fairs available, but just not four. What you do is, you buy a few of the cheaper and then a few of the more expensive and you get an overall lower cost for your trip.