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Old Dec 16, 09, 9:17 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
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Traveling with friends with no miles

I have a friend who will be in Cambodia next year for a while and a group of us are planning to head over there and travel around for a couple of weeks. I turn 40 next year and have been thinking about doing a big trip to commemorate and this could be it. But here's my dilemma.

I pretty close to one of the friends, but we've never traveled together. The rest are her friends who I've gotten to know, but not that well. I have more miles and make more money than they each do. And they're all younger than me, closer to 30. I've only been to Asia once before but that was on Singapore (coach, not full flight) and they are thinking of flying Air China - I don't think I'm willing to do that. What I was considering doing is cashing in some miles for a business seat. I've got enough Amex Membership rewards to do it with one of their partners.

How weird would that be? I could try to get us all on the same flight, but if they upgrade from Air China it would probably be to Eva Air. Would it be too odd to fly in business on the same flight when they're in coach? Or I could take a different flight altogether and meet them in Bangkok. Weird too. Not sure how I feel about showing up in Bangkok alone.

Part of me thinks, just suck it up and fly with them. The other, more petulant part, thinks, it's my 40th, it's time to use those miles I've been accumulating for something other than transcon upgrades.

I guess this is a miles/etiquette/relationship question. Is this the kind of query to post in the Women Travelers Forum?
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Old Dec 16, 09, 9:31 pm   #2
 
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I think it belongs in the Women Travelers forum because we think about these situations different than men.

I'll share my story and maybe that can help some.
I went on a mission trip with 14 other people from my church. We were all ticketed on random PNRs and the PNR I was on had another lady. I have delta gold status and the flight was oversold so they op up'd us to business for Atlanta to Rio. I felt bad about this, but the other lady said "at your age (mid 20s) I used to care about things like that but at my age (mid 30s) I'd just take it and not think twice." We sat in business. The whole week of the trip everyone would make comments about it and I felt awkward. On the return flight we were in coach with everyone else in the group.

In the end though, I don't really talk to them anymore anyway so I don't care. If they let something like that change their opinion of you, then what kind of person are they?
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Old Dec 17, 09, 9:34 am   #3
 
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You may not be able to get a seat on the same flight, so I would research to see if seats are available before fretting. BKK is a nice modern airport and I would't worry about traveling alone. If you really want to travel in biz then just make up a little white lie and say that you wanted to use miles and there were only biz awards and not coach awards.
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Old Dec 17, 09, 10:11 am   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prncess674 View Post
You may not be able to get a seat on the same flight, so I would research to see if seats are available before fretting. BKK is a nice modern airport and I would't worry about traveling alone. If you really want to travel in biz then just make up a little white lie and say that you wanted to use miles and there were only biz awards and not coach awards.
I'm with Rachel on this. Or I'd just say that in honor of your birthday you decided to treat yourself to C, this was the only airline you could get it on, & look forward to seeing them there. I gave my sister a F ticket to Europe when she was going to Italy w/ some gal pals. The other women just said they wished I was their sister. Also, if you're not that close to the other friends I wouldn't fret it too much. Let us know what you end up doing, and enjoy your trip. Cheers.
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Old Dec 17, 09, 7:36 pm   #5
 
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When you turn 40, you get to travel however you wish!

Just enjoy the trip and don't worry about the others.
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Old Dec 17, 09, 10:45 pm   #6
 
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Thanks for assuaging my guilt! Business it is. The actual trip will probably be on the budget side of things, so I may as well splurge on the flight. We're still working out the details.
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Old Dec 18, 09, 4:19 pm   #7
 
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Totally agree with the others that you should fly the way you want and you've earned it. Just meet the others when you get to BKK. You will no doubt feel better and probably have less jetlag due to more comfortable seating. Air China, you wouldn't catch me there even on a free ticket.

Now if the friends want to fly in the premium economy class on Eva, that's another topic altogether. That's how I usually fly to Asia and it's a very good product.
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Old Dec 18, 09, 5:14 pm   #8
 
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I wouldn't have to think twice about this. Definitely fly in the class you prefer since you have the miles. This is all about comfort. Believe me, if they had the miles they would be doing the same as you.

Hope you have a wonderful 40th .

Bobette
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Old Dec 21, 09, 12:45 pm   #9
 
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If you've never traveled with someone, it doesn't matter how good a friend you think they are. I wouldn't make my first trip with them a "big" trip to Cambodia. I had an awful experience traveling with "friends" for the first time to, well, I don't want them to ever find this, so I'll just say a well-known foreign country. I had no idea that my friends were such a horrible slobs who couldn't pick up after themselves and thought that I was the maid and that my male friend was the part-time babysitter. They also turned out to be wussies who didn't want to eat anything but MacDonald's and Burger King and take-out from the grocery store. Fortunately, my other friend and I had scheduled some time before/after the trip, where we could travel without the doubtful companionship of the other couple. If this is the first time you're traveling with someone, by all means, schedule your own flights and have some solo time. It is too bad that they aren't as well-to-do as you are but, traveling that distance, I would certainly use my miles to go business/first and meet up with them wherever. Just because you're a few years older, don't be mommy and try to buy them by giving them miles, tickets, etc. Then you'd really feel used if they turned out to be unpleasant travelers. Some people's whole personality changes when they're out of their comfort zone.

Lots of women travel alone for all or part of a big trip. I certainly do. It's just not that big a deal. I'd much rather travel alone in first/business than travel in a group in coach, unless it's a VERY short flight indeed. "Suck it up and fly with them?" I don't see it. How does making yourself miserable help anything?







Quote:
Originally Posted by eeeee View Post
I have a friend who will be in Cambodia next year for a while and a group of us are planning to head over there and travel around for a couple of weeks. I turn 40 next year and have been thinking about doing a big trip to commemorate and this could be it. But here's my dilemma.

I pretty close to one of the friends, but we've never traveled together. The rest are her friends who I've gotten to know, but not that well. I have more miles and make more money than they each do. And they're all younger than me, closer to 30. I've only been to Asia once before but that was on Singapore (coach, not full flight) and they are thinking of flying Air China - I don't think I'm willing to do that. What I was considering doing is cashing in some miles for a business seat. I've got enough Amex Membership rewards to do it with one of their partners.

How weird would that be? I could try to get us all on the same flight, but if they upgrade from Air China it would probably be to Eva Air. Would it be too odd to fly in business on the same flight when they're in coach? Or I could take a different flight altogether and meet them in Bangkok. Weird too. Not sure how I feel about showing up in Bangkok alone.

Part of me thinks, just suck it up and fly with them. The other, more petulant part, thinks, it's my 40th, it's time to use those miles I've been accumulating for something other than transcon upgrades.

I guess this is a miles/etiquette/relationship question. Is this the kind of query to post in the Women Travelers Forum?
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Old Dec 21, 09, 3:26 pm   #10
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Yeah, what she said

Cheers.
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Old Dec 23, 09, 8:44 pm   #11
 
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I vote for using your miles to get a comfortable seat. Also, the miles don't improve with age...programs change...
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Old Dec 23, 09, 11:38 pm   #12
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I have to agree with Peachfront- if you have not traveled on a big time trip with these friends- I would make some "dry runs" i.e. short week end trips- so see if you want to spend 10 days and thousands of dollars with them- or some of them - or none of them. From expierience- I would choose very carefully who you take a "trip of a lifetime" with. It could be the greatest trip you ever have taken- or worst.- I would be careful.

To the air travel- I travel to conferences and some educational seminars- with one gal- we have traveled twice a year- for over 15 years- she is a "gold"- I am a mvp- so she gets first class upgrades before me- if we are on a long flight- over 3 hours- she will attach my ticket with her- and we both get upgraded- but if I am in coach and she is in first- we get there at the same time. No big deal to either of us. We have always discussed all this fully. rlb
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Old Dec 24, 09, 1:42 am   #13
 
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I want to thank everyone for their comments - I'm taking all of your advice and going business, maybe first if I can swing it. As it happens, we may all end up on different flights so it's less of a big deal than I originally thought it might be.

As far as the other issue, that I haven't traveled with his group before, I'm not concerned. It's not the "trip of a lifetime", I've had other, fabulous travel experiences that I don't expect this to surpass. (It may, but I don't have such high expectations.). And, if I find the others annoying me, I can see myself ditching them for some solo travel. I was planning to do a 40th birthday trip on my own, as I find myself single these days, until this opportunity arose. Life is always full of surprises, isn't it?
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Old Jan 2, 10, 2:28 pm   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gj83 View Post
We sat in business. The whole week of the trip everyone would make comments about it and I felt awkward.
That's just sad, would they rather have you deny the upgrade?
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Old Jan 3, 10, 4:40 pm   #15
 
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Me

I'm still trying to wrap my head around "friends" and "no miles" being in the same sentence
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