Friday, December 9, 2016
The Last Mileage Run of 2016, Part 1- Famous Last Words
Note- I've been doing some actual blogging about the current mileage system recently, if you're the type who cares:
The New Math- Mileage Style
The Great Mileage Debate and;
Five Rules of Mileage Running
Now that that's out of the way, on to the rambling pre-flight post.
Ahh, December mileage running, how much do I love thee?
Well, if past predicts the future, then an awful lot. It's the last run of the year, the bottom of the 9th....and other metaphors derived from sports games. It's also the last travel weekend without a holiday attached to it- the ultimate freedom that all nicely takes place in pressurized metal tubes, and fluorescently lit corridors behind security checkpoints. Perfection.
In prior years I've taken an early December weekend to see Shanghai (whilst trying to not breathe the air), stayed out until 2am in Hong Kong (whilst trying to find my Uber), and generally bounced back and forth across the US between LAX and BOS in aging 737s to the tune of 20k qualifying miles. Please note- these were three separate years, I'm not THAT awesome. (Or crazy, or both)
This year, I'm taking it south of the border, and up in the mountains. Get ready Quito, I'm coming for you... for about 36 hours.
It's a pretty comfortable itinerary if you overlook the whole Quito and back in 2.5ish days thing. Allegedly (equipment change shenanigans notwithstanding) the seats should all be lie-flat business and first. LAX-MIA-UIO-MIA-JFK-LAX in 20 hours of flight time for 18k elite qualifying miles. Easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy, right? Famous last words. At least there's no upgrade waitlist angst this time around.
I'm taking a friend with me on her first mileage run, and she's already done the traditional introspective questioning of whether she's really going to actually fly to another continent for no reason. I laughed, and let her know this is the shallow-end as far as bat-crap-crazy mileage flying goes. Maybe not the kiddie pool, but definitely the shallow end.
I then (helpfully? yeah, let's go with helpfully) explained how it takes 17 hours to fly to Hong Kong, and that doing the 18 hour layover is all the rage this year. This, somehow, does not resolve the current issue for her. All in good time. She will undoubtedly learn to love this nonsense. Either that, or I'm about to lose a friend.
Anyhow, back to business. T-24 hours to take off, and I've been debating the exact time I need to get myself to the airport. There are several important factors here. They all involve lounges, mimosas-hold-the-OJ, and what might be the earliest time some poor Uber driver might be cruising my neighborhood on a Saturday.
If I can make it happen, 5:30 am sounds like an auspicious time to roll into LAX tomorrow. This gives me time to hit up the FSL for a shower and a to-go cup (more on this later), then arrive at the Qantas First lounge as they open their shiny geometrically patterned doors of flyer envy. Therein will be breakfast made to order, and a drink to go with. This at least, the travel Gods can't take from me. My seat assignment, my phone charger, and my dignity maybe... but not my lounge access.
So, this all leaves just one short night of packing and obsessing left. Why yes I am currently flight tracking our inbound 777 from Sydney with bated breath, thanks for asking.
Wish me luck & the next update should be on the go!