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How to tell you’re a frequent flyer — without telling anyone you’re a frequent flyer

Dec. 20, 2020
5 min read
How to tell you’re a frequent flyer — without telling anyone you’re a frequent flyer
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We've all been there: You've wrapped up your time in the lounge, well-fed and properly hydrated, and are heading for security only to find that the TSA PreCheck lane is closed. Now, you're stuck in the regular security line (quelle horreur!) behind that guy who's fumbling to take off his cumbersome shoes (wrong), has his phone in his pocket (wrong again) and has buried a half-consumed bottle of Smartwater (the irony!) somewhere deep inside one of his many carry-on bags.

This isn't your first rodeo, but you're thinking it might be his.

Infrequent flyers are part of the flying experience (the sooner you can accept that, the easier your life will be) and you can usually spot them from a concourse away. The same could be said of frequent flyers: strategically packed bags (the fewer the better), an efficient travel outfit (no bulky coats here, folks) and a TPG Jetlagged AF sleep mask (kidding, kind of).

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We asked TPG readers (read: road warriors) to tell us the telltale signs of a frequent flyer and the answers did not disappoint. Here's what they had to say on Twitter.

You know the lingo

Pamela Ford said, "In the car, I tell people they are free to move about the cabin once we park and seat belts off!"

And of course, frequent flyers use a completely different alphabet. Juan said, "Foxtrot, Lima, Yankee, Echo, Romeo."

Sometimes, you can identify a frequent flyer by his or her hard-earned nickname. Imesh Vaidya said, "I am known by the nickname A16." And Twitter user Kellie Dickerson earned her nickname at the CLT Admirals Club B concourse, where she says they "know [her] by name and Chardonnay."

You have friends in high places

Jorge said: "You board behind Larry Kellner out of LAX and you text your friends to let them know."

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For Twitter user Socrates Bartender, the tip-off is that he's "... been invited to the wedding of a bartender who works 1,100 miles from my house."

And MK said, "I have a standing order at Hudson's." Enough said, right?

You live for quick trips

What's a quick weekend away or day trip for a frequent flyer? AirCandi said, "Breakfast in [California], lunch in New York, dinner in Florida" three to four times per week is a sure sign of a frequent flyer.

For others, that means a brief hop to the other side of the globe to wrack up a few last-minute miles. "End of year weekend run to Hong Kong," said Twitter user FrankM.

No matter where you're going, faster is almost always better for frequent flyers. Twitter user Zuagroasda said he's "From [the] train station through security to [the] gate in 15 minutes."

You have the right gear

Frequent flyers have had hundreds of thousands of miles to get the frequent flyer uniform down. That's why Frankie Godoy said, "I have a jacket with a built-in neck pillow and eye mask."

Sometimes, it's just about having all the necessities packed and ready to go at a moment's notice. "I have a set of chargers [and] cables and a shaving kit that only live inside my suitcase," said Imran Kahn.

Toni Watkins said his "current suitcase AND briefcase were mileage gifts from Delta." Also file under: Friends in high places.

And really, who needs to buy pajamas when yours come with all those first-class fares? Twitter user Monica McCarty said, "I haven't bought pajamas in years."

You have the right attitude

Jim del Rosario said you can easily tell the frequent flyers apart during the all-too-common mechanical delay. "You’re on the plane and it’s not leaving due to a mechanical," he said. "While others are frantic, you sit calmly and wait for the text to let you know what flight you’ve been rebooked on."

You make smart choices

"If I have to connect," said Twitter user Vanessa Sundra, "I’m gonna route myself through here instead of there to get the extra EQMs."

Treb Gatte said you know you're a frequent flyer when "your phone has 72 photos of your airport parking slot number so you know where to find your car when you get back."

And of course, there are frequent flyers who always know what to expect. "I consider flights based on the equipment flying it," said Nick Boylan.

You're prepared for anything

Regional jet? No sweat. Andrew McCoy said "I don’t ask for a gate check tag when I board a CRJ550 when I travel with a roller carry-on."

For Twitter user Ed Stone, he knows he's a frequent flyer because he has his "wife's Delta Skymiles number memorized, but not her social security number."

Want to know why Yong Yi is a frequent flyer? "FlightAware is my homepage," he said.

Bottom line

Flying (and traveling in general) is like everything else in life: it gets easier the more you do it. Less anxiety about packing. Less anxiety about timing. Less anxiety about turbulence. Less clapping when the plane lands. Here at TPG, you'll find us practicing as much as we possibly can when life returns to normal. See you in the air then!

Featured image by Getty Images

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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023