Thomas Stuker, Very Frequent Flier, Logs 10 Millionth Mile on United
The CEO of United Airlines, Jeff Smisek, was waiting when Thomas Stuker stepped off his flight from Chicago to Los Angeles on Saturday to congratulate him on flying his 10 millionth mile with the airline, award him with a permanent upgrade, and tell him a plane would be named in his honor.
Stuker, a car sales consultant from Illinois, has taken roughly 6,000 United fights over the last 29 years, bouncing around the country and Europe from dealership to dealership, traveling a distance that could stretch around the earth 400 times according to the Daily Mail.
Stuker told ABC News: "People have vacation homes and I have United."
United pounced on the event as a possibility to drum up some good publicity. Stuker obliged the company by talking about the kindness he had been shown over the years.
Stuker is now more of a PR asset for the company than he is a paying customer. With 50 million frequent flier miles to his name, Stuker is unlikely to be reaching for his wallet in an airport any time soon. In the 1990s Stuker even used his glut of points to purchase an appearance on "Seinfeld."
Stuker's achievement echoes George Clooney's characters in the movie "Up in the Air," but doesn't seem to have been accompanied by the same existential angst. Stuker's flights, unlike Clooney's, do not seem to have been a well considered metaphor for his disconnection from emotional commitment. He's just a guy who flies a lot.
"If I go a week without a flight, something's not right," joked Stuker.
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