For no reason in particular, I thought it was a good time to give this video another push. I haven’t mentioned it for a couple of years – although it is permanently referenced in the sidebar on the desktop site – and hopefully you may have 20 minutes spare today to enjoy it.
If you’ve never seen “Frequent Flyer – The Video”, then you really should. It has been about 5-6 years since Gabriel Leigh made it, I think as a graduation project in the US, but it remains a fantastic piece of work.
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 has historically been 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. It has become less common recently as the major airlines brought in spend targets as well as mileage targets to retain status.
(In Europe a mileage run 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. British Airways tier point runs are becoming less attractive with changes to how American Airlines treats domestic First Class and the 2015 changes to London City – New York JFK tier points.)
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.)
A planned feature length version of ‘Frequent Flyer’ which was the subject of a successful Kickstarter campaign seems to have hit the buffers, which is shame. Enjoy this 20 minute taster version.
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