Dealing with / advising family and amateurs :/

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Hvr

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My brother asked me for my VA number this morning, had ~15k points about to expire and thought he would transfer them to someone who knew how to use them...


I'm sure the reception he received from you was better than anything that radio could've delivered. His DAB hand at transferring them is a much better use of points.
 

wandering_fred

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Just showing some friends that they could save a lot of money (this was peak period travel) by getting a cheap PER-KUL round trip generated amazement. Both groups however are reasonably creative though sometimes time restricted and have managed to find other ways of finding BFODs. Alas neither seem to understand the flying benefits (status) of FF programs.

Just wandering
Fred
 

AustraliaPoochie

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Bit or all O/T but I am not at all surprised.
My family is exactly like this, not only travel wise.
Then when things go wrong, guess who they ask to try and help solve problems!
 

rakeman

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So after those two instances my folks are officially cut from advice...

I've been able to drill in the advice to my mother. She did take a little convincing, though her first ever trip in Emirates A380 J help bring her over.

My cousin on the other hand seems to be in the same story as others in the thread. I took a look found cheap direct fares, however when they book they get expensive indirect fares via FC. I see it as their lost I tried to help. It has actually reached a point where they flew in economy while my mother flew in business for less to a trip to Europe. They ask how you do that and play the victim game...

Family right...
 

franjelley

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this thread has made me smile ruefully. I gave up advising years ago. I just have to look away and try not to think about it.
 

Berlin

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Love this thread, it’s all so true! The worst for me personally is work colleagues, especially if they are higher in the pecking order and hinting between the line that I “must earn too much if I can afford Business class all the time” or, worse even, if they are the ones making uninformed decisions on Corporate travel rules :eek:

With friends and family (and nice work colleagues), I will try and give basic advice (like travelling to Bogota and then purchasing a separate ticket for the Economy only hop to Medellin in the OT) but that’s about it.

Biggest danger here is getting the blame if anything doesn’t go right: One friend of mine still blames me for following my advice a few years ago to NOT buy that Webber grill with QF frequent flyer points and now she “sits on all these points” trying desperately to ever get an upgrade from the most basic economy fare to business class. “You told me that would be muuuch better value but there are never upgrades available and I could have had that nice grill for years now”.

She always tries to upgrade two people at once, almost always flies around Christmas or Easter and, needless to say, holds Bronze status :rolleyes:
 

justin23

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We really are just describing human nature here. Just ask the engineers whose advice got ignored with the NBN or scientists who seem to be still fighting the fight over climate change. When people ask for advice, if its not what they want to hear, they'll still do whatever they were planning to do anyway. I think when people ask for advice, they want you to confirm they are doing the right thing going to Flight centre. They don't want to be told that it is wrong and will go just because it validates their opinion as well.

That said I have rules that many here might disagree with. I only ever book flights with airlines directly. I can often get close to the cheapest any of the third party websites can and that is fine by me. I feel far more comfortable with tickets booked directly with the airline than booked purely for the cheapest price.

I also see people in forums asking for the "magic" site and when you tell them there isn't one, they still think there is and they go ask on another forum. Like the Bogota and Medellin situation above, I had one of these myself, were getting from Canberra to Reykjavik was $1000 cheaper by not booking it in the one ticket. I had a lovely 12 hrs in Helsinki before getting the flight to Iceland, just to ensure I had a buffer for a late flight (plus plenty of flight to Reykjavik from there).

I'm now looking at Ethiopia and Djibouti. Options are limited but getting some interesting variations flying via Dubai, Doha, Singapore or Johannesburg. Plus Ethiopian Airlines gives you discounts if you fly into the country with them, so the short $400 return flight from Doha, might actually save me that much if I fly internally. Of course this takes time and some people can't be bothered or are genuinely too busy. A travel agent is an easy way out. I do always say if you can find an independent travel agent use them and not Flight Centre. There are not many of those around these days though.
 

2infinity

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Like most everyone else, I chuckle to myself about friends and family. Friends ask me how I get to travel in the pointy end as often as I do. I give them a basic idea, but they never take my advise on point earns etc., but that is their problem.

My brother flew to the USA a year ago and I remember he rang me up to confirm with me if the flights he was going to buy were 'ok'. I ran a real quick skyscanner search and found multiple better and cheaper flights, but he booked the one he found. He really only wanted me to tell him his choice was good. Which is all most people want.

As a xmas present to my inlaws, I gifted them my lounge passes. They were flying out of Sydney on Deathstar and before I attached the passes to their fare, I informed them they would have to access the Qantas lounge in a different terminal. I was quite sceptical that they would attempt it as they are regular Flightcentre users and its outside the norm. I said to make the most of the lounge, they might like to get to the airport several hours early, but I pointed out you can only checkin 2hours prior to flight on Deathstar and that if they wanted longer, they would have to put their bags in storage, go to the lounge, then come back with time to check in with Deathstar. I even located the lockers in the Deathstar terminal for them. Despite me spoon feeding them, I was highly doubtful they would do it. But to my surprise they told me they did and loved it. They now want me to get them in to the lounge for every flight they take......haha. sorry I don't have any more passes at the moment.

I can't even get my partner to churn credit cards for the bonus points. "I don't feel comfortable ringing up to cancel the card"
 

Mr H

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Flight Centre must have the most successful advertising campaign ever. Because every Ma and Pa Kettle knows they offer the best value - they will beat any fare or you fly free. I think people genuinely imagine there is a chance they will get a free flight as though they are joining some kind of lottery. They don't realise that Flight Centre will generally offer you a mug's fare first off and will only price beat if you have been onto another website, got to the final payment page, printed it off and then taken it to a bricks and mortar shop. And they will have a million and one reasons why they aren't obliged to beat the price you have found.

In the same way, Ma and Pa Kettle know that Ryan Air is always very cheap and that first class is any class other than economy.
 

Mr H

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Biggest danger here is getting the blame if anything doesn’t go right: One friend of mine still blames me for following my advice a few years ago to NOT buy that Webber grill with QF frequent flyer points and now she “sits on all these points” trying desperately to ever get an upgrade from the most basic economy fare to business class. “You told me that would be muuuch better value but there are never upgrades available and I could have had that nice grill for years now”.

She always tries to upgrade two people at once, almost always flies around Christmas or Easter and, needless to say, holds Bronze status :rolleyes:

In this case, I'm on your friend's side. You offered advice that did not take account of her preferences and circumstances - and raised her expectations that she could get an upgrade when she couldn't. Hopefully that's a learning point for both of you.
 
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The kids are getting very good at doing their own bookings, although Ms FM did ask me to plan and book her honeymoon - had a lot of fun with that including getting two J awards to the USA for them. Didn’t enjoy struggling with her budget limitations though :)

I have one friend who a few years ago had no idea and lots of points, so I used to do all his overseas award bookings for him, but he has become quite competent now.
 

harvyk

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Flight Centre must have the most successful advertising campaign ever. Because every Ma and Pa Kettle knows they offer the best value - they will beat any fare or you fly free. <snip>

Fly free my cough.

I once took a set of flights to them and they couldn't price beat them. That's when I found out about the little star with T&C's long enough to ensure they have never had to give away a single free flight and yet not match every cheaper flight which cabs through their door.

I do believe it was about one of the last times I ever walked through their door.
 
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justin23

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He really only wanted me to tell him his choice was good. Which is all most people want.

Yep that is all most people want to hear. I never do that though, because if they realise it wasn't the best fare/option/deal etc. you'll cop the blame. I find drip feeding info works best. I just suggest they go check out a few sites and come back to me with questions. If they never come back, I've probably already moved on. Rarely they do come back and I give them some more tips or look at what they found.
 

nutwood

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Slightly OT but my pain comes from organisations that insist on booking my flights for me. Had a memorable trip to Fiji a few years back on behalf of a university. Official policy would not allow me to book my own flights so they go FC and book cheapest flights. Only problem was that I had 60 kg of equipment with me. As Qantas WP, it wouldn't have been a problem, but they booked me Virgin and I had to pay for the excess baggage at the airport....:eek:
They then booked me to Suva, with a long stop over and an internal flight to Nadi. 60 kg of luggage cost several times the cost of the 35 minute flight. I could of caught a taxi for a fraction of the price and got there sooner!
Overall, the excess baggage charges were more than the cost of the trip, all of which I put a percentage on and charged back :)
 

chai_1022

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Great thread! Like others friends often express their envy at the fact my long haul leisure travel is all in premium cabins and often say “you have to tell me how you do it some time”. A 1 minute synopsis is usually met with either disbelief or “it all sounds too hard”. (24 hours to Europe in whY isn’t too hard though??)

My dad gave me a facepalm moment not long ago. He’s approaching 80 but happily taking a few international trips a year. Usually on QF, EK or QR. I’ve more or less got him to understand that he can attach his QFF number to those other flights so he’d earned a reasonable pot of points for someone who doesn’t really try to chase them. (150k or so). Then he went and committed the second deadly sin - after the ultimate sin of buying a toaster that is - and used up a ton of points for a return Y redemption to LHR which still cost him several hundred dollars in taxes and fees. Plus another couple of hundred for exit row seats “so I can stretch my legs”. All those points gone for an eventual saving of a few hundred bucks. That hurt. I still flung a couple of lounge passes his way though...
 

Willsmere

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I’m glad it’s not just me. I could fill a few screens here with stories. But as others have said I don’t really offer the advice anymore. Hey! It’s hard enough to get the seats, points, flights we want, why making it any harder by reaching these ungrateful sods! . I’ve given up trying to help my folks, they won’t take my advice as it’s an imposition on me they say, then complain like hell after their trip about problems they have had and proclaim “next trip we are going to get you to do all the bookings!”, and do they? Nope. The last time was a trip to the US, they went to a friends travel agent because they are “amazing “ the friend says. Started looking at the intinery, they had booked very overpriced premium economy fares to start with. They wanted a one stop in LA to rest en route to New York. The agent had booked them into $700 a night hotel (not their budget), and kindly organised a $200 one way transfer to the hotel!! Then coughty internal flights etc. As an add on while talking about the trip I said to my dad, “have you got your ESTA yet?”, I was in the process of getting one for myself and he said “yes, what about you?” I said no, but they have happily taken my $US14 so far. He replied “and the rest!”, I said what do you mean? He says, it was $100! Face palm as I realise he used a dodgy or 3rd party ESTA site, I immediately went online to check he actually had a legit one , he did thankfully. He just shrugged and said, oh well doesn’t matter. Same with his travel agent, his response was, “we just won’t use them next time. “ aaaaaargh!!
 

Forg

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Youze folkz should try being in IT (not infrastructure/hardware mind you) 20yrs ago ... everyone asked for PC recommendations, then everyone ignored the advice & offer to Go With, and instead went somewhere like Hardly Normal and paid 2x what they should’ve.
 

harvyk

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Youze folkz should try being in IT (not infrastructure/hardware mind you) 20yrs ago ... everyone asked for PC recommendations, then everyone ignored the advice & offer to Go With, and instead went somewhere like Hardly Normal and paid 2x what they should’ve.

Yeap, I don't build computer for others anymore either.

I can pinpoint the moment I came to that decision. It was after I built the in-laws a computer which was built to a price point (not for speed), my brother-in-law changed all the icons to something along the lines of "parents slow computer".
 

kookaburra75

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As an add on while talking about the trip I said to my dad, “have you got your ESTA yet?”, I was in the process of getting one for myself and he said “yes, what about you?” I said no, but they have happily taken my $US14 so far. He replied “and the rest!”, I said what do you mean? He says, it was $100! Face palm as I realise he used a dodgy or 3rd party ESTA site, I immediately went online to check he actually had a legit one , he did thankfully. He just shrugged and said, oh well doesn’t matter. Same with his travel agent, his response was, “we just won’t use them next time. “ aaaaaargh!!
My parents enjoy doing their own thing, and use the Flight Centre people in Hervey Bay (as frustrating as that can be- but it's what they want to do), but now Dad is checking with me beforehand about deals, flights etc. Recently for a family wedding in Sri Lanka, the agent tried to charge them $144 each for the visas. Thankfully Dad checked with me and I sent him the link to the official Government site where he could purchase them for $35 each.
Mum though is getting more interested with my the travel ideas, as I swapped seats with her in the run to Sri Lanka, so she could sit up in business with MrsK, who I spoiled a few years ago by travelling in business (and now only that will do), while Dad and I sat down the back and drank beers and talked about aircraft and flying.
 
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