Sorry guys, plans changed for Frequent Traveler University…

There’s no easy way to say this, unfortunately. I’ve been in DC since yesterday and was fortunate enough to attend the Freddie Awards last night. I’m supposed to speak at Frequent Traveler University this weekend, though something came up that I hope you guys will understand.

As you guys may know I’m trying to fly at least one A380 in first class of each airline that operates them, and I’m almost there. The one airline that makes their first class almost “off limits” is Air France, as they only allow their elite members to redeem miles for first class at the “flex” level. So I was really torn when last night a reader pointed me to the below mistake fare.

I’ve faced a lot of tough decisions in my life, though choosing between Air France first class for $69 and attending Frequent Traveler University is definitely one of the toughest.

Which decision did I make? Well, I think I sort of found a compromise. I was able to book the above and separately book a return that gets me back to Washington by noon tomorrow, in time for the afternoon sessions. Unfortunately I’ll miss the morning mileage run session, though I found a highly qualified replacement.

In the meantime I’ll leave you guys with a couple of pictures of the cabin from boarding. By the time this post publishes I’ll be a good bit over the Atlantic enjoying some foie gras… more than $69 worth, I’m sure.

Bon voyage, and at least I’ll be able to share some impressions of Air France first class tomorrow and Sunday.

Update: Sorry if it wasn’t obvious, this was a late April Fools joke. Had a tour of Dulles today including a tour of the Air France A380, and thought this would be funny (and based on the mistake fare, fact that I had to travel today, and that the ticket was $69, figured it was obvious). Clearly my sense of humor doesn’t translate on the internet. šŸ˜‰


  1. Ben, how does one find out about mistake fares that are not on FT? It’s my understanding that they are somewhat common. Or maybe it was available during the middle of the night, like the mistake fare I was able to catch from West Coast-Tokyo. Thank you.

  2. Thumb up! Would love to hear/see more about the cabin/food photos alone with your point of view on the service etc…

  3. I heard that this kind of secret fare is how all of the major bloggers actually do most of their travel.

  4. Totally uncool Lucky. You made a commitment to FTU and you’re blowing it off for a mistake fare? I realize we’re all playing the game, so to speak, but this is really unprofessional. Time to grow up!

    In fact, this is the second time you’ve screwed me over. The last time was at the Capt. Denny dinner that you were supposed to host, but took a bump instead.

    Maybe I should stop clicking your referral links and support someone who actually appreciates me. I mean… Geez… You could probably just buy the F ticket anyway (even if it is on your parents credit card).

  5. Wow, extremely jealous. How did you find that fare? Was it pure luck? – just looked it up, gone obviously. I suppose it didn’t last long…

  6. Super jealous! I only live 15 minutes from Dulles and would have been on that flight in a heartbeat had I known about it. Enjoy it! Can’t wait for details.

  7. @pointsandtravel Does this group really need to have “bon voyage” defined for them?

    @Chris Yes, it’s uncool, but so are some of your comments.

    @lucky While I don’t condone all of Chris’ comments, the core sentiment is valid. People are paying to come to an event where you’re part of the programming. How would you feel if you were paying for a concert and the band didn’t show up? Same idea.

  8. I agree with Chris. You made a commitment, you are backing out of it at the last minute to fly on your 12415135th First Class flight on a mistake fare you didn’t share with readers. That is not what grownups do.

  9. @Chris, @Gene, @Levi — good god, get a grip and get over yourselves (especially Chris). Ben is not performing life-saving surgery. Let’s see: speak on a panel in front of a bunch of people, many of whom are so obsessive over frequent flying that they border on creepy, or jump on a $69 round trip first class mistake fare on Air France and get pampered? Frankly, the mistake fare is an absolutely on-the-nose perfect excuse for him to skip out on ONE of the panels, and his trip report will be a fantastic addition to this blog. Some of you guys act so entitled. Jeez. He’s a twentysomething blogger. Let him have a life. And @Chris, are you stalking Ben or something? Get a life and stop taking things personally. You sound like you’re one Jodie Foster movie away from a mental break.

  10. Looks like Ben is scheduled for 5 panels and he’s missing 1 of them for this trip. @Lucky: Bon Voyage, can’t wait to hear about the AF La Premiere classe trip, and consider a bodyguard when you get back to FTU so that these wackadoos don’t assault you.

  11. While I’m not attending I would think have an make up session at the end and everyone would be happy.

  12. @Nick — It sounds like you’re the one who is creepy and needs to get a grip. Maybe you should stop obsessively reading this blog since you seem to despise those of us who participate in this hobby.

  13. I have given up numerous MR, networking (including joining the Seattle meetups), and bump opportunities to stick to my commitments. It is always my interest to not screw my clients and friends over just because I wanted to put myself before others. I am sure not everyone will agree with me.

  14. @Gene: you’re a very perceptive, grounded individual. Your rhetorical skills are on par with a 5th grader’s (“maybe YOU’RE the obsessive one!”). I never said I despise mileage runners (where would you get that idea?), I just suggested SOME of you take this WAY too seriously. And you illustrate my point perfectly.

  15. I too find his choice unprofessional, but it’s expected from a twenty-something blogger who giggles over little boo boo or whatever her name is. What I find appalling is the bragging. I get that he would rather waste a few posts on boo boo or whatever show runs on TLC than inform readers of this mistake fare (perhaps, for the sake of protecting his own booking), but the bragging part just shows how immature Ben is.

  16. FlyerTalk 2012: Damn travel bloggers are publicizing all the best error fares!

    FlyerTalk 2013: Damn travel bloggers are hiding all the best error fares!

  17. This said, it could likely be a fake posts meant to distract readers while he powders up for his grand entrance at the FTU.

  18. Really poor judgement on your part. You saw this mistake fare and felt the way the rest of the world does on this situation: fuck, I have other commitments and can’t join in on this fare. Only you did what a kid does: forgot your responsibilities and hoped everyone forgave you because you had an excuse.
    Lots of people made plans and spent their hardly earned money (or miles) to attend your panel, but you left them hanging. Not a wise business decision, mind you, and a huge lack of respect to your readers.

  19. Actually, this wasn’t a tough decision at all. For a grownup. You said yes to the FTU invitation, so you keep your promise.

    I’m holding out hope this is a joke, because otherwise you just did some serious damage to your career. Actually, if it is a joke, you should take note if how few people got it and consider how you might work to make your reputation for integrity so unassailable that everyone would instantly know you we’re joking.

  20. (sorry about the iOS-induced typos: take note *of* how few people got it; know you *were* joking.)

  21. I think it shows a lack of professionalism and really shows your immauturity. A professional would be thankful to have a speaking engagement, and wouldn’t run off to France like a little schoolgirl.

  22. In life there’s the right decision and then there is the correct decision. Often times they are not the same decision.

    I side with his judgement at it’s for the betterment of his viewing audience. Lucky’s readership has grown exponentially and is significantly larger than the attendance at FTU. This was truly a once-in-very-blue-moon opportunity for a detailed report on AF F.

    What most of you forget is that Lucky is a journalist. If Brian Williams had a paid speech and then there was a breaking story that he needed to cover, THAT becomes his obligation.

    My .02 (and I’m not one to loan out money)

  23. Quote “Iā€™ve faced a lot of tough decisions in my life, though choosing between Air France first class for $69 and attending Frequent Traveler University is definitely one of the toughest.”

    One of the toughest decisions of my life? All I can say is Wow. I think that instead of taking the trip you need to get a better grip on your priorities. As the ones you’ve displayed in this post have lost you at least one reader.

  24. Makes my 125K x2 +$400×2 F CDG-LAX redemption such a bad deal when looking at how much you got this for :p. I know, I know, it’s an awful redemption to begin with, but like you, I want to try every A380 F and I am almost there šŸ˜‰

  25. Congrats lucky. I support you! The jealousy running through this thread is rampant and quite honestly immature and uncalled for. For every reader you lose, youll find 47 more to support you šŸ™‚ Congrats on the sale fare, and enjoy. I know AF 1st is unbelievable šŸ™‚

  26. I can appreciate someone finding a good deal and wanting to make use of it, that being said though, I was always taught that if I made a commitment to be somewhere family, friend, and especially work I am honor bound to uphold my commitments. Skipping out on a commitment last minute shows a lack of respect for the commitment and in the case of a “work” commitment demonstrates a lack of professionalism.

    I am disappointed that you did not take the high road in this instance.

  27. WAY TO GO LUCKY!!!!

    You took another one for the team!

    Plus, you sacrificed your trip by coming back early…Nevermind the haters…

  28. Disappointed. Your seminar was why I pretty much booked this trip.

    Wish you would have honored your commitment. I can’t tell you all the things Ive had to give up Bc of my commitments

    Also, I can’t understand why nick is apperently your biggest apologist tonight

  29. I’m also calling joke, but hoping lucky confirms it as a joke before tomorrow as those who planned to attend his may actually skip it now because they had been looking forward to Ben, not some sub.

  30. I’m sure there will never be another mistake fare to exploit. And there will never be another chance to fly AF.

  31. Jealous? Haters? No I think they are just trying to share their sentiment about how Lucky, if he is on the AF flight, made a poor and immature decision in this case. But we live in a “me first” culture, so it is not surprising at all.

  32. I recently got back into accumulating miles and points. And now that I have a nice stash, I realize redemption in premium cabin isn’t as easy as some people make it seem. Add all these mistake fare opportunities and it’s almost too easy for certain folks. Sounds too good to be true. I need to get rich so I can just pay for shit.

  33. Had an inkling so held off posting to wait if/until the joke was confirmed. Slightly too subtle, eh?

  34. I mean, everyone knows that you don’t go to FTU for the seminars… I’ll be drinking in the sponsored lounge while you’re in the sessions šŸ™‚

  35. I actually thought this was a serious post, and didn’t blame you for making the decision you supposedly made. Nothing led me to think it was a joke, but now that I know it is, I think it’s pretty damn funny! šŸ˜€

    If this travel/points/blogging thing doesn’t work out, maybe you can write for the Onion! šŸ™‚

  36. Lucky
    The choice was obvious. After some of the comments above, if you find a good fare tomorrow, you have to leave town.

  37. Wow I’m surprised at how angry everyone is! First off its a joke (that I fell for haha) and second, I would have supported his decision to take the fare anyways. It is part of his job to review new products. I am sure I am not the only person that uses Lucky’s trip reports as a way to plan my next trip. If he were to miss one of the multiple sessions, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Thanks for all you do Lucky! Looking forward to an Air France First Class in the near future

  38. Any business, sole proprietor or not, knows you can’t please everyone. I’m laughing at the comments saying how Ben’s career would be ruined if he actually took this flight LOL! Seriously, this blog could lose 200 people and it would be a fraction of the gross readership. I wish anyone with that mentality would just stop reading already and quit with the whining.

  39. More funny than anything is the people raging that this move would have damaged your career. Oh no, a few dozen readers out of what I assume to be tens of thousands leave you, I guess you might as well leave the industry.

    @Chris – It took me all of 2 minutes to make an identical mockup using Safari’s Developer Tools, so it isn’t like it is too difficult.

  40. Well, your credibility just took a major hit. All you have as a blogger is your credibility and yours ranks with Swiss or Air Mandalay.
    By now I am sure you realized how stupid this post was.

  41. @timmer1001

    chill the fuck out, and stop taking yourself so easily. It’s a prank, and people fell for it.

  42. @Luck, I hate to be persistent, but you promised us a full trip report on your good new American experience over two weeks ago. I think you need to take a look at your priorities

  43. I’m laughing at all the cry babies. Their greed and jealousy has been displayed pretty well here. You guys weren’t upset because of Lucky’s priorities, you were upset because he scored a dream flight without sharing. Sad, really sad.

  44. I didn’t get the joke, but it’s irrelevant to me. Just reminds me of the times I tried to joke over email in the early ish days… It never ended well. I just had to give up on email based humor. (you’ve got some mean commenters reading your blog too, though. Yikes!)

  45. Addicts are very serious about their addiction and have very little or no control when it comes to their “high”

    It’s miles and points gang. Just miles and points

  46. hahaha. I laughed! Thanks for making my day. I was wondering how you got that shot on the tarmac with the A380. See you soon!

  47. Ben,

    I think you’re awesome. I’m living vicariously through you. I wish I had the balls to do the things you’re doing, although FF programs were in their infancy when I was your age.

    This was a FANTASTIC gag! Reading people’s reactions shows that you have many, many passionate fans.

    And I agree with Jamie…some of your readers are just mean, bad people. Screw ’em.

    Have fun.

  48. Wasn’t attending FTU, but didn’t see how it was a joke….that is, not remotely funny. I guess people are taking this somewhat seriously as I recall you did this once with a dinner with Capt Denny (sp?).

  49. @Lucky I fell for the joke as well and thought it was quite convincing given this is probably the only way of getting on AF380 without having to splurge the points. You do have some serious PC folks in your readership along with some whiners and ofcourse some mega fans ;). Any way good luck and keep the good work coming.

  50. Ben, well done!
    We are laughing all day yesterday and wishing it was true for you to take advantage of it.

  51. Dumb joke.
    I can’t believe you would do that to your followers.

    Very unloyal and disrespectful.

  52. Really disgusting of you.

    I paid a lot of money and took off from in order to attend FTU, and specifically to hear your address.

    I almost had a heart attack when I read this.

    I have lost total respect for you, and I hope you lose many many followers bec of this mistake that you made.

    Heck, How do would I ever know if one of your posts are true or a lie/(*joke*). >:(

    Good riddance.

  53. Hey, I don’t care if you don’t publish my comment, but it just shows that you’re a cowardly piece of shit.

    You have thousands of followers and you took advantage of them at their expense.

    Go fuck yourself

  54. Ha. Got me too. The first thing that ran through my mind is “how did I miss that fare? Is it still good?”

    For those of you who actually *pay* to hear Ben speak, and got pissed off… suckers! I’ve never paid a dime for FF advice.

  55. There’s no easy way to say this, but I never saw the humor in your post and even after the update I still don’t see it. Makes me wonder if anything else you’ve said was just another half baked joke that I took seriously when I shouldn’t have. People expect to be toyed with on April 1st, but the rest of the year we expect bloggers to put a little effort into making their jokes actually funny, rather than expecting the audience to supply the humor and the punchline on their own.

  56. @Lucky: Your blog has started to frustrate me more and more. We all appreciate your personality, but unless it’s April Fools, a blog like this isn’t the place to put out false information. Even if you don’t know it, people often rely heavily on the information you provide.

    Your postings have recently become more and more inconsistent; you miss days in a row and then suddenly post 5 things on a day, you (seem to) forget about promised trip reports, all things that your competitors such as View From the Wing and The Points Guy are able to avoid.

  57. I see that some of you on here have zero sense of humor. This blog is an avenue for sharing, not an end all be all source of information. Mis-information will appear from time to time. But over time, how many blog posts have been like this one? Maybe 2 or 3 if that?

    $69 for same day travel, in F? People wake up. Don’t get me wrong, I can and will spend hours on all sorts of sites (ITA, matrix, google, etc) to piece together a great MR or 12. But getting mad at a blogger because he posts one faux post, shows me more about you, the reader, than the blogger. Especially after something so painfully obvious.

    I could be completely off base here, but this blog isn’t his bread and butter. Don’t get me wrong, I am sure he gets a few bucks from the CC referrals, ad clicks, and traffic flow, but this isn’t his first priority.

    Sometimes it pays to take a chill pill, understand that one person may have more things on his plate than updating a blog (FTU anyone?).

    I was wondering what I was going to do with this left over cheese platter in my fridge. It will go well with all of this whine.

  58. I agree with all the commenters who stated that people bashing Lucky for this “joke” were just completely jealous of potentially missing out a good mistake fare and nothing else.

    Has Lucky ever kept a good fare for himself? I don’t think so…..

  59. Anyone who has followed Ben for a while should have realized this was a joke. When the United Hong Kong deal for 4 miles popped up he was one of the first to show us how to book it. Do you really think he would just jump on a plane for $69 to Paris and not tell us how to do it? This would have been one of the legendary mistake deals of the century which he would have gleefully shared!(had it not been a joke).

    This is one of my pet peeves that everybody has gotten so damn serious about a hobby that you can’t have a little fun. Lighten up for crying out loud. We are not doing this to be mean to one another… We are doing this to enjoy it!

  60. Reading these comments has been my most entertaining read of the year. This is an individuals blog, chill out. If u don’t like it don’t read it. Thanks Lucky for the entertainment.

  61. Its up to Lucky to make his blog out to be whatever he wants but I think it was unprofessional. If he wants his writings to be consistently taking seriously and highly regarded as an expert, this is going in the wrong direction. I am not insulted, I just don’t know what to expect here sometimes. I think maybe he should keep it professional and have a separate blog for the comedy. I could not act like this at work. This is a part of his job, he gets some of his livelihood from here, so he should keep it professional I think.

  62. Why would someone claim that if you didn’t appreciate the joke you must be jealous of the author? Are we back in grammar school? I appreciate Ben’s advice but the honest truth is that there is no way I could fly as much as Ben does without getting absolutely sick of it.

  63. Some guys comment here like they are paying the author of this blog for their Post-Doctoral Degree, that is ridiculous.

    If you don’t like it, simply don’t read it, isn’t that what you do when you are watching TV?

  64. I like this blog because it is fun and Lucky doesn’t take himself too seriously while also providing great tips and reviews. I guess the miles game is a very serious competition to a few people, though.

    @lucky – I didn’t realize it was a joke, but thought it was funny when I found out. The only thing I ask you to change about your blog is to update it more! Also, more reviews of showers and photos of hot nuts. Don’t let these Very Serious People get you down.

  65. Lighten up people. I went from insanely envious, to unimpressed with AF 1st class, to a belly-chuckle at being the “victim” of a well-crafted April Fool’s deception. AND, it was enjoyable. There are so many woes in the world that deserve your concern…this was sooo not one of them.

  66. A great gag – not so much the joke itself, but watching the [not-so] witty repartee unfold was a lot of fun.

    Keep up the great work Lucky.

  67. @Susan, I read April 27th comments and thought man, what’s her problem? Did you not get any the night before?

    And now your April 29th comment is a complete 180… what gives? Are you bipolar or something?

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