Fantasy Camp for Flight Enthusiasts

You know there are actually people that enjoy flying commercially? When they’re not busy getting institutionalized, these flight enthusiasts are busy looking up “interesting” (if you could call it that) aviation trivia, flying for the hell of it and fantasizing about the inappropriate, unrestrained things they’d do if they got access to a Boeing 737. It is for these nutjobs specifically that American Airlines created a sort of fantasy camp to do all the things that would be considered mundane among other circles. Most recently, 160 fliers paid upwards of $1,699 per seat for admittance to spots like Boeing’s 737 factory, American’s mission control-like operations center and the cockpit of the world’s largest passenger jet, all of which are restricted under normal circumstances.

These tickets sold out in 17 minutes. And don’t even get me started on the frequent flier maniacs. If you’ve seen “Up in the Air”, starring Clooney himself, you can understand the obsession with collecting miles, having elite status with an airline and reaping the perks: a year of upgrades, free liquor, waived bag frees, the ability to skip security lines and double miles on all his flights. Suzanne Rubin, the new president of the American’s frequent flier program, AAdvantage, set up a crash course in customer research with the MegaDo trip. This trip had a guest list of fliers with outrageous frequent flier miles (including Michael Joyce, 61, with 44.4 million miles) and even more outrageous obsessions with flying. They melted at the opportunity of getting to take shots of a Cathay Pacific 777 nose to nose with a Qantas A380. They got even more giddy when they were allowed onboard. The doors opened and, like moths to a light bulb, the passengers climbed into the cockpit, spread out in plush first class beds and crawled into the hidden bunk beds where crews nap during long trans-Pacific flights. They even asked a flight attendant for her autograph as she starred in a new safety video, which American chose to premier on the flight. Clooney would’ve gotten less attention than she did had he walked onto that plane.