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Ask a Trini : Why bother with a mileage run?

Stated simply, a mileage run is an airline trip taken solely to accrue more miles or points with a given airline. The destination is in this simplest definition is irrelevant, and often isn’t a destination at all, with the majority of mileage runners never leaving the secure area of the transiting airport(s). They will simply board a flight back to their origin and call it a day/trip.

Doing my latest mileage involved travelling across three continents and 25462 miles. Along the trip, I happened to met other mileage runners. The discussion ranged from optimal plane configuration, optimization of booking classes, comparisons of different mileage programs to why fried chicken at Jollibee in the Philippines should not come with ball of rice but rather with the “standard” basket of fries. Fairly arcane and boring discussions for everyone but a mileage runner … The average person would have no clue about the difference of an M vs F class fare on United vs C class on Lufthansa. More importantly, who cares about this stuff?

Did you know … the equatorial circumference of the Earth is 24,901.55 miles?

Seriously, from the average Joes perspective, flying around in this manner is typically the domain of rich, privileged people, who like the champagne and their “grey poupon” not some Trini kid from Chaguanas. I don’t like mileage running for the sake of getting more miles and being able to see another place or two. I like mileage running because its a challenge. It also represents something that was completely impossible and inaccessible to me growing up. This was the domain of the plantation class, the bourgeoisie and upper crust.
It’s funny to say it like that, but it’s absolutely true. People say slavery and serfdom ended years ago, they say that people don’t live like peasants anymore. Of course, I absolutely disagree with that – travelling lets you see that slavery, serfdom and indentured labour practices are still alive and kicking.

Which of these is worse?

  • Being put into classes of people, but with a clear definition and purpose, with the ability and freedom to move within and above social classes but not being equal
  • Being told that we’re all completely equal, and that we can do anything we like. Of course, this comes with the awareness that no one said identified what we should do or who should do it or when you can do it … But whatever you want to do, please do it.

While you’re thinking about those choices and realizing that neither is really that great a choice, contemplate doing something that no one you personally know has done before.

  • Have you done this thing?
  • If not, why? It could be anything … As long as no one you know has personally done it. It gets pretty tough to think of one thing to do …so how about doing 5 of these things … even tougher eh?

For me, mileage running was one of those “things” that no one I knew growing up did or thought was a possibility – the closest story of a Trinidadian traveller I could relate to was that of Harold and Kwailan La Borde in “Round the World in Humming Bird II”. It’s an absolutely inspirational story … and sadly one that many young Trinis have never read or even know about.  Being able to visit more than half of the countries in the world was another “impossibility” in my brain. Since we know that the equatorial circumference of the planet is less than 25,000 miles, it means that I basically flew around the planet. It took the LaBordes 4 years to do it, and now anyone can do it in a matter of hours.

How many people do you personally know, that can say that went around the world in a weekend?

In the end, why bother with a mileage run? For the challenge and with this mindset that I go on these exhausting, taxing and mentally draining mileage runs …

Challenge yourself!!!

No matter how small, just challenge yourself – that’s why I do it.

About Rishiray

Rishi Sankar is a Cloud HRMS Project Manager/ Solution Architect. Over the past 15+ years, he has managed to combine his overwhelming wanderlust with a desire to stay employed, resulting in continuing stints with 3 major consulting firms (IBM, Deloitte, Accenture). He documents his adventures around the world on "Ah Trini Travelogue" with pictures and stories from the road/tuk-tuk/camel/rickshaw. You can follow him on Twitter at @rishiray and on Facebook at "Ah Trini Travelogue . He doesn't like Chicken Curry but loves Curry Chicken and is always trying to find the perfect Trinidadian roti on the road. He also doesn't like cheese and kittens ... and definitely not together. E-mail from his blog is appreciated like a 35 yr old Balvenie at [email protected]

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