The Mile High Club

I got your recent email.  The chirpy tone and bringing me up to date with what was happening made me feel strange.  Didn’t you know that we’ve broken up?   Didn’t you get the message?

When I stopped coming around, didn’t you ask why?

Now, how do I say it?  Let me try this.

Get lost.  Scram. Get out of my life.  Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

It’s sad that things have come to this.  We used to be so close.    I was your number one guy.   You remember the pet name you called me?  Elite.  I simply called you Air Canada but I did it with such affection. 

In the beginning we had so much in common.  I was Canadian.  So were you.

And I was SO loyal.  We had so much to look forward to.   My career took off.  It took off on your flights.

And oh how we traveled.  Hundreds of thousands of miles.  Every time I could, it was just you and me.  I joined your plan.  I accumulated miles and miles and miles.

I never thought of them as gifts.  I didn’t feel I was taking advantage.  I earned them.  After all — you had lots of competition — but I stuck with you through thick and thin.

Even when others offered cheaper fares.   Given the chance — I’d still pick you.

We had friends in common.  Your staff.  I knew many of them, I flew so often.   We talked.  We had laughs.  They were great.

But then  you changed.  You treated your staff like garbage.  Sadly, they learned to do the same to me.   It happened over time, but it was noticeable.  I bristled. I huffed.  I griped.

Our dinners together changed, too.  Not only were they bad — but now you were charging.  For everything.  Not just dinners.  Want something?  Better have the cash.  I don’t mind paying my share, but it was all one way.  I paid and paid.  I got nothing back.

I tried to talk with you.  You even asked my opinion.  We talked.  Nothing changed.

Eventually I did it.  I played around.

There.  I said it.  I started seeing another airline.

At first, it was on the “down low”.   I always came back to you.  Maybe I felt guilty.  We had been together for so long.

But then it happened.  There was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

For a while I stopped seeing you as much.  I had my family and other responsibilities.  It was just vacations and the odd business trip.

You resented it.  You stopped calling me Elite.  That was rather abrupt.  But I understood.  You had needs too. But then you did it.  You took back all your gifts.   That was just spiteful.

I had a hundred thousand Air Miles left.   I deserved them.   Hadn’t I taken every flight with you?  And I didn’t do it for the miles.   You were my special airline.  You were Air Canada.  So over the years I had earned and used literally hundreds of thousands of miles.  How many flights was that?

I did try to use them up.  I flew my dad to see his sister.  I took my wife to England.  I did everything to burn them up.

But lets also be clear.  This took some doing.  By the time I paid the taxes on these miles, the “free travel” wasn’t really free.  So we just didn’t hop on a plane for fun.

And I kept earning the miles.  So even when I’d use them up, I’d earn more.

I used what I could.  I saved the rest for a rainy day.  And I started to resent this.  Why was this such a problem?  I still think it was a bargain for you.  I was flying less but more often at full fares.  This summer when I went out west.  Full fare, remember?  I still had to buy my own drinks.

Too bad.  You might have won me back.  I have a few more Western clients and some new requirements to travel.  Not as much, but more than I did.

Then  you did it.  I  went to plan another trip I found out that you’d left me.  You had packed up and taken it all.  You cleaned out the account and took off.

You had warned me.  But I only missed your deadline by a few days.  Too late.  They were all gone.

I couldn’t believe it.  After all these years?

It was like a country music song.  You got the gold mine.  I got the shaft.

I phoned you.  I was coy.  Hey, it’s me.  I’ve started to travel again.  (Wait for it…)

You were cold.  “Who?  No.  Your miles are gone.  Those are the rules.”

I pleaded with you.  We had history.  Those nights  we spent together.  The months when I saw more of you then I did of my family.   The movies.  The meals.

It was like you’d slapped me in the face.  I didn’t matter.  I was a rule.  A contract.  A cipher.

I was in shock.

I realized it was over.  I’d come back to you, but now I’d been dumped.

So here’s the deal.

I can take it.  I’ll get over it.  And … I have to say that I’m a little relieved.  Yeah, sure, I wish I’d left you first.  I have my pride.

But here’s the dirty little truth.  Porter serviced me better.  Right from the start.  Even waiting for was pleasant.  Free coffee.  A comfortable place to sit.  They didn’t even ask me if I was Elite or if I was part of their plan.  They didn’t charge me for their lounge.  Apparently, they seemed to think that that the fact that I’d paid for the flight meant that I’d done enough.

I got nice food.  Apparently, you can make airline food taste good.  But wait for it.  I got a free glass of wine.  Good wine.  What  rube I looked like fishing for money.   No charge.  Wow.

Now, I’m not that easy.  You can’t just buy me one drink….

Okay, maybe I am that easy.   When the Porter staff smiled at me and said, “thanks”  like they meant it, I knew I’d be back.

To you I was just a commodity.  To quote the old joke — “we know what you are.  We’re just dickering about the price.”

And let’s get it straight.  You are no bargain.  You are a pricy bitch.  But even when you gave offered a fare that was lower than Porter’s price?  I paid the few extra bucks.   If I’ve needed to keep the cost down, I’ve been going to Buffalo for a quickie in the US.  It’s cheaper.

I think Porter understands.  The service is still great and I’m not even a frequent flyer.  Maybe they get that old Meat Loaf song — “Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad”.

So I’m not seeing anyone exclusively any more.  Another old song, “What’s love got to do with it?”  Nothing.  It’s strictly business.  You taught me that.

I thought we had a relationship.  I found out we didn’t.

But I have learned one thing.   It takes two to Tango.  But it only takes one to Porter.

And now you are writing me.  The tables have turned.  So here it is. Take me off your list.  Don’t call me anymore.

Is that too cruel?  Okay, maybe, just maybe, you could send me one last note.  Tell me that I did mean something to you.  I won’t be back.  There’s too many bad memories.   But I would like to know that you heard me.   And if you had the class to do that, here’s what I’d say.

So long, old girl.  It was good while it lasted.  And we’ll always have Paris.

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Filed under Organization, People, Strategy

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