Corporate rules required that we fly business class on any travel over 8 hours 
total air time.  That meant that any time I left the USA I was flying business 
class.  I could also control who I booked on, so since most of my travel was to 
Asia and the Middle East I stuck with Northwest and KLM - KLM was a mandatory 
for security reasons, we couldn’t use any other carriers to the Middle East 
with the exception of El Al, who, of course, had a limited number of 
destinations in that part of the world.

Since NWA and KLM code shared and were partners, I was able to corral my miles 
into one big honking account.  This was also back in the day where NWA issued a 
20,000 mile voucher for every 20k you earned, good for one domestic airfare in 
the US.  You could “stack” them to use for upgrades and international travel as 
well.  Because they could be endorsed over, there was a very brisk secondary 
market for them, too.

I think I sold six or eight of them in a lump to a ticket broker the year we 
built our house in Port Washingon, WI for something like $5,000.  They were 
good for two first class trips to Europe at that amount, I believe.

I made Platinum every year I flew, and back then getting first class upgrades 
was pretty easy and automatic for Platinum members. I don’t think I flew coach 
for 6-7 years straight.  My international travel kept me in first class on all 
my domestic flights, which really made it nice.

747s were configured differently for different carriers.  NWA and KLM had 
business class on the upper deck and first class in the nose.  That was nice, 
as it kept all the riff-raff from wandering through the cabin and having to 
have the flight attendants shoo them out.

Dan who doesn’t care to travel at all now….

> On Jun 22, 2015, at 4:06 PM, Rich Thomas via Mercedes <> 
> wrote:
> I paid for those upgrades many times.  It was interesting, when the small 
> company I worked for opened an office near London some travel agent, I think 
> an Indian guy the company owner knew, gave us 5 BA gold cards in exchange for 
> booking flights through him.  I snagged one and that got me biz class one 
> way, then I had to fly coach coming back which was ugly.
> When I went to Lotus we could fly biz class internationally, so in going to 
> England and Yurp I flew BA and got first-class upgrades since we bought biz 
> class, and I had the gold card.  That was both ways, which was very nice, and 
> being able to use the first class/Concorde lounges was great too.  I always 
> sat with the "big boys" on the upper deck on the 747s and they wondered how I 
> managed that, I never told them so they thought I was magic or something. 
> That was pretty funny.  The scotch drinking came in handy as one of the SVPs 
> enjoyed drinking and conversing and he was pretty funny (this was the guy who 
> liked to scratch and rearrange his gentlemanly components in meetings and 
> drove a Porch Turbo, he was pretty much a pig but entertaining).
> At some point I cashed in miles for my wife and daughter and me to go to 
> London and Greece on BA, biz class for my wife and me, and my daughter got a 
> coach seat which was OK as she was only like 13 or 14.  We got to the club at 
> HOU, where we had moved to, and checked in, I asked if there were any other 
> seats open, and the girl got upgraded too (I just gave her the boarding pass, 
> when she saw where she was sitting she let out a whoop and the FAs thought 
> that was great so they treated her like Lady Die).  Went to the lounge at LHR 
> on the way back and same thing, so we did quite well.  I always liked BA, the 
> people were always really nice.
> That was pretty much the last I went to yurp, so now relegated to cattle 
> class again, but recently on my trip to Belize I managed to scam some extra 
> legroom and exit seats without paying the upgrade, which was awesome because 
> I really could not fit in the "new" coach seats.  No food and drinkies 
> though, boo.
> --R
> On 6/22/15 3:17 PM, Dan Penoff via Mercedes wrote:
>> Ahhh, didn’t know that part.
>> When I was awake I would often take laps around the coach cabin when the 
>> carts weren’t out.  Nice to see how the other half lived.
>> Dan
>>> On Jun 22, 2015, at 2:57 PM, Rich Thomas via Mercedes 
>>> <> wrote:
>>> You have to drink lots of plain water with the Scottish water, which forces 
>>> you to get up every now and then to go to the head, which is good as it 
>>> keeps the blood flowing in the limbs.  So, you see, it is healthy to drink 
>>> lots of Scotch whisky on long airplane flights!
>>> --R
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