Whether you’re heading to the airport for business, pleasure or bleisure travel, being a frequent flyer is often time-consuming and stressful. But hey, don’t despair—there are quite a few perks that are offered by airlines these days, especially if you are part of a travel rewards program or have elite status. These five perks business travelers love can help make your trip more smooth and enjoyable; and the more you fly, the more you’ll learn how to take advantage of the latest trends in the airline industry.
1. Online Check-in and Boarding Passes
Most airlines offer free online or mobile app check-in 24 hours up to one hour prior to departure. You can print your boarding pass or receive it on your phone by email or text so you don’t have to find a printer. Using an app and checking your luggage at the curb can spare you the time and hassle of waiting in line at the check-in counter and save your company money; as some airlines have started charging for checking in at the airport.
2. Priority Boarding
Most airlines allow first class and elite status members to board first, which can ensure that you’re one of the first people on and off the plane. This perk can prevent you from having to gate-check your bag and is especially valuable if you need to make connecting flights on a tight schedule. So how do you achieve elite status? By signing up for airline rewards programs and credit cards. Travel planning companies have experienced and knowledgeable corporate travel agents who can advise you on which airlines are best when it comes to achieving elite status, and ensure that you receive all the travel benefits to which you are entitled.
3. Free Upgrades
Policies for upgrades on both domestic and international flights vary from airline to airline. Delta, United and US Airways give complimentary domestic first-class upgrades to elite members, and American Airlines offers upgrades to gold and platinum members every 10,000 miles. Your business travel planning company can find out what you’re eligible for before you head to the airport and book your upgrade ahead of time if possible.
4. Free or Discounted Lounge Access
Long layovers can take a toll on the health and well-being frequent business travelers. Airport lounges may offer complimentary shower facilities and other amenities that can make lengthy itineraries a lot more pleasant and much less stressful. Many airlines offer discounted or free access to elite members, and credit cards such as American Express Platinum, Delta Reserve and United Club cards may offer access even if you’re not an elite member.
5. Easy Same-day Changes.
There are many different reasons you may have to take off earlier or later, and changing a ticket last-minute can be a real hassle. Some airlines prioritize elite members for standby flights and may even make same-day confirmed changes free. Using travel management companies that have agents available 24/7 is a great way to avoid having to deal with making these eleventh-hour changes yourself. If you need to make changes at the gate, being polite and friendly to check-in and gate agents doesn’t hurt either.