If you’re travelling abroad for a holiday or just a short-break, especially via aeroplane, the act of getting away feels like an indulgence in itself. Or course it does. And rarely does it occur to people to look into the perks they might enjoy while away – not least on their flight and during their time in an airport – because the majority assume such relishable advantages will be outside their price range. But are they? Well, in some cases maybe not – and you’ll never know unless you take the opportunity to find out…!
First of all, if you’re travelling on a budget – which, to a greater or lesser extent, we’re all doing – then it’s important to set priorities for the VIP treatment you’re seeking. What means most to you during your journey and once you’ve reached your destination? What are your personal preferences when it comes to comfort? How many of these can you reasonably indulge when you’re travelling and staying away from home? If you want to enjoy your flight as much as possible than concentrate your efforts here, but if the actual time you spend in a hotel is most important to you then this is when your ‘VIP priorities’ ought to lie – we’re talking here the likes of restaurant, spa, club lounge and room deals.
So, if you’re up for upgrades at an airport and on your subsequent flight (rather than at your place-of-stay; say, at one of the hotels near Oxford Street London), then first things first – parking at the airport. Now, the Rolls Royce of airport parking is undoubtedly the ‘meet and greet’ service. For the uninitiated, this sees you being able to pretty much drive your car up to the terminal you’re using and then a valet taking over, parking your vehicle in the most secure area of the airport’s parking facilities where it’ll remain before you come back – and, of course, the car’s returned to you on your arrival from your time overseas and, if you’re lucky, it may even have been washed in the interim. And the reality is such a VIP service may not actually prove much more costly than the standard parking service at a major airport – possibly less than £10 more, in fact. It worth doing your research here!
Can you get an upgrade just by asking?
You may be surprised to learn the answer’s sometimes yes – but with one or two caveats. If you have the gall to seek an upgrade in seating on your flight merely by asking, then go about it in a polite, charming and positive way. You’re unlikely to win over any airport staff by throwing your weight around and coming off ungracious and ungrateful. Moreover, if you’re dressed well you’ll probably stand a better chance than if you turn up in a Hawaiian t-shirt, Bermuda shorts and flip-flops. It may sound superficial, sure, but it’s the way the world works, like it or not. And don’t overlook the impression it may make on staff eager for good word-of-mouth if you stress that your time away from home is for a special occasion; a honeymoon or a major birthday/ wedding anniversary, for instance. Fair dos, mentioning this won’t necessarily bring an automatic upgrade, but it’s bound to bring you treatment that’s on the way to what a genuine VIP might expect to experience!
Take a load off in an airport lounge
No question, airport lounges are seen as the height of luxury when you’re stuck airside for an hour or two, thus they’re ideal to kick back, relax and unwind in when you’ve a layover during your journey. With them offering peace and quiet away from stressed-out parents, screaming kids and the crowds elsewhere in the terminal, comfortable chairs, WiFi, easily available food and drink and even showers (on occasions), who wouldn’t pass up the opportunity of sampling their delights – when it’s possible? Well, as with ‘meet and greet’ parking services, access to a lounge may not be such a wallet-busting extravagance, possibly setting you back as little as around £15 to set foot inside, depending on the specific airport and the level of amenities available in the lounge in question, that is.
Sitting where you want
Let’s face it, as human beings we’re hardly designed to squeeze ourselves into cramped spaces for hours on end, nor unfortunately are aeroplanes designed for maximum comfort. All the more reason then for travellers – especially frequent flyers – to seek out the plushest seating options possible on their flights. Again, where and when possible. Now, most airlines will enable you to choose where you sit on a flight, albeit it’s likely to cost you more. Yet, again it’s worth looking into because it may cost you less than you expect and, although you may need to contact the airline for a seat plan or to ensure you can arrange where you sit (it may not be possible merely via booking on their or a travel agent’s website), ultimately it could well prove worthwhile – especially if you’re facing the prospect of a several-hours-long flight. Good luck!