Two weeks ago Radio 4 broadcast a 30 minute documentary about frequent flyers and their pursuit of elite status, which included a contribution from myself. If you missed it you can listen here.
If you enjoyed it, I also fully recommend “Frequent Flyer – The Video”. It has been about 7-8 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 who do it. Rather like the Radio 4 programme, 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.
The production quality is outstanding, as good as any documentary made for the cinema. It includes a segment with Steve 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.)
The link to the video is here on Vimeo if it is not showing above. If you’ve already seen it, watch it again – it is worth it for the quality of the film making alone.
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.