EDIT: The programme is now online and you can listen to it here
If you came to the Head for Points Christmas party in December you may have met Laurence Grissell from BBC Radio 4. He was – with our permission – looking for interesting characters to feature in a documentary that he was producing.
The finished programme is now ready and will be broadcast at 11am today. It is 30 minutes long.
This is how Radio 4 is promoting it:
Up in the air with the frequent flyers who’ll go to extreme lengths to achieve airline status and rack up air miles. Are they playing the system – or is the system playing them? Georgie Glen narrates their stories
Many hardcore frequent flyers will stop at nothing to achieve the privileges which go with airline status, planning convoluted multi-leg journeys to maximise their points. It’s a whole sub-economy – a parallel currency which the airlines control, and which the frequent flyers seek to exploit.
The consequence is a life which is spent perpetually in transit, on airplanes and in airport lounges. We hear what motivates these individuals, what they gain and what they lose from spending so much of their lives up in the air.
I recorded a long segment for the programme but I don’t know how much of it has made the finished cut (if any!).
My contribution should be slightly detached because as a family man I don’t have the time these days to undertake the mileage and tier point runs which are at the heart of the documentary. I do, of course, understand the economics of the process from both the point of view of the airline and the traveller and that’s probably where I will pop up. Part of the reason for hiring Anika was to let me escape much of the day-to-day review travel that comes with this job – the next stop for her is Johannesburg – in order to spend more time reading “Captain Underpants” to an eager 6-year old.
If you have something better to do at 11am – like, erm, working – you can listen online via this link after 11.30am.
I am as keen as you to hear the finished version. It is worth noting that Laurence is a keen traveller and was doing mileage and tier point runs himself well before he decided to make this programme, so I am not expecting a hatchet job.