Airline hamster wheel slowing

I just got a letter from Virgin Atlantic. They’re trying to put a cheery spin on the fact they’re downgrading me from Silver to Red in the frequent flyer programme. I’m expecting the same soon from United where I plummeted from Gold to Silver last year and now will fall to some shamefully non-metallic category. I’ve been flying less lately.

I feel like an addict in recovery. I used to get very excited about those little perks like using the premium lounges… but when I really examine the experience there was also stress in structuring my travel to make sure I span the airline’s hamster wheel fast enough. And I think all that worrying whether I’d get comped an upgrade caused more stress than the occasional success ever really gave me. And to be honest, I always found something a bit depressing about those lounges, that we’d all sold a tiny little piece of our soul to be there. Likewise in Business Class: I wonder if secretly we all know we don’t really BELONG and are all faking it.

We’ll see how my recovery progresses. I could easily have a relapse.

2 thoughts on “Airline hamster wheel slowing

  1. viv McWaters

    Ha ha – so that’s what’s wrong with me, having also suffered the same with Qantas. Maybe we should create for ourselves a new Elite Club for those who used to have airline status but now don’t! Oh, that’s right – I don’t like clubs. Better forget it then.

  2. Ian Glendinning

    Interesting I made a pledge on reducing my air-travel recently … much less business travel than previously, but ironically more “domestic” air-travel (for another year I’m afraid), so I now have the opposite end of the problem.

    Grinning and bearing Ryanair ! All pain and no perks, but it makes the “green” equation even worse of course.

    Perversely – I would support higher air fares (by taxation on fuel consumption say) to reduce air-travel overall. Air fuel is an anomaly anyway – the problem being one of international switching costs – compared to say motoring fuel – so there would need to be broad international agreement and commitment.


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