Flight Plan

A frequent flier’s tip on flying

| Updated on: Dec 12, 2021
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Covid tip: pick the last seat because “nobody coughs backwards”

He is called the Elvis Presley of the air miles. Tom Stucker, a US-based Co-Founder of an international car sales consultancy, has flown a total of 21 million miles since 1983 when he joined the rewards’ programme of United. He has circled the equator 22 times and is a veteran of 10,000 flights. Added to this record is the fact that he has never been involved in a fight with any of the airline staff. According to him, the secret of flying is not only being able to overcome jetlag, but also being polite to the crew. “When I get on the plane, the first thing I say is,” How are you doing? Glad to be on this flight.”


Stucker in his mid-sixties now pays for each of his tickets and all those air miles that he has accumulated over the years are given away to various charities and relatives. However, there are perks that are exclusively meant for him and are not transferable. He has been accorded the “Global Services,” status by United, given only to those who have clocked more than 4 million miles on its airline. The airline offers him services like transfer from the tarmac in a Mercedes-Benz car, complimentary cocktails, easy access from the ground to the aircraft, membership in its Polaris Lounge which has private offices and other exclusive benefits. As an added bonus, he gets to meet celebrities in the lounge and as co-passengers. He says he strikes up a conversation with these multi-millionaires asking them about their life, disappointments and  successes. Like every flier, Covid-19 has kept the Co-Founder of Automotive Training Network, with branches in the US, Europe, Asia and Australia — grounded most of the year for someone who flies 250 days in a year. But whenever he does fly out, he says he chooses the last row in  business class because “nobody coughs backwards.” He says what he enjoys most during a flight, is the journey and not just the destination. Don’t we know all that. It is just that we don’t get to fly often. (Source: GQ; thepointsguy.com; NZHerald; thesun.co.uk).

Published on December 12, 2021

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