Edited on May 12th . The way I originally posted this entry it made it seem that ATA and Southwest Airlines were sharing frequent flyer programs. According to Southwest Airlines these programs are still separate for the time being. They are codesharing .
I didn't earn any worldperks on my flight to Chicago yesterday. My affair with Northwest and its frequent flyer program has a chink in its chain.
I not only flew ATA,I signed up for ATA's frequent flyer program. Now codesharing with Southwest Airlines, I can earn a companion ticket by just taking 3 trips. I can earn a free ticket with just 6 round trips. So my 6 trips to Chicago are as valuable to this airline as if I traveled 25,000 miles on Northwest. I like that.
But here's the real reason I'm ending my love affair with Northwest--I've been feeling like a jilted lover for the past couple of years.
I didn't realize it until yesterday. But, I've actually been feel bad every time I fly Northwest. See, I used to be an ELITE flyer but I lost my status when I stopped flying 25,000 miles each year.
It's not easy to be a regular coach traveler after you've lived the life of an ELITE. It's not easy to watch all those other smug ELITES enjoy the perks that I once enjoyed.
I used to be the person that got to board the plane early.
I used to be the person who could tuck their TravelPro in the overhead bin without fear that they'd run out of room.
I used to get upgraded to first class.
Now, I'm nothing more than a peon coach traveler to Northwest. To them, I am now less than.
My ticket was $150 less yesterday. But in my high flying ELITE days, that would not have been enough to challenge my loyalty. I was too consumed with making sure I reached my ELITE status. Every point counted.
Frequent flyer programs have been around since1982. They completely changed how people travel. In the days before frequent flyers people based their airline choice on which airlines got them to their destination closest to their desired time ( price may have played a role but not as significant as the time factor)
With frequent flyer programs, time didn't matter as much as points. People became much more flexible on time. Some studies say that people increased their window of accessible time by about 3 1/2 hours.
Am I completely over Northwest Airlines? Of course not. But if my criteria for selecting an airline is based on price and ease of earning free tickets, then Northwest will have to do a better job of courting me.