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badice.com ~ travel musings for the masses

I occasionally get asked why I fly so much or why I go to Europe for the weekend. Well, a few months back a documentary was made about my slight obsessive compulsive behavior when it comes to flying. It is a hobby, just like any other, except it goes around the world at 600 mile per hour. Flight has always been an interest of mine, but it was not until college and then traveling for work that I became interested in doing it for fun. There is just something about knowing that the furthest points of the Earth are only a flight away that fascinates me.

On the scale of how much I fly, I am a lightweight compared to some of the people in the movie (and know a few of them). Just like the video says, there is a whole community devoted to mileage running and travel. Watch and enjoy, maybe you’ll learn a little about my obsessive compulsive desire to travel.

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  1. March 2, 2010

    Very interesting documentary and I read some the NYT article you had linked to…now some questions:

    1. How many lifetime miles do you have?
    2. Are you accumulating miles merely to get/keep the status or do you ever redeem the miles for tickets?
    3. How do you find the cheap tickets to put together these routes?
    4. It said a lot of the mileage runs happen between November and the end of the year…I would actually think that time period would have the most expensive tickets and the least amount of availability with the holidays.
    5. Do you pay any fees to be in these EP clubs?
    6. Are you allowed to have other people accrue miles under your name? They just use your frequent flyer number. I’m assuming that’s what the guy did with the workers he hired.
    7. Can you then transfer your miles to other people to redeem (i.e. your wife if you wanted to take a trip together).
    8. How many mileage trips do you make a year?
    9. I will come to Texas, hunt you down, and cut your EP card into itty bitty pieces if Jim ever takes up this hobby. 🙂

    Natalie

    • March 3, 2010

      Natalie,

      I’ll try to answer these questions as succinctly as possible.

      1. All airlines combined? Going through the numbers it looks like I am near 600,000 lifetime flight miles.
      2. I accumulate miles for both reasons. There are two types of miles in Continental’s (my airline of choice) program, redeemable miles and elite miles. If I have Gold or Platinum status with them, I earn more redeemable miles. Right now I am sitting on enough redeemable miles to fly both Jessica and I around the world in business class. A few more trips and it will be in first.
      3. There are a number of ways to find the tickets. The easiest is a website called FareCompare and their FlyerTalk tool. The trick is to stick with one or two airlines rather than spreading travel out wherever it is cheapest. Another tool is the ITA website but it takes a little more work and research.
      4. November to the end of the year is considered low season (minus the holidays) for travel. No one wants to go to Europe when it’s 5 degrees outside.
      5. By EP clubs I am guessing you mean the Executive Platinum club that American Airlines has. No, there are no fees for becoming an elite with the different airlines.
      6. This depends on the airline program. BMI has a family setup where you can pool the miles from anyone you designate. The catch with this is that they are redeemable miles and usually do not count toward elite status.
      7. Most airline frequent flyer programs allow you to redeem miles for whoever you would like (I can use my miles to fly you to Houston), but transferring those miles to someone, rather than just using the miles to buy the ticket, costs money. There is usually no reason to transfer miles to someone unless that someone is trying to redeem the miles themselves.
      8. I would say I have only taken 2-3 true mileage runs in the past two years. Most of the trips I take are for pleasure, but I usually build the itineraries with miles in mind. On my trip to Prague, rather than taking the train from Frankfurt, I added a segment to Dresden for a few extra miles. It actually lowered the price of the ticket as well, due to the way the airlines build the fare rules.
      9. If I take him on a single mileage run, he’ll be hooked.

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