I went with Tom two years ago on an nine-segment mile run. This year I stayed home since only one of us needs to be Platinum Elite with Continental in order to get a decent chance at upgrades. And that, my friends, is how po' folks get to sit in first class. For those of you who are still confused, wired.com offers an outsider's look at mile running.
Here are the stats from Tom's trip:
- Route: BWI-IAH-SEA-IAH-RSW-IAH-SEA-EWR-BWI
- Total time: 60 hours
- Total segments: 8
- Total train rides: 4
- Total airports: 5
- Total miles: 21,932 (including elite bonus) (25,000 = free domestic trip)
- Total cost: $109 (after $100 voucher)
- Cents per mile: .004
- Upgrades to first class: 3
- Movies watched: 2
- Books read: 1
- Airline meals eaten: 6
When mile running, day becomes night and night becomes day. Sleep comes at your best opportunity either on the flight or the occasional airport that has a comfortable enough spot that you can actually lay flat. Few experience the pleasure of strolling a completely still airport at 3 a.m. and the relief of focusing completely on the journey at hand because there is no destination to worry about.
At 30,000 feet there are no phone calls, e-mails, demands. Deadlines wait until you land. When the captain announces the flight will be 5 hours and 30 minutes, you look out your window and see a plateau of clouds stretching for a seeming eternity tinted with red-orange at sunrise. What is there to do? Nothing! The bliss! Time to think; there is no better place to contemplate life.