Blogography Logo


Day One: Seattle

Posted on Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Dave!For those who don't fly very often... i.e. people who jet off on vacation every other year and make an occasional trip home for the holidays... air travel can be a mystifying, frustrating, and altogether torturous experience. I try to keep this in mind when people feel the need to say something like "OH GAWD! YOU'RE TRAVELING AGAIN?!? I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU DO IT! I WOULD DIE IF I HAD TO FLY AS OFTEN AS YOU DO!" To which I usually reply "Well, eventually you get used to it."

But the truth of the matter is that the travel experience for a frequent flier can be considerably different than that of somebody who doesn't travel much.

It would have to be, or else those of us who fly 180,000 miles a year would be blowing our fucking brains out.

Fortunately, most airlines understand that frequent travelers have a different set of needs and an entirely different mind-set from the huddled masses, and work really hard to make their travels as pleasant as possible. Mostly in the hopes that their best customers stay their best customers.

So now I am going to give a list of the top-five reasons my constant travel isn't quite as horrible as it might sound. I've only gotten "elite-plus" status at Alaska Air and Delta (two airlines I love more than chocolate pudding), but I'm guessing the experience is similar for other airline's frequent flier programs...

  1. Upgrade Perks. The people you see in First Class who are drinking champagne and eating brie while lounging in seats so spacious that they could accommodate a family of four, probably didn't pay the outrageous pricetag to be there. More likely they are just very good customers with tons of miles, and the airline upgrades them for free when a seat is available. So as you are schlepping to the back of the plane to sit on a chair the size of a Triscuit cracker with no legroom to speak of, try to resist the urge to punch the First Class passengers in the face as you pass. Odds are they've missed a lot of time with their family and friends, spent more time in airports than at home, and have endured unbelievable travel horror stories to get there. Instead, pity them. Theirs is not the easy life it appears. Besides, the person you punch in the face might be me and I don't want to spill my chanpagne.
  2. Early Boarding Perks. When I travel it's usually for business and I'm carrying important shit that would render the entire purpose of my trip moot if it were lost. For me there's rarely an option to check my carry-on bag, as I simply must have it with me when I arrive at my destination. Fortunately I don't have to worry about running out of overhead space because I'm one of the first people on the plane. In the event I don't get an upgrade, I still have no trouble finding a spot for my important shit. Elite flyers also have the option of carrying on an extra bag which comes in handy from time to time. In a day and age where people bring their entire luggage set onboard and filling three overhead bins to avoid paying baggage fees, this is probably my most favorite (and necessary) perk.
  3. Luggage Perks. Since I try hard not to abuse the overhead storage, I check my luggage at the departure desk whenever I can. Mostly because A) I don't have to pay for it since all luggage fees are waived for Elite fliers and B) My luggage is flagged as "priority" so it has a better chance of not getting lost AND being one of the first bags out of the chute at baggage claim. I try very hard to resist the urge to scream "SO LONG, SUCKERS!" when this happens but, as somebody who has had their luggage lost or delayed multiple times while trying to live out of a suitcase, it's tough.
  4. Security Perks. In addition to being one of the first people on one the plane, I can also be the one of the first people through security. Most major airports have a separate, much shorter security line for elite fliers. I don't always use it since I try to get to the airport with plenty of time to spare, but on those back-to-back-to-back schedules where I'm trying to fit a half-dozen appointments into a single week, it has come in very handy. I still have just as big a chance for a TSA "enhanced screening" hand-job as you do though, so don't feel too sorry for me because you think I'm missing out.
  5. Lounge Access Perks. Today I have a 6-1/2 hour layover in Seattle. But, since this is an international flight, the wait is not quite so bad because I have access to the lovely "Delta Sky Club" lounge. I get a desk, a phone, plug-ins, internet, a comfy chair, and (most important of all) free mini-muffins and Coke! This may seem like kind of a trivial perk, but when you spend the horrible amount of time in airports that I do, it's sometimes the difference between life and death. Well, not literally life and death... but sometimes those banana-nut mini-muffins are the only thing keeping me sane when forced to waste lots of time waiting for a flight...

My FREE Mini Muffins!

The last couple of years have been relatively "light" travel years for me, which means I only accumulated around 150,000 miles annually. That's still a lot, but pales when compared to those heady days of 2002-2006 where I flew over 200,000 miles annually and held top-level elite status at three airlines. But I still get treated very well, so that's the real reason I don't mind flying so often. It's just difficult to explain all that when somebody says ZOMFG! I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU CAN STAND TO FLY SO MUCH!!"

Though today I was kind of lucky to be flying at all because of the weather. Fog blanketed Seattle this morning, which added an air of eerie spookiness when we landed...

Foggy SeaTac Morning!

Things weren't looking too much better after sunrise...

Foggy Sunrise

Foggy Sunrise

It's not so bad out now, so hopefully I won't have any problems getting to Europe today.

Well, unless the airplane should explode into a massive ball of flames and fall in the ocean as I'm crossing the Atlantic. That kind of thing can totally put a damper on your trip no matter how many frequent flier miles you have.

Tags: ,
Categories: Travel 2011Click To It: Permalink


  1. A. Lewis says:

    STOP THAT SHIT TALK about exploding planes. HOpe you have a great trip and get a chance to R&R on the long flight.

  2. Avitable says:

    I got to upgrade to Delta’s first class on my flight to Utah, and all of those benefits made it a fantastic trip.

  3. RW says:

    I second your notes on the composition of the passengers in 1st Class as that’s the only way MrsRW and I have gotten in there, except now I’m spoiled like a brat. being a little tipsy even before you take off, though, is a whole lot more fun.

  4. the muskrat says:

    After talking to you once about all these benefits, I broke down after years of opposition to having a credit card with an annual fee and got the Delta skymiles AMEX corporate card, just so I can hope to one day be bumped up to the front of the plane. I’m only silver elite now, but it did get us home on a special plane from Houston when everyone else had to stay overnight after our scheduled plane broke. I’ve got 90k miles on it (the bulk of it from spending, not flying, though). I’ll let you know when I finally get my first ever first class experience (cause I’m sure you give a shit. Really, I’m certain!)!

    • Dave2 says:

      Even Silver Elite has perks that are pretty amazing… you get 50% bonus miles on every flight!

      Miles earned on the Delta AmEx do not count towards Elite qualification, but they spend as regular miles for free tickets or upgrades and such.

      And I do give a shit. Really!

      Unless you start earning more miles than I do and we’re on the same flight and you steal my upgrade!

  5. Sybil Law says:

    Your plane will be fine. I’d miss you too much if it wasn’t.

  6. Cricket says:

    I have only had one trip that involved flying, but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. That said, I’d love to enjoy perks like that. It’s good they take care of you (as they well should).

    I truly hope you land safely across the pond.

    • Dave2 says:

      I’m not a huge fan of flying… not because I’m afraid or anything… but because it can be such a horrendous ordeal. But being a frequent flier makes things quite a bit more manageable, for which I am grateful. I have always been treated exceedingly well by Delta Airlines, and appreciate it quite a lot!

  7. Sarah says:

    Please don’t let your plane become a big ball of fire. I’m sure Vahid would like to see you at some point this year.

  8. Invader_Stu says:

    Mini muffins alone sounds like a good enough reason to me

  9. Hilly says:

    Mmmmmmm, mini-muffins.


  10. delmer says:

    I am at the lowest level of Delta’s bonus levels (Silver Medallion?) and was upgraded to FC not long ago.

    A mistake I made on another flight was thinking that since bags normally cost something like $50 for the first bag, $75 for the second and $125 for the third that my third bag would be $50 as my first two were free… it wasn’t. It came in at $125 (or whatever the third bag runs).

    • Dave2 says:

      Well that’s kind of crap, isn’t it? I get something like four bags free, but I am such a light packer that I rarely have more than one. Still, I’m grateful to get that much free. I think if you have a Delta credit card (from AmEx) you get one bag free even if you don’t reach elite status.

  11. Jarod says:

    Cool, I’m not the only frequent flyer who thinks about the fireball and I have no fear of flying. Bring on the turbulence.

  12. Kevin Houston says:

    Great post, Dave! I always wondered why people would pay those outrageous 1st class ticket fares just for free 1 oz liquor and a bag of free chips. Maybe one day they will give me status just because I’ve shaken your hand and taxi’d you around ATL. Safe travels!

Add a Comment


I love comments! However, all comments are moderated, and won't appear until approved. Are you an abusive troll with nothing to contribute? Don't bother. Selling something? Don't bother. Spam linking? Don't bother.
PLEASE NOTE: My comment-spam protection requires JavaScript... if you have it turned off or are using a mobile device without JavaScript, commenting won't work. Sorry.



Your personal information is optional. Email addresses are never shown, and are only used by me if a public reply would be too personal or inappropriate here. The URL link to your web site or blog will be provided, so only fill this in if you want people to visit!



Blogography is a place to learn and grow by exposing yourself to the mind of David Simmer II, a brilliant commentator on world events and popular culture (or so he claims).
Dave FAQ:
Frequently Asked Questions
Dave Contact:
Blogography Webfeeds:
Atom Entries Feed
Comments Feed
translate me
flags of the world!
lost & found
Search Blogography:
thrice fiction
Thrice Fiction Magazine - March, 2011 - THE END
I'm co-founder of Thrice Fiction magazine. Come check us out!
hard rock moment
Visit DaveCafe for my Hard Rock Cafe travel journal!
travel picto-gram
Visit my travel map to see where I have been in this world!
Blogography Badge
Atom Syndicate Badge
Comments Syndicate Badge
Apple Safari Badge
Pirate's Booty Badge
Macintosh Badge
All content copyright ©2003-2022
by David Simmer II
Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under
a Creative Commons License.
ssl security