Friday, March 03, 2006


Better late than never Wednesday post

You'd already given me up for dead, hadn't you? Yeah, I know how it goes. Your fave blogger - or at least one of the bloggers you occasionally read - says that he or she is back on track, is going to be more meticulous about posting. And then what? Two posts, three max - and poof! The blogger is gone. Back into the Internet ether.

Well, that ain't Our Man in LA.

He's tardy, to be sure. Anyone who's ever hung out with Our Man knows that he's frequently late. No exception this week. But fear not. You'll get your full Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday posts from Mr. Wieland, even if you get them a bit late. Like right now.

Onto Wednesday's regularly scheduled post, something we'll call . . .

American Gold card turns LAX a bit less lax

Once again, the time has come for Our Man in LA to venture out into the world outside of Southern California. Today - Wednesday, March 1 (wink wink, nudge nudge) - I'm headed back to the cold and windy Midwest of my youth for about 48 hours. And like a lot of people, the idea of traveling lost its luster after high school. When you started having to take off your shoes to get through security, when you first had to sit in the middle seat on a redeye from Chicago to LA, when you first had a flight attendant spill OJ all over you in a pocket of turbulence, well, the bloom was off the travel flower.

Until today, you see.

Last month, I heard from Our Woman in LA's preferred airline (which used to be mine, too, before I became, ahem, disgruntled). Anyway, it turns out that moving across the country paid off in more ways than one. Because of the trips in 2005 to Ohio and the East Coast, I have now achieved Gold status with the airline. I got the card, slipped it into my wallet, and then promptly forgot about it.

Again, until today.

Because today, as I went to check in for my flight, it occurred to me: "Let's just see what this Gold Card can do". I figured nothing special.

Folks, Our Man in LA has never been more happy to be proven wrong in his life. Picture this. First, I'm ushered by airline staff to the nearly empty First Class check-in line. Then the friendly (that's right, friendly) woman behind the counter, gets me a much better seat and offers to put me on the upgrade list for first class. Then I head to the line for security, but . . .

Oh no, Mr. Wieland, you get to go through security with the good guys today. So no waiting. I sailed right through. Tons of time for a stop at the Starbuck's and the book store. My cup literally runneth over.

Then I get to the plane - where I'm automatically in Group 1 for boarding - and I sail past all those suckers who have to wait for Groups 2, 3, and 4 just to end up in the same row as me. The status. The power. God help me. I'm giddy.

The Gold Card is like a drug.

And it gets more so. I've been informed by the powers that be at Our Woman in LA's fave airline that for my next flight, I got me some free dibs on the Admiral's Club.

What can I tell you? It's all coming together. First the CW network. Now the Gold Card. Yeah. It's good to be me.

EDITOR'S NOTE: On the return trip, the magic of the Gold Card was tested. A surly airline employee on the ground in Chicago's super busy, super disorganized O'Hare International yelled at me for getting in the wrong security line, even after being directed there by the check-in counter.

But not to worry, fair readers. The Gold Card didn't lose its power. After I boarded the plane back to LA (in Group 1, natch), I found myself on a very full flight. Packed, even. Virtually every seat taken. Every middle seat, even.

Except in my row. There? Empty but for me, chilling on the aisle.

Bwahahaha! Gold Card, you serve me well!

I believe we share an unhealthy addiction to the Gold Card. We may have even achieved them in similar fashion. It's a bit of a bad drug, though, that the only way to really use and appreciate it is to travel more and more, which begets better and better perks, but to use them you have to travel more and more, but then...
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