5 insider groups for ultra-connected travelers

Social media groups can be a cool place to find insider information on business travel. (Photo: Flickr/Jason Howie)

Do you ever suspect there’s an inside track other business travelers are tapping into? The repository of all secret knowledge? There are a number of online social groups—some more accessible than others—where frequent flyers can get the inside track. Here are five of our favorites.

1. Facebook secret groups for loyalty program elites can be excellent places to network—once you’re in. Unlike “open” and “closed” FB groups, “secret” groups’ are only visible to members and participation requires invitation. That means you can search on Facebook groups, and these secret groups will not appear in the results. Unfortunately, that’s where these elite loyalty groups usually reside. Your challenge: Find out about them by talking to frequent flyer friends—whether in person or on message boards like MilePoint or FlyerTalk—and finagle an invite. It can be worth it. Kim Randall, who works in tech in the Bay Area and is a member of the AAdvantage Executive Platinum “secret” group, told TravelSkills she’s amazed at the information she gets from the group: “Quite often the answers are much faster than doing a search on the airline website or calling the Executive Platinum desk. It’s like a massive collaborative/collective brain of travel information.” One example of a closed group that’s more accessible, there’s the 405-member Delta Diamond Medallion Flyers: You can’t see the activity, but you can see the members and click to join. There’s an open group for United 1K members, too, but it’s not very active– for example, the last post was from April 22. Keep up with Southwest Airlines with the LUVers open group.

2. LinkedIn groups for loyalty program elites are easy to find, but are mostly private groups so require approval to join. For example, there’s the somewhat active Delta Air Lines SkyMiles Medallion group with 1,243 members. There’s also a United 1K group that’s followed by several United executives I know. Do a LinkedIn search to see whether your status/program is supporting an active group.  The listing, even for a private group, will show contacts in your network who are members. Then, if you qualify, click on the Join button. Wait to hear back.

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3. Jet: The Business Traveler Network group on LinkedIn is open to all and is the only general LinkedIn group about business travel I’ve found to be useful. (13,000+ members!) To find: Open the dropdown next to the search bar, click on the groups icon, then type in the name. Joining is as easy as a click  There are plenty of questions posed, comments made and insights given, all relevant to business travelers.

Members share photos of first & business class meals on I Love Sitting in First & Business Class group

Members share photos of first & business class meals on I Love Sitting in First/Biz Class group

4. I Love Sitting in First/Biz Class, a Facebook group, is fun and open to all. You’ll find lots of first and business class inflight meal photos (yum!), requests for advice, tips, and status update–length trip reports. With more than a thousand members, there’s a lot going on. And I like the “about the group” statement: Don’t hate us because we sit in the front.

5. Club Wingtip, another Facebook open group, has 527 members who post photos “due to sheer air travel boredom and love of things that fly.” The caveat: All photos must include a airplane wingtip. Most of them are shots outside the plane window. This is lots of fun if you’re an Av Geek– or just like planes.

What secret social group do you belong to for inside-track information? Please spill the beans in the comments below! 

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–Nancy Branka

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