One million miles and counting

Published 7:44 am Tuesday, May 14, 2013

It happened this past week while I was about 35,000 feet above Texas. I passed one million miles while flying on Delta Airlines. In a sign of how technology is changing our world, I received notification from Delta in an email just moments after landing.

Ironically, for many years I flew Eastern Airlines, accumulating a significant number of miles on that airline before it went bankrupt. However, for many years I have been a faithful Delta customer. After all, it used to be said that if you lived in the South you had to pass through Atlanta to go to heaven or hell.

At some point, you have so many miles you don’t even consider flying another airline, even if the price is less. You begin to be bumped up to First Class and then the airline has got you hooked. You get used to the bigger seats, free drinks and better food. Actually, it has been really good food in the past couple of years.

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I have no real idea of how many trips I have taken to reach this milestone, although the greatest number of flights I ever took in one single year was 60.

I am more nervous now driving a car than flying in a plane. I am usually asleep before the plane takes off. With the addition of wi-fi in the past couple of years, I find I get some of my best work done while flying. In fact, I am high above Louisiana as I write this article.

In my younger days, I was also lucky enough to get to travel with my parents and grandparents. I visited everyone one of the 48 continental states in this great country before I graduated from high school. Very few were by plane.

We traveled across the country in a camper, trailer and motor home. It remains the best way to see the wonders of America. It is just so hard for families to find the time in their busy lives to travel that way any more.

If you were to drive 60 miles an hour then you would obviously travel one mile in one minute. If you never stopped, it would take 1.9 years to reach a million miles.

By comparison, United Airlines’ most frequent flyer flew 1 million miles on more than 400 flights last year. In his lifetime, he has flown more than 10 million miles on more than 6,000 flights. My guess is he doesn’t have any time to get jet lag.

Travel can be exciting and exhausting at the same time. Regardless of where I have been, I l always look forward to returning to southwest Georgia. After all, no matter where you go, there is no place like home.

Dan Ponder can be reached at