Preparing to shoot a few segments of Big Jon in 5 for WHISKEY2BEER in our upstairs studio at Barley's Taproom in downtown Greenville. That's owner Josh Beebe preparing for his closeup.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Flying: It's Just Another Day

I'm not the kind of guy who thinks jetting around for this and that is glamorous. I guess there was a day, 30-or-so years ago, when I first began traveling for the auto gig that I thought I was pretty hot stuff. Not so much any more. For one thing, there are people doing what I do who travel a whole lot more. Not only do they travel more, they travel to more exotic destinations. This year I've been to Nashville three or four times, Memphis once and a number of other places fairly close to home. Hell, Hyundai even staged an event in Greenville.

Today, I'd love to be able to load myself into a pneumatic tube and be sucked from wherever it is I am back home. That's the way I felt this week when facing two flights home from Middleburg, VA. Actually, it was from Washington Dulles Airport. I often get myself into trouble with the number of flights and plane changes because I often fly in and out of Greenville-Spartanburg Airport and insist on flying Delta. That almost always entails a flight west, a stop and a plane change in Atlanta, even if I'm traveling somewhere east of Greenville.

This was one of those 36-hour door-to-door trips where we flew in on day one and flew home on day two. It was Volkswagen's 2015 full-line drive event featuring all of its models for next year. I didn't even bother packing a razor.

Over the years I've flown over 1.6 million miles on Delta. As long as it has a frequent-flier program – “Sky Miles” in Delta speak – I have at least Silver Platinum status regardless of how many miles I fly. That doesn't mean much in the way of perks any more, but it does get me a free checked bag and the opportunity to board with Zone 1, no matter where I'm sitting in the plane. I think it also includes some bonus miles added to a traveler's Sky Miles account for every so-many miles flown. 

In Delta's Crown Room at Palm Beach International Airport in 2002, deep in thought as I pondered the instruction manual for a new-fangled Sony S75 digital camera.
In the 1990s and early in the current millennium when my flying was at its peak, I clocked anywhere from 100,000 to 130,000 miles a year on Delta alone. I was nearly always upgraded and had a free membership to Delta's club room. Today, I only sneak into a Delta Sky Club when I'm traveling with someone who is a member. 

Hong Kong circa 1999.
In those days I was traveling for the car gig, as well as with “Discover America.” I spent more waking hours in Palm Beach International than I did in my house. I still know and speak to Delta employees in that airport.

This year I will struggle to reach Gold in the Sky Miles program. And, that's with a carry over of more than 10,000 miles from last year. I do have a couple of California trips ahead of me in September that will go a long way to getting me to Gold. 

In Lisbon circa 2000.
Next year reaching Medallion levels will be based solely on dollars spent. I have no clue how that will affect my status. It seems every year Delta finds a fresh and unique way to further dilute its frequent-flier program.

But, after 30 years, to tell you the truth: I'm pretty much over it.


  1. My guess is that you'll make out better this way, since automakers so often wait until moments before the events to book the flights. If nothing else, it'll give you a leg up on budget-wise vacationers, right?

  2. Perhaps. But, I always have my doubts about any adjustment to the Sky Miles program. It used to mean a whole lot more.