Anatomy of a Mileage Run: Why Our Editor Flew 8,300 Miles in 25 Hours on a Trip to Nowhere

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THE TRIP

It was a warm and sunny December day, with spring-like weather. Despite my not staying overnight, I packed a change of clothing, and took with me my usual travel kit, which includes my MacBook Pro, iPhone 6s Plus, Mophie battery chargers, cables, USB charger, MacBook power brick, my Nikon D-90, as well as my passports, wallet, and toiletries. One thing travel has taught me is to be prepared for any exigency.

I dropped my car off at the Parking Spot near JFK and was soon in the van, pulling up to Terminal 4. I walked through the Delta One/Virgin Upper Class check-in area for a bottle of water before security, and proceeded to the PreCheck line, where there were just two passengers ahead of me. Elapsed time from curb to airside: five minutes.

My departure gate was 55, one of the last (and newest) at T4. Since I was passing by the Sky Club, I stopped to enjoy a bagel on the outdoor deck for all of five minutes, and began the long walk to my gate. (At the opening of T4, one wag joked that he really wanted to hail a taxi just to get from one end of the terminal to the other.)

Boarding had already started and I took my seat, 1A, at the front of the first-class cabin. The flight attendant working the cabin asked me if Boston was my final destination and laughed when I said, “No, Lima is.” We were airborne 38 minutes and arrived 18 minutes early at the gate in Boston.

As I disembarked, Nancy asked me to wait a moment and handed me the Delta wings the airline typically gives to children on flights. “You may need these today,” she quipped with a smile.

My next stop was the Boston Sky Club, where Carol, one of the agents at the front desk, helped me do the SDC. While I was tasting the broccoli cheddar soup, she confirmed me in 1A on the earlier flight to New York at the end of my trip.

She, like Nancy and the many other Delta employees I encountered, was extremely kind and helpful. When she saw how much I was flying and I told her why, she just kept repeating “thank you, thank you” and I tried to explain that it was I who should really be thanking her.

The Boston-Atlanta flight left the gate three minutes early in a recently refurbished Boeing 757 with very comfortable lie-flat seats. This configuration is typically found on international flights as well as on Delta’s premium transcon routes from New York but it occasionally makes an appearance elsewhere in the system. Krista was the flight leader and showed great interest in the culinary aspects of my travel plans for the day. While I was mulling whether I should eat lunch on the flight to Atlanta, she told me not to skip a meal and to “eat everything” on the international flights. “It’s all so good on those flights,” she said.

Two down, three to go.

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