03 November 2009

Frequent Flyer Freaks

I love airports.

I used to go to Auckland International for coffee sometimes just to see people come and go, listen to the islanders singing relatives off, and just soak up the atmosphere in general. But these days you have to pay for parking and it pretty much makes for an expensive coffee.

Every day that I go to work I drive past the turn off to the airport and on the way home I sometimes have a hard time keeping my car on the route home. Last week I actually did plan an afternoon in the airport. I decided that I'd use my laptop to catch up on some writing and have lunch.

Well, it turned out that the internet was not free (and I refuse to pay!)and my battery had died anyway, so I really just had an expensive lunch once you add in the parking. Ironically, it was good Japanese ramen though. I haven't even had ramen like that since I'd been back in NZ although the portion was a bit stingy.

When I started watching this doco I was surprised to find that Pico Iyer was in it. Apparently he is a frequent flyer mile geek, but he also stated that he'd spent a considerable amount of time in and around LAX at one point. Since I've always admired his writing and can relate to the way he sees things this sort of affinity with airports makes sense.

I know the frequent flyer phenomenon is something we miss out on living in a small country where you can't get much for short flights, but we do win big when going abroad since we're so far from everywhere. However, I would say that the people on this film are extreme. I really wonder what they do for a job. How do they have so much time for all this flying around to accrue miles? It's interesting nonetheless and just goes to show that there is a regular version and a geek version of everything, even travel.

Do you make use of air miles?

Frequent Flyer from Gabriel Leigh on Vimeo.


Niamh Griffin said...

These people are serious about their travelling! My favourite was the guy with 18 million miles - how?? It puts me to shame but then maybe the eco-guilt with get them?

shantiwallah said...

I was thinking the same thing about the "eco-guilt". I guess they are immune somehow. And how do they work enough to earn a living doing this all the time?

Tanya said...

does anywhere in NZ have free internet? After a few years in Asia- where the net usually comes with your starbucks or coffee bean or just about anywhere you get coffee here (Cambodia)- we find trips home more frustrating than a trip to China internet wise.

shantiwallah said...

Esquires cafes have got a voucher system. When you buy something, they give you a voucher for an hour. Some locations are more generous than others with this. Of course their coffee is not great, but who can argue? Even at Starbucks, you have to pay which I think is a total con for a multinational like that who provides free internet in other countries! But internet is still expensive and slow here. Ifter living in Japan I though there was something wrong with my computer!
I remember being very frustrated in Vietnam because each page was scanned for content by the government so it was ridiculously slow and often timed out. What's it like in Cambodia now? I was there for only a short holiday so I don't recall even using the net.