I haven’t posted about any of my travel in a while but I finally have something worth posting about and it isn’t even a rant! I re-qualified for United Gold status this week. I had concluded I was going to come up short so it was a pleasant surprise when I checked my account and saw that I had crawled over the 50k mark by 12 miles! Who-hoo! I still like American Airlines better than United but my travels recently are served better by United so I expect I’ll continue to fly them as my primary carrier.
Historically I’ve been a loyal patron of American Airlines. 20 years ago when I started flying a lot American had a hub at Raleigh-Durham International Airport so flying American was easy and made the most sense. I’ve been a AA Platinum Flyer every year since 1993 and passed the 2M lifetime miles a few years ago which (currently but subject to change as their paperwork points out) means I am Platinum for life. This is a nice perk as I don’t have to worry about re-qualifying every year. Even though I haven’t had to re-qualify, I have continued to fly AA primarily with a few flights on other airlines mostly Continental.
This year I have not traveled domestically as much as I normally but I have gone to Europe five times and three of them have been all or partially on Continental so I have accumulated a fair number of miles this year. Enough that I became Silver a few months ago. This was nice because it means I can board in the Elite Access line. Two weeks ago I went to Europe, again on Continental and with their double qualifying miles program, I have now become Gold and have an outside shot at Platinum. I never would have expected this flying from Raleigh where Continental flies to three places – Houston, Cleveland, and Newark.
My experience so far with Continental has been very pleasant. I can’t see making them my preferred carrier, American will always be that but having status on another airline is nice and gives me some more options.
I had to go to New Jersey yesterday for a meeting and had a 6:10 PM flight scheduled to continue on to Orlando for another meeting today. I was flying Continental and while their planes are newer, the seat pitch just isn’t what American’s is. That 2-3 inches makes a huge difference. Anyway – when I got to Newark my flight was showing on time but by the time i got to the gate, it was clear it wouldn’t be. There was still a flight at my scheduled gate so we were moved one gate down the terminal. Then we were delayed. By the time we started boarding it was about 6:40 and since the flight was full, it took a while to board. After departing the gate we sat on the runway for another hour, maybe more. The pilot made up some time in the air – and we finally landed about 10:30, about an hour late so he made up at least 30 minutes. Just a typical Newark experience!
On Sunday I am headed to Japan. Although I travel internationally for work quite a bit (3-4 times a year), I have never been to Japan. My sister and her husband live in Okinawa so we are going to visit them before they head back to the US later this year. We are going to spend a couple days in Tokyo before heading to Okinawa. The kids are thrilled – this will be quite the experience for the six of us. I can’t imagine doing this without Frequent Flyer miles – it would cost a fortune! All those trips on American Airlines come in handy when it comes to a trip like this. I am crossing my fingers for a safe and uneventful trip.