Thought those of you who enjoyed the movie "Up in the Air" and who can recognize almost all the airport scenes in the movie - because, like me, you've actually been through all those airports and lounges - could identify with this press release:
That's 29,000 miles flown, per month, every month, for the last 29 years. He cashed in some of his miles for an appearance on "Seinfeld" once, and he has a Boeing 777 jet named after him.Miles above the U.S. heartland, nearly half-way between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, one customer aboard United Airlines (NYSE: UAL) flight 942 from Los Angeles to Chicago this Saturday will reach a first-ever milestone: earning 10 million miles in flight.
Tom Stuker, a Chicago-based automotive sales consultant, joined Mileage Plus in 1982 and, since then, has logged 5,962 United flights – plus or minus one or two – including more than 200 roundtrips to Australia and nearly 30 to Asia. Stuker has touched down at airports in all 50 U.S. states, including 70 trips to Hawai'i.
As United's most-frequent flyer, Stuker is the airline's first customer since the program launched in 1981 – and perhaps the first traveler ever – to fly 10 million miles. To equal his feat, a traveler could circle the globe 400 times, fly to the moon and back 20 times, or fly roundtrip between United's largest hubs in Houston and Chicago about 5,400 times.
He even got his own TV news story a while back.
Here's another news article that distinguishes between merely earning 10 million miles (which, for elite fliers, are padded with bonus miles) and actually flying 10 million miles. In Ryan Bingham/George Clooney's case in "Up in the Air," I'm pretty sure he had only earned 10 million miles, not flown them. Because Mr. Stuker has flown 10 million miles, he has actually earned far more than that - something like 30 million miles.
As a middling Premier Executive-level elite flier on United, I can attest to the fact that I don't have to pay baggage fees, get upgrades to First most of the time, and get my pick of seats in cattle class when I don't get upgraded. You also never know who you could sit next to - on my way out of Spokane after 2010 Nationals, Evan Lysacek, himself obviously an elite flier, happened to be sitting next to me.