Oct072015

AAdvantage Executive Platinum Diary Day 35 – the nightmare ends or is just beginning?

Poor despicable elite me!

Here is the story of my airport nightmare today.

***

I am in a conversation with this older man about how frantically rushed people appear inside the airport lounge as I notice he is dressed in a fashionable London tailored business suit. Then, there is me, wearing black jeans with some kind of brown crusted dry stain clearly visible on my upper pant leg. My jeans have not been washed in two weeks. The t-shirt I am wearing is a mismatched color for the black jeans. I think to myself, at least the other clothing I am wearing besides my jeans are clean from a hotel bathtub shampoo wash and rinse a few days earlier and there is not any dirty clothes smell on me. At least none I can detect.

The man and I are having a casual conversation by the coffee machine in the lounge when a woman bumps into me and drops her plate of food on the floor with a loud crash and a spray of chicken tandoori across the floor that leaves a six inch line of juicy sauce clinging to my black jeans pant leg. My first thought as I look down at my pants and the suit’s pants is “at least the food splashed onto my dirty jeans and not the businessman’s fancy suit.” I look the woman in the eyes, her face distraught as her eyes look into mine. I detect perhaps a sense of fear in her face as she waits to see what will be my response. Words of apology are coming out of her lips, but I don’t understand her language; only the universal sentiment is expressed in ways beyond the meanings of mere words. I smile at her and make a gesture that I hope conveys the universal meaning for “Don’t worry about it. Shit happens.” I smear the thin line of juicy sauce with a white napkin and embed a new yellowish-brown stain into my black jeans.

I feel so tired after having not slept in a bed for close to 40 hours. Downing a large cup of coffee is my medicine to combat sleepiness. I’ll wash the food stain on my jeans when I go the airport lounge bathroom.

My airline ticket for an economy class cabin seat means I will not get any lie-flat rest on the next international flight, despite my ability to hang out in an Airport First Class lounge through my new American Airlines AAdvantage Executive Platinum elite status. As I look at my airline boarding pass, the sudden realization smacks my brain that my flight is actually scheduled to leave several hours earlier than I had thought. Last week I flew on a ticket to the same destination and in my head was the mistaken belief that I was flying the same routing and still had hours to hang out in the airport lounge. Suddenly, reality hits me that my flight schedule is a different routing than last week’s ticket and I see there are only 40 minutes before flight departure.

I am not even in the correct airport terminal for my flight. I had wandered to a different terminal to check out the lounge of a different Oneworld airline carrier, a place where I had read FlyerTalk reports on their great selection of Asian foods.

Hustling myself out of the airport lounge and out to the street where some kind of 10K and half-marathon race is happening somewhere in the area. The sidewalks are crowded with people dressed in running shorts and t-shirts, moving slower than you’d expect for racers. I weave along the sidewalk with my luggage around slow-motion bodies as the crowd heads in my same direction to the race start gathering area. The terminal is close enough that I can quickly walk over there faster than taking the airport shuttle bus. I arrive at the airport terminal doors and look up at the clock to see there are only 26 minutes remaining before my flight. And I still have to go through airport security.

My thoughts are about how I never had this problem when I was a frequent flyer with no elite status, always sitting at the gate at least an hour before flight time so I could work on my computer in the idle time between clearing airport security and flight departure. Before I was AAdvantage Executive Platinum there were no distractions to occupy my time once I arrived at the airport before the flight. Time management was rarely an issue.

Now Oneworld elite status conferring airport lounge benefits distracts me with opportunities for free beer and hot food and comfortable chairs with power outlets for a space to hang out inside the airport before my flights. A space I generally hold onto up to the last minute, when I can dash to the plane with some writing developed on my computer, a full stomach, and a beer buzz.

Only 24 minutes before flight departure and I know I am going to miss my international flight! 

Damn airport lounges!

***

I wake up. My nightmare is over.

Eyes wide open, I look around in the dark room trying to remember where I am. I move my leg and touch skin. I am home in Monterey. Kelley is in our bed. I feel around on the nightstand and my fingers find the bedside clock. Pressing the button shows the time is 3:15am. I lay in bed in the dark room calculating: 1-6pm for five hours and 8:30pm to 3:15am for six and three-quarter hours sleep. I have slept nearly 12 hours since arriving home yesterday in Monterey after 42 hours of travel since I had been asleep in a bed in Copenhagen, Denmark.

***

On September 2, 2015 I embarked on a five weeks fast-track journey to acquire American Airlines Executive Platinum elite status by flying 30,000 elite qualifying miles by October 9, 2015.

Yesterday, October 6, 2015 I returned to Monterey on a flight from Phoenix to complete the last remaining flight of 20 segments on American Airlines and British Airways from four tickets I purchased in the last week of July 2015. I flew First Class on my last flight segment from Phoenix to Monterey on a complimentary upgrade conferred to me as an American Airlines AAdvantage Executive Platinum member.

Perhaps I should have celebrated with an in flight glass of champagne on the flight home. I settled for a glass of orange juice and a bag of gourmet cookies selected from the basket of treats the flight attendant held out for me. I needed to remain alert until I got home, where I drank two beers of Stella Artois that seemed disappointing after all the northern France beers I tasted last week.

Final tally: American Airlines AAdvantage 39,131 EQM flown. About 70,000 redeemable miles earned. For some reason, several British Airways flights are no longer listed on my AAdvantage flight summary for September, so I don’t have an exact number for redeemable miles earned.

In addition to 20 flight segments ticketed for OneWorld Alliance flights for the AAdvantage fast-track challenge with three round trips between California and Scandinavia, I included ten flight segments for side trips with travel in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Czech Republic, UK, France and Switzerland.

Along the way I picked up Choice Privileges Platinum elite status after completing 20 nights in 2015 with nine hotel nights in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the UK.

I stayed ten nights with IHG including InterContinental Paris Le Grand, InterContinental Geneva and two extended PointBreaks stays at Holiday Day Inn Brno, CZ and Holiday Inn Garden Court Clermont-Ferrand, France.

I’ll break down total costs in another post sometime this week.

Most of the stuff described in my nightmare were actually similar to real events that happened over the past month, except nobody spilled food on me and although I was close to the last person to board a couple of flights due to hanging out in airport lounges too long, I flew 30 flight segments in the past month without missing a single scheduled flight.

My nightmare this morning turned out just to be an elite bad dream. For the next 17 months I will hold AAdvantage Executive Platinum elite status. I have already had an elite member argument with the lounge staff at London Heathrow British Airways First Class over being refused admission. I felt bad after seeing I had visibly shaken the desk agent over my insistence that I was eligible for admission. I disliked having to have a fight to get into the First Class lounge since it was not the British Airways agent’s fault that my ticket did not show my Oneworld Emerald elite status. The food and beer in the First Class lounge was the same as the Business Class lounge, so there was no advantage to changing spaces except for a different kind of chair to lounge in.

Poor despicable elite me!

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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Comments

  1. I was looking forward to the next part, to see, if your Exec Platinum status helped you get re-accommodated on a later flight after you missed it!

    Its really not that big a deal if you miss a flight, there’s always a next flight!

    I’ve had good luck as an elite with many airlines getting reaccommodated if I miss my flight.

    Here’s hoping for another post of your first missed flight and how it went. 🙂

  2. You can order food in BA F off a menu so there is a difference.

    Glad you are now Explat. You should list the cost of your flights versus the miles you earned (valued at 1.7 but can be redeemed for much more) and show how, especially if you fly during the next 17 months domestically and enjoy complimentary upgrades to F, it was worth it.

  3. Funny story, good end to the saga of getting ExPlat.

    Now that you are done, will we see normal service resume. Looking out for an update of your current hotel promos series (which I find invaluable)

  4. That is my plan. I’ll put together the flight costs and miles earned sometime in the next week.

    I keep thinking how I paid $373 and earned close to 25,000 Redeemable miles on BGO-SFO round trip ticket. I have a feeling I might be visiting Scandinavia a couple times this winter. 25,000 miles x 1.7 cpm = $425 redemption value.

  5. I can’t say I am looking forward to missing a flight, but if it does not mean buying an award ticket to get home, then I’ll be happy.

    I paid 35,000 AA miles in past year plus over $200 in last minute award ticket fees after missing two flights back home on international travel.

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