In the first three parts (LEG 1 & LEG 2 and LEG 3) of my mileage run series I talked about what a mileage run is, why you would go on a mileage run and I also spoke about why I got into the mileage game. What hasn’t been talked about yet is what it is like to actually go on a mileage run.
Mileage runs can be fun, they can be interesting, but one thing that is certain is that you will spend a lot of time in those airline seats.
I have already completed two mileage runs earlier this year; one to Dallas (DFW) and another to Newark (EWR). Even though both of the mileage runs were on Delta, one gave me quite a lot more points, as the Newark run was in First Class (thanks to a cheap K Up fare, but that is a story for another day).
The Dallas run had me away from Seattle for just 1 night, with three flights each day going from Seattle to Salt Lake City to Minneapolis to Dallas on day one. Day two had me flying Dallas to Memphis to Minneapolis to Seattle. The Dallas run had me visiting three new airports (MEM, DFW & SLC), flying two new aircraft types (CRJ-900 and MD-90) but there were some very tight connections: 45-60 minutes at each airport.
I booked my tickets with the minimum time legally allowed, which probably was not so smart! It made for some interesting times that weekend with me having to run from Gate F7 to C17 in Minneapolis (MSP) to make my flight to Dallas. I made the flight with 5 minutes to spare and covered the distance between gates (roughly ½ to ¾ of a mile) in about 6 minutes. Making the flight meant I could enjoy some BBQ in Dallas before a good night’s sleep.
The Newark run though was much longer. More time between flights and I had to position down to San Francisco. With Seattle to San Francisco on United and my run from SFO to Atlanta to Newark, returning back to San Fran via Minneapolis, this run was definitely a lot more comfortable. However the killer was the five hour layover in San Francisco on the way home. It did give me plenty of time to relax in lounges, explore the airports but there were two very sleepless nights.
The lack of sleep, the long waits in the terminals, getting back to Seattle close to midnight after leaving Newark almost 18 hours prior was a challenge, but still all worth it for me. I was lucky enough to get First Class seats on these flights and was being fed and watered on each leg, but it still was quite a bit of time spend inside an airline cabin.
No matter what kind of run you do, you’re going to want to make sure you plan accordingly. You definitely don’t want to have a checked bag as then you can’t take a bump here or there to help out on the costs (none offered on my flights). You need to stay hydrated and fed so snacks and plenty of water help (biscoffs from the lounges kept me going on the Dallas run). The biggest thing is you need to stay entertained.
You can’t rely on airline provided entertainment, such as seat back TV or WiFi as most of the time it is not fitted or they might not work. So a laptop/ipad with some videos is a good choice. The things that I found worked perfectly were a good book/magazine, which never need charging. Make sure to wear good comfy clothes as you’re going to spend long hours in them… running shoes might help too!
Even though the mileage runs took two full weekends to complete, it gave me more than enough points to re-qualify for my status with Virgin Australia. I earned more than I thought I would with the Dallas run and then earned more than half of my year’s worth of points on that one run to Newark.
Then I was able to do a mini mileage run during my recent trip to Australia (future stories coming soon), to get my four minimum segments and I am set for another 12 months.
I know putting this mileage run into words might make this sound, no so exciting, but try taking a look at my photos of this mileage run and telling me it was not a fun time!
|This story written by…Malcolm Muir, Lead Correspondent.
Mal is an Australian Avgeek now living and working in Seattle. With a passion for aircraft photography, traveling and the fun that combining the two can bring. Insights into the aviation world with a bit of a perspective thanks to working in the travel industry.
Doing a run in the middle of winter seems like its asking for trouble… Nice pics – did you buy the helmet to grow your hair???
It may sound like a bad idea, but I don’t really have much choice. The biggest reason is that fares over the winter time are going to be cheaper and more often than not offer better cent per mile costs. The other reason is my requalification period starts and ends in September, so other than a last minute hurtle to the line if needed, all of my flying is going to be over the winter on runs. Plus during summer prices are never that great.
I did’t buy the helmet no, I still have my hair..thankfully