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The 47,000 mile pre-christmas mileage run (report)

The 47,000 mile pre-christmas mileage run (report)

 
Old Dec 1, 10, 5:47 pm
  #16  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Crystal City, VA
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Originally Posted by busyexec331 View Post
I'll take the rabbit, thanks.
The rabbit died.
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Old Dec 2, 10, 12:51 pm
  #17  
 
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Originally Posted by dsquared37 View Post
Sounds much less painful than a wild hare.
But probably not as amusing as a wild heir.
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Old Dec 2, 10, 6:28 pm
  #18  
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Originally Posted by unavaca View Post
But probably not as amusing as a wild heir.
A wild heir up one's butt made me laugh remembering the South Park episode.
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Old Dec 8, 10, 6:34 pm
  #19  
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Trip Report, Part 1

Originally Posted by colonius View Post
Yep, it has been a bad year. Little travel, no DEQM. And just like eightblack, I am addicted to my 1K status - BAD United!

So what to do? I am currently 45,000 miles short with only one more European trip required this year. Not enough. First measure of choice from the West Coast to Europe: take a detour through HNL. The ticket HNL - Germany is not that much more expensive than from SEA. And SEA-HNL is a bargain at the moment, starting at about $320 roundtrip. Still not enough. Throw in a short hop to Australia, from HNL, of course - what else?

So here is my routing, some time in December, shortly before the Christmas madness starts:

Day 1:
SEA - DEN - HNL

Overnight at HNL and early morning flight next day.

Day 2:

HNL - LAX - SFO - SYD - MEL

No chance of an upgrade to Australia, since the fare class is too low. Same day turn-around in MEL... continuing with day 4 due to international date line
I am currently on day 2 of my mileage run and sitting in the LAX RCC. Here is the report so far:

Seattle, way too early. Isn't there some law against flights that leave before 8:00am? Anyway, the alarm clock goes off at 4:45am. After sorting out the obvious questions (What is that noise? Where am I? Who am I?), I go through the usual routine we all know and love... I get to the airport a good hour before departure – and have absolutely nothing to report. The TSA guys were friendly...

Wait. I need to pinch myself. Ouch! So I am awake and those TSA guys are still friendly. Either this is candid camera or the Twilight Zone! Anyway, I get to the Dungeon of the Year (also known as the SEA RCC) and the lounge dragon actually smiles! The espresso machine is not broken and the Cappucino is even marginally drinkable. So this IS the Twilight Zone!

I get to the gate (N15, the one which requires them to board a 757 trough the front doors) – and still no hitch. My upgrades to HNL had both cleared, so off to seat 3C. A friendly, younger flight attendant – a redhead with a great smile – and as I find out, a German husband. Since I come from Germany, there is some common ground to chat a bit. What a difference an upbeat, smiling FA makes!

Great flight to DEN, nothing special to report - the meal is the “Standard Domestic First Class Breakfast”, which seems to be the only thing unalterable in an ever changing universe. Fruit (grapes, one wedge pineapple, one wedge melon), yoghurt (Strawberry-Something Non-Fat), one greasy croissant, one package butter, one package strawberry jam. Why is it ALWAYS strawberry? Come on United, shake the foundations of my believes about you – and serve raspberry or anything else. At least once! The main attraction is a 50 Cent plastic bowl of cereal or the ever-identical combination of two sausage-shapped objects of compressed grease, a banana-shaped egg-like object and a few potatoes. For variety, United served this almost cold this time!

Denver was more to my expectations. The lounge dragons are still as surly as ever, but seem to be a bit listless lately. I would assume that is due to the fact that United took away their one and only joy in live: to give you “The Stare” and maybe a cruel half-smile, as they denied you those precious drink chits. Those chits obviously were the dragon's horde – and no dragon can do without it in the long run!

The flight to HNL: seat 5B, the service was about par for the course – and the Macadamia-encrusted chicken breast was really good. The Mahi-Mahi, on the other hand, smelled so strong that I was happy that I didn't take it and certainly hope that none of the pilots did. Remembering eightblacks achievements, I went ahead and decimated the supply of Mai-Tais on this flight... we Germans can be just as unreasonable as you Aussis, don't y' know!

HNL: the chance to sleep before the long HNL-LAX-SFO-SYD-MEL-SYD-SFO-LAX-HNL-SFO-ORD-MUC-CGN run! I picked the Ohana HNL airport, which had marginally better reviews on Trip Advisor than the Best Western next door (which is the only other option at the airport). After a short shuttle ride, I was “warmly welcomed” in the Hawaiian style by the front desk matron:

Name!

ID!

Credit Card!

I was tempted to reply with “Yes, Madam, Drill Sargent!”

The room was a smallish affair in the “Hale Nui” wing. Hale Nui means “Big House”, how original! The Ohana must have bought their air conditioning units from the same place as the hotel eightblack described. The thing was LOUD, even though “757 engines at full throttle during take-off” comes closer than “diesel-powered” to describe the kind of sound from that contraption.

But I believe the jet-engine-air-conditioner is just a fiendishly clever trick by the Ohana to cover up the total lack of sound insulation in that place. With the doomsday device turned off, I could not only hear every aircraft that took off from HNL, I could swear that I could also tell the type of aircraft, airline and what the pilot had for lunch. Also, I could easily have counted the number of cars going by on the nearby freeway.

The surrounding (no working streetlights, industrial area with a weird feeling to it) discouraged me from walking around to find a place to eat. The hotel restaurant discouraged me with its combination of high-school-cafeteria ambiance and fine-dining prices, so I finally settled for a sandwich from the gift shop and a night of fitful sleep.

Next day: after check-out by an indifferent clerk and a short shuttle ride, I was able to wrestle my boarding passes from Mr. Chicken, graciously declining the $1155 upgrade offer from SFO to SYD, proceeded to the RCC and boarded on time. Another UDU that came through, seat 2H to LAX it was.
Unfortunately, that seat came with the new feature “immediate automatic recline” - and a mechanic (big, friendly guy with HUGE hands handling tiny tools) could only lock the seat in the full upright position – and of course, there were no other first class seats available. Bummer, that wasn't promising.

However, at that point something happened that made me realize why I go to the trouble of this insane mileage run. The mechanic alerted the purser who alerted the ground staff. Immediately, a ground agent met me to apologize and discuss options (rebook to another flight, get compensation etc). I asked him, if they might do something for me on the long flight from SFO to SYD – and he said that he would see if he could do something for me. 10 minutes later, he came back with a brand new boarding pass for me: seat 8C to Sydney. THANK YOU, United! This was great.

About the rest of my (unreclined) flight to LAX, there is little to tell – the service was good, the breakfast was the same “Standard Domestic First Class Breakfast” as the day before, but this time served hot.

And this brings me to my current situation, sitting at the RCC in LAX with a shot T-Mobile hotspot (802.11 radio layer works, but handshake fails). I'll have to move around a bit – maybe it works on the other side of the club.
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Old Dec 8, 10, 6:53 pm
  #20  
 
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Originally Posted by colonius View Post
However, at that point something happened that made me realize why I go to the trouble of this insane mileage run. The mechanic alerted the purser who alerted the ground staff. Immediately, a ground agent met me to apologize and discuss options (rebook to another flight, get compensation etc). I asked him, if they might do something for me on the long flight from SFO to SYD – and he said that he would see if he could do something for me. 10 minutes later, he came back with a brand new boarding pass for me: seat 8C to Sydney. THANK YOU, United! This was great.
There is someting to be said for having things go wrong on board. Congratulations on the upgrade to SYD.

I'm impressed with the total cost of your MR,
Total EQM: 47,786
Total cost: $ 2,977 all-in

How many different tickets did you have to buy? I counted 3, SEA-HNL, HNL-MEL, and HNL-CGN.

Good luck on the rest of your trip.
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Old Dec 8, 10, 6:58 pm
  #21  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
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WOW OP you are insane but yet I am so so jealous of your trip.

I would do it in a hearbeat if I had the $$$ and the time and the ability to fly in F or C on those long legs. As for your score on SFO-SYD, super cool^ that on it's own almost makes your quest for 1k worth it for next year.

Keep the posts coming...this has the potential to be a very very good thread.

Fly SAFE.
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Old Dec 8, 10, 7:04 pm
  #22  
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Originally Posted by CIT85 View Post
There is someting to be said for having things go wrong on board. Congratulations on the upgrade to SYD.

I'm impressed with the total cost of your MR,
Total EQM: 47,786
Total cost: $ 2,977 all-in

How many different tickets did you have to buy? I counted 3, SEA-HNL, HNL-MEL, and HNL-CGN.

Good luck on the rest of your trip.
Correct, three tickets: SEA-HNL, HNL-MEL, HNL-CGN

The key is HNL, which is cheap to reach from SEA and is not much more expensive to Australia or Germany than SEA would be. Actually, if the fare situation with HNL continues next year, my next business trip to Europe will again detour through HNL. Four trips like that plus some smaller domestic trips would requalify me for 1K in 2011.
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Old Dec 8, 10, 7:06 pm
  #23  
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Congratulations on the upgrade to SYD! 14 hours in E+ is terrible.. Looking forward to the rest of the report
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Old Dec 8, 10, 7:12 pm
  #24  
 
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mind i ask what do you do for a living that allows you to just go on a 12 day vocation like that?
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Old Dec 8, 10, 7:20 pm
  #25  
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Originally Posted by RandomTaiwanese View Post
mind i ask what do you do for a living that allows you to just go on a 12 day vocation like that?
Actually, 3 days are paid business time with a client in Germany. Two days are accepted travel allowance to Europe and back, two days are weekend days. That brings it down to 5 actual paid working days that I have to deduct from overtime.

Usually I dont't disclose much about what I do. But if someone needs a travel-crazy CISSP / CISA, I am currently looking for career-improvement.
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Old Dec 8, 10, 7:25 pm
  #26  
 
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Originally Posted by RandomTaiwanese View Post
mind i ask what do you do for a living that allows you to just go on a 12 day vocation like that?
The itinerary appears to include 3 or 4 days of work in CGN and 4 days of weekend, so the OP is only taking 4 or 5 vacation days.

The real question is how he got his wife and kids to let him turn a 4-day business trip into a 12-day affair.
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Old Dec 8, 10, 7:26 pm
  #27  
 
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This is some heck of an MR !!

Congrats on the upgrade to SYD.!
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Old Dec 8, 10, 7:30 pm
  #28  
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Originally Posted by dfreeman02 View Post
The itinerary appears to include 3 or 4 days of work in CGN and 4 days of weekend, so the OP is only taking 4 or 5 vacation days.

The real question is how he got his wife and kids to let him turn a 4-day business trip into a 12-day affair.
The wife threatens her own mileage run next year and the kids will need to be bribed with some nice Christmas presents...

And I miscalculated, it is only four days off my overtime account, thanks!
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Old Dec 8, 10, 7:32 pm
  #29  
 
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whoa ... that is one creative routing ^
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Old Dec 8, 10, 7:36 pm
  #30  
 
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You, my friend, are insane!
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