Saturday, September 08, 2012
Returning to the Air
For all that time I gained some skills - I can still pack in a relatively small bag. (I prefer carry on and no roller bags - they slow down experienced travelers down in airports.) When I achieved my 2 millionth mile with United they commemorated it with three gifts. I got an iPod, a lifetime membership in the United Club (then called the Red Carpet Room - now called simply the Club) and I got to be Premier Executive Status for life(which is the second level on their Mileage Plus program). I also developed a habit of leaving for very early flights - so developed a set of mechanisms (including being able to often wake myself without an alarm clock and being able to pack almost from memory) to cope.
But when I retired from my prior position, I began to scale back my flying. This year, I am about 30,000 miles with United and will probably end up something under 50,000 miles. Indeed, for a period of about 240 months there was not a period where I went more than 28 days where I did not fly on United. My last flight with the airline, until the last couple of days, was in April. (Although that will pick up in the fall.)
So I approached a trip to Aguascalientes with some trepidation. I no longer get the absolute first choice on meals when flying first class. Not a big deal, I often said I will take what is left - because many people grump about not getting their first choice. I also wondered if I would be able to stand the pace I had done for so many years (YES!). I still like the challenge of working my way through crowds of people - and I am still pretty good at it.
I found during my regular career that I would often travel to meet people in distant places because a face to face meeting was much better than a phone conversation. And I believe that is still true. The meeting I was going to was to celebrate the 10th anniversary of a university in Mexico where I was present at the creation. And as part of the celebration (which I will describe in another post) they had a series of symposiums using video conferencing. Two of the sessions involved minor glitches which made them a bit hard to understand. But the technology is advancing very fast.
So do I miss all those miles in the air? No. But did I enjoy getting back to a wonderful city in Mexico? Absolutely!