I decided since I had some free time that I would take another Mileage Run to earn a few miles before I got busy again. This post may be a long one, but it was a wild ride and the post should contain some good tips for mileage running.

Booking: For some reason, AA had incredible offers on flights through Atlanta. I found a series of flights started in Chicago, stopping in Atlanta, continuing onto Miami, and returning to Chicago in the same day. The round trip flight came out to just about $0.06 a mile which is slightly higher than the $0.05 threshold to be considered a true mileage run, but it was cheap enough for me to go. The itinerary featured two flights on ERJ-175s and a flight on a new American 767-300 Retrofit. I booked the flight, requested an upgrade, and was confirmed in Business Class on the 767 just minutes after booking.

ORD-ATL: I overslept! I had an 8:30 departure from ORD-ATL and traffic was worse than I had anticipated. I parked in Economy Lot G at 8:00AM exactly. I ran to the terminal train, got whisked to the front of the TSA PreCheck Line (Thank you AA Agent) and ran to the gate listed on my mobile boarding pass! When I arrived at the gate there was no plane, there was no plane because AA had changed the gate and it had not updated on my phone. TIP: ALWAYS CHECK THE BOARD AT THE AIRPORT!

So, to start out the Mileage Run I was already behind. I was put on the standby list for the 11:45AM flight to ATL in order to catch my 3:15PM flight to MIA. This new flight was delayed minutes before boarding. We were missing a pilot! Panicked, I ran to the gate agent to ask about my connection to Miami. I was informed the plane from ORD-ATL is the same plane going onto MIA! Republic Airways ERJ-175. This guaranteed I would not miss my connection to Miami.

The flight was smooth down to Atlanta, I haven’t flown on an ERJ-175 in a while and forgot how much I love these planes. The windows are so large, the cabin is spacious, and sitting in row 8 you have a ton of legroom. So much legroom, the guy next to me managed to fit a roller-board under the first class seat in front of him. I was impressed.

ATL-MIA: Once we deplaned in ATL, I wanted to stop quickly in the Admirals Club for a few cookies. As I was leaving the gate area, I heard my  name called. Due to the delay the gate agent had rebooked me on a flight heading to Chicago. She said the connection was too tight and that I would most likely miss my flight from MIA-ORD. I fought this, because I know how hard it can be to get miles you don’t fly. Its possible, but thats a topic for a different day. I knew there were two nonstop MIA-ORD flights later in the day, so if I missed my connection I could most likely still make it home. TIP: When running, know the Airlines schedule and be flexible.

The flight from ATL-MIA boarded quickly and we were in the air within minutes. My once planned 4 hour layover in Atlanta was reduced to just 25 minutes. After another smooth flight into Miami it was time to break out the running shoes and get to my gate to Chicago. When I got off the plane in Miami I had 15 minutes to make it from T60N to T40. It was very manageable. I sprinted through the terminal and arrived at my gate 10 minutes before departure.

MIA-ORD: When I got to T40, there was no gate agent and the door was closed. The goal of the Mileage Run was to experience AA’s 767 Retrofit! I was defeated. The gate agent returned to the boarding area. I told her I was in 6J and she couldn’t find me in the system. They had given up my seat, but 2G was still available. Quickly she opened the jetway door and we ran toward the plane. The plane door had been shut. The gate agent frantically pounded on the door and it opened!!! I’ve never seen them re-open the plane door and I am extremely grateful. The lie flat business class seat was the perfect end to a long day. After eating a quick dinner, I put the seat down and slept.

Lessons Learned: 

When Mileage Running know your options. I knew there were multiple flights from ATL to MIA, multiple flights from ORD to MIA, and lastly multiple flights from MIA to ORD. I knew the schedule for the day knowing if something was canceled or delayed that I wouldn’t get stranded somewhere.

Wear comfortable shoes. I was wearing dress shoes, literally running from the parking lot to the terminal and from gate to gate took its toll yesterday, I wish I had worn sneakers.

Most employees don’t understand mileage running. I had to speak to several agents yesterday. No one quite understood what I was doing. When I missed my first flight, I spoke to an AAngel about getting to ATL. She didn’t understand why I was going to Miami for an hour. She didn’t understand why I would be open to flying to CLT to get to ATL. I was thankful that the Agents were looking out for me in order to get me to Chicago on-time or early, but it can be difficult to get “Original Mileage Routing Credit.” I was worried if I didn’t go to MIA that I would earn less miles than expected and most importantly miss the opportunity to fly AA’s 767 Retrofit.

Be nice to EVERYONE, this shouldn’t have to be said, but there is no point to get mad at anyone for anything when traveling. Anytime you are putting your time in someone else’s hands you should expect things to get a little messed up. Being kind to gate agents can get you a main cabin extra seat for free! Being kind to flight attendants can get you a free drink or two!

I really enjoyed my mileage run, it wasn’t as smooth as previous runs, but it was a great experience and I was lucky enough to reach my goal of flying the 767 Retrofit. I also added some valuable miles to my Advantage account. This year has started off slow, but I hope to put in a few long distance runs this year.

Safe Travels!