Thursday, May 17, 2007

Why don't frequent flyer programs try to employ literate people?


I think I am good at math (which is generally expected from the Computer Sciences graduate) and kind of good at geography (it's my hobby). I am risking to offend marketing and business professionals assuming that basic calculation skills and common knowledge are not considered beneficial for Master of Marketing or MBA but the Frequent Flyer Programs managers seem to think different. Marketing Vice President guy of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, for example, signs as a "Dr" under the statement that proclaims Toronto and Frankfurt 60,000 miles apart.

It happened that I am a member of Lufthansa Miles & More program (and Air Miles, like you). Here is my last statement - 9878 miles. Quite a lot, eh? Almost the round-the-world voyage. Let's get to the numbers: the distance between Fairbanks, AK and Guatemala City is 4313 miles - the longest North America trip Google could calculate for me (yes, yes, the Guatemala is a little bit outside the scope but I couldn't get distance between Cancun and fishing camp on the Chukchi Sea coast). Looks like I've got myself a round trip from whatever to whatever in North America, whoo-hoo!

Now, what can I afford? The economy class within North America will cost me 30,000 miles, from Canada to Europe - 60,000 miles (and some pitfalls). Looks like for the non-pilot Lufthansa folks the Earth circumference is close to 200,000 miles. I am afraid to find out what Lufthansa pilots think (thank God, they have autopilots!).

You can say: "Read the fine print - those are status miles, dumbo!". Right. Call them "status points" then! (or call the program Inches & More - pretty suitable name). If I promised to pay Lufthansa 100 status dollars, what word they consider the key - "dollar" or "status"? Would they likely be surprised when they find out that my status dollar is actually worth 10 cents? Status cents, he-he.

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