‘Frequent Flyer – The Video’ – why we do what we do

Today, if all goes well, I will be experiencing a unique triple whammy:

The Lufhansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt

The Swiss First Class lounge in Zurich

Swiss First Class flight to Boston

(oh, and a Lufthansa Business Class flight from Frankfurt to Zurich, but that’s not very exciting!)

This means that a) I have been pushed for time to write new stuff for today and b) it is a perfect opportunity to re-use an old post and recommend a video to you!

If you’ve never seen “Frequent Flyer – The Video”, then you really must. It has been a couple of years since Gabriel Leigh made it, I think as a graduation project in the US, but it remains a fantastic piece of work.

Frequent Flyer The Video

It is a 20 minute piece about collecting airline miles, in particular the people (like us!) who do it. It primarily focusses on mileage running – taking very cheap or multi-segment flights on crazy routings in order to accumulate miles or status points very cheaply. This practice is very popular in the US because of the ability to turn a New York to San Francisco flight into an 8-segment marathon, on the same airline.

(In Europe it is a lot more difficult because of the number of different airlines – the best you might manage is, potentially, flying London to Zurich to Frankfurt instead of London to Frankfurt, in order to add an extra Star Alliance flight segment or some extra miles.)

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/7167640]


Anyway, back to the video. The production quality is outstanding, as good as any documentary made for the cinema. Randy Petersen, founder of Flyertalk and Milepoint, is featured, as are some other regular Flyertalk posters, albeit under their real names.

It includes a segment with Steve ‘Beaubo’ Belkin, talking about how he infamously hired disabled Thai rice farmers to fly between Bangkok to Chiang Mai all day, every day, in order to take huge advantage of a Star Alliance promotion! (Belkin is the first person you see talking when the video starts, Petersen is second.)

The link to the video is here or click the image above if you can see it (you’ll get a bigger picture by watching it via the link). If you’re at work and don’t have 20 minutes to spare, email yourself a reminder to watch it at home. If you’ve already seen it, watch it again – it is worth it for the quality of the film making alone.

The good news is that Leigh is now working on a feature length version of ‘Frequent Flyer’, funded via the Kickstarter website. Enjoy. And think of me struggling to put away yet another glass of premium champagne in a First Class lounge somewhere today …..!

Double Avios points with various hotel chains over the Summer
What are the best Star Alliance credit cards for UK residents?
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  1. Lucky you. Enjoy.

  2. Sir Stamford says:

    Enjoy your flights, experiences and champagnes!

    Poor me can only experience Swiss J class between HKG – ZRH later this week. Some one rather unfortunate has to be in J rather than F, I suppose :)

    Sir Stamford

  3. Chu Vo Dam says:

    Be sure to grab the complimentary Bvlgari products in the shower rooms in the Swiss First Class lounge

    • Grab everything that isn’t screwed down!!

      • James67 says:

        …I think he should draw a line at the lounge dragons and flight attendants! Otherwise, have fun Raffles.

    • Was just pondering whether I should do that! Got another hour so may go for it, cannot face any more food or even champagne at this point! And I haven’t even got on the plane yet …

  4. Looking forward to the trip reports!

  5. Hope you rememberedt the ducks Raffles you must have a badelynge of them now . The last time we were in the ZRH Swiss First Lounge the products were La Prairie.. Enjoy your day.

  6. Enjoy the pre-take-off canapés in Swiss First – BA could learn a thing or two from Swiss!

  7. Enjoy LX F … it was the airline which convinced my collecting miles was worth it. Can still remember grinning whilst I got driven to the plane, and then some of the best plane food ever whilst in the air. Jealous about the FCT though as that’s still on the to-do list (along with SQ suites and a shower on EK).

    • Just hit my hotel. Food was outstanding, most accomplished I have ever had on a plane. Didn’t take photos but will post the menu later in the week.

      Plane also landed well away from any others, so immigration empty. Door of plane to hotel room in 50 minutes, the joy of Boston!

  8. Super video. Any idea how Belkin was able to accumulate miles for others’ travel?

    • He had control of their accounts (ie log in and password) so he just logged in as them and redeemed for tickets in his name.