Psst! Want to get a free flight faster?

By | Category: Travel news

How would you feel about earning enough points to fly on an airline that you’ve never flown on before? It could happen with Estonian Air.
Not many of us have airline loyalty cards because, let’s face it, most of us only travel a couple of times a year on holiday at the most. And no-frills airlines tend not to have them. But for frequent fliers, they can be important in determining whether you take one airline or another. For the rest of us, airline choice is probably decided by price. Or recommendation.
And recommendation is something that “experts” have always said is important and possibly over-riding. So what would be your attitude to an airline that rewards you not just for flying with them but for recommending them on social networks? Estonian Air are launching a new loyalty system called Air Score that rewards customers for acting as unpaid promoters of the airline like sharing their reviews of the airline on Facebook and tweeting a deal about the airline. In fact its website does say – quite plainly – “…Supporters of the airline get rewarded for advocacy without even having to fly the airline.” How can you say good or bad things about them if you have never flown?

So you add a comment on Facebook or something similar about them and you get extra miles. But will people be honest? Isn’t this tantamount to bribery? Say good things about us and it will be faster for you to get enough miles to get a free flight seems to be the underlying message.
Journalists I know have been offered incentives to provide positive comments on social networking sites so is this approach by Estonian Air and their loyalty programme creators, SimpliFlying, just an extension of this? I hope not but the fact that there is a “reward” for offering up comment says even more strongly to me that what appears on social networking sites needs to be viewed with a good pinch of salt.
And to make you a little bit more doubtful, last month Estonian Air won an award as the best airline using social media tools. The organiser of the awards was SimpliFlying.

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