Tuesday, 21 December 2010

The Flights are Booked

Our boat financial plan includes saving funds by using our frequent flyer points for the flights from Australia to the UK.  A combination of careful shopping and domestic business flights has seen us steadily accumulated a significant number of Qantas Frequent Flyer (QFF) points over the past several years .  The plan was to use these to procure ‘one-way’ business class tickets.  The problem with the plan is Qantas allocates very few ‘loyalty reward’ seats in Business Class.  I suspect the reason is frequent flyers accumulate the majority of the available points and they nearly all want to go Business Class when travelling overseas.  Of course airlines make far more money selling a business class seat and therefore they don’t want to give them away for FF points.

Qantas makes FF seats available approximately 350 days from the desired departure date and the allocated ‘free’ business class seats tend to be taken very quickly.  The situation is further complicated by the demand for seats during the ‘peak’ season (Jun – Sep).

After looking at the Qantas website I could see only one available business class seat in the month we wanted to travel and nothing in the adjacent months.  We need two seats.  I phoned Qantas and asked if a second seat could be made available.  After some time on hold I was advised that; despite looking at all options; there were no available business class seats from Sydney to Heathrow.

I waited one hour and phoned Qantas a second time.  Again I was placed on hold for several minutes.  This time the assistant told me there were no business class seats from Sydney to Heathrow.  However he could get me two seats economy class to Hong Kong and if we waited there for 5 days there would be two business class seats on British Airways to Heathrow.  I questioned him a little further and then mentioned I had a significant number of points.  He then said; provided we were prepared to spend two nights in Hong Kong, he could allocate us two FIRST CLASS seats on BA from Hong Kong to Heathrow .

I don’t understand the logic of First Class being available on reward points when Business Class is not.  Surely it would be better to give a paying business class passenger a free upgrade to first and put us (as ‘free’ passengers) in the vacated business class seats.  However I’ve begrudgingly accept the first class seats <smirk>.

Now we have an accompanied baggage problem! 

Going business would give us 30kg each.  However our first leg is economy so we are limited to 23kg each plus my additional 10kg FF allocation.  A total of 56kg  Not much when you’re leaving for 5 years!  When we depart Hong Kong the first class baggage allowance is 69kg each!  On first glance the increased baggage allowance isn’t much use after departing Sydney in economy class.  But, “I have a cunning plan”.  We will alter our current baggage plan and discard any thought of purchasing casual clothing prior to leaving Australia.  Instead, we will depart Australia with only 56kg of ‘essential’ items.  Then we will use our two days in Hong Kong to shop for all the clothing we will need on arrival in the UK. With a little careful planning we might even save more money by purchasing the items cheaper in Hong Kong

No comments :