Mileage Running

I’m mileage running today for Silver Medallion status with Delta Air Lines.  While I’ve found SkyMiles to be a little less user-friendly than AAdvantage, I’ve always enjoyed flying Delta.  Their people are for the most part pretty darn good, especially inflight.  It will be nice having Medallion again.  Silver is pretty far down the totem-pole for upgrades, but they’re nice when they happen…and they do, even as Silver.  Mileage running even made the paper this week.  See, I’m not crazy.  There’s even a movie (well, kind of) about it.  Can’t you see the resemblence between George Clooney and me?  Come on now, take a good look.  I’m still waiting for my Concierge Key card from AA though!

My route of flight today is DCA-CVG-SFO-DTW-DCA yielding  5,103 Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs).  The price was $234.90 all-in.  I’ve heard of better deals, but this ain’t too shabby considering I booked it a week ago!  This will put me over the top for Silver Medallion, and even give me a headstart on next year with SkyMiles’ new MQM rollover benefit.  Now, I wonder if my upgrade for next week will clear since I’ll be requesting it quite late?  🙂

Delta’s CVG Hub

Today’s flight offered the opportunity to check out Delta’s Cincinatti hub.  It’s my second transit ever through the Delta hub there, and boy it sure has changed since I was last there.  Delta has closed the old Comair concourse and moved a whole lot of RJ’s into the mainline gate area.  I’m neither an industry analyst nor an airline executive, but experience tells me that when that much of a hub is pushed down to regional carriers, it is not a good sign for the long term.  The pundits are already speculating that CVG is next on the chopping block, and people far smarter than me have been mentioning it in their blogs for sometime.  If I were in charge of running CVG, I’d have a contingency plan in my back pocket for life after hub status.  No one asked me, but I’m just sayin’…..

We Really Have Turned a Corner

The monthly traffic reports for the airlines were trickling out this week.  I won’t list each of them here, but my take overall is that things have finally stopped getting worse.  Indeed, several carriers reported improved traffic.  You all know that passenger airlines carry cargo too.  That’s one number I’ve been watching with great interest.  Why?  The more goods being shipped, the more general economic activity there is.  I won’t name names, but there’s one pretty big airline that I pay the most attention to in this regard.  And frankly, over the last 18 months, the rate that cargo traffic was falling was…well… somewhere between bad and downright ugly.  This airline’s latest report?  Cargo traffic has turned around and actually grew year over year.  Obviously, we’ve got a big hole to dig out of, but things are finally turning towards the right direction again.  No one asked me about this either, but I’m just sayin’….

My other economic indicator?  Starbucks.  Specifically, my local Starbucks.  Last year at this time I could fire a cannon through the place without fear of hitting a customer.  This year, crowded, and at times packed.  I’m not an economist, and I haven’t stayed at a Holiday Inn Express in over 5 years, but I think we’ve finally turned a corner.  Notice I didn’t say “the” corner.  But we’re getting there.  Watching how the airline industry evolves as things turn around will surely be interesting.