Buffalo Trace

Buffalo Trace
From a few years ago, me mugging with the bronze buffalo sculpture at Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky.

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.

2 comments:

  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?

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

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