Minimising air travel costs with flyers? card
By Oyetunji Abioye
Those who travel frequently by air spend lots of money on retular basis. But some airline operators are not ignorant of this fact, hence from time to time, they introduce certain products and services to ensure that travellers get the deal out of their travel arrangement or get an outright reduction in the cost of purchasing tickets.
The Managing Director, Sabre Network, Mr. Gbenga Olowo, says that frequent air travellers have ways in which they can save money and reduce the aggregate amount spent on tickets over a given period.
He says that the travel card, or frequent flyers? card, which is often used by business travellers all over the world, is a product along this line. He says that the card or club, as it is in most cases, offers regular flyers the opportunity of buying tickets without stress and getting free tickets on regular basis as a result of having travelled with a particular airline over a long period of time.
He says that the advantage lies more on being a loyal customer of a particular airline. This, he says, is because the carrier will offer free tickets based on the frequency of using the airline.
Olowo says that once a business traveller or regular flyer has identified the carrier of choice, he could go ahead to purchase its travel card. It is on this card that a passenger accumulates air time each time he buys the airline?s tickets.
He adds that the package is good for businessmen who travel often and is frequently used in Europe, the United States and other advanced countries.
Olowo says that frequent international flyers can use it as well as regular local flyers as it is already being used by some local airlines in the country.
The Managing Director, Business Travel, Mr. Deba Uwadiae, says that on the local scene, some airlines have started using the card.
The Chief Communication Officer, ToppComms Integrated Communications, Mr. Tope Ogbeni-Awe, says that travel card is an avenue to save money for business travellers who know about it.
Ogbeni-Awe says that all airlines in the world, except for a few domestic airlines, offer special services for frequent flyers. He says that the service is usually in the frequent flyers? club.
He says that the various foreign carriers flying into Nigeria have it as follows, Delta Airlines, Elite Club; South African Airways, Voyagers Club; Lufthansa, Miles and More; KLM, Flying Blue; and Virgin Nigeria, Eagle Flier.
He says that the travel card, or frequent flyer, or mileage as some may call it, operates when a frequent traveller applies to become a member, after which he is given the card.
According to him, the card comes in different classes of gold, silver and bronze, depending on whether such individual flies First Class, Business Class or Economy.
He says that as soon as the card is acquired, each time the passenger travels; mileage is accumulated on the card.
Ogbeni-Awe says that numerous benefits abound to holders of the travel cards, ranging from being given priority at all times to reduced fares.
He says, ?The advantages are numerous. It can make the airline give priority of confirmation assuming you are on the waiting list. It gives you access to use the carrier?s lounge anywhere in the world. For some, especially if you are a first class or business class passenger, it gives you access to limousine service as the airlines have partnership with car rental companies all over the world.
?As an economy class flyer, after certain mileage, you may be upgraded to the business class and as a business class passenger; you can be upgraded to first class after some mileage.?
The Media Relations Manager, Virgin Nigeria, Mr. Sam Ogbogoro, says that the card is being used for its local, regional and international flights. He says that it is like a loyalty programme whereby regular flyers are offered the opportunity of reducing their cost of travel.