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Thoughts on a "which airline for me?" type forum?

Thoughts on a "which airline for me?" type forum?

 
Old Oct 16, 08, 10:44 am
  #1  
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Thoughts on a "which airline for me?" type forum?

I admit this is not real well thought out in that I haven't gone through and come up with myriad examples of threads that illustrate the need for this, but it does strike me that we don't really have a forum that helps people when they're trying to either pick an airline/alliance or to switch to a different carrier/alliance.

I frequently see threads that say something like: "UA 1K thinking of switching to CO. What should I know?" Due to our rules against cross-posting, this thread can only be posted in UA or CO, and which forum it's posted in is likely to bring very different answers as the OP is unlikely to get many answers from CO fliers in UA and vice versa. To get the complete picture, s/he really needs a balance of answers from fliers in both programs.

New members/fliers who have no idea which of any number of carriers they should try and stick with could also use this thread to post their travel patterns and solicit advice on which carrier would be right for them. It seems this would be particularly helpful to new folks as they can't post their question in six forums, when they perhaps feel they have six options.

Having a forum that consolidates these types of questions would also make searching easier for others coming along with the same questions as there would be only one forum to search in as opposed to two or more.

As I said, I haven't done any research, but it does strike me as something that could be useful and perhaps worth considering.
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Old Oct 16, 08, 10:57 am
  #2  
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I'd like for you to continue with this dialogue. It's along the lines of something I've been toying around with for some time now and Thanks l'etoile for the dialogue.

What I've been thinking is recruiting a similar type of volunteer, like our current volunteer moderators who would function solely as "experts." The concept is similar the the "Genius Bar" at various Apple stores in that for these types of questions that any member, new or not could drop in with a question and any number of somewhat "qualified" experts would offer up their advice. While this type of advice is certainly available on all the forums of FT, this situation would and could be very appealing to the newbie and as noted, could assist in cross posting type situations. As well, it could certainly make a nice name for FT to be the first to adopt a "Genius Bar" to a travel forum for miles and points, etc.

Thoughts?
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Old Oct 16, 08, 11:02 am
  #3  
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Good idea - I'd extend it to Hotel and Rental Car programs also - since there are regularly posts of a similar nature in those forums.
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Old Oct 16, 08, 11:49 am
  #4  
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Originally Posted by Randy Petersen View Post
Thoughts?
While I understand the desire and applaud the goal to me this seems somewhat like giving a man a fish instead of teaching him how to fish.

I'll all for encouraging the sharing of FFP/FFM knowledge and is what I try to do where able on FT but I wonder if such a forum could possibly discourage newbies from investing the time to study the various FFP and judge for themselves which one works best for their travel needs. Input or advice based on sound reasoning provided by 'experts' is all well and good, but I'd rather see us promote earning knowledge rather than giving knowledge.

Just MHO...

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Old Oct 16, 08, 12:03 pm
  #5  
 
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Originally Posted by tcook052 View Post

I'll all for encouraging the sharing of FFP/FFM knowledge and is what I try to do where able on FT but I wonder if such a forum could possibly discourage newbies from investing the time to study the various FFP and judge for themselves which one works best for their travel needs. Input or advice based on sound reasoning provided by 'experts' is all well and good, but I'd rather see us promote earning knowledge rather than giving knowledge.
It's a noble goal, sure, but at the end of the day, a lot of people just want an answer - they don't want to have to learn. That's why services like the Genius Bar exist. We can't all be Mac savants.

I deal with this a lot with a few of my coworkers - we're all pretty smart people as a whole, but some of them just have no intellectual curiosity when it comes to technology, so I'm the "tech guy" for the group.

Just this morning, I introduced my boss to SeatGuru and encouraged her to move from a middle seat in the 2-3-2 biz section to an upstairs seat on the 744 for her ORD-PVG trip this weekend.

My take is that we continue to provide service to the people who want to learn the ins and outs of various miles/points earning programs, but this would be a good opportunity to bring FT to the world, so to speak.
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Old Oct 16, 08, 12:13 pm
  #6  
 
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I think that there might be some exciting middle ground between tcook's 'earning the knowledge' and Randy's 'Genuis Bar'.

Maybe the person plugs in a few GATEWAY profile questions to at least narrow down what FFP preferences should be offered them:
* home airport
* what top 3 airports you fly to
* how often do you fly there
* who pays: you or company
* any airline major likes or dislikes
* nonstop vs. connection likes or dislikes
* other non-flying mileage earning opportunity (credit cards)

* what's most important on a paid ticket
- fare cost
- access to upgrades
- maximizing mileage earning
- access to preferred seating, lounges, free excess luggage

* what are your mileage redemption preferences:
- top 3 targeted destinations
- mileage upgrade from Coach fare or mileage award ticket/COS
- how many persons needing award travel with you

Very rough, just a start, but its much easier to commit manpower to answwering questions from a more DETAILED Member profile/set of goals, preferences.

Last edited by beaubo; Oct 16, 08 at 12:29 pm Reason: clarity
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Old Oct 16, 08, 4:22 pm
  #7  
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I like both tcook052 and beaubo's responses. ^
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Old Oct 16, 08, 6:33 pm
  #8  
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Originally Posted by beaubo View Post
I think that there might be some exciting middle ground between tcook's 'earning the knowledge' and Randy's 'Genuis Bar'.

Maybe the person plugs in a few GATEWAY profile questions to at least narrow down what FFP preferences should be offered them:
* home airport
* what top 3 airports you fly to
* how often do you fly there
* who pays: you or company
* any airline major likes or dislikes
* nonstop vs. connection likes or dislikes
* other non-flying mileage earning opportunity (credit cards)

* what's most important on a paid ticket
- fare cost
- access to upgrades
- maximizing mileage earning
- access to preferred seating, lounges, free excess luggage

* what are your mileage redemption preferences:
- top 3 targeted destinations
- mileage upgrade from Coach fare or mileage award ticket/COS
- how many persons needing award travel with you

Very rough, just a start, but its much easier to commit manpower to answwering questions from a more DETAILED Member profile/set of goals, preferences.
Add in what do you most want to get out of your FFP(s)? Awards, upgrades, status benefits.
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Old Oct 17, 08, 2:41 am
  #9  
 
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more 'gateway' questions:

does your family fly often on paid tickets?
(consider Japan/Korean FFPs that allow miles pooling)

are one-way awards important to you?
(consider BD, QF, AF/KL)

are you a low mileage earner (say under 50k per yr incl flights, cc spend
(consider programs with cash/miles component like BA, BD, NW or frequent mileage promo discounts like AF/KL)
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Old Oct 17, 08, 3:14 pm
  #10  
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I like some of the ideas coming out of this thread ^
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Old Oct 18, 08, 9:51 pm
  #11  
 
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how many status miles do you expect to earn per year?
(help determine which level of status likely to achieve; offer best programs for that level)
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Old Oct 18, 08, 10:15 pm
  #12  
nsx
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With enough questions, we could have an algorithm deliver an automated response, then let the experts fill in any missing details. @:-)
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Old Oct 19, 08, 1:10 am
  #13  
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Originally Posted by nsx View Post
With enough questions, we could have an algorithm deliver an automated response, then let the experts fill in any missing details. @:-)
I'm sure with enough algorithms we could use solar power to toast bread, though I'm not so sure doing something because we can is a good enough reason. Automated responses sounds too much like the airlines current approach to their customers; cold, robotic, uncaring and unapologetic.

Just to shoot some others ideas around on the topic, would it possibly become harder to encourage and build 'experts' from within the ranks of FT if there was a shortcut to gaining FFP/FFM knowledge? Would such an exchange place a greater burden on those experts who are already quite involved in other areas of FT like moderating? How would you say who is an expert and who isn't?

Rather than just ponder downsides I can offer up a few positive ideas for a possible structure; what about instead of naming FTers as 'experts' and noted as such in the handle like we do with FT Evangelists at present, what about having a core group have generic 'Fare Expert' FT handles so that the work load could be spread more evenly amongst 10-20 members while creating a more opaque and anonymous knowledge pool from which to dispense advice. In turn, those first set of 'experts' could then hand off the reins to others down the road, paying it forward much as we do now within FT with volunteer moderators, for example. I would still like to see a quick reference guide or sticky with the various redirects to individual FFP boards or MR forums listed on such a forum so that any member new or now so new could find answers themselves should they want to pursue a higher, pardon the pun, frequent flyer education.

To think even further outside of the box, is this perhaps a chance to amalgamate the much discussed 'FT Ambassador' concept with this potential 'genius bar' forum? For example, could we give some FTers anonymous handles to not only answer questions in the 'genius bar' area or forum but also for use all over FT as goodwill ambassadors? One last angle and possible tie in with past ideas would be instead of labelling this the 'newbie' forum couldn't we call it another name but encourage new arrivals to make good use of the 'genius bar' as a starting point? I see the concept if done correctly as having the potential to address many of the aspects that've been debated within these pages in the recent past.

I know the nuts & bolts may not work for many reasons not the least of which would be permitting some members to post under anonymous handles besides their own existing ones. I just thought that way it strips away any preconceived notions about who the 'experts' could or would be from newbies and veterans alike, replacing it with a more generic facade from which to offer input which the poster posing questions is then free to use or not.

And a last thought about the name as 'genius bar' sounds overly pretentious but I guess it works for Apple. 'Plane Answers' or 'Max Travel Lounge' are a couple that spring to mind as more descriptive for this application, though I will admit to be woefully analytical at times and therefore unable to come up with catchy buzz names like Pistachio, which was the new moniker given to a Canadian eco-gift store concept launched recently.
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Old Oct 19, 08, 8:46 am
  #14  
 
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Hi tcook-

Maybe the person's 'gateway' algorithym profile could be auto-forwarded to a clutch of volunteers who can provide varying degrees of personalized followup to the profile survey.

I think the purpose of some kind of standardized survey questions, is simply to insure that FT can be efficient in winnowing down the universe of FFPs for the user to consider....then the individualized contact/dialogue with a volunteer(s) could then take place on a more focused and efficient manner.

I think most folks have little interest in becoming stand-alone experts in FFPs.
Hopefully, some form of this system will engage the user to want to have repeat contact with FT because it was such a positive first impression.
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Old Oct 19, 08, 12:10 pm
  #15  
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Originally Posted by beaubo View Post
Hi tcook-

Maybe the person's 'gateway' algorithym profile could be auto-forwarded to a clutch of volunteers who can provide varying degrees of personalized followup to the profile survey.

I think the purpose of some kind of standardized survey questions, is simply to insure that FT can be efficient in winnowing down the universe of FFPs for the user to consider....then the individualized contact/dialogue with a volunteer(s) could then take place on a more focused and efficient manner.

I think most folks have little interest in becoming stand-alone experts in FFPs.
Hopefully, some form of this system will engage the user to want to have repeat contact with FT because it was such a positive first impression.
I disagree. To me, the whole point of the 'genius bar' is human contact, not automated pre-programmed responses followed up by the option of further input from human experts.
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