Frequently Flying marks one year of blogging!

Happy anniversary to me! I officially launched this blog one year ago today and when I look back at my initial posts I’m a bit embarrassed at their immaturity, but can see how I’ve developed my writing skills and I’m happy with Frequently Flying today. It’ll only get better.

a logo with text and swirlsThis has been an amazing year and when I first started I had no idea I’d keep up with it, but my passion for the industry brought me back almost daily to write a new post covering topics of interest to me. Special thanks to my long-time readers and equally to those just finding me… I promise this blog will continue for a very long time featuring the same “airline, hotel & travel industry news, reviews & opinions.†I also intend to expand my coverage and possibly include new features and services. Stay tuned for those.

I’ll repeat my inspirations for starting this blog, and I hope you either currently follow them or will after reading this. The amazing Ben Schlappig of One Mile at a Time was an inspiration and I can’t tell you how much I admire him and how he’s turned his similar passion into a full-time gig at such a young age. Next up is Matthew Klint of Live And Let’s Fly. His insightful, honest, thoughtful and sometimes controversial reporting on industry topics drew me in to frequently leave comments on his posts, which made me think… “Hey, I should really start a blog.†Finally, Mark Ashley at Upgrade: Travel Better similarly wrote in a realistic and often thought-provoking manner about the industry I love. He fell off the radar earlier this year, which is sad… I hope he returns to blogging one day.

My other reason for starting this blog relates to my passionate background for the industry. I was an aviation geek from childhood. My Dad took me to O’Hare airport to watch planes depart, I still remember my first flight like it was yesterday, I loved going on road trips and staying in hotels and I initially made it my career path. I earned an undergrad degree in Aviation Business Management at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, learned how to fly and completed two internships while in college. One was with United Airlines in their Flight Dispatch department (EXODD) at headquarters and the other was as an Airport Intern at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport. I’ll eventually blog about those experiences.

After graduation, the only thing open with United immediately was being a reservations agent. That didn’t last long for a variety of reasons, and I soon found a gig with a travel wholesaler who specialized in travel packages to Las Vegas and Hawaii. That firm contracted with United, so I still was sort-of connected with my carrier of choice. I was recruited out of that firm to another tour operator/wholesaler and got deep into both marketing (having freshly completed a M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications) and technology integration.

I was a pro with Apollo – United’s GDS – and absolutely knew every in and out of that system. I ended up working at my new company’s three offices around the country.

Before working at the third location, though, I was re-hired by United in their Inventory Management department… the elusive IM that so many frequent flyers wonder about. That was my favorite job. It paid well, I had amazing travel perks and worked in the department that managed the hugely complex inventory allocation, for which I geek out on more than you can imagine. If you haven’t already checked it out, I suggest you read my Airfare pricing buckets and airline fare basis codes REVEALED! post. You’ll learn a few things that’ll pay off when you search for flights.

I was young and wet behind the ears, so when my previous employer came back to me and offered a significant pay bump along with other perks, I bailed on United. I still regret that to this day and I wish I had stayed at United. It offered incredible upward mobility, it was my “dream job†and I worked for my lifelong desired employer. The money thrown at me at that time by my previous employer was too good to be true, so I left. For any “youngins†out there… follow your passion, not the money!

At the third location, things didn’t look good at my final position with that firm as the office I was in was potentially going to be on the chopping block. I loved where I lived then, so left the industry and went into Project Management in the Financial Services industry.

Anyway… enough of my background. Do you really care? Maybe so, but I’ve gone so far off tangent to what this post is supposed to be about.

As you read this I’m doing exactly what I love… racking up more airline miles and probably staring out a window at the beautiful world below. There’s just something about leaving all your worries and issues behind and taking in the beauty of the landscape, sky and view from 35,000 or so feet. It’s incredibly peaceful and brings me an immense amount of joy and humility.

The mileage run I’m on today ended up being unnecessary as I’ve already hit the 100,000-mile mark with United, but I booked it at a time I was uncertain I would have hit that level. Still, though, nothing makes me happier than to travel. It’s been my passion for as long as I can remember. Today’s flights also bring me closer to United Million Miler status, so it’s definitely not a waste.

I hope your weekend is as enjoyable as mine. Thanks for reading my blog and I hope I’ve added to either your enjoyment of flying and travel, or brought you posts that increased your frequent flyer and hotel balances.

I’m looking forward to what year two brings for Frequently Flying.

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the one and only Randy Petersen, founder of BoardingArea and basically the God of all things related to miles and points. I am truly honored to be a small part of his incredible team of bloggers here at BoardingArea. Thank you, Randy, for believing in me and opening up your generosity to allow my blog to be included with the “best-in-class†here on BoardingArea.


  1. Happy Anniversary!

    When you wrote “There’s just something about leaving all your worries and issues behind and taking in the beauty of the landscape, sky and view from 35,000 or so feet. It’s incredibly peaceful and brings me an immense amount of joy and humility.” you expressed completely the way I feel about flying. And it’s a perfect example of why I enjoy your blog.

    It’s not just to read about the miles, but to read about the seat maps, inventory management secrets, trip reports, and reservation system details. You’re enthusiasm for airplanes, airlines, and flying is obvious in the way you write.

    I hope you keep writing and keep having fun!

  2. Darren, congrats on a year of great blog posts. I agree with aadvantage geek, it’s great reading posts from someone who is as enthusiastic about the hobby & industry as some of us are. Keep up the great work and thanks for all your help the past year.

  3. Happy anniversary, Darren! Your blog is one of the blogs I read almost daily. And it was nice to talk to you briefly at the Chicago DO. Thanks!

  4. Congratulations and I really like reading your blog because you passion for the industry shines through so clearly!

    Can’t wait to hear what those new features and services are!

    PS: My earlier comment didn’t make it past the spam filter!

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