"What's going on in Easter Island?", asked a cheerful American Airlines agent as I checked-in for my afternoon flight at New York's JFK airport. "You're the fifth passenger going there I've seen today".
Now I've got some explaining to do.
Back in February, the online frequent flier community Flyertalk was abuzz with what everyone thought was a mistake fare. American Airlines was selling business class tickets from New York to Easter Island for less than $1,100 - way cheaper than coach which normally sells for more than $2,500. Business class cost somewhere in the region of $6,000-$8,000.
It turns out the price wasn't even a mistake fare, just an incredible stroke of an airfare deal luck. There I was staring at the computer screen, giddy with excitement. For something so good as this one, which is very rare, I faced the dilemma of making a quick decision. One moment it's there, the next moment it's gone.
So I jumped on it. Never mind if I haven't even got a clue if I could get days off from work. Remembering that I have an unused $100 American Airlines gift card, I applied it to the fare which brought the price further down to $950! Two days later, when a friend of mine tried to book the same flight, it was all gone.
What excites me about this trip - besides flying into one of the world´s most remote islands (and therefore quite a remote airport at that) - is my first foray into mileage running. No, this has nothing to do with putting on my sneakers and making a run somewhere. As Wikipedia puts it:
"A mileage run is an airline trip designed and taken solely to gain maximum frequent-flyer miles, points, or status. If a traveler has already achieved some sort of elite status, then that traveler will earn bonus award miles on top of his or her actual flight miles. Depending on the program, that traveler will reach its goal sooner if the miles he or she accrue are elite qualifying miles. A mileage run may allow a traveler to (re-)qualify for a beneficial elite level, which requires a minimum number of miles to qualify. The value of a mileage run is frequently computed in cents per mile (CPM) where the total price of the ticket is divided by the total number of base miles accrued."
As an AAdvantage member, I look forward to generating elite qualifying miles on this trip and earn benefits later. The flights involve American Airlines from New York to Miami, connecting to oneworld® partner Lan Chile to Santiago before changing to another Lan Chile flight bound for Hanga Roa in Easter Island. All flights are on Boeing 767.
Flying time? Per segment, it's more than two hours to Miami, eight hours to Santiago, five hours to Easter Island. That should give me plenty of time to sleep on Lan Chile's flat bed seats. And hopefully meet those other four passengers. Let the fun times roll.