High Fidelity

With a host of frequent flier programmes to pick from, read between the lines before pledging your loyalty.
     Print Edition: Aug 18, 2013

The whole concept behind frequent flier programmes is to breed loyalty amongst customers - a win-win for the airline as well as its patrons. However, a recent study says otherwise. A poll conducted by British-based Collinson Latitude on a sample size of 1,005 people revealed that 40 per cent of the frequent fliers never end up redeeming their miles. Owing to tiresome conditions such as blackout dates, minimum spends, expiry dates and availability, frequent flier schemes often turn into a frustrating ordeal for patrons. Almost 60 per cent abandon hope of getting rewards because it takes too long to earn them anything of value. Interestingly, many airlines even prefer to sell reward miles to third parties such as banks, which distribute them among their own customers. The top frequent flier programmes, as put forth by www.thepointsguy.com, are Avios (British Airways), Aeroplan (formerly of Air Canada), ANA (of Japanese airline ANA), Miles & More (Lufthansa) and Flying Blue (Air France, KLM and Air Europa). However, it still remains your decision in the end.

FOODIE FLIGHTS
If you are craving a mid-air culinary extravaganza, Qatar Airways has just the thing for you. In collaboration with a line-up of globally renowned chefs, the airlines is trying to set a new standard for in-flight dining by bringing the finest international cuisine on board. The signature dishes, now being served on Qatar Airways flights, are brought to you by four celebrity chefs - Nobu (renowned for blending Japanese cuisine with South American), Ramzi Choueiri (an expert in Lebanese cuisine), Vineet Bhatia (bringing Indian exotica to the world) and Tom Aikens (known for his expertise in preparing European fare). Apparently, only the best in food - no Qatar given!

STAYING CONNECTED
Customers on select Air France-KLM flights will now have the advantage of staying connected even while they're flying. A tie-up with leading inflight mobile phone operator AeroMobile will allow passengers to send and receive text messages and emails, and browse the Internet, during the flight. The service is being launched in two sectors - a KLM flight from Amsterdam to Panama and an Air France flight from Paris Charles de Gaulle to New York JFK. Going a step further, AeroMobile is already in talks with over 220 mobile phone operators across 100 countries.

AIR TAXI
On your next jaunt to Sri Lanka, trade in your car hire for a stunning aerial introduction to the island country. The Sri Lankan Air Taxi is a thrilling new seaplane service that will transport you from Colombo to the hill country, all for a fee of Rs 2,400. Operating between Colombo and the coastal towns of Galle and Tangalle, and the hill towns of Kandy and Nuwara, it's the perfect way to get around.

REDEFINING LUXURY
After two years of development and an investment of $150 million, Singapore Airlines has finally unveiled its 'next generation' cabins for the first, business and economy classes. Select flights between Singapore and London will be the first ones to benefit from the new seats and in-flight entertainment systems, starting September.

First The length of the eight first-class seats/beds in each aircraft has been increased from 80 to 82 inches, and the improved entertainment system will now sport a 24-inch screen. Consequently, you get more privacy, increased comfort and attention to detail. Business Will sport beds that are 28 inches wide and 78 inches long, with a reclining angle of 132 degrees. The 18-inch LCD screen comes with in-seat power supply. Economy While Singapore Airlines has promised increased personal space and legroom, it refrained from revealing the exact new measurements.

APP CORNER

Saga
Free (Android, iOS)
By ARO, Inc.
Saga is an easy way to keep track of where you go and what you do, so you are not left filling in the blanks. The best part of this automatic life-logging app is that it requires little to no input from you. Just link the app to your social media accounts and live your life while it records and writes your digital autobiography.

EARN AND SHOP

Jet Airways' frequent flier programme JetPrivilege recently announced a slew of new partnerships, allowing members to earn miles through several lucrative tie-ups with brands in retail, travel and the publishing category. In retail, you can stand to gain by shopping from amongst 9,000 products of 300 beauty brands as well as 1,500 salons and spas under the Purplle.com umbrella. In fashion, a partnership with Chic Outlet Shopping gives members the perk of discounted prices, in addition to miles earned on every purchase. To get around, a carhire from Wings Radio Cab will earn you miles, as will subscriptions to select magazines based in India. Win some, lose none.

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