As I mentioned yesterday, I was incredibly fortunate to have been invited to Tom Stuker’s 10 million mile celebration at United’s Red Carpet Club in Chicago on Saturday. Tom is active on Flyertalk and had extended invites to 20 people for the event, so since I had already had plans to be flying through Chicago that day I jumped on the offer and received what I consider to be a unique opportunity to witness history in the making.
After landing at about noon, I visited the C-concourse Red Carpet Club where Tom’s event was to be held. Staffers had already cordoned off the dedicated area and I was excited to be among the first to see the venue for what would become an incredible occasion. I was happy to have met in person Randy Petersen, the founder of BoardingArea, Flyertalk and MilePoint, and later had the pleasure of introducing myself to Jeff Smisek, United’s CEO. My conversation with Jeff was brief and pleasant, and I told him I was “just a 1K” who was happy to be in attendance and that I looked forward to the evening at hand. He thanked me for my business and also expressed his excitement for Tom’s arrival.
I also had the privilege of meeting several devoted Flyertalkers, David Parker Brown of Airline Reporter, Dann Webb another BoardingArea blogger, Francis Gallagher publisher & CEO of Global Traveler magazine, and one of my loyal readers of this blog. Excitement was building and I recorded the following preparations underway:
Tom’s flight from Los Angeles arrived about an hour late due to the fact the inbound aircraft experienced a tire blowout on arrival at LAX, so United subbed in another 757 for UA942. Here was his arrival to the Red Carpet Club and introductory speeches by United executives:
Then it was time to hear from Tom himself. His heartfelt and sincere acceptance of his status was genuine, moving and greatly received by everyone in attendance. United went all out, too, catering an incredible buffet of food and an open bar with truly premium first class liquor and champagne.
Tom has flown 5,962 flights with United averaging 29,762 miles per month. I consider my 16+ trips to Australia as impressive, but Tom has been there more than 200 times along with 70 trips to Hawaii and countless others deserving of his Global Services status with United. He’s flown more miles than the Atlantis space shuttle has logged at the equivalent of 20 times that of a roundtrip to the Moon. My hats off to you, Tom, and may your travels continue to be smooth and rewarding. Congratulations!