Airbus747
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What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Sat May 13, 2017 10:31 pm

...and who are the people who get to fly business/first so often?

I'm a big aviation enthusiast (no way!), but I never fly more than once or twice a year, usually one longer holiday for travel and one to visit to my other half's family abroad, occasionally - maybe just once a year - for a work training or conference abroad. That makes it three times max. I know some senior managers in my company travel to more conferences, maybe once every 3-4 months. And my company usually puts us all in economy :banghead:

So I am asking out of pure curiosity who are the kind of people (and specifically what kind of job duties or lifestyles they have, and how often they fly) who make up the customer segment for whom airlines created frequent flyer programs requiring tens of thousands of miles a year, and even business/first class.

Are they from specific industries, e.g. bankers? Or senior managers of highly international companies? Or just very rich people?

I know my question may sound a bit ignorant, and/or that there can be many answers, but I'm just trying to have a clearer picture of what exactly makes some people get to fly more than 5-6 times a year - because I simply don't.

And maybe also to help me decide what should be my next job... :duck:
 
Midwestindy
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Sat May 13, 2017 10:43 pm

pilots generally fly a lot...
 
EIDL
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Sat May 13, 2017 10:44 pm

Amongst the heavy fliers I know, there's a few types:

* Sales staff of every kind - still quite hard to convince someone they've cut the best deal with you except in person.

* Particular, in demand at the time, IT skillsets - lots of this work can be done remotely but the customer is more willing to pay the sums involved if they get to see a human

* Anyone involved in delivering training of any kind.

* Commuters - what I once was, live in one city and work in another. Was doing DUB-LON (LHR/LCY mostly) basically weekly for a year.

As goes flying 5/6 times a year - I don't even consider that vaguely frequent. Possibly due to living on a (big) island. I would fly much more than that solely for leisure purposes and I suspect that's quite normal.
 
Bongodog1964
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Sat May 13, 2017 10:55 pm

A good way is to work for a company with offices around the World. Have known a number of people working in r&d who spend one week a month at the US office so that's a minimum of 12 transatlantics a year plus leisure flying and any other work travel.
 
glbltrvlr
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Sat May 13, 2017 11:15 pm

Legal staff at almost every level other than paralegal. Anyone from PWC or the other management consultancy firms. VP or above at most major companies. But I have to say, if you are basing your career choices on the amount of international travel, I fear you are going to be severely unhappy. Far better to do something you are passionate about and use your own funds for one knockout trip every year or even other year.
 
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TK787
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Sat May 13, 2017 11:18 pm

-From my experience; anyone in film/television business have to fly a lot. A lot, it has always been the case for many years. You know many movies are shot on locations in distant places, but recently lots of TV shows are being shot in weird places like Bulgaria, N.Ireland, New Zealand....
-Also, I have a friend working for a developer company that builds giant projects around the world. He travels J all the time. It is not uncommon for him to fly New York-SYD for a meeting and come back the next day, all commercial flying. He has tons of miles.
-I also have friends that are education trainers, or financial gurus that train others. They fly weekly domestically.
Hope this helps.
 
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Coal
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Sat May 13, 2017 11:28 pm

Consultants. We're typically on airplanes every Monday morning and Thursday or Friday evening.

But, keep in mind this means being away from home the majority of the week. Also, typically rushing to the airport to be there just on time before the plane door closes, so usually no time for lounge access, spotting, etc.
Nxt Flts: 3K SIN-HKT-SIN | CA SIN-CTU-SIN | SQ SIN-FRA | LH FRA-TXL-FRA | SQ FRA-SIN | SQ SIN-PVG-SIN
 
LH707330
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Sat May 13, 2017 11:44 pm

Basically any job that requires genuine honest interaction with customers/partners. As a product manager I've traveled to conferences to meet groups of customers, gone to customer visits to collect detailed requirements (and actually get to know customers), and visited teams in other offices. Being multilingual helps big-time, I've been sent on trips because I'm one of few German speakers in my company.
 
B747forever
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Sun May 14, 2017 12:15 am

Another group of people flying a lot are VFR types. Last year I flew 130 segments and around 210k miles, and this year is shaping up to be something similar, all "leisure" trips commuting between family/homes in Los Angeles and Sweden with a few holiday trips. Nothing work related.
Work Hard, Fly Right
 
Cubsrule
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Sun May 14, 2017 12:51 am

Sometimes, it's more granular than a particular career. I'm a lawyer and fly a tremendous amount; in busy years I'll max out status on one carrier in August or September and start in on a second. But I have partners who are lucky to fly once a quarter.

And no, it's mostly not glamorous. Even the elusive 717 cannot save you from the monotony of weekly BNA-ATL-PIT, which has been my life lately.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
PITingres
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Sun May 14, 2017 1:17 am

I flew a lot as a consultant (on my own, not consulting company cannon fodder). Now it's down to 4-6 trips a year, mostly international, some due to visiting overseas offices and some related to ISO standards work. When I was consulting I'd be on a plane pretty much every other week, and that was peanuts compared to some of the troubleshooter types who were going to a different site every day or two.

As to your other question, who's flying in business / first, I have no idea. As a consultant I usually flew economy because the price of business class tended to take a giant bite out of engagement profits. My current employer has a zero business class policy for everyone including the CEO. When I worked for other large companies it was pretty much the same with some exceptions for sufficiently long flights and/or sufficiently high-up execs. When I flew up front it was generally an upgrade, not paid for. I very occasionally flew up front domestic on my own dime, but business fares for international are way out of reach. (e.g. a recent trip PIT-CPT for a standards meeting cost something like $1500 for airfare in Y; business class would have been over $10,000. I checked...)
Fly, you fools! Fly!
 
KentB27
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Sun May 14, 2017 1:25 am

Consultants travel all the time and people who are in working groups or in sales travel a lot too. Also, people who work for large companies working on lots of projects.

I would be careful what you wish for though. Traveling for work isn't nearly as glamorous as it sounds. It sounds a lot more fun than it really is. I used to travel for work quite frequently and it got old quickly. Being away from home all the time and living out of suitcases and hotels isn't that fun after awhile. I took a new position at my company that no longer involves travel and I am so happy. Traveling is so much more fun when it's on your own terms and you don't have stuff from work hanging over your head. Just my .02, I know some people will disagree though.
 
airbazar
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Sun May 14, 2017 1:42 am

I'm in IT operations and work for a large company with offices in multiple cities and countries. I used to fly more often, from something as quick as a day trip between BOS and RDU for a quick meeting, to something as long as a 2 week trip to India. Today I have a family and avoid flying for work as much as possible. At my company, any flight less than 6 hours is done in economy only. Anything above 6 hours, we're allowed to fly in business class.
 
AngMoh
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Sun May 14, 2017 2:12 am

I have had Star-Alliance gold status since 2006. What gets me this status is something like my planned upcoming flight:

Wake up at my usual 5:45 am, spend whole Wednesday in the office, go home have dinner, pack bags and go to airport around 10:00pm.
Wednesday night 11:55 PM departure to FRA
Arrive 7 AM Thursday in FRA after 13 hour flight in Y, pick up rental car. Drive to office (which is outside Frankfurt)
All day meetings, leave at 3 PM to drive back to FRA airport
Take 6 PM flight to MUC, take train from MUC to hotel, check in and collapse immediately at 9 PM (which is 3 AM on my biological clock)
Wake up at 4AM Friday because biological clock says so. Check email till breakfast finally opens.
Have breakfast. Go to another office. Spend whole day in Office.
3:30 PM back to MUC airport by train to travel back to FRA (around 6 PM flight)
10PM flight from FRA back home (Y again..., this time 12 hours)
Arrive 4:30 PM on Saturday in SIN and 5:30PM at home. Have dinner while feeling like a zombie.

So after 84 hours working with 7 hours proper sleep in a proper bed, I am back home with 13,000 miles added to my frequent flyer account. Is this worth it?
727 732 733 734 735 73G 738 739 739ER 742 743 744 752 762 772 773 77W 789 A300 A310 A319 A320 A321 A332 A333 A343 A345 A346 A359 A388 DC-9 DC-10 MD11 MD81 MD82 MD87 F70 ERJ145 E175 E190 E195 ATR72 CRJ200 CRJ700 CRJ900 BAE146 RJ85
 
TravelsUK
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Sun May 14, 2017 3:54 am

I'm a Health & Safety Auditor for the worlds largest online travel agency and average 80 flights a year worldwide, normally in ass class but still collect a fair amount of air miles by choosing to fly a oneworld carrier whenever possible.
655 flights 1 199 610 km 30x around earth 1740 h 18 min 72.5 days 10.4 weeks
 
ACDC8
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Sun May 14, 2017 4:01 am

I work at a remote construction sight in Northern Alberta, its a Fly In/Fly Out camp - meaning we get flown in and out - that and having one week off after two weeks of work lets me fly on my days off.
A Grumpy German Is A Sauerkraut
 
26point2
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Sun May 14, 2017 4:42 am

I often wonder if the rewards of the road warrior: frequent flier miles, go unused. It seems like a lot of effort to do what...get back onto another plane? I am a corporate pilot and spend vast amounts of time either flying, at an airport or at hotels. The last thing I want to do during my vacation is go to another airport. Trains are much more fun for me.
 
jbflyguy84
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Sun May 14, 2017 5:18 am

There's also the airline employees themselves - sales, ground services, govt/regulatory affairs, legal and marketing would be those who travel the most for business then there is also the high amount of leisure travel on subload tickets. My leisure travel this year so far as been ZRH, MEL, SYD, KUL, KCH, PVG, PEK and upcoming is MEL (again), AKL, SIN and TXL until July, the rest of the year isn't planned yet. I need to travel at least once a month to get out of the desert otherwise I would go stir crazy! In my hub (one of the ME3), we have around 1,500 subload travelers per day traveling to/from/via our hub.

Much like the business travelers above, I don't enjoy flying as much as I used to - its a means to an end and I much prefer just to get there and I spend as little time in airports as I possibly can these days.
 
KRIC777
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Sun May 14, 2017 5:29 am

Coal wrote:
Consultants. We're typically on airplanes every Monday morning and Thursday or Friday evening.
But, keep in mind this means being away from home the majority of the week. Also, typically rushing to the airport to be there just on time before the plane door closes, so usually no time for lounge access, spotting, etc.


Agree 100%!

Bottom line -- traveling is expensive; if an employer deems it appropriate to incur the cost of flying you somewhere and paying for a hotel, per-diem, rental car, etc. they will expect results, and/or a return on the investment, without a lot of excuses. I'm not a consultant, but an examiner for a Federal regulatory agency. Live in PHX but I normally work on-site M-F at a location somewhere in my district, which includes roughly the Western quarter of the continental US plus Alaska & Hawaii. Driving to the airport at zero-dark-thirty every Monday, living out of a suitcase, and getting home at 8:00pm on Friday is not for everyone. Heck, I LIKE flying, but I spend probably 60% of my time in the air asleep. Most people in my field in travel-intensive positions burn out on it after a few years.
 
Airstud
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Sun May 14, 2017 6:39 am

glbltrvlr wrote:
But I have to say, if you are basing your career choices on the amount of international travel, I fear you are going to be severely unhappy..


This, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this.












(you heard me.)
Pancakes are delicious.
 
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RyanairGuru
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Sun May 14, 2017 8:40 am

My mother is the CFO of a multinational health care company. From Australia she regularly visits their offices in the UK, China and USA. She is overseas at least one a month, all Business Class, and is a top tier frequent flyer.
Worked Hard, Flew Right
 
n729pa
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Sun May 14, 2017 9:45 am

I call myself a privately financed flyer. I fly about 70 flights a year. But I do it as cheaply as possible. Based at LHR I naturally have a choice of carriers at my disposal but when they have sales on ill book a few days trips to Madrid Zurich Paris etc etc (I did Stockholm yesterday booked 7 months ago) and you get the first flight out last one home and you can make a day of it. A few weeks back I went to Barcelona on BA for £66. I know friends that go to football matches every week and spend a lot more than that. You need to sensible about it but part of the fun is seeing how inexpensive it can be. I go on holiday to Australia every year and my fare is less that friends going to the US in August by travelling off season then picking up domestic legs for £30-40 a time. I helps not have ties like kids I admit.

But there are those on here that fly business or first all the time or so they say, so this is an interesting thread to see how they might be doing that.

The company I work for fly people business over 7 hours or economy under. But increasingly that's been cut back in recent years but the top knobs still travel a lot, it's the sales and middle management who don't.
 
dc9northwest
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Sun May 14, 2017 9:48 am

People who prioritize flying.

I fly somewhere between 60 to 100 flights a year, not more than 5-6 for 'business'.

You see, in most civilized countries you get about 5-6 weeks off. That allows for a lot of travelling.

My hint: avoid taxis. Saves a ton of money... a taxi often can be more expensive than a flight segment....
 
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GCT64
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Sun May 14, 2017 12:53 pm

I do about 100 flights a year, mostly for business (46 so far in 2017). I live near London, have factories which I'm responsible for in Scotland and Massachusetts and my customers are largely in China, Germany, California. My colleagues and I fly Y for almost all flights, sometimes Y+ for the longest flights. It's not glamorous, it is tiring. Some trips are enjoyable, some are horrible.

FF status is mostly useful to get the best seats (or rather to avoid the worst seats) on the plane. I hardly ever really benefit from lounge access, and almost never use my FF miles (my kids use those!)
Flown in: A30B,A306,A310,A319,A320,A321,A332,A333,A343,A346,A359,A388,BA11,BU31,B190,(..54 more types..),VC10,WESX
 
Cush
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Sun May 14, 2017 1:28 pm

I love to travel, but don't miss the days when I had to travel for work. I worked for a large airline a number of years ago, and I loved the idea of traveling every week. However, after a few months, it began to take a big toll on me.... I was missing out on a lot of things. Time with family, time with friends, dating, etc....

Sunday morning I would pack my bags and head to the airport. I had the choice of the 7am flight or the 12pm flight. There were later flights, but then you ran the risk of not making it down to Houston on time if the later flights were delayed...

Living out of a hotel was brutal. Eating at the same restaurants every day became bland and boring.

Once Friday arrived, and the work day finished, you were typically on the 5pm flight back home (if it didn't cancel due to weather). When you arrive home around 9-11pm on Friday, you have roughly 36 hours of "free time" until you are back at the airport to fly back to work.

Ill never forget the one time, i was dying to get back home on a friday. Since we were employees, we were must fly, however, there was a meeting of some higher ups that same day, and a manager with higher status took my spot on the plane... My friend offered to wait back and take the much later flight, but i bit the bullet and said i would wait. The storm clouds rolled in and I feared I wouldn't make it out at all (Texas storms can be brutal). Luckily, we took off and i got home around 1-2am...

I much prefer to travel for fun now. Plan my own schedule, make my own itinerary, etc. I mean that's the fun of traveling.
Fly me to the moon let me play among the stars.
 
fbgdavidson
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Sun May 14, 2017 1:48 pm

I live in NYC. All my family are in the UK. My other half if close to her grandparents who live in Florida. My OH's best friend lives in LA. My company is headquartered in VA.

A combination of those things plus fun trips with the OH for various things (weddings in Greece, weekend trips to the UK for my grandfather's milestone birthday or niece's birthday) and loyalty to oneworld over other alliances means I can easily earn BA Gold/oneworld Emerald annually (last year I doubled the requalification threshold). I'm flying tomorrow but haven't been on a plane in just over a month and it's the longest I've been grounded for quite a few years. To be honest, I don't consider myself a frequent flyer though.

99% of my travel is in F/J because I'm reasonably smart about it. For example:
-I only travel to my company's HQ every couple of months but I can fly with a connection at CLT in AA F for the same price as a non-stop which is Y only. Company are happy to pay for F.
-NYC-MCO (where the OH's grandparents are) is a cheap F market...can normally fly AA for about $550-$600 roundtrip in F.
-NYC-LON is well covered by AA and BA. I have the BA Chase Visa for 10% off all transatlantic flights plus the AARP membership which (until last year) had $400 off every First/Club World ticket. I've managed to pay around $3300 for revenue First on BA recently, and combined with sales and other things can often get fares in Club World/AA Business for closer to the $2000 mark.
-NYC-LA is high competition market. I prefer Jetblue Mint which starts at about $1200 and so AA Business Class is often matched in terms of price so I have both as decent options.

In terms of profiles of some of the most regular travellers I know personally:
-CEO of European energy company. He lived near London and travelled to Germany twice per week, plus was on the board of directors for a South African company so flew LHR-JNB about once every two/three weeks, overnight down and then overnight back the next day.
-Weekly trips from London to LA for several years to setup a tech company.
-Bi-weekly trips from London to Colorado, with weekly trips across EMEA during the intermediate weeks.
-Based in London and setting up a team in Madrid, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels and Copenhagen which required visiting all offices during the course of a week.

Possibly the most insane amount of travel I've heard of is Tom Stuker....he has a company that trains salespeople at car dealerships. The guy became well know about 7-8yrs ago when he crossed the 10 million mile mark with United, that's 10 million flown miles. He currently averages about 1.1m miles per year. All highest cabin available but had never quite let on how the trips are covered in terms of cost. Some suggest he bought a lifetime United pass at some point. His thread on Flyertalk (in which he partcipates) makes for some interesting reading. To be honest, I feel sad for someone who flies that much and does the vast majority on United. Even though he gets the royal treatment you'd hope it'd be on a top notch carrier!
https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/united- ... ir-gs.html
"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
 
SCQ83
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Sun May 14, 2017 4:00 pm

IMO this is a bit of "beware of what you wish for"

I had never either had a job that required me to travel (a lot). But the odd times I need to fly for work (usually not more than 3 or 4 times a year) the mindset changes very quickly and it becomes tiring and even repulsive. Which vanishes what I love about flying. That unique feeling of myself choosing a destination and land in a completely new country or city to discover as I wish.

For me even if I love flying, it would become boring to do always the same trip for work. I am sure doing Madrid-NYC in business once is nice, but on the 20th trip that must be boring.

Now coming back to your topic, I think sales is the best option. Specially if you work in a small company with a global scope (so you don't work in a delegation with a limited geographical scope). I have a close relative which works in a mid-size company in Central Europe (so they don't have any delegation and manage the whole world from there) in sales and he has travelled absolutely all over the world: China, Russia, India, Brazil, Chile, Australia/NZ, the US (and of course all over Europe all the time)... Also usually no two trips are the same. Even if they have some "fixed dates" around the year (e.g. fairs and conventions) they use those trips often to visit clients and make new contacts on the side, which might mean often visiting new cities.
 
dispatchguy
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Sun May 14, 2017 4:05 pm

I work for a major US-based cargo airline as a standards flight dispatcher, and as such, I am going to DC a LOT for meetings and so on. I'm going to DC (IAD) I think 6 times this year, once to DAB, once to IAH, YOW, SRQ (for VAC), and my annual ops observation ride to NRT, CAN, SGN, DEL, and HKG and back stateside (all in the cockpit jumpseat of our aircraft).

My preference is flying on our metal, I avoid US pax carriers if I can,and after the recent fiascos, itll be while before I ask my company to buy a tix on anyone domestically.
Nobody screws you better than an airline job!
 
Airbus747
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Sun May 14, 2017 7:37 pm

Thanks for the great answers - but then who flies First and Business all the time?

I mean... think London-Dubai or London-Hong Kong with multiple flights per DAY.

I understand an Emirates A380 has 76 Business and 14 First seats.
A Cathay Pacific 777 has 53 Business and 6 First.
Assume there are 7 daily flights London-Dubai and 6 daily London-Hong Kong (I roughly eyeballed on the timetable).
Assume they use the same aircraft.

Which implies:
- London-Dubai on Emirates has 532 Business and 98 First.
- London-Hong Kong on Cathay has 318 Business and 36 First.
Every.
Day.

If most employers want to save costs, whom are these airlines going to sell all those seats?
Are there really that many CEOs and super-senior consultants?

Again, just wondering...
 
fbgdavidson
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Sun May 14, 2017 8:09 pm

Well, there's a lot of wealth in those cities.

I was at boarding school in the UK and quite a lot of kids that were either from Hong Kong or were children of expats living in HK. A lot of those flew Business/First. Some companies as part of their expat packages will offer a number of free trips back to the home country for the employee and family members.

There are a lot of people who are wealthy but not longhaul private jet wealthy. I know someone who flew BA First LHR-JFK sat next to Michael Bloomberg who said BA F was very good value compared to flying privately. No surprise when BA F is about 2%-5% of the cost of flying private.
"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
 
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Coal
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Mon May 15, 2017 12:49 am

Airbus747 wrote:
Which implies:
- London-Hong Kong on Cathay has 318 Business and 36 First.
Every.
Day.

If most employers want to save costs, whom are these airlines going to sell all those seats?
Are there really that many CEOs and super-senior consultants?

Again, just wondering...

Well, take the example of LHR-HKG, in which you have calculated about ~350 J and F seats. If we assume (too lazy to go to Wikipedia) that London has about ~10m people and HKG about 7.5m, then we are saying that about 0.04% of the total population is flying in F or J (assuming both ways, e.g. 700 daily J and F seats both ways), and this is excluding connections. Not unreasonable at all to be honest.

It's not only CEOs who are flying F or J. Many corporates have travel policies for which flights over a certain number of hours is in J, and yes, that includes the 22-23yo fresh business analyst at a consulting firm or the management trainee.

I did a ton of long haul J travel on SQ when I was 22-23 given the travel policy of the company I used to work for, including trips ex-SIN to PVG, PEK, SYD, MEL, JNB, AMS, ATH, etc.
Nxt Flts: 3K SIN-HKT-SIN | CA SIN-CTU-SIN | SQ SIN-FRA | LH FRA-TXL-FRA | SQ FRA-SIN | SQ SIN-PVG-SIN
 
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RoySFlying
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Mon May 15, 2017 1:12 am

In a big country like Australia, you can expect to see quite a few people who are frequent flyers but the benefits they get will often depend on who they are working for.
Some examples include fly-in-fly-out miners are is is cheaper to rotate shifts than build new towns; politicians and staffers travelling between their electorates and Canberra or on official business (on a flight to Tamworth I once ended up sitting next to the deputy prime minister); representatives or major corporations between their business offices or projects, and so on.
But while such travellers may have access to lounges, they may not actually get to enjoy them as they are constantly on the phone or working at their laptops and not all FIFO workers have access as their employers might not wish to pay for it or the airports/ airlines they are flying from/ to don't have lounges.
When I was a boy the world was flat and now, some people still strive to keep it that way.
 
chrisair
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Mon May 15, 2017 5:17 am

Take it from someone who flies 150k+ miles a year, it's not as glamorous as it seems. It's nice to be mobile, but being on the road every week for 3/4 of the year gets tiring real quick. This gig has it's plusses and minuses: I'm familiar with 10-15 cities (I have a giant Yelp file, and a giant list of hotels with good running spots), and have more miles than I know what to do with, but I'm also gone from my own bed, gym, and sleeping in beds of varying quality.

To give you a taste of my schedule, here's where I was for the last six weeks: Denver, El Paso, Charlotte, Portland OR, Seattle, Spokane, Salt Lake, Boise, Vegas, Wichita, and NYC. A lot of time I'm doing two trips a week.

I just got back from a 10 day Italy trip and immediately (<24 hours) go back on the road for work. I had a trip that bumped right up to my outbound flight to MXP, so a 10 day vacation turned into being gone 13 days.

SCQ83 wrote:
For me even if I love flying, it would become boring to do always the same trip for work.


THIS. I fly PHX-PDX every two-three weeks. I try to mix it up occasionally since it really DOES get boring doing the same trip twice a month.
 
spacecadet
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Tue May 16, 2017 3:35 am

My brother used to do software training. He wrote technical manuals at his home base and then he would fly around all over the place to do in-person training and basically teach people all the stuff he wrote in the manuals one-on-one.

He used to like to tell me how the gate agents at a certain airline all knew him by name. He had top-tier status on a couple of airlines and was always automatically upgraded to first class (domestic). His preferred seat was 1A and he considered it kind of a trophy if he got it, which he almost always did.

Airbus747 wrote:
Thanks for the great answers - but then who flies First and Business all the time?


See above. But if you mean international, to be honest, I do. And I am not a frequent flier. I just know how the system works.

Most people flying in business and first didn't pay for their tickets. They either got upgraded or they're flying on credit card points. My wife and I usually take an international trip or two each per year in business class on credit card points. A couple times we've done it in first. It's not that hard to build up enough points if you get the right bonuses and choose the right airlines.

That said, a lot of airlines have made this harder to do now by only releasing a few seats per flight for award tickets. But that's why those airlines are flying half empty business class cabins. (I've seen it; impossible to get two award seats on a flight, yet half the seats go empty.) If you're looking at a half-empty cabin, figure that about half of the people you *do* see were upgrades for one reason or another. The rest might have paid for their tickets. Which means about a quarter of the cabin.

Those who do pay are upper-echelon executives who need to be fully rested as soon as they arrive for an important business trip, or just plain old rich people. They do exist. And a lot of them fly business class because there are different levels of "rich". That's why first class cabins usually only have literally a few seats even on big planes - they cater to the super-rich, not just the rich. But again, I've flown international first class on points, so even up there it's probably not mostly people buying seats. I'll bet it's 2-3 people per flight, on average, who actually pay for an international first class seat.
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LupineChemist
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Tue May 16, 2017 10:07 am

26point2 wrote:
I often wonder if the rewards of the road warrior: frequent flier miles, go unused. It seems like a lot of effort to do what...get back onto another plane? I am a corporate pilot and spend vast amounts of time either flying, at an airport or at hotels. The last thing I want to do during my vacation is go to another airport. Trains are much more fun for me.


Oh, it's a completely different thing when you have no issue enjoying the booze in the lounge and you know you're not arriving to get whisked away to an office park.
 
fbgdavidson
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Tue May 16, 2017 7:06 pm

spacecadet wrote:
Most people flying in business and first didn't pay for their tickets. They either got upgraded or they're flying on credit card points. My wife and I usually take an international trip or two each per year in business class on credit card points. A couple times we've done it in first. It's not that hard to build up enough points if you get the right bonuses and choose the right airlines.

That said, a lot of airlines have made this harder to do now by only releasing a few seats per flight for award tickets. But that's why those airlines are flying half empty business class cabins. (I've seen it; impossible to get two award seats on a flight, yet half the seats go empty.) If you're looking at a half-empty cabin, figure that about half of the people you *do* see were upgrades for one reason or another. The rest might have paid for their tickets. Which means about a quarter of the cabin.

Those who do pay are upper-echelon executives who need to be fully rested as soon as they arrive for an important business trip, or just plain old rich people. They do exist. And a lot of them fly business class because there are different levels of "rich". That's why first class cabins usually only have literally a few seats even on big planes - they cater to the super-rich, not just the rich. But again, I've flown international first class on points, so even up there it's probably not mostly people buying seats. I'll bet it's 2-3 people per flight, on average, who actually pay for an international first class seat.


Obviously it depends on the airline and route but to say only a quarter of the passengers on a longhaul business class flight are revenue passengers is laughably low. Yes, there are some people using miles or upgrade certificates but it's not nearly as many as you suggest, In the 15yrs I've been buying my own business/first class tickets the cost has come down.

Why would some airlines increase the size of their business class cabins (some BA 747s now have 86 business class seats) if only 25% of passengers are paying for it? The only times I see longhaul premium cabins lightly loaded are on quiet longhaul business travel days such as New Years Day, right around Xmas, public holidays etc.
"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
 
spacecadet
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Tue May 16, 2017 11:06 pm

fbgdavidson wrote:
Why would some airlines increase the size of their business class cabins (some BA 747s now have 86 business class seats) if only 25% of passengers are paying for it?


Because 25% of 86 is more than 25% of 20 and international business class tickets often cost 4 or 5 times that of discounted economy. And again, a lot of these big business class cabins are half empty almost all the time. ANA, for example, has actually cut back on their business class cabins on international flights - they've gone from 77 business class seats in V3 of their 777-300ER config to 52 in V4. So airlines adjust both ways depending on how things are going - the higher class cabins aren't just getting bigger all the time.

Also, you seem to be making the incorrect assumption that the airlines make no revenue from upgrades or award flights. Of course they do. On upgrades, they get the revenue that keeping a frequent flier around makes them, which is continuous revenue as long as you keep that passenger happy. That's why FF programs exist in the first place. It's not a charity; these are net profitable programs or they wouldn't have existed for the last 40+ years. You give the people that spend tens of thousands of dollars per year the better seats in the hopes that they will continue to spend tens of thousands of dollars per year.

On award flights, they just get paid by the credit card company rather than the passengers. I don't know how the contracts are actually structured, whether it's a lump sum payment for an airline to be part of the program or it's some dollar amount per point converted to miles (probably the latter), but it's not "free". The airline makes money on those tickets or they wouldn't be part of those programs either.

So it should be pretty easy to understand how having a larger business class cabin can benefit an airline even if most of the passengers in those cabins haven't specifically paid to fly there. The airline is making money off those passengers in other ways, and almost certainly more than they'd make from 2 or 3 non-loyalty economy class passengers buying the cheapest possible discount tickets.
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aklrno
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Wed May 17, 2017 7:36 am

I once had a job that had me out of town 270 days one year. I woke up one morning and couldn't figure out where I was. I checked for a notepad by the bed, but thought I was in a very cheap hotel because there wasn't one. Looked out the window and realized I was at home in Cupertino. Soon after I switched to a non-travel job with the company. Less airline status, but a better life. Most people with lots of miles deserve the breaks they get.

Now I have enough money to travel business class on my own, so I pay for the status.
 
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Coal
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Wed May 17, 2017 8:59 am

spacecadet wrote:
fbgdavidson wrote:
Why would some airlines increase the size of their business class cabins (some BA 747s now have 86 business class seats) if only 25% of passengers are paying for it?


Because 25% of 86 is more than 25% of 20 and international business class tickets often cost 4 or 5 times that of discounted economy. And again, a lot of these big business class cabins are half empty almost all the time. ANA, for example, has actually cut back on their business class cabins on international flights - they've gone from 77 business class seats in V3 of their 777-300ER config to 52 in V4. So airlines adjust both ways depending on how things are going - the higher class cabins aren't just getting bigger all the time.

Also, you seem to be making the incorrect assumption that the airlines make no revenue from upgrades or award flights. Of course they do. On upgrades, they get the revenue that keeping a frequent flier around makes them, which is continuous revenue as long as you keep that passenger happy. That's why FF programs exist in the first place. It's not a charity; these are net profitable programs or they wouldn't have existed for the last 40+ years. You give the people that spend tens of thousands of dollars per year the better seats in the hopes that they will continue to spend tens of thousands of dollars per year.

On award flights, they just get paid by the credit card company rather than the passengers. I don't know how the contracts are actually structured, whether it's a lump sum payment for an airline to be part of the program or it's some dollar amount per point converted to miles (probably the latter), but it's not "free". The airline makes money on those tickets or they wouldn't be part of those programs either.

So it should be pretty easy to understand how having a larger business class cabin can benefit an airline even if most of the passengers in those cabins haven't specifically paid to fly there. The airline is making money off those passengers in other ways, and almost certainly more than they'd make from 2 or 3 non-loyalty economy class passengers buying the cheapest possible discount tickets.

I also don't buy the argument that only 25% are paying passengers. Maybe that's a very US centric view, especially when it comes to "First Class" on a CRJ. I can tell you for instance that SQ never, ever offers free upgrades. Ever. Sure, you can use your points, but these days availability is incredibly hard to find, even months in advance, even using points from their own loyalty program. I can also attest that VA also does not offer free upgrades. If you want it, you either pay up or use the very limited upgrade coupons they give Gold and Platinum FFP members, and even then it's usually a seat upgrade only, e.g. they don't include a J meal.
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bohica
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Wed May 17, 2017 12:20 pm

My brother used to work on an oil drilling ship in the SIN area. He was on a 21 days on, 21 days off schedule. He lived near SFO. The company flew him back and forth between SFO and SIN. He was always booked in Y but he had so many frequent flyer miles he usually flew in J or F.
 
fbgdavidson
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Wed May 17, 2017 12:56 pm

spacecadet wrote:

Because 25% of 86 is more than 25% of 20 and international business class tickets often cost 4 or 5 times that of discounted economy. And again, a lot of these big business class cabins are half empty almost all the time.


Eh? So you're suggesting the demand for premium cabins is in part driven the size of the cabin? Yeah, I think you're way off base here...

Yes, some airlines have cut the size of their premium cabins (I'm a regular on AA's A319s with just 8 F seats), but others are increasing their size too. It's a response to the market.

I fly longhaul F and J a fairly decent amount and these "business class cabins that are half empty almost all the time" aren't something I see on a regular basis at all with the aforementioned exception of traditionally light business class travel days (public holidays etc.). Maybe that's what you're seeing because you're using miles/points to access the cabin and it's no surprise there will be greater award availability on low demand days than those where demand for paid tickets is strong.
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theobcman
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Thu May 18, 2017 9:00 am

Something that I am involved with is working as an 'On Board Courier' hence my user name. The work is unpredictable/infrequent and random but we do get to fly a lot ! Based at LHR anything from Paris to Sydney could come up at any time. Flights are normally in Y but the points I build up allow for some nice journeys later on !
 
jetwet1
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Thu May 18, 2017 10:32 am

I work in the hotel/casino industry, I fly to Europe 5-6 times a year, Hawaii monthly, I was explaining my Hawaii trips to one of our GM's a couple of days ago, she thought it sounded so glamours, fly in, spend a day at the hotel, next day go play golf with customers, go deep sea fishing, take the customers out to dinner, back to the hotel, sleep, then on the first flight back to Vegas. Sure, even as I type this, it does sound glamours, or at least not exactly a "hard life", but even this takes a toll.

Europe is a whole different ball game, fly in, day off, meet with vendor/customer/company we are doing some consultancy work for, night out, sleep, off to the airport, next stop. Generally I will visit 3-4 cities over 10-14 days, then back to the US.

Last year was interesting because we were looking for ideas for new restaurants, I was literally paid to fly to Italy, eat at fantastic restaurants, spend the night in a hotel, lunch at a great restaurant, rinse and repeat, my company financed 6 trips (in J) across Italy, now those trips were not a grind, it was like having 6 paid vacations.


theobcman wrote:
Something that I am involved with is working as an 'On Board Courier' hence my user name. The work is unpredictable/infrequent and random but we do get to fly a lot ! Based at LHR anything from Paris to Sydney could come up at any time. Flights are normally in Y but the points I build up allow for some nice journeys later on !


A guy I knew did that for a few years, flew LHR-SFO-LHR-HKG-LHR every week, he would step off the plan, hand a bundle of documents to another member of staff outside of the airport, then turn around and go back inside to catch the return leg.

I got to be on a flight SFO-LHR with him, the crew (VS) all knew him, knew the food orders, the problems were of course, he had seen all the movies, eaten the same food multiple times, and he had no life outside of the aircraft.

Yes he did end up marrying an FA and he then took a job in one of his companies offices.
 
Airbus747
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Sat Jun 10, 2017 9:24 am

Thanks everyone. Really interesting insights and stories...
 
coolian2
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Sat Jun 10, 2017 9:31 am

I'm very close to becoming a student in another city from where I currently live, with an elderly father (I'm the only family member who visits him) and a partner who already lives in another city from me - but that one is driving distance.

So if I take up the study offer it looks like I'll become a bit of a frequent flyer.
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Sat Jun 10, 2017 9:40 am

Until recently, before studying Political Science at the University of Aarhus, I worked as an aircraft technician in the RDAF. With a decent salary and almost no expenses, I used around 85% of my income on travels, resulting in flying roughly 40 times a year for leisure. So, you could enroll in your nation's airforce and live at the barracks, that would save you a lot of money for flying. :D
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An767
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Sun Jun 11, 2017 9:45 am

I work in the service industry mainly for remote mining support, so I do on average 6 flights a month across Australia. When I am not working I am on a plane to Asia for short hops and Europe for my long vaction so all up around 40+ flights a year as a top tier FF i get good benifits . But after while the gloss goes away trust me, especially on domestic routes when you get the same meal options over and over again in one month

AN767
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325i
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Thu Jul 06, 2017 5:54 am

The subject topic is interesting. For 2 years I was flying interstate every week! Any flight over 2hours f class . Now that I am retired and travel overseas every year my choice is j class. Why I hear you ask because I am 6'3 and 70 years of age and having been well renumerated ,while being a consultant,I travel in comfort . So to answer your topic subject "work hard and save for tomorrow". Enjoy your next flight no matter what class
 
EricAY05
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Thu Jul 06, 2017 11:35 am

All those people complaining about how tough it is to travel so much in J, F and stay in top-notch hotels, could just change careers and settle for something more convenient. But they won't, and if there is a situation where someone else could take their job, they will fight to keep it. :duck:
 
EricAY05
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Re: What type of people are frequent flyers? (Am I in the wrong career?)

Thu Jul 06, 2017 11:53 am

theobcman wrote:
Something that I am involved with is working as an 'On Board Courier' hence my user name. The work is unpredictable/infrequent and random but we do get to fly a lot ! Based at LHR anything from Paris to Sydney could come up at any time. Flights are normally in Y but the points I build up allow for some nice journeys later on !


What type of education does this require, if any? Are you allowed to not take the next flight and enjoy the city or lounge for short while (couple of hours)? :D

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