✈️ Safety flights, explained

✈️ Safety flights, explained

Estimated read time: 5 minutes and 11 seconds

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Good morning and welcome back to Daily Drop…the everything bagel of travel newsletters. There are some other great options, but at the end of the day, you know who you're turning to.

Here's what's on the list for today:

  • ✈️ Why and how to book “safety flights”

  • 🥂 First-class Friday: A new business class product hits the skies

✈️ Why and how to book “safety flights”

Last week, we hosted a masterclass all about airline and hotel transfer partners. It was pretty awesome. And you can check it out if you want by joining our online community.

But there was one part of that masterclass where I mentioned booking what I called “safety flights.”

Being familiar with the concept, I didn’t think much of it.

As it turns out, most people don’t know about this concept, why it’s important, or how to maximize it.

So let’s have a little chat about booking safety flights.

A safety flight is a flight that you book with the intention of finding something better and canceling it before your trip.

Doing this can serve various purposes:

  1. If you book multiple safety flights, you keep your options open when it comes time to travel and can choose which one you actually take.

  2. Since business and first-class award seats often open at the last minute, you can use safety flights to book a “placeholder” while you search for the more challenging flights to book.

  3. If you have a firm commitment at your destination, having a safety flight ensures that you have multiple chances to get there in the event of something going wrong with a flight.

Booking safety flights is a great travel hacking tool, and I’ll give you an example of how I’ve utilized them in the past.

A couple of years ago, I was traveling in Quebec City (lovely place, by the way).

I had an opera rehearsal in Toronto that, by contract, I NEEDED to be at, but could only fly there on the day of the performance.

I was scheduled to fly early in the morning on Westjet. But since the stakes were high for me, I used points to book a safety flight on Air Canada a few hours after my Westjet flight.

Since my award flight allowed me to cancel for a free refund, I would simply cancel the booking as soon as my Westjet flight got me to Toronto.

However, in the event that something went wrong with Westjet (i.e. the flight was delayed or canceled), I knew that I had another flight to get me back home for my important engagement.

Because of the free cancellation, there was no extra cost to me to do this, but a HUGE potential upside.

That brings us to a very important point:

Only book safety flights with programs that allow free cancellation (or make sure you’re okay with paying the potential cancellation fee, if any).

Thankfully, many airlines let you cancel your ticket for free when using points and miles to book.

Here are some programs that offer free changes and cancellations on award flights:

  • Delta (except Basic Economy)

  • United (except Basic Economy)

  • American

  • Alaska

  • Hawaiian

  • Southwest

These policies change frequently and some airlines have caveats such as where your flight originates from, so always be sure to read the fare policy before you finalize a booking.

The main situation for using safety flights is to book aspirational business and first-class tickets on world-class airlines.

Let’s look at an example:

Let’s say you want to fly Lufthansa first class from New York to Frankfurt, a bucket list flight for any travel enthusiast.

Unfortunately, Lufthansa (and many others) doesn’t release many of their first-class award seats until the last minute, or 1-2 weeks before departure.

Most people don’t have the flexibility to let their whole trip hinge on a flight that may or may not become available to book.

So, you can simply book a safety flight using a program like American Airlines as far in advance as you want:

When your flight date approaches, you can start looking for first-class tickets on Lufthansa using a program like Aeroplan.

I just ran a search for May 6th (aka tomorrow) and found this amazing first-class flight available to book on Lufthansa:

In this scenario, you can (and should) just book it right away. Since American Airlines lets you cancel for free, you’ll get your miles (and money) back, and take the same exact route on the same exact day in the amazing seat you wanted to fly.

That, my friends, is the magic of safety flights. As you might guess, it helps if you have a stash of points and miles to be able to book these placeholder flights.

Thankfully, there are some credit card offers right now that can give you all the points you need (and more) to be able to book some once-in-a-lifetime trips, so check out our Top Credit Cards if you need some inspiration. 😉

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🥂 First-class Friday: A new business class product hits the skies

Sticking with the topic of luxurious flights, we’ve got some more news to share with you - this time from the one and only Air China.

I’ve got two main points I want to touch on which include Air China’s new A350 business-class seat AND how to book Air China flights using… you guessed it… Air Canada’s Aeroplan 😮 

When you hear the term “Air Canada,” you probably think of a giant stinky turd.

Or maybe that’s just me… 🥵

Thankfully, you never have to set foot on Air Canada to take full advantage of their amazing loyalty program, Aeroplan.

But back to Air China.

First things first, let’s take a look at these new German-designed Recaro seats:

Courtesy of The Design Air

Some travelers had mixed feelings about the new purple design…

But I dunno, I personally think the light blue and purple are quite soothing 🙃

This 1-2-1 configuration is equipped with all the cubbies, hooks, reading lights, and outlets you could want. Plus, the super-high wall design makes you feel like you could just disappear from the other passengers and drift off… into a restful sleep… in your lie-flat bed 😴

For many airlines, sitting in your own personal flying cubicle (like this layout) is only accessible on long-haul international flights.

Don’t even get me started on what “business class” looks like when flying short routes within Europe…

If you’ve ever flown a regular ole’ economy seat with the middle seat open… then you’ve basically flown the short-haul European business class. Slow clap for that 😒

BUT what’s so cool about Air China is they often fly these big-boy planes (like said A350) on their shorter, domestic routes.

This opens up the opportunity to experience a business-class seat like this one for very few points… even if it’s only for a few hours or so. Would you complain? I certainly wouldn’t 😎

For example, I’m flying Air China’s business class in September that I booked with only 20k Aeroplan points. My flight is only around four hours, but for 20k!

I will gladly sit my butt (or recline, or sleep… because I can) in one of those seats for that price.

So it just goes to show how AWESOME it is to understand the value of loyalty program partnerships because… would I rather fly business class in Air Canada or Air China?

…no comment 😉

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That’s gonna finish off this week, folks! It has been a crazy week between the amazing hotel promos, credit card offers, and more.

What was your favorite piece of Daily Drop content this week? Let me know by replying to this email or reaching out on social media.

Take care and have an excellent weekend ❤️

Mike Dodge
Head Writer, Daily Drop

52°22'35.4"N 52°15'17.4"W

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