As I read through the news about the Electronics Ban recently announced, I feel for the many that will be negatively impacted by this. I’m additionally concerned about the risk that this forces airlines to take, with respect to having lithium-ion batteries unmonitored in the baggage hold. But yet, the travel hacker in me cannot ignore the potential silver linings here.
Increased Award Availability
This electronics ban affects the home hub of Turkish, Qatar, Etihad, Emirates, Saudia, Air Jordanian, Kuwait, Royal Air Maroc, and Egyptian. What do these airlines represent? Membership of all three global airline alliances and partnerships with even more airlines.
Is it feasible to consider that this electronics ban could lead to fewer booked seats, and thus an increase in award availability? I think its reasonable. After all, an empty seat isn’t generally a good thing on an aircraft. Earning whatever the partner rates are, for a mileage redemption seems better than nothing.
Discounted Business Class Airfares for the Premium Travel Hacker
I realize that not every travel hacker wants to, or even has the means to buy business class fares. But its also no secret that I’ve leveraged these things, even for a crazy mileage run to Cairo. But is it reasonable, given that business travelers are likely to fly via alternative means due to the loss of productivity, that premium cabins fly less full? Again, it’s a reasonable idea.
Now how low can premium airfares really go? Well, there was that one deal last year from Sri Lanka to Boston for $2080 for 2 people, round trip. At $1,000 per person for a round trip, I could see travel hackers jumping on flights originating in places like the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. I know that while I did the Egypt flights in 2015, I’m more hesitant to return; but I have found the UAE and Qatar to be safe—despite what the electronics ban tells us.
I realize that this electronics ban will have a great deal more negative impact than positive. But, I think as travel hackers, we should acknowledge that, and still look for the angle that can yield benefits.
What do you think?