United Passenger Flies A Million Miles In One Year

A United Airlines passenger who takes the term “frequent flyer” very seriously has racked up a million miles in the sky during 2012.

Tom Stuker, an automotive sales consultant who lives in both suburban Chicago and New Jersey, reached the record-breaking number earlier this month on a flight between London and Chicago, United announced in a press release.

This is just the latest milestone for Stuker, who is one of commercial aviation’s highest-mileage travelers. In July 2011, he became the first person to fly 10 million miles on United and United Express. He began clocking his miles after joining United’s loyalty program in 1983. Since then, he has logged most of his miles flying to Asia and Australia and has flown to all 50 U.S. states.

Stuker estimates he has been on board 6,000 United flights, including about 400 flights this calendar year alone.

“It has been a phenomenal year flying with United,” said Stuker in the statement. “Everyone at the airline, from the customer service agents to the flight attendants to the ramp workers, has made my travels feel effortless.”

For those of us unable to comprehend just how far Stuker traveled this year, United has offered some insight, pointing out that “a traveler would need to trek around the world about 40 times” and “[c]ruising at 570 miles per hour, a single nonstop flight of [one] million miles would land 73 days after takeoff.”

Our kudos to Stuker, who must have also spent a great deal of time going through airport security and sitting on the tarmac this year.

[Photo credit: United Airlines]

Airlines to add more seating options, room and perks

Looking for more legroom on airlines? American Airlines hears the call and has plans to equip its entire mainline fleet with “Main Cabin Extra,” a new seating arrangement which will provide more leg room as well as priority boarding.

“Customers travelling in Main Cabin Extra seats will enjoy four to six inches of extra leg room compared to a standard Main Cabin seat as well as priority boarding privileges,” said Virasb Vahidi, American’s chief commercial officer.

American will begin installation on existing aircraft soon. New Boeing 737-800 aircraft delivered this fall will already be equipped with Main Cabin Extra seating.

Anticipated future aircraft, including Airbus A321s, and A319s, and Boeing 777-300ERs and 787s, will also offer Main Cabin Extra.

“We continue to provide our customers with choices that enable them to customize their travel on American to be the experience they desire and value,” said Vahidi.

Main Cabin Extra seats, located in the front portion of the main cabin, will allow for easier boarding and deplaning. AAdvantage Executive Platinum and Platinum members, along with customers who purchase a full-fare economy class ticket, will receive complimentary access to Main Cabin Extra, subject to availability.

Also, AAdvantage Gold members will receive complimentary access to the new seating product through December 31st, 2013.

Other airlines have extra space for a fee, too. United Airlines Economy Plus features up to five extra inches of legroom on all United flights worldwide as well as many United Express flights. Jet Blue’s Even More program allows first access to overhead bins and early boarding, too. US Airways Choice Seats program gives flyers the right to be first on and first off the plane, in addition to priority seat reservations using mostly window and aisle seats toward the front of Coach.

Flickr photo by bamueller