Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

Fly Anywhere | Anytime | Forever

Saturday, August 27th, 2016


IN THE early 1980s, American Airlines, strapped for cash, decided to start selling passes for unlimited first-class travel for life. At the time, the passes cost $250,000 (around $600,000 in today’s dollars), with a companion ticket available for an extra $150,000 and discounts for older people. The Los Angeles Times explains what happened next:

There are frequent fliers, and then there are people like Steven Rothstein and Jacques Vroom.

Both men bought tickets that gave them unlimited first-class travel for life on American Airlines. It was almost like owning a fleet of private jets.

Passes in hand, Rothstein and Vroom flew for business. They flew for pleasure. They flew just because they liked being on planes. They bypassed long lines, booked backup itineraries in case the weather turned, and never worried about cancellation fees. Flight crews memorized their names and favorite meals.

Each had paid American more than $350,000 for an unlimited AAirpass and a companion ticket that allowed them to take someone along on their adventures. Both agree it was the best purchase they ever made, one that completely redefined their lives.

In the 2009 film “Up in the Air,” the loyal American business traveler played by George Clooney was showered with attention after attaining 10 million frequent flier miles.

Rothstein and Vroom were not impressed.

“I can’t even remember when I cracked 10 million,” said Vroom, 67, a big, amiable Texan, who at last count had logged nearly four times as many. Rothstein, 61, has notched more than 30 million miles.

But all the miles they and 64 other unlimited AAirpass holders racked up went far beyond what American had expected. As its finances began deteriorating a few years ago, the carrier took a hard look at the AAirpass program.

Heavy users, including Vroom and Rothstein, were costing it millions of dollars in revenue, the airline concluded.

The AAirpass system had rules. A special “revenue integrity unit” was assigned to find out whether any of these rules had been broken, and whether the passes that were now such a drag on profits could be revoked.

Rothstein, Vroom and other AAirpass holders had long been treated like royalty. Now they were targets of an investigation.


When American introduced the AAirpass in 1981, it saw a chance to raise millions of dollars for expansion at a time of record-high interest rates.

It was, and still is, offered in a variety of formats, including prepaid blocks of miles. But the marquee item was the lifetime unlimited AAirpass, which started at $250,000. Pass holders earned frequent flier miles on every trip and got lifetime memberships to the Admirals Club, American’s VIP lounges. For an extra $150,000, they could buy a companion pass. Older fliers got discounts based on their age.

“We thought originally it would be something that firms would buy for top employees,” said Bob Crandall, American’s chairman and chief executive from 1985 to 1998. “It soon became apparent that the public was smarter than we were.”

The unlimited passes were bought mostly by wealthy individuals, including baseball Hall-of-Famer Willie Mays, America’s Cup skipper Dennis Conner and computer magnate Michael Dell.

Mike Joyce of Chicago bought his in 1994 after winning a $4.25-million settlement after a car accident.

In one 25-day span this year, Joyce flew round trip to London 16 times, flights that would retail for more than $125,000. He didn’t pay a dime.

“I love Rome, I love Sydney, I love Athens,” Joyce said by phone from the Admirals Club at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. “I love Vegas and Frisco.”

Rothstein had loved flying since his years at Brown University in Rhode Island, where he would buy a $99 weekend pass on Mohawk Air and fly to Buffalo, N.Y., just for a sandwich.

He bought his AAirpass in 1987 for his work in investment banking. After he added a companion pass two years later, it “kind of took hold of me,” said Rothstein, a heavyset man with a kind smile.

He was airborne almost every other day. If a friend mentioned a new exhibit at the Louvre, Rothstein thought nothing of jetting from his Chicago home to San Francisco to pick her up and then fly to Paris together.

In July 2004, for example, Rothstein flew 18 times, visiting Nova Scotia, New York, Miami, London, Los Angeles, Maine, Denver and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., some of them several times over. The complexity of such itineraries would stump most travelers; happily for AAirpass holders, American provided elite agents able to solve the toughest booking puzzles.

They could help AAirpass customers make multiple reservations in case they missed a flight, or nab the last seat on the only plane leaving during a snowstorm. Some say agents even procured extra elbow room by booking an empty seat using a phony name on companion passes.

“I’d book it as Extra Lowe,” said Peter Lowe, a motivational speaker from West Palm Beach, Fla. “They told me how to do it.”

Vroom, a former mail-order catalog consultant, used his AAirpass to attend all his son’s college football games in Maine. He built up so many frequent flier miles that he’d give them away, often to AIDS sufferers so they could visit family. Crew members knew him by name.

“There was one flight attendant, Pierre, who knew exactly what I wanted,” Vroom said. “He’d bring me three salmon appetizers, no dessert and a glass of champagne, right after takeoff. I didn’t even have to ask.”

Creative uses seemed limitless. When bond broker Willard May of Round Rock, Texas, was forced into retirement after a run-in with federal securities regulators in the early 1990s, he turned to his trusty AAirpass to generate income. Using his companion ticket, he began shuttling a Dallas couple back and forth to Europe for $2,000 a month.

“For years, that was all the flying I did,” said May, 81. “It’s how I got the bills paid.”

In 1990, the airline raised the price of an unlimited AAirpass with companion to $600,000. In 1993, it was bumped to $1.01 million. In 1994, American stopped selling unlimited passes altogether.

Cable TV executive Leo Hindery Jr. bought a five-year AAirpass in 1991, with an option to upgrade to lifetime after three years. American later “asked me not to convert,” he said. “They were gracious. They said the program had been discontinued and if I gave my pass back, they’d give me back my money.”  (CLICK BELOW TO OPEN REST OF ARTICLE)


Where Do You Want To Go? Where Do You Want To Stay? | Airbnb

Thursday, November 5th, 2015

AIRbnb what?  So many listings at so many price-points offering different levels of privacy.  I love the idea of this cool little website.


Airbnb BELONG ANYWHERE from Rod Blackhurst on Vimeo.

Nothing fancy but a neat little spot in Lisbon Portugal but this is a cool little apartment

Gulbenkian Apartment – Apartments for Rent in Lisbon

Apartment in Lisbon, Portugal. A modern and cozy apartment that will make you feel at home while enjoying Lisbon. One bedroom apartment with good areas and a balcony. The apartment is very central and near a wide variety of public transports. You´ll be in the center of the moder… View all listings in Lisbon

Another little cool little spot for a great price close to everything:

Alges House – Apartments for Rent in Algés

Apartment in Algés, Portugal. This beautiful and airy apartment with 1 Bedroom, 1 Living room, 2 toilets, great and sunny kitchen that is smartly modern in white and a light blue, with a stylish breakfast bar for three It is located between Lisbon, Cascais, Estoril. Alges is… View all listings in Algés

Perfectly located Castro – Apartments for Rent

Apartment in San Francisco, United States. 1895 Victorian flat w/ 12 ft ceilings. (No Long Term Rentals or couples) Close to Mission, & 2.5 blocks from Castro theater. MUNI is 3 blocks away. Room is small and cosy, but a great $ for one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the US! We li… View all listings in San Francisco

Romantic Cabana with view in Armenia

Cottage in Armenia, Colombia. Located in the coffee region, a charming cabana made from bamboo, with a great view and a “sendero” or pathway through the bamboo forest which criss-crosses our 5 acre organic farm, leading down to a stream. A place to relax and commune with nature. View all listings in Armenia


Camper/RV in Malibu, United States. Perched on a hilltop with a magnificent 360 degree vista of the Pacific Ocean, Catalina, Santa Barbara Island and the Santa Monica Mountains, spend the evening watching the sunset over Boney Mountain as it fades to black. The stars come out by the… View all listings in Malibu

Columbia Castle in Brooklyn Heights in Brooklyn

Apartment in Brooklyn, United States. *THIS LISTING IS FOR A PRIVATE ROOM IN THE APARTMENT IN WHICH I ALSO LIVE* Please message me BEFORE requesting a reservation. This comfortable two bedroom SIXTH FLOOR WALKUP (no elevator) in an apartment complex originally built as a tenement in … View all listings in Brooklyn

The Thousand Year Journey: Oregon To Patagonia

Saturday, June 20th, 2015


The Thousand Year Journey: Oregon To Patagonia from Kenny Laubbacher on Vimeo.

CouchSurfing | Have You Heard Of It? | Would You Do It?

Friday, November 21st, 2014


Building the future of Couchsurfing from Couchsurfing on Vimeo.



CouchSurfing has updated it’s userface on the web and mobile app.  The layout is way better and it looks pretty sweet.  I thought I did a post about CouchSurfing and I don’t think I did.  So here it is.  You can find a link to my CS Profile under the “LINKS” menu on this blog.  Watch the video above about a little hint about it and down below is a little video of the new interface.

The new Couchsurfing from Couchsurfing on Vimeo.



1-Ben Collins's Profile  Couchsurfing - Google Chrome 20112014 101333 AM

Above is Ben who is from England.  He has a blog called The Ginger Revolution.   He set out for 18 months and he started in Canada and in Toronto.  He stayed with me on his 4th night I believe.  Here is some of his details of his trip for his first leg of his journey below that I swiped from his blog:

How long was I gone?

Stage one lasted for a total of 213 nights. Basically, 7 months.

1-Stage 1 Where I Went
Where did I travel?
Consisting of four legs, the first stage of my journey took me right the way across the second largest country in the World, before heading down the west coast of the United States:

Canada: Toronto, Niagra Falls, Ajax, Whitby, Oshawa, Peterborough, Tweed, Ottawa, Winchester, Alexandria, Montreal, Quebec, Arnprior, North Bay, Bruce Mines, Thunder Bay, Winnipeg, Regina, Medicine Hat, Calgary, Canmore, Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper, North Vancouver, Vancouver, Victoria, Tofino, Mill Bay, Juan de Fuca, Vancouver

United States of America: Bellingham, Seattle, Forks, Mount St Helens, Bellingham, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Monica

How far did I travel?

Stage One took me a total distance of 17,564km / 10,977 miles (or 4.56% of the distance between the Earth and the Moon!)

By what means did I travel?

This chart goes to represent perhaps the one thing I am most proud of…that despite have travelled 17,500km / 11,000miles across both an ocean and a continent, it is my my thumb that has taken me further than anything else. It’s incredible. Go thumb!

1-How I Travelled Stage 1

Where did I sleep?

  1. Work Exchange: 124 nights with 7 different hosts2. CouchSurfed: 61 nights with 25 different hosts3. Hostels: 16 nights in 8 Hostels4. Camped: 8 nights

    5. Slept in a car: 3 nights

    6. B&B: 1 nights

    What did it cost me?

Accommodation: £448.48 / $669.89

This represents an average spend of £2.10/$3.37 per night
Flight: £214.00 / $342.96

Travel: £427.98 / $685.88

This is excluding flights which works out at a little more than 3.3p/km (5.9 cents/km)

Other: £886.02 / $1,419.94

Including travel insurance, this includes everything else that didn’t naturally fall in to one of the other categories

Cash: £2,246.98 / $3,601.01
This is money I withdrew out of a cash machine/ATM and spent on either amusements, food or drink. However, having given it some thought, I didn’t really visit many amusements, so this money really just goes to represent what I consumed on the road, of which I suspect at least half would have been alcohol based.

Earned: £772.54 / $1,238.07
To my surprise, I managed almost everywhere I went to stumble in to small jobs. From refitting bathrooms to selling jam, it all went to offset what I was apparently just drinking.

Net Outcome of Stage 1: £3,002.44 / $4,811.71
Taking account of what I earned, this was the net damage. Now taking in to account that I have just had the greatest seven months of my life, I think I’ve got a pretty sweet deal… especially given I was in what is regarded the most expensive part of the World to travel (with perhaps one or two exceptions).

Price Per Day = £14.10 / $22.60
You know, they say you can’t put a price on happiness but that ladies and gentlemen is clearly bullshit. Because from what I can see, it’s £14.10.


 You should check out Ben’s blog above and check out his journey across Canada and into the United States on his way to Mexico.  It’s pretty cool.

1-2012 photo sort LR R1

So I received a email from Ben asking if he could stay with me for a night on my couch.  I told him that would be cool but Ajax is not that exciting and Toronto is just a quick train away.  He told me that he would be spending a couple days in Toronto and Ajax would be just fine.  We connected on FB and chatted a bit till his trip would start.  I messaged him and I decided to drive into Toronto and pick him up.

When Ben got into my car with only his backpack… I asked him if he wanted to do something in the city.  I asked him if he was going to check out the Falls and he said he thought about it…. but never put it in his trip.

Ok… let’s go see the falls.  We drove out to Niagara and we got to know each other in the car.  We toured around the Falls and on the way home we went to go see if we could hike to Balls Falls.  We found a place to park the car and we hiked along the gorge.  So beautiful.  We got home late in Ajax… and he wanted to catch up on email before going to bed with the couches he set up for the couple of days ahead.

The next morning we picked up some breakfast and hit Goodlife for a little workout and then grabbed some lunch and I dropped him off in Whitby in the afternoon and he was on his way.  I followed him on FB and the blog and his little journey is pretty cool and inspiring.

Check out when on his travels after me… he had a chance to meet “The King Of Canada“.

Couchsurfing is a pretty cool site.  Had the chance to attend some little “meet ups” in Toronto and also Peterborough.  Check out CS.  It’s not just couches and traveling.  It’s also about connecting with local members and people traveling through your community.  Some people are just from far away and don’t have strong connections within the community yet…. so it’s nice to meet up and connect.

Somewhere in Vietnam // Explore & The World Is Beautiful

Sunday, November 9th, 2014


Somewhere in Vietnam // from Menassier Gabriel ///mg image on Vimeo.

Van Life | Exploring | Open Road For One Month… Imagine

Friday, September 12th, 2014

tumblr_n3wtbeYwAY1sr3eb2o1_500Cool little short:

Rayban Envision Series – Cyrus from ChapelOne on Vimeo.


I’m in love with the sleeper he made for the top of this.  I could honestly go away for a month and drive along the coast from Alaska all the way down to Mexico really slow.  Sometimes my mind wanders and its easy to think what it would be like for a bit to just explore.