With this week round-trip flight to Warsaw, Poland, I’m turning Gold.
Gold as the membership status of the frequent flyer program FlyingBlue, status that I’m reaching first time in my life after flight number 30 in an intense year of traveling, and also as you can imagine the only golden thing I could care about.
Not including the flights taken during my months of vagabonding – like the Amsterdam-Panama and Bogota’-Amsterdam paid with airmiles – those are the destinations I had flight into during 2011:
- Tel Aviv (Israel)
- Torino (Italy) – few times
- Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) – few times
- Munich (Germany)
- Milano (Italy) – many times
- Nantes (France)
- Tallinn (Estonia)
- Warsaw (Poland)
I really like flying.
Since the moment I reach the airport I feel a strange alternation of excitement and peace.
Excitement because is a prelude of a travel, an intense experience full of unknown situations, and often associated with something new.
Peace because of the waiting time at the gate, waiting time for the take off, waiting time on the flight. A lot of waiting that you can only accept and that gives me time to read, write, sort-of-sleep, think…. things normally I don’t obviously do 😉
One of the highlight of my traveler career is surely the day when I’ve been in 5 countries – a personal record that it will be difficult to improve.
It happened when I had flight back to Netherlands (1) from Saudi Arabia (2) via France (3) and few hours later flew to Germany (4) and drove down to Austria (5) to ski with Geg.
If we look at it with from a temperatures point of view, it was a trip from the oven to the fridge… exactly what the statistical science would call “a perfect temperature, in average”.
So what’s gonna change now that I turn GOLD?
Here are the benefits I’ll enjoy the most:
- 75% more Miles for each flight you take – meaning more airmiles for me 🙂
- free Lounge access with possibility to bring along a guest. I didn’t even know what’s an airport lounge before Andy took me as guest to the one in Schiphol couple of years ago (and Gianluca repeated last week).
Free food and drinks, magazines and indeed Wi-Fi all delivered in embracing comfy chairs. In other words, the place where the riches go waiting for a plane.
- Did I mention the free Lounge access?
- How about free access to the Lounge?
Flying quite often had teach me nice lessons.
First one is surely how to travel light. I can’t remember last time I checked-in the luggage (actually it was when going to Austria for skiing) but even the backpack for 3 months on the road passed as “approved cabin size” hand luggage, so imagine the trolley for one week business trip.
My golden rule is: think positive and think what you’ll wear everyday. Forgot the rest.
The chances that you’ll drop your coffee on the jeans are too low (for me, but if you’re sloppy think it twice) to justify packing an additional one, plus the business hotels have very efficient laundry services, plus buying what you may need is a valid last option.
But I could have never been able to travel light without my travel best friend, the travel jacket ScotteVest Revolution.
I’m not here to make advertisements of products but check this fantastic video to see what I’m talking about…
I don’t even have a quarter of the electronic gadgets this geek has, but imagine how much staff I can put in the jacket in a very organized way, reducing the weight of my hand luggage.
And nobody is checking the weight of a jacket!
Another thing I absolutely avoid is wearing any belt – a little difference that saves me time and annoyance at the security screen.
My favorite seats are on the aisle and as much as front as possible, so I can get in the plane as last passenger, get out soon, get the meal and drinks served early in the flight when all options are available and avoid some noise, much stronger in the seats behind the wings.
More folks now opt for the noise cancellation headset, I admit that they work great but I’m happy so far with earplugs that I use anyway only on the longer flights.
And I stay without shoes as much as I can, allowing the feet to enjoy the freedom I can’t enjoy being trapped by the seat belt.
“I don’t spend a nickel, if I can help it, unless it somehow profits my mileage account.” – from “Up in the Air”, my next movie in the list.
How you like flying?