Airlines are making it increasingly difficult to earn frequent flyer miles and one particularly nasty way is by creating a cumbersome system to claim miles you weren’t rightfully credited. You’re often required to provide details from your boarding pass – with long waiting times before you’re allowed to do so.
It’s very important, if you want to ensure you get frequent flyer miles you’re due, to immediately take a photo of your boarding pass after it’s printed, here’s why.
You Fly But Don’t Get Miles
In my experience, this happens about 20% of the time, particularly when flying on partner airlines of these three major alliances. Some airlines (*cough Turkish Airlines*) also seem to habitually neglect crediting miles. All of the airline programs have some system where flyers can request miles not credited. The difficulties come in the long waiting periods to actually realize, then claim, then follow up on missing miles.
Airlines Keep You Waiting In Hopes You’ll Forget
Perhaps I’m being a bit cynical but in order to get miles you weren’t credited, the airlines impose long waiting periods, all the more chance you’ll forget about the missing miles in the first place.
- Time Airlines Have To Post Miles: Varies between around 2-15 days after a flight, meaning you can’t notice or claim missing miles until this period is over.
- First Claim Waiting Period: The airlines give themselves around 2-3 weeks after a claim to post (or not) miles.
So the total amount of time you have to potentially get miles back is 1 month – and that’s for the first claim. Personally, I’ve had to go back and claim miles twice for about 40% of my un-credited miles; essentially adding another two weeks to the month it already takes. Keep in mind the airlines never follow up with you – the burden of checking, claiming, and verifying is all on you.
Get In To The Habit
It used to be that many airlines would require you to physically mail in boarding pass stubs, why I recommended keeping them for at least a month after flying. Although that’s still not a bad idea, snapping a photo of the complete boarding pass with your phone as soon as it’s in your hands works just as well.
I even go a step further a create a special ‘boarding passes’ folder on my phone, not deleting any of them until I see miles for those flights credited to my account. Much like keeping a digital travel budget, you can even use some of these travel reminder tools to ensure lost frequent flyer miles don’t slip your mind.
Finally, it’s important to take a photo of the entire boarding pass – not just the stub. Airlines require the complete ticket number which sometimes overflows from the boarding stub on to the ticket itself; or sometimes it’s not on the stub at all. Even though claiming frequently flyer miles online is tedious, don’t let the airlines discourage you out of getting them. Uploading boarding pass stubs to claim miles (when they’re not properly credited) only take a few minutes and even the occasional flight can get you free upgrades.
China’s financial center Shanghai might be a glamorous city of lights but its Pudong International Airport is a utilitarian facility whose subtle hello contrasts with Shanghai’s intensity. Even the lounges are… well, practical without any of the spectacle that awaits you in China’s largest city.
Headphones are a lot like mobile phones – a lot of size variation and features but at the core performing the same basic function. What you really want from a good pair of headphones when traveling is excellent sound quality, particularly in noisy environments like airplane cabins. Lightweight reliability in a discreet package are all also assets the Bose QuietComfort 20 Noise-Cancelling combines elegantly.
What There Is To Love (Hint: A Lot)
Although I’ve been using the QuietComfort 20 headphones as my primary pair for the past few years, before I first put them on I was skeptical. Mostly because these aren’t cheap headphones coupled with the fact that I thought all headphones are pretty much the same. They are not.
First let’s start with the earbuds themselves; Bose has shaped the QuietComfort silicone ear tips in an unorthodox design to maximize comfort. These replaceable ear tips (the QuietComfort come with two pair) make the headphones themselves barely perceptible after a few minutes while at the same time doing an excellent job of cutting out ambient noise. (Not to be mistaken with the actual active noise-cancelling feature. More on that in a bit.)
Another small feature I wouldn’t have noticed if I didn’t put my own QuietComfort pair through traveler hell, is the small metal band around where the headphone cable meets the earbud. Those of you who’ve ever had this happen to a Macbook charger probably know that a lot of gadgets die because of cable fray. You end up spending a lot of money to replace something that an extra millimeter or two of rubber could have prevented if the manufacturer had bothered to design something you’re actually going to use. Bose has made the QuietComfort 20 to last, here, take a look at mine after more than 45,000 miles of flights:
On the other end of the cable though is the most enticing feature of the QuietComfort 20: electronic noise cancellation.
Once You Experience Noise-Cancelling You Won’t Fly Without It
The small little rectangular block at the base of the QuietComfort 20 headphone jack is actually a rechargeable battery pack, powering the noise-cancelling feature. Basically, noise cancellation reads the sound waves around you and eliminates them by producing inverse waves. Understanding how it works isn’t really important to know that once activated, the music coming through your headphones now sounds like you’re listening in a quiet room, even if you’re in a jumbo jet at cruising altitude.
Noise cancellation isn’t perfect, there is a slight buzz and perceivable pressure, plus really high pitch noises seem not to get blocked as easily. The low hum of train wheels on tracks however, perfect.
The lithium ion battery lasts 16 hours when charged full, a process that takes about 2 hours. Unfortunately the battery isn’t replaceable but Bose says you can get 3 years of continuous use before you’ll notice a decrease in battery life. Of course, you don’t need noise cancelling to use these headphones but after getting use to it, you’ll find flying without it on nearly unbearable.
A Price For The Peace
Though the QuietComfort 20 aren’t waterproof or specially designed for use during sports, I’ve found them to be decent jogging headphones. Additionally, Bose has done a good job of adding practical functions to the QuietComfort. For instance it’s got a high quality microphone, embedded volume control, plus a little button for a fast way to temporarily stop noise cancelling (like when you need to hear a boarding call). Voted the 2015 Traveler’s Choice by Tripadvisor, these Bose headphones can also eliminate ambient noise when nothing is playing; they don’t even need to be plugged in. You can get better naps on bus journeys, concentrate on work, a good book, or pensively zone out as you watch the sunset on a train ride across England.
Yes, the Bose QuietComfort 20 are expensive at $299, but for a product this well built that will get – and can handle – heavy use, it’s worth spending more for the QuietComfort than 3 other pair of cheaper earbuds over the same time. Simply put, the Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling are the best headphones a traveler can buy today.
Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport is one of the world’s busiest (13th internationally) with over 56 million passengers traveling through in 2014. With so many people, long lines aren’t uncommon but this little tip can get you around big delays and on to your gate much faster than everyone else.
When you arrive in the departures area, immediately to the left of the large flight status display hanging on the wall is passport control, then airport security. Almost everyone goes through here and lines are 10-20 minutes or longer at peak hours.
Instead, skip this passport control and keep walking left, passin Nero Cafe on your right, following the restroom sign. You’ll notice not too much further down is another, nearly deserted, passport control and security check.
This alternate entrance is there to accommodate nearby check-in counters for Al Algerie and other lesser traveled African airlines. What this means is there’s is almost never a line at this passport control and you’ll get through it plus security on average in 3-5 minutes.