Frequent-flier therapy

Road Warrior, travel tips and tales from digital visionary Esther Dyson.

Published November 17, 1997 8:00PM (EST)

Last week we presented a query from a reader desperately seeking frequent-flier therapy. It turns out, as one of our readers notes below, that an article addressing her dilemma is posted online.
And check out this week's query -- from a woman executive on the subject of airline sexism. Do you agree or disagree? Do you have any advice for her? Send your opinions and tips to

Last week's query:

Is there any way to save 15,000 frequent-flier miles due to expire with United Airlines by the end of December? I have another 5,000 miles -- or a total of 20,000 -- but need 25,000 for a free trip and I don't particularly want
to travel next month just to pick up 5,000 miles. Any advice?


Road warrior Michael Quinlan responds:
There is a nice article about what to do with soon-to-be-expiring miles at It's called "Use 'Em or Lose 'Em" and it's in the bizFlyer 101 section of the magazine.

In short, Gloria D. has two realistic options. First, she could request an
upgrade voucher. If she requests it now, it'll still be good for up to
a year after she gets it. United's upgrades can be redeemed for as
little as 10,000 miles, but there is also an unrestricted upgrade
available for 20,000 miles.

Second, she could see if her employer would purchase the extra 5,000
miles she needs for a free trip as her early Christmas bonus. (United
only allows businesses to purchase these "incentive miles." Individual
members of United's Mileage Plus program can not buy them.)

Hope this helps.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

This week's query:

I would like to address the subject of sexism on major airlines. I fly a great deal; my usual business trip takes me from
Atlanta to New York and back, usually on the same day. Because I am an
officer in my company, I fly first class. As a female, I am usually in
the minority in the first class section of the plane. In the past three
years, I have encountered the rudest, most blatantly hostile treatment from,
ironically, female flight attendants. I have been asked to show my seat
assignment, while the men around me are asked what they would like to
drink. I have been told to put my coat in the overhead compartment while
my male counterpart's coat is hung up. On one particular occasion while
returning from a Metropolitan Museum meeting lugging four portfolios, I
asked the flight attendant for a hand -- she refused and simply stared at
me in utter disgust. I have heard similar stories from my colleagues and friends. Is this common? What action, if any, do readers recommend?

Thanks for the vent.

Send your answers to We'll pass them along next week!

By Esther Dyson

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