tom stuker article

Recently, I was wondering about the frequency of my business trips compared to other employees on similar positions as mine. A couple of minutes with Google search results focused my attention on Tom Stuker. A 64-year old ATN executive who travels a lot. Really a lot. If you remember a 2009 movie Up in the Air with George Clooney then you know who I’m talking about. The main character of the movie is based on Tom Stuker’s story.

20 million miles and counting

When I write these words, Tom Stuker crossed 21 million miles in the air… Yes, 21 million… He flew 19 million miles with United (MileagePlus program) and the rest 2 million with other airlines. He started in 1970, flying from Chicago to San Antonia and according to him, he was afraid of flying for almost 10 years after this first air travel.

As he is one of the most experienced business travelers in the world I’m going to list some of his pieces of advice found on the web.

Plane delays and cancellations

Delays and flight cancellations are one of the biggest problems when flying. As a regular traveler you can deal with them in some traditional ways like I described in my previous articles:

Well, above hacks are not applicable for Tom Stuker. As I know from Tom’s interview with Independent, whenever he is in the air and for any reasons his flight is delayed or canceled, he has on the ground people who will take care of that. Tom will be rebooked and just after getting off the plane he will get his new boarding passes.

It sounds like a God mode in traveling. Of course, this kind of service is reserved only for the airline’s best customers like Tom Stuker. Following Businessinsider’s article about Tom, I found out that this is one of the many perks of million-mile status.

Members of such elite club can count for a personal on-call travel concierge. Anyway, this type of service is not official and airlines do not reveal it to the public, but Businessinsider reached the source which confirms:

“Members have their own dedicated phone number for assistance and reaccommodation. That number is served by a group of agents who are known as the best of the best for United. They are trained to know how to look beyond what they see on their computer screen to help Global Services members any way they can.”

But anyway, he even does not have to worry about making calls as Global Services members get bumped to the top of the fly list regardless of the fare they paid when flight delays or cancellations happen.

Well, you see – it’s worth to collect points 🙂

Seats, planes and travel classes…

As you could remember, some time ago I was listing some hacks on how to pick the best seat on the plane. Well, let’s see what Tom Stuker is adding to the list. Following The Points Guy, Tom Stukers’s says that after 21 million miles in the air, his favorite plane is 767 and he prefers seat 1K in this aircraft. The reason is that on international flights usually seat 2K takes the pilot for resting so he can count on some interesting talks.

And of course, your guess is right. Seat 1K it’s usually The First Class. As Tom says:

“You’ve got five people in first class so the stewardess gives you plenty of attention.”

If you thought that special privileges and First Class seats are cool, then what you would say for lifetime MileagePlus Gold status, Parties with airlines CEOs, name aircraft after you (747 was named after Stucker’s 10 million miles). These and more priviliges are on the list mentioned by The Points Guy.

Travel tips from Tom Stuker

In the Independent’s article which I mentioned above, I found a few tips which are applicable for all of us, regular frequent travelers. Tom is saying that:

  • Always try to avoid checking in your bags,
  • Pack light, travel light (you can read some more about it in my article on how to pack for a business trip),
  • Always have your chargers with you and make sure to board your plane with 100% of batteries in your devices,
  • Take your iPad instead of a bulky laptop,
  • Use Skype to be in touch with the world (you can read some about communication in one of my articles on how to use WhatsApp in China)

in the end, all the best to Tom and I wish you more millions of miles 🙂

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