Thank you QANTAS!

Why I love flying the Roo.

If you follow me on Twitter or FaceBook, you’ll know I was back in Australia last week. I’ll write a different post about that later, but for now, I wanted to send a shout out to the crew of QF7, the flight from Sydney to Dallas on Monday, March 18.

I had used my American points to book my trip to Oz. It doesn’t let you book Premium Economy, which sucks, cause I really wanted to try that out. However, I saw a business class flight on the way to Oz, so I snagged it. I booked in economy on the way home, cause that’s all there was. I was happy to be able to try out QF8 and QF7, because the direct flight from Texas saved me about 16 hrs in layovers in cities like LAX.

So, Business class on the way over was amazing. There’s no First Class on this plane, and I got to sit in row 3. That’s the last seat inside the pointy bit. I had a headache getting on the flight because I had worked crazy hours, driven back to San Antonio, and was just exhausted. I got onto the flight, and they greeted us with drinks. Then came the prettiest little amenity kits with good stuff in it, including moisturizer and lip balm. Then, they brought everyone pajamas. They were super soft and comfy, and everyone seemed to change into them. They had little mattresses for the seats, and proper blankets, and a BIG pillow. They chair had it’s own pod, and a massaging seat. So after about an hour, instead of exploding into a full blown migraine, I was able to lay back, relax, and feel much better. I got off the flight in Brisbane, changed planes to Sydney, and was feeling awesome. I felt like all those supermodels and rockstars look when they get off a long haul flight.

So I had an awesome trip. But the last day, I started to not feel quite so awesome. It was just a little queasy thing after I ate, but it seemed to pass. So I get on my flight home. It was packed, and I had a middle seat. We got served dinner, and then it hit. I still don’t know if I had gastro, or food poisoning or what, but it was bad. Really, really bad. So after asking the cute French guy sitting next to me to move for the third time so I could go be sick, I hid in the back corner near the lav’s for a while. Unable to crouch anymore, I asked the flight attendants, who were finally eating their own dinner if, even though we’re not supposed to, if I could use their jump seat for a bit till the vomiting subsided. They jumped up, said no, it’s against FAA rules, but we’ll find you a seat. They found one in the bulk head right behind the toilet, where I could access it quickly if I needed. (and I did. A lot) They brought me blankets, some electrolyte solutions, a ginger ale, which I spilled all over myself and it looked like I had peed myself, so they got me some pajamas to change into. I had a wicked fever, and they kept checking on me and bringing me water and supplies. They were super caring and really took care of me. The staff really lived up to the new slogan, You’re The Reason We Fly.

Being that sick is bad enough on the ground, but being sick in the air is just miserable. I’m pretty good at gauging how long I had between each bout, and could time it to get up and in line and not make a mess in the aisle…. Thankfully at some point my stomach was pretty empty, and I could sip water and it didn’t come back up again, and they had me eat some fruit for breakfast, even when I said just OJ. After we landed, the boys saw me in baggage collection and checked on me again, commenting I finally had some colour back in my face.

I wish I had been well enough to write down their names to call Qantas and thank them, but here’s hoping they get this Thank You. You guys really did help me get through a really rough 15 hours.

Now, can I just borrow one of them to take care of me now while my stomach is still growling?


Social Media Fail

How NOT to use twitter for business…

I love social media. I love companies that embrace social media. I love companies that hire smart people to use social media.

I’m one of the few people that also loves to travel. I enjoy flying. I started a Travel & Tourism course at TAFE before heading off to do some actual travel and tourism.  I love to collect frequent flyer points, and I’ve taken about 5 trips using said points. I was stoked when I got online this weekend and saw that I could actually look at trips to Australia on QANTAS using my American Airlines points. In the past, you had to call someone. You could only redeem domestic flights with AAdvantage miles. So, while I’m having a bitch here, I’m not really mad. I’d just like to point out how NOT to use Twitter as a company.

I sent out this tweet, knowing American Airlines is very responsive on Twitter, and was hoping someone could point me in the right direction. Here’s the quick reply I got.

This would be a great answer, if I hadn’t been specific about Premium Economy. I had actually looked at many dates, because I was trying to see if there was any Business tickets available. There was only two I could see, and not anywhere near the dates I wanted. Also, there was none headed to Australia, only the return flight back to the US.

So I responded, and here where the fail comes in….

The first fail is obvious. It’s QANTAS, not Quantas. It irritates me when people can’t spell Qantas. The second is more subtle. I was asking about Premium Economy. To be fair, you can’t expect everyone to know what other airlines offer, so maybe this person doesn’t understand what Premium Economy is, since American doesn’t offer that particular class. Also, most Qantas flights I see from the US no longer have First Class anymore, so that’s a double class fail…

Basically though, while it’s great for companies to be super responsive, it’s not helpful if your twitter person can’t spell or know what products you offer.

Guess I’ll be using my points to sit at the back of the plane, unless a couple Business flights open up. Why save miles if you can’t use them to pamper yourself right? I’ve never flown Premium Economy on Qantas, (or Business International for that matter) so was really hoping to try it out. I figured I’m small enough a Premium Economy seat might feel like a Business class seat does to regular sized people.  Oh well, maybe another time. I’ll just have to cross my fingers along with the rest of the plane and hope for that elusive OpUp. 😉


I’m Points Obsessed

I am obsessed with Airline miles.

I can admit it. I’m an AAdvantage junkie. It’s such a long way to Australia, that I’m still hoping to be able to get enough points to fly at least one trip in First Class, before Qantas does away with it altogether. As a kid I remember flying First Class on Ansett on a Logies trip, but I’ve never flown First on a long haul International flight. Hell, I’ve never even flown Business. Well, once on  Korean flight they bumped me up to a business seat, (I had given up my seat to a family) but it was the last row and they gave me economy food and service.

I fly with American Airlines specifically because they codeshare with Qantas. I’ve flown other airlines, sure, but when I’m headed home, there’s nothing like getting on that Jumbo and getting a Bundaberg Ginger Beer straight away, without waiting 14 hrs… Hearing the Aussie accent is a definite bonus too.

I do everything to accumulate points. I have a Citi AAdvantage Card, I eat at restaurants that give AA points for eating there. I use hotels that will give me AA points. I try to book everything through the AA site so I get extra points.

If I fly home, I try to get a class of ticket that actually gets me points. I was furious when I flew home for “Where are they Now?” and I was booked into O class and didn’t earn ANY miles at all! I was trying to do the secretive AA Gold Challenge and I didn’t get any miles. When I flew home in March, I was again in a super cheap economy seat. But, at least I earnt some miles. Somehow, my husband who flew out after me, and then sat next to me on the way home earned twice as many points as I did. I was peeved that we earned different amounts when we both our arses hurt equally after 15 hrs.

So you can imagine my elation when I received an email this morning from AAmerican, telling me about their new browser that will give me 500 points for downloading it and then I can earn miles just for searching. It will tell me if a site I am on will earn me points for shopping there and show me exclusive offers.

Now, I’m wary of toolbars. I have enough crap on my mac already. I wondered if it would even work on my mac, since their dealfinder wasn’t compatible. But, I figured I’d give it a try…

So, I downloaded the toolbar and started playing with it. I had to hide my other toolbars, like my SEO for firefox, otherwise I had way too much space taken up, but here’s what it looks like.

It’s powered by Yahoo! and I normally use Google, so that may take a little getting used to.

However, since my email inbox also had an offer from Victoria’s Secret, I thought I’d check it out. I saw the tool bar changed from a red $ saying not earning to a green $ earning miles and a pull down showed I would get 2 miles for each dollar spent. Awesome!

I know it sounds silly to be so excited over a toolbar, but if this can get me the points I need to fly with a little bit of luxury when I come home for White Balloon Day in September, then so be it. It’s a ridiculously long travel time from San Antonio to Sydney. The quickest I’ve ever done it was in 26 hours. That’s ONE way. So if I can stretch out and get some sleep on that long flight, then I’m all about getting points any way I can!