I’ve been a traveling fool. Since 2012, I’ve preferred an airplane ride to Detroit, San Francisco, Dallas, Munich and a train to NYC/NJ to the commute on DC’s silver line.
This year, in my touristing expéditions to Mexico and Germany, in the often lengthy process of reaching these international destinations, I’ve enjoyed the luxuries of the status I earned last year while traveling for work at IBM. I earned my 1K Star Alliance status in Fall 2017 and have been traveling glamourously ever since: premium seat selections, fast-pass through security, Senator lounge access and priority bag handling at my destination.
This year however, I’ve had to travel on a budget. No longer funded by Big Blue’s B&P bank nor constrained by its incomprehensible travel portal algorithms, I’ve had to modestly chose my non-preferred airlines, especially while traveling throughout Europe. At times, I’ve had anxiety about it.
Bringing me even more concern as 2018 comes to a close is that I neither spent enough nor completed enough qualifying segments to maintain any kind of status, on any airline alliance… In 2019, I’ll be starting over, at the bottom of the status ladder. Frankly, I don’t even like thinking about it.
Nevertheless, yesterday, I did it: I traveled without status. In London, at the ginormous space that is Heathrow, I waited in line like everybody else to check my bag and to go through security. I had lunch at an airport chain restaurant and paid for my Aperol spritz like everybody else. I sat in economy like everybody else and once I reached Lisbon, I wanted for my bag like everybody else.
In the end, as I reflect, it wasn’t so much about the journey. It was about reaching the destination. A new city to explore. A new culture to discover. A new experience to appreciate, learn from and be inspired from. This morning, as I get ready for a week-long adventure in the Portuguese capital, I am reminded: that’s the glamour of travel.
Suddenly, I’m not so anxious about status anymore. It makes total sense. Thank you Lisbon, it’s nice to meet you.