Welcome to the Frequent Miler week in review around the web, where we recap some great reads from around the ‘net. Read on for the new best first class in the sky, the two troubling words in the service industry, a denial based on inquiries, and more. Read on:
I certainly haven’t sampled every premium cabin experience in the sky, but I flew Singapore Airlines Suites Class and non-suites first class earlier this year and I was blown away. There is a lot less gilded sparkle than on Emirates, but what they lack in gold they more than make up for in fantastic service and width of seat (seriously, the two of us could comfortably sit side-by-side in a single seat!). But that wasn’t good enough — Singapore has revealed a brand new suites class. Gary Leff at View from the Wing was there for the unveiling of the new product — and I’m not sure there is a more luxurious way to get from Point A to Point B. You’ve got to check out the pics and video of the seat. I can’t wait to fly this.
This post from Your Mileage May Vary caught my eye precisely because I couldn’t think of what the two words could possibly be. I’ll admit to more frequently lamenting the quality of customer service in general these days than years ago — though I chalk that up to an inevitable consequence of aging, right? But the two places where I feel like I can generally count on polite, quality service are from banks and travel companies. Don’t get me wrong — I’ve had my share of customer service snafus in those areas as well. But 9 times out of 10, I’m happy with the service I receive at hotels and on airplanes…so I read this piece with interest. I think it’s hard to run a business without word #1, but I found the argument about the dichotomous nature of these two buzzwords to make an interesting point. I wonder this: what single change in customer service philosophy would make the largest positive impact on the industry?
I’ve never flown Spirit. It’s not because of any sort of snobbery — I’d be happy to pay under a hundred bucks for a flight across the country — they just don’t fly out of any airports near me and thus haven’t been convenient for me. I’ve often wondered if Spirit’s reputation is more urban legend or well-earned, so I enjoyed reading about Edward Pizzarello’s experience. For me, the truth is this: when I’m flying 2-3 hours, I couldn’t care less what the onboard experience is like as long as they get me there in one piece. It sounds they they got Pizza in Motion and to his destination and kept his cash in his pocket, and that sounds like #winning to me.
Ariana at Points Chaser writes about a recent denial and it leads one to wonder whether inquiry count is the latest way that credit card companies are going to lock out credit card churners. However, I doubt that’s the case. I don’t know anything about Ariana’s credit profile or why Citi may have said no to her specifically. But I do have some related knowledge — when I became interested in credit, I spent about a year reading at the creditboards.com credit forum to learn about how credit worked before I applied for anything. I read countless stories and combed through the details and then played around with trial and error as I dipped my feet into this world. I have never worked on the bank end of things, but I’m pretty confident that this much is true: banks use whatever reason is most convenient for them to say in a denial letter. A number of inquiries is a convenient reason to which they can point for a denial — but it’s kind of like when your girlfriend/boyfriend dumps you and says, “It’s not you, it’s me.” I suspect that most such denials are because the company doesn’t like how many new cards you’ve opened or something about your charging patterns or you don’t fit into their metric in some way that they don’t care to explain. At least, I hope that’s it here — because a combination of 5/24 and a truly inquiry-sensitive bank would definitely cramp everyone’s style.
This post from As the Joe Flies has nothing to do with points, miles, or travel, but yet it was one of the most gripping posts I read this week — having just completed assembling the crib shown above and setting up that picture to share with friends and family, this post was a timely reminder of all of the gravity that comes with a new addition to the family. I’ve long enjoyed getting to know the people behind the blogs I read and enjoy. In this glimpse into the “real life” that happens outside of the airport lounges and the bottomless glasses of champagne, Joe opens up and reminds us what matters most. I wish Joe and his family all the best, and I thank him for the courage to share.
That’s it for this week in review. Check back soon for this week’s last chance deals.