2010 volume 42(1) pages 241 – 252

Cite as:
Gössling S, Nilsson J H, 2010, "Frequent flyer programmes and the reproduction of aeromobility" Environment and Planning A 42(1) 241 – 252

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Frequent flyer programmes and the reproduction of aeromobility

Stefan Gössling, Jan Henrik Nilsson

Received 18 December 2008; in revised form 3 March 2009

Abstract. It is now increasingly recognized that aviation is an important driver of individual and global mobility. Growth in mobility is not evenly distributed, however: recent studies indicate that a relatively small, highly mobile part of society may account for a large share of the total distances travelled. In reviewing one of the processes that may lead to growth in individual aeromobility, the paper focuses on frequent flyer programmes (FFPs) as an institutionalized framework for high mobility, detailing how these programmes reward and thus increase interest in aeromobility. Results are linked to a number of observations regarding the interrelationship of high mobility and social status, and substantiated by a survey of FFP members and their perspectives on benefits provided by such programmes. It is argued that FFPs reward high mobility and discursively interlink frequent flying with social status, which is an important element in the development of mobility patterns which shape and create the social structures that ‘necessitate’ air travel.

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