If you are an average Joe like me boarding a United Airlines flight these days, you will have to wait in line behind the Premier Associate, Premier Silver, Premier Gold, Premier Platinum, Premier 1K, Global Services Elite and Infinite Elite. Some of these folks will have earned their status by flying a lot in the previous year, while others have lifetime benefits arising from their membership in the 1, 2, 3, and 4 Million Miles and beyond club. The undisputed MVP of frequent flyers is Tom Stuker, who has passed the 10 million mile mark. Tom’s 40 years and 6000 flights with United have earned him a bunch of perks, including having his name painted on the side of a 747. Unlike me, he never has to scramble to find overhead space for his stuff. Even Tom’s mileage pales in comparison with that of Ron Akana; Ron has been a flight attendant for 63 years, and has logged over 20 million miles. His career has spanned the time of “Sit back, relax and enjoy your flight” to today’s “Sit down, buckle up and shut up.” Hopefully, like a handful of airline employees, he has kept his sense of humor.
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