Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Longest Mile...

I'm back. Took a little break cause we had lots going on, but I'm going to try to get back on this more regularly. Gonna try a few different things too....some different writing styles, maybe some poetry, alternate music lyrics, basically anything I feel like doing. After all, it's my blog, so I'll do what ever the hell I want.

Tonight is going to be an open opinion letter to the airlines....specifically their reward programs.

Dear Airlines,

Your reward programs are a steamy pile of loose bowel movement. For those of you not familiar with these programs, here's the basics. You sign up and get credit for every mile flown. Typically when you reach 25,000 miles, or 25 flights, you get elite status, 50,000 or 50 flights, you get premium elite and 75,000 or 75 flights and you are ultra premium. It varies by airline, but for most of the major ones, that's close enough. Sounds great right? No, not at all. There are so many tragic flaws in this that I could write for days. But, I'll keep it brief and then explain how I have come up with a far superior method.

Here's the problem:

Person A buys a super saver discount ticket for about $225 and flies to Miami from Seattle 4 times in a year. The 4 trips are on time and everything is good. Congratulations, you've flown over 25,000 miles and you've earned elite status...and enough miles for a free ticket that could very well be valued at over $500. was done in a total of about 36 hours of travel time and cost you a whopping $900 to do it. For the remainder of that year AND the entire next year, you get to board early, don't have to pay for checked bags and enjoy a variety of other benefits.

Person B flies from NYC to Boston, Toronto or Detroit almost every week for business. They take a total 48 flights and receive 24,000 miles ( less than 500 mile flights are rounded up to generous) and still don't have enough miles for one free ticket. In addition, shorter business flights like that are usually very the $400-$1000 range. So, person B spent well over 150 hours traveling, encountered countless delays (US Customs being one of them) spent well over $15,000 on tickets and has the exact same level of "Eliteness" as Person A.

That, my friends, is horse shit. Wet, hay-filled, stinky, splattered all over the pavement, horse shit.

So, as usual, I've solved the problem. Frequent flier miles aren't a reward for loyalty to an airline....which is what these programs claim to be. Now, Travel Minutes (TMs) .....that's a reward for loyalty.

Here's the program:

You get one point for every minute you spend "traveling". So, if your flight is scheduled to take off at 2:00pm, and land at 4:30pm, (150 minutes of flight time) you can expect 150 TMs. If you are delayed one hour from your expected 2:00pm departure and land at 5:30pm, you can expect 210 TMs. (150 scheduled +60 min delay = 210 TMs) Makes sense right? You get rewarded for flying the same airline, but more importantly, you are rewarded more as the level of inconvenience increases...and it will, trust me. After you've reached 2500 TMs, (which is about the equivalent of 25 short to mid length flights) you're elite and now receive 2 TMs per minute spent traveling, 5000 TMs = premium elite and 3 TMs per minute, and Ultra elite = 7500 Tms and 5 TMs per minute. It's the perfect way to reward our most loyal and most inconvenienced passengers fairly.

I really should just be in charge of everything.