Fly to Helsinki with me on American Airlines!

As part of their marketing campaign for their Chicago-Helsinki seasonal route, American Airlines has invited me to fly to a media event in Helsinki as their guest. I asked if I could fund my portion of the trip, and if they would instead be willing to host one of my blog readers. They have graciously agreed, and so we have ourselves a killer giveaway!

One unlucky reader will get to accompany me to Helsinki, with all expenses paid by either American or myself! This is a fantastic opportunity to visit a new destination for me, and I’m excited to be able to share it with one of you guys!

The prize:
Round-trip Business Class travel from the US (whichever airport you’re closest to that’s served by American) to Helsinki, provided by American Airlines, along with two nights hotel accommodation in Helsinki, and any meals or transportation costs while we are together on the trip, provided by me. You are responsible for your own souvenirs, hotel incidentals, and other personal expenses.

The details:
Please do not enter the contest if you won’t be able depart on July 15th and return on July 18th. I will of course be blogging about the trip, and there may be other promotional events as well, so you will also need to sign a media release.

Sorry, but only US residents 18 or over, in possession of a valid passport, may enter.

How to enter:
Leave a comment on this post or on Twitter using the hasthtag #hAAlloHEL, telling me why you should be the winner. The more creative the better, so feel free to use words, videos, pictures (like the extremely professional one I made above), memes, sarcasm, or whatever medium you’d like. You may enter once in each format, and please make sure you are using a valid email address. Entries will be accepted until Sunday, June 2nd at 11:59PM Pacific.

I will pick my favorite ten entries on Monday, and will post them for y’all to vote on. Voting will go until Thursday, June 6th. The winner will be announced on the blog on Friday, June 7th.

**Official Rules: No purchase necessary. Entries for contest start May 30 2013 and end June 2 2013. Winner announced June 7 2013. Winner agrees not to contaminate Lucky’s warm nuts on American. Eligibility requirements: Limited to US residents over 18; entries can be submitted via Comments and Twitter; one per person per medium; odds of winning will depend on the number of entries received; winner will be selected on June 7th and notified via the Email or Twitter account used to enter; an alternate will also be selected in case the original winner is not able to attend the event. Winner must have a valid passport. The winner will be required to sign a release and affidavit of eligibility.
* Prize will be reported to the IRS as income to the winner on Form 1099-MISC

Good luck, and let’s have some fun with this!


  1. Not cool (the part about eligibility). Lucky, you should at least sometimes run giveaways to all non-US folks…

  2. Awesome!! thanks for this opportunity!

    any estimate on what the reported 1099-MISC amount will be? just to estimate the cost to me if i win 😉 thanks!

  3. Home to Nokia, City’s animal symbol is a squirrel, and women make up 53% of the population…what’s not to love?!

  4. An all-expenses paid trip with Lucky?! Does the winner also get to share a room with Lucky as well? =P

  5. Simple. I am a seasoned therapist. We will spend the 3 three days working through your fears of flying post-Royal Jordanian. Sounds fun to me 🙂

  6. The last time i flew AA Business Class i sat next to Flavor-Flav…I want to be able to tell people I sat next to a REAL celebrity!!! Also, I live in Chicago so 0% chance of mis-connect!

  7. I’d be willing to travel in a costume if that gets me the prize. But honestly, an opportunity to pick your brain for a few days about travel and awards would be amazing. I can’t believe you’re only 23!

  8. I think I’ll be exhausted traveling with Lucky. He seems alot to handle; can only take him in small doses 🙂

  9. I haven’t been to Europe and this would be a great way to travel there, in style with some very cool people. Visiting Helsinki would be a great way to start off a tour of Europe. Flying a new product that I haven’t experienced would be excellent too!

  10. I’ll bring you a bottle of Krug, just in case they dont have any… along with some diet coke, and along the way, I’ll make you a greeting card that will rival anything a Singaporean Air flight attendant would be able to make… how’s that for service?

  11. My work supervisor is Finnish, but he’s never been to Finland. I’d like to be able to brag that I’ve been to his homeland and he hasn’t.

  12. On the morning of Sunday May 26, my apartment burned down, causing me to lose everything I have picked up in my years of travel. I lost everything else really too, but am getting my passport replaced tomorrow. I really need the trip to start my new travel collection and start filling up the new passport.

  13. I think I should be the winner because I’ve never been to Finland before nor have I ever traveled in international business class. I’m a huge fan of the blog and learned so much from you but I’ve only ever been able to use my miles to travel domestically because I am usually booking for my entire family. This would be a terrific opportunity for me to see a place that I’ve never been and enjoy a flight that few get to be on. Thanks, Mike.

  14. My blog( talked to me in my dream saying I have to go in order to do another nice trip review to make her look good. Thanks.

  15. Aside from never having been to Helsinki or flown 1st class, which would be great, it’s the winning something that would be the best. I’ve never won anything, please pick me! Oh, before I forget, ditto to everything everybody else has posted.

  16. I hope there is a segway tour we can join, because that would be my 7 or 8 segway tour 🙂

    I know you have always wondered what a segway ride is like…

  17. A working single mom – would love a quick jaunt to somewhere I’ve never been. I’m also Exec Plat on AA so that should double how awesome AA is to us on the trip!! I’m not Finish – but I am part Swedish! And I am super fun, love to travel, eat and drink. Would be a wonderful travel companion. I would love to help you Finish a trip on AA!!

  18. I speak Finnish, know the best escargot restaurant in the country, and can tell you the difference between every type of smoked salmon (there are many)

  19. Please fly me to Helsinki
    Business class won’t be dinky
    Sip champagne stick out your pinky!

  20. Never been to Helsinki. Would love to fly there in first class. Would also love to learn from Lucky. I think Lucky needs Asian companion for this trip anyway.

  21. In the world of award miles, there are many princes and princesses but there’s only one who rises above them all. That man is Lucky. Flying through the heavens on winged birds, he does not simply enjoy and hold such experiences to himself, but he comes down and shares with the good people each and every experience. How too, I would fly with such a experience the pains of a sub-luxury champagne drink, to remark on the smiles, beauty, and the postures of a crew, to take numerous pictures whilst annoying other passengers, and to enjoy the succulent morsels of reindeer meat or elderflower soup–the nectar of the gods! And of course would I be so blessed to be with him while going to greatest city in the entire universe–Helsinki, which means “bosom of the earth.”

  22. I’m a research hound who plans unbelievably detailed (if you’re a strong “P” on the Myers-Briggs, you probably wouldn’t like them) itineraries and would gladly do so for this junket so we can make the most out of our 3 days and so it can be shared with other FTers. I’m also an excellent writer who could share the load of making this VERY worthwhile for AA. When AA and US merge, I’ll be a million-miler (assuming there’s no devaluation in the combination of miles earned…850K+ on AA and 500+ on US). I’d attach an itinerary for CA’s Wine Country where we have a condo but I havent’ figured out how to do so.

  23. I flew a couple Julys ago when they first started. the crew was fantastic I only stayed one night, so flew back with the same crew. Enjoy!

  24. Pick me for what would be a real life basis for “The Hangover Part 4 – Helsinki (bosom of the earth)”

  25. Never been to Helsinki, Lucky, why don’t you pick me so we can team up to be total new explorers? Plus the 18 hours sunlight a day in July, Business class on AA transatlantic, I just have to be there!

  26. We would have the best time! Talk about travel and enjoy an new city! Have a few beers here and there and take in the sights! Would be an awesome trip!

  27. I grew up in a small town in Northern Minnesota…”ya sure you betcha”….i would love to visit Finland with ya!!!

  28. This should help to break the ice with the flight attendants.
    What is the difference between Finnish weddings and Finnish funerals?
    -At the funerals, there is one less drunk.

  29. I work and live in Washington, DC and Finland can use some corrupting… (According to the 2012 World Audit study, Finland is the least corrupt country in the world.) #hAAlloHEL

  30. I would always remind my Finnish friends when we were fishing…that the closest thing to a fish’s a##…was a fin

  31. The reason I think I may be the best companion is that I have been volunteering at least 5 times across all five continents and will definitely have a lot to talk about, and also have visited ~50 countries so that adds more interesting topics to talk about.

  32. I am getting married August 3rd…that should be reason enough to have a little fun! If we take a trip to Helsinki in July…my dad says you’re invited to the wedding!!!! UFF DAH !!!!!!!

  33. Like in Die Hard, I have the “Helsinki Syndrome,” and only this trip may alleviate it. Thanks!

  34. I thought about a creative response to this one but as it turns out I’m not that witty after all so I’ve Finnish’ed trying 🙂

    Good luck all!

  35. Great giveaway. I will be in Ecuador during these dates so I am not entering, but I am glad to see you giving this opportunity to a reader.

  36. A trip to Helsinki in coach? Ain’t nobody got time for that! But a trip to Helsinki in business class with Lucky, I certainly got time for that!

  37. Perhaps a haiku…

    AA(h)… free trip to HEL!
    With a stopover in SIN?
    Be I so Lucky!

    I did make that trip once… Stockholm to SINgapore via HELsinki. Checked in luggage just to get the luggage tag: HEL->SIN 🙂 SIN->HEL would be more appro-pro. #hAAlloHEL

  38. Would be nice to experience in person what Lucky will be writting about in this blog about the trip!!!!

  39. As a giant from the land of the midnight sun who doesn’t appear to get much sun at all, a trip to HEL would do my complexion some good by keeping me out of the sun. Plus going with a German like Lucky would be fun, everyone could speak in a language that makes them sound angry!

  40. Because when my brother went to Helsinki as an exchange student one summer, he came back with his hair dyed and in (red!) leather pants…and I want to know why!

  41. My wife told me I took take one last trip before our first child is born later this year and I’ve never been to Finland, but if we go I can introduce you to a real Finn how lives in Helsinki and could give us an insider’s tour of the city

  42. #hAAlloHEL Okay so you would probably prefer to spend time with someone your own age and not your mother’s age but having slaved and devoted myself to my family these past 30 years, it’s time for me to get the stamps in my passport. I’m available and don’t need to beg to get the time off from work because I’m retired. I still know how to have fun and after I go to bed, you won’t have to entertain me – yo’ll be free till the next day 🙂 Pick me and you won’t regret it!

  43. I’ve been to Europe 6 times in the past 6 months and need a vacation from all my mileage vacations.

  44. I should go because my 3rd cousin twice removed on my mother’s side was from Helsinki and I want to explore my roots.

  45. Well I woke up to check me some email and then I thought somebody was blogging. I said oh lord Jesus it’s a contest. Then I ran out, I didn’t grab no shoes or nothin’ Jesus, I ran for my life. And then reality got me. Fly to Helsinki? Ain’t nobody got time for that.

  46. Oooh, ooh, pick me! I’m almost always stopped by security or customs, which leaves you free to just walk on through. It’s better than any TSA precheck!

  47. I have a brand new passport. It’s pathetic, no stamps at all. This would be a great way to break it in!

  48. Why should Lucky take me to Helsinki?

    1. We’re both named Ben.
    2. I’ve been to Hell on AA before but never to HEL.
    3. I’m a cheap date. We can dine in the lounge if you want.

  49. Kyse on graavilohi, vodka ja puolukkaa! Olkaamme syödä, juoda ja käsitellä marja tahrat myöhemmin. Ei mahdollisuus, että me valloittaa että kieli heinäkuuhun. Rankka ja lähimpänä Unkarin. Smile ja piste. Voinko tuoda poron kotiin touhu? (It is all about the gravlax, vodka and lingonberries! Let us eat, drink and deal with the berry stains later. Not a chance that we will conquer that language by July. Smile and point. Can I bring a reindeer home as a carry-on?)

  50. I would love to go! My current lease ends on June 30th, but my new lease starts on August 1st, so I’ll be sleeping on couches of friends that month anyway! Almost all of my flights are on CRJs, so I’ve forgotten what it’s like to not have to duck when I get on the plane.

  51. Besides the fact that my next door neighbor is an AA flight attendant who is the purser on international first class flights who will make the flight even more fun. I am a whiter-than-white midwesterner who turns red when exposed to the sun. In mid-July, a trip to Helsinki may:
    *Save me a few trips to the dermatologist to remove moles in my later years.
    *Allow me to practice saying hAAAlllo to other northern European fiveheads. (get it? Our foreheads are so big they are fiveheads!)
    *Finally learn to appreciate beer. (Germany at Christmas didn’t fix that problem for me)

  52. So my uncle would always tell me a really bad joke when I was younger.

    What are you when you’ve got to use the restroom?
    What are when you’re using the restroom?
    What are you when you’re done?

    Thank you ladies and gentlemen, I’ll show myself out. (Btw, I’d love to go to Helsinki in the summer, but who here wouldn’t?)

  53. lucky,

    Forget the wing(wo)man,

    I’ll host you here. 🙂 I’m a local. I might fly one-way back with you, though!

  54. I’m in, but only if we get to sing the Fisch Schlapping song without getting kicked off the plane.

    Finland is the country where we dance!
    Finland is the country where we play!
    Here in Finland boy and Lucky can find a true bromance
    In traditional Scandinavian vay!

  55. Honestly, #61 is already my fave. But I also don’t have time not to be picked. Bring us both.

    PS. I tweeted you the most awesome pic. I may have blown up your Instagram as well in the hopes of getting another brownie point entry.

  56. I’d like to see the birthplace of Linux. Yeah, I’m a computer guy, so I had to say it!

  57. Lucky, I will stay away from your Nuts, warm, cold or medium so long as you let me pick your brain. I will bring in an spare Eye shade scented with Lufthansa warm towel Scent.

  58. It has been years since I’ve flown American, so I’d love to see what their business class service to Europe is like now!

  59. My friend and I met some gorgeous Finnish girls from Helsinki while touring Stockholm in the mid 80’s. (Of course, all the Scandinavian women were gorgeous).

  60. @Ben, since you don’t typically drink liquor you probably don’t know that it can cost more than food. Add to your rules that you won’t pay for liquor on this trip. 🙂

  61. My family originates from Finland back in the 1500s. Would be nice to “go back” in a more comfortable way!

  62. I may not be rich but I’m fun,
    If you do not pick me you’re dumb.
    For my first trip in business class,
    I promise I won’t pass gas,
    I can’t wait to hear that I’ve won.

  63. #hAAlloHEL

    Pick an 18 year old version of Justin Rose Lee. Which is me 🙂 I’m in college, and a trip to Helsinki, where I’ll be legally allowed to drink Krug or Dom.

  64. I live with my wife and three daughters, less than one mile is my mother and sister, that is six women, please help me, I need some time away.

  65. Why? Because I’ll pick up our tab to the best Heavy Metal in all of Helsinki – PRKL.

    Or maybe just skip the metal and have a few beers somewhere.

  66. /burns understamped non-US passport and dumps the ashes into the other side of the Pacific Ocean

    Do consider putting together something for your avid non-US readers. A HKG-SIN-HKG two-city trip on CX and SQ Y will do, I guess. Or, I don’t know, raffle off a pair of your used socks or something.

  67. *CX and SQ J, I mean. Lucky flying intra-Asia economy! What was I thinking! I’m sorry for posting bad words on your blog. 🙁

  68. While not typically one to act entitled, let’s just say I watched Abduction based on your rave reviews and some would say you owe me at least this seat! LOL

  69. In da UP we love anything Finish… A down-stater was sitting at the bar in Republic and asked the bartender if he would like to hear a Finnlander joke. The bartender leaned over and said, “Do you see that guy in the corner? He is the local sheriff, and he is a Finn. The man at end of the bar works for the DNR and he is a Finn. And buddy, I myself am of Finnish descent. Now, are you sure you still want to tell a Finnlander joke?” The down-stater replied, “No, not if I have to explain it three times!”

  70. I officially changed my name so it has 2 capitalized A’s to show my love for AA.

  71. Lucky,
    Did you know One Mile At a Time translates to Yksi Mile kerrallaan? #hAAlloHEL

  72. I can’t go as I’ll be enjoying my own AA experience flying home from London in the new 777-300 First cabin. BUT, if I could go, it would definitely be to challenge you to an ice cream sundae eating contest at 40,000 feet (without silverware).

  73. Winner! Winner! Reindeer Dinner HERE!!!!!

    First thing I do is meet you (lucky) at the AA lounge @ SFO and have a cocktail or 3

    Then during our time in the lounge and on the flight we learn about Helsinki

    But my type of learning is this

    (mmmm Brownies… YUmmmy)

    When we arrive this will happen (Finnair code-shares with oneworld, who’s partnered with AA)

    We can then decide to do any of these things

    but I think we will end up doing these

    but you might be like

    @night I Def want to do this

    In hopes of having a great time and also maybe getting room service

    The trip will fly by so fast, bc it’s a quicky and we had a great time.
    On our flight back we’ll be like this

  74. Four words: Finnish Fazer Vodka Chocolates. Plus I can talk travel destinations with the best of them. I’ve traveled to 80 countries in my life and just since the turn of the year I have already been on six continents.

  75. What a great gesture to offer your readers! Cant make the dates, but might see you departing SEA the 15th (if thats where you’re originating) as I’m flying through there that day!

  76. Hmmm…. I’m a gay Episcopal priest, who will have just married (thanks to Washington State Law) my partner of 15 years 10 days earlier. So… I will need a break from my new husband. And… I can hear your confession about whatever you saw wandering around Bangkok at night.

    Oh… And I’m awfully fun to travel with

  77. Thanks Lucky for the offer. I volunteer to be your drinking buddy and having been to Finland and Baltic states a few times, I can show you a few interesting, less traveled spots.

  78. Because the jet lag’s getting worse, the nagging little pain in my hip is settling deeper, and the money is getting tighter. But I MUST see Helsinki, for I am a traveler. And if I can not be a traveler, then who am I?

  79. Ben, I used to date a girl from Finland when I was in school, she was so hot and want to see if she is still the same 🙂

  80. Why I want to go to Helsinki: It’s Anthony Bourdain recommended and I don’t have any reservations. He went in winter, but July would be much safer – no need to worry about slipping on ice. Finland has reportedly a high level of depression (long winters, too much booze, reindeer steak, who knows). But I’d help cheer them up even though I can’t speak Finnish-Korean. They have a stellar and beautiful country, great people like Mannerheim who saved the country from borscht and shoddy design. Gee, maybe they just need to hear that once in a while. Uh, along with the important news that American Airlines can fly them to sunny Florida and SoCal.

  81. #hAAlloHEL I want to see the midnight sun in Helsinki’s summer. Ever since I discover I’ve been actively searching for all things points, miles and discounts and so far I’ve been able to travel business class and first class twice each using frequent flyer miles and accumulated almost 200K British Airways Avios as well as 50K virgin America Elevate points. Finally, wouldn’t it be awesome to finally be able to meet Lucky in-person and talk about all things points or miles during our trip? 🙂

  82. #hAAlloHEL – I have been to Helsinki once before…and literally stuck my head in the Sibelius monument! I wish I could post some pics to your blog, so you could see the “fun” I had! Also, it might be more fun to travel somewhere without my grandparents in tow and be able to act like a twentysomething!!!

  83. This trip sounds great, and I’d like to go!

    If I go with you, for the whole trip I will wear a black suit and dark glasses, and I’ll stick a coiled wire into my ear. That way, it’ll look like you have a bodyguard. Of course, I’m sure Finland is quite safe, and I don’t have any bodyguarding skills to speak of. But I AM tall and willing to throw nearby objects at menacing strangers, if necessary.

    I can even stand outside the door to guard while you’re using the lavatory on the airplane, thereby creating a more unique experience than the shower in the sky you keep talking about.

    The best part: bragging rights. You could say that you went to Finland with your own personal bodyguard.

    Good luck choosing, and if it’s not me, have a great trip!

  84. The average high in July will be 74 and the average low will be 54, so you’ll need a jacket. I will carry your jacket for you when it gets warm. The record high is 94, so if we reach the record high, I will carry around cold compresses to cool your face and neck. I will be sure to carry a sufficient quantity of diet cokes and limes — my handbag will become a cooler, so your drinks will always be the perfect temperature!! Please, pick me.

  85. #hAAlloHEL – I hosr about 20 fam trips a year and would love to attend someone elses’! Hola Helsinki!

  86. I am a cool old 60″s dude who has been all over the world looking for fun and adventure. I haven’t seen Helsinki but would love to give it a try. I got enough stories to crack you up for the whole trip. It won’t be boring I guarantee. Party on dude!!

  87. You suggested memes, and I got a little carried away. So, here’s why I’d love to be considered for this prize.

    First, I’m here because this sounds like the most interesting contest in the world.

    Second, I know Lucky doesn’t take BS from anyone.

    Third, Lucky lives up to his nickname:

    Fourth, I recognize the value of this method of transport:

    Fifth, I feel that I can handle some of the heartbreaking obstacles we may encounter on the journey:

    Sixth, I’ve heard that the Finnish are easy on the eyes:

    Seventh, I try not to pay any mind to all the haters:

  88. I googled stereotypes on Finland:
    “It’s very cold” – makes sense geographically
    “There are polar bears” – ok, maybe, but I didn’t think so
    “People are shy and rude” – getting interesting
    “Every Finnish people dance tango” – JACKPOT!

    Take me to Finland to investigate this tango legend. I WILL NOT STOP UNTIL THIS ISSUE OF FINNISH TANGO IS PUT TO REST!

    (Sorry for all the yelling there)

  89. 49% of your readers think we should ✈ together. 51% think I should go to HEL. May the populAAr vote rule. #hAAlloHEL

  90. Okay… so I visited the VisitFinland website to get the official “Reasons for choosing Finland” as a travel destination and “What to do in Finland at least once”.

    The official list with my thoughts:

    1) You want to see Santa
    – To ask him why he never got me that motorcycle for Christmas.

    2) You need to hide
    – From what I don’t know… but if the Finns say to hide, I’ll hide.

    3) You want to do something that your friends haven’t done
    – Damn straight I do.

    4) You love the Moomins
    – If it’s like a truffle then I’ll probably love it.

    5) You want to learn real driving
    – You mean like Fast & Furious Tokyo Drift? I am all in!

    6) Eat a ‘Karjalanpiirakka’ – fast food that looks like a boat
    – Cool… as long as it doesn’t taste like a boat.

    7) Visit Lapland
    – Are we talking topless dive bar Lapland? Could be an issue because I don’t drink or smoke or even dance for that matter. God I must be boring)

    8) Go to the Sauna
    – Whaaaat!? Me? In the buff? With Lucky? In the buff? Oh Hell-sinki Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!

  91. because i’ll carry around valises and attache cases, and appear to be the worlds’ greatest assistant, and making you look super awesome cooler. ill bring cookies and take pictures so you dont have to
    and? i can hashtag like its going out of style (never was in style, mere technicality)

  92. You should bring me for one reason and one reason only. Think back to every single miserable flight you’ve ever had that involved other passengers. The chatty nonstop talking person, the I haven’t bathed in a week person, the person that is oblivious to personal space, the person that recognizes personal space…but just doesn’t care, the super elite that is entitled to EVERYTHING, the person that is interested in you just so he can say something better, the farter, the drunk, the person my the window that has to crawl over you every 15 minutes to pee, the person who eats hot nuts-from your bowl, the person that spills a diet coke on your laptop…..that’s not me. If you pick me I can promise you a most amazing time with a person that will not fall into any of those categories. I can promise you that at the end of the trip you will have a difficult time flying because you will always remember the most awesome travel partner ever….and I mean ever!!

    Warning: I do have to warn you that if you pick someone else you may experience extreme regret when they become this incredible burden three hours into the flight and you find yourself muttering that you should have just picked Paul and don’t know why you didn’t trust your first instinct…..

  93. I’m already ready. The Tall Ships are racing in HEL on the 17th, the 52 Olympics stadium is there and I want to see where the train crashed into the Holiday Inn. These are my top 3 wishes. My wife would really love for me to be gone for 3 days and asked if I could extend for a while longer Keep in touch on the 7th.

  94. I have Global Entry, so you won’t have to feel obligated waiting with me in the CBP line at ORD (my home airport). July 15th is also my 25th birthday, and I have time off scheduled for that week already!

  95. Lucky,

    You should pick me because I live in LA and can make you a bigger star than George Clooney. We’ll start with the contest entry I made:

    In case you’re wondering, “Lämmin Pähkinät” is translated loosely in Finnish as “Warm Nuts”


  96. #hAAlloHEL ! I’ve never been to Finland or Finnfest, but I love pulla AND know how to say, “you have a big butt,” in Finnish. (Could be very useful, you never know.) This would be my 41st country and an amazing birthday (July 5) trip. I will only bring a carry-on bag (even tho AA is fab and wouldn’t lose my luggage.) Please pick me!

  97. WHY ME??? AA flyer for over 20 years,MRer for 5,would love to pick Luckys mind, love flying and Hotels, funny,flexible and Foodie and I dont snore

  98. If you choose me, I’ll bring my 9 month old along — it’s about time for his first passport stamp!

  99. Three reasons to pick me…
    1. I’d love to write a guest trip report for your blog
    2. I have dual citizenship (USA/GBR) with global entry, so you won’t have to wait for me at both ends
    3. I’m laid back and won’t bug the hell outta you 🙂

  100. When my sister asked what I wanted for my birthday (June 2nd, coincidentally), I said “Just a fin.” “Fin” is an old-timey word for a five dollar bill.

    So far I’ve received three fins. If Ben invites me to Helsinki, my sister will ask for a return of the money.

  101. I’m getting laid off on June 28th, so I will have plenty of time and no $$$. It’s also my wife’s birthday during the trip. I asked her if she would mind if I went on the trip and she told me to “go to HEL!”

  102. Dear Lucky,

    A disastrous recent Rome trip has me looking forward to cleansing the bad StarA karma and repledge my allegiance to 1W. It’ll be awesome to chill in the land of midnight sun. Leave the travel research to me b/c I prefer reading guidebooks to the next Finnish crime thrillers. So take a chance on me I’m the first in line and let’s do Scandanavia right ;]

  103. You know why I should win? 2 reasons:
    1- My birthday is July 17th, and that means I will be fullfilling a lifelong dream of being in Hel for my birthday, drinking Lonkero and overindulging on Fazer.

    2- I left my heart in Uspenski cathedral, and I have to go get it back.

    Pick me! Pick Me!!!! You’ll be doing a huge favor for my family and friends by shutting me up about going to Helsinki for my birthday!


  104. Ever been beaten with birch branches in a HELlaciously hot lapland smoke sAAuna? I would be honored to be your wingman as we SINK into the culture of the Finns!

  105. I’m throwing my name in the hat! Stay at home mom with some serious wanderlust and not nearly enough funds would love to accompany you on a quick get away to Helsinki!! You could teach me some of your tricks so I can take my family with next time!

  106. My father-in-law who will be 100 in October is Finnish. he is also the oldest living ex-Pro hockey player. He never got the chance to go Finland. I would like to take pix and get something from the Finnish Hockey Assn. for him. Where else can you get reindeer pizza and experience White Nights?

  107. Lucky,

    1. This is a very generous offer. Kiitos, tack, danke & thank you.
    2. This video will hopefully appeal to one of your favourite hobbies. And you’ll notice a special appearance by one of your true loves among the Finnish crowd. I suspect Ultra Bra had you in mind while filming (they were visionaries!):
    3. A decade ago, I lived in Finland. My only experience hosting guests in my then adopted country was a 2-week visit by my parents and grandmother. I’d like to give it another go with someone from my generation… and more experienced in the nuances of travel. It would be my pleasure to accompany you (and have the chance to relive some of my fondest memories).
    4. I insist on reciprocating your hospitality, and willingly offer a comfortable place to stay and various Nutella-based treats whenever you opt to visit my area.

    Ich drücke dir die Daumen!

  108. I’ve traveled over 2,300,000 miles with American and never been to Helsinki. Can’t wait! I’m ready!! LET’S GO!!!

  109. Lucky, thank you for thinking of us, your loyal minions. :<)

    If you choose me I will share my experiences travelling to over 60 countries (and Finland is not on that list!). Those experiences will be the seeds for your columns over the next year.

    So, do us both a favor and select me.

  110. I just got global entry, and would like to use it for the first time visiting the world’s northernmost metro area of over one million people and EU member state

  111. #hAAlloHEL
    I’ve been flying about 40 weeks per year for the past 17 years, but I never go anywhere outside of the USA just for fun or to see and enjoy all that other countries have to offer. I need to ‘spread my wings,’ and Helsinki sounds like just the place to do it.

  112. Business class? First class? AAirport lounges? Elite status? AAll AAre foreign concepts for me, never was Lucky enough to experience AAny of them, AAt least not yet. I’d love to return to Europe for the first time since 2004, experience the culture, sights, sounds of HELsinki, and of course discuss your travel experiences and blog. Vielen Dank für Ihr AAngebot.

  113. As another early-20s avid points collector who also moved to Seattle the same time as you, it would be interesting to meet you. Exchanging travel stories and exploring a new city is always fun with people your own age. Also, my birthday is at that time, and I can’t think of a better way to spend it than that going with Lucky to Helsinki! (Also, Helsinki is the only place in Europe that my sister has been to but not me, so from a sibling-rivalry standpoint I want to hit it up).

  114. Hello Lucky,
    How can you even think about flying to Helsinki without me. You must be nuts (those nuts again). Who would know the capital better, who would know more Finnish chefs than me (they all have worked with me), who could take you their friends lakeside cottage with a fantastic sauna? And if American Airlines does not have you stay at Hotel Kamp or Hotel Heaven (yep, that is what the next best hotel in Helsinki is called), I can get you in. There is also an old prison used as a hotel nowadays, but I would skip that.

    You have to start your day at the market place in the harbor with a coffee and their famous jelly donuts. Then for lunch get some Carelian pastries, creamed wild chanterelle mushrooms and grilled small whitefish directly from the fishing boats in the harbor.

    Finland has two official languages, so you would need a person fluent in both. You just found that person. How lucky is that. And do not believe the blog comments in Finnish. Not one was totally correct (not even the one who tried to translate your warm nuts to Finnish); the language is one of the most difficult to learn.

    Have I made my case? And of course I would not touch your hot nuts. I would bring my own from Costco; a couple of pounds so we’ll have enough.

    And one more thing, the Finns do not live in igloos, not even the Saami in northern Finland. Lucky, that is an ooops….

    And yes, I have a couple of passports, you can choose…..

  115. I would LOVE to go to Helsinki, the homeland of one of my closest friends! I’m one of his groomsmen for his wedding in a few weeks, but he’ll actually be having a ceremony for his extended family in Finland in July too. I’ve always heard wonderful things about Helsinki and the country, so it would be a true delight to find out for myself, and to potentially see him while he is there too!

    Plus, it is crucial that I buy copious amounts of Hedelmä Aakkoset, the best candy ever!!

  116. I enjoy being organized on trips and will have no problem ensuring that you (Lucky) do not lose any socks, cords, or other things lost on your numerous other journeys.

  117. Take me to Helsinki with you so I can get out of an awkward birthday lunch at the office!

  118. My college roommate married a guy from Finland, and my other good friend married the brother of my roommate’s husband. This was years ago, and they all moved to Finland after they graduated. I haven’t seen them since then and would love to meet up with them!!! Plus, I have never flown AA, so that would be super great!!!

  119. As a PhD student I don’t get to travel as often as I’d like to, and I certainly don’t get the opportunity to travel in a premium class. I’ve long wanted to visit Helsinki, in particular to tour some of the city’s architectural masterpieces: Eliel Saarinen’s Central Railway Terminal; Alvar Aalto’s Finlandia Hall and Helsinki Hall of Culture; and Engel and Nyström’s National Library of Finland, just to name a few. What I can promise in exchange for a free trip is to arrive prepared for an architectural tour, drawing on years of coursework on the history of modern architecture and city planning, along with some simple preparation for touring more contemporary pieces of architecture. I can’t figure out how to attach an image to my post, but if this iconic detailing of Saarinen’s Main Railway Station (the same architect responsible for the sweeping curves of JFK’s TWA Terminal) doesn’t spark an interest in Finland’s rich and nuanced architectural history, I don’t know what will!

  120. This is an awesome promotion!!!!
    First of all, I am an AWESOME companion!!! I am a ton of fun, and would love the opportunity to spend some time with my favorite blogger!!

    I know how to have a good time, and I’ll make sure that you do too!

    I am well travelled, and can help with our trip!

    Helsinki is awesome, and a destination I’ve only DREAMED of visiting!!

    I love American Airlines and Coke zero, and I would make sure that you will return with all of the socks that you started with!

    I have a great sense of humor, so it will truly be the trip of a lifetime, and flight attendants really like to hang out with me, as I’m the life of the party!

    PICK ME!!!! It’ll be the best choice you’ve ever made!!!

  121. Seeing as that I’m being laid off from my job on June 30th, I’m definitely available for the trip. Sauna and Akevitt (Finlandia will also suffice) will be the perfect way to retool and refresh for whatever my next employment opportunity might be!

    As a bonus, I’ll even provide us both with Ericsson phones so that we blend in.

  122. This can kick off my 100K MR that I’ll be doing in July/Aug. In addition, I’m up for whatever when traveling and will blend right in with my Nokia phone.

  123. Hi Lucky,

    You should choose me for two reasons:

    1) I will try any food that you don’t want to try to help with your review, and
    2) I will provide free Frank-protection, in the form of eloquent, snarky retorts for the next year as a token of my gratitude!

  124. I’m a FINite teacher and would like to celebrate that school’s FINally out for summer!

    And I also believe I would be the Lucky-est lady to travel with you.

    I’m a teacher. Get used to these puns. I’m not even FINNISHed yet… 😉

  125. Lucky! Think of Britney. “He’s so lucky, he’s a star. But he cry, cry, cries in his lonely heart, thinking ‘If there’s nothing missing in my life, then why do these tears come at night?'”

  126. “Roses are red…even when they are stinky”…if you pick me…
    we’ll have fun in Helsinki”

  127. Aw what the HEL, I’ll throw my hat in! I’ve been thinking for the past couple days how to craft a clever, unbeAAtable entry but I guess I’m just not that CreAAtive. Though I do live in a great AA destination that you haven’t blogged about yet and would happily reciprocate by hosting you in AAmazing STX with all the rum you could drink (plus 6 litres to take home!)
    What a great offer though, thanks for giving us the chance!

  128. Because I have never been to Helsinki and it would be a great way to celebrate my Everest summit! (Plus some good company!) 🙂

  129. Business class? Ha they can do better than that. Not sure i can handle business class after flying SQ, TG & NH & LH in F. Don’t worry if you take me, your nuts are yours 🙂

  130. My first and only AA flight, my seatmate chewed and spit tobacco the whole flight, so I’d like to try AA again with a normal seatmate. having just started my blog with years of corporate travel background and personal points redemptions, I’d like to see how we compare with our trip reports -a he said/she said competition with your readers voting? and a friendly Seattle vs Philly side bet of favorite foods? We have pretzels!

  131. I sing, I dance, I know every national anthem by heart, and I memorized pi up to 278 digits. My middle name is Lucky, and obwohl ich nur Englisch und Deutsch spreche, I’ll try my damndest to learn Finnish in the next six weeks.

  132. There’s something we’ve all been to afraid to tell you. We’ve mostly been in the distance, worrying. Your friends can’t sleep and your family is losing hair. This intervention is necessary now. YOU, no WE, need me to help you. I promise that by the time we come back, you will no longer watch “Abduction” or “Twilight”; it’s all Criterion Collection for you from here on.

    We’ll deal with your diet coke problem separately with a psychiatrist.

    It hurts us more than you know.

    (I also listen to a band called “Finnmark!”; play angry birds; and am considering doing my masters at Aalto; so presumably I am an Finland expert)

  133. Ben,

    This is going to be an amazing trip! My entry may have slightly higher information density than your reindeer/igloo masterpiece, although you are in another league when it comes to artistic merit 😉

    Disclaimer: Yes, that’s a UA seat. It was a flatter fit for the image…

    See you on board,


  134. This is really great of you, Lucky.

    If I’m chosen, I’d help you pick up deeper travel skills in language mastery. I don’t mean speaking the language like a native speaker, of course, that takes much more time than travelers have. And only tourists would want a translator to shield them from experiencing things. As a professional in linguistics, I’ll help you deepen your understanding of how language works, and you can use it everywhere you go, to get the extra edge in experiencing the local scene. I’ll show you how all languages are really quite similar, once you look past the surface, and how you can leverage what you do know to get at what you don’t. Finnish is a cool test case.

  135. Years ago in a land far, far away, my husband (while serving in the military) was invited to a Finnish Army Post to partake in an authentic Finnish Sauna. At the end of the festivities, he was awarded a Finnish Sauna Diploma documenting that he had shown “Extraordinary strength and character (Sisu) and survived all the burning heat and searing atmosphere of a real finnish sauna.” He has lauded this over me our entire marriage as if he were the World’s foremost authority on Finnish sauna… Don’t even get me started on the World Championship of Sauna. By going to Finland and obtaining my very own Finnish Sauna Diploma, I would FINALLY be able to but an end to this nightmare. You are my only hope…

    Diploma and official documents available upon request… It’s just a matter of pulling these valuable documents off of the wall in our study without detection.

  136. Top ten reasons why you should pick me:

    5 – I’m jet lag proof (8 international flights (5 intercontinental) in < 2 weeks? done that.)
    4 – I can make friends and fit in flawlessly anywhere. I've worked as a server to celebrities, an au pair for diplomats, camp counselor, physics phd student, bartender and personal organizational guru. You'll want someone engaging and unflappable for media events and I'm it.
    3 – Carry ons only
    2 – I bring snacks (dried mango), mixed nuts + a FRESH ny bagel (for lucky), & local chocolate/candy for the crew
    1 – Imad ninja skills (karateka SKIF, JKA) incase we come across any trouble and I'll take the window seat.
    0 – I'm a verified traveling companion & host (couch surfing)

  137. Howdy Ben & Fellow One-Mile-At-A-Time Followers,

    Sincerely hoping this doesn’t come across as a sob story or an attempt to drum up sympathy – we all have our crosses to bear, and I’m usually the last guy to go for those things (actually, I never do). But to put my giddiness (yes, I got giddy!) about this opportunity into perspective, I’ve gotta share some life details. There are just too many things that point to me making this trip, and I don’t even know where to start, so here comes the rambling!

    I’ve been following Ben as THE Go-To Guy since I began mile collecting (insert additional gratuitous flattery here lol). He’s helped me numerous times, most recently (last week), with his “old” blog about transferring Amex points (from the 100,000 Platinum sign-up he wrote about!) to Air France to get a one-way on Delta, which was used to get my brother’s best friend’s (since middle school) retired mother from Florida to Atlanta to help care for her son who’s going through chemo and radiation for throat cancer (never smoked a day in his life btw). Ok, that was a run-on sentence.

    I’ve also wanted to share with Ben an idea I have for an “article” that I think would be very helpful and interesting to all, and I had planned to cover that with him at the DC FTU, but I had to cancel at the last minute since one of my mother’s home health aides had to go to Atlanta (coincidence) for a funeral so I had to stay home to take care of my mom (she had a ruptured cerebral aneurysm years ago and is very, very handicapped as a result and I’ve been her care giver/coordinator ever since), so this trip would be an excellent time to go over that with Ben (unless it’d be too boring!). Phew, another run-on sentence.

    I’m also a pilot (CFII MEI) and Instructor/Pilot Examiner in the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary (also Deputy Commander of largest squadron in NY), and volunteer for CAP Cadet and Air Force ROTC Cadet Orientation flights. Ben and I can totally chat it up about flying, and if the pilots both eat bad fish, me and Ben can save the Day!!! (sorry Ben, I get left seat since I’m the one with the 737-800 checkout lol!)

    I’m truly SO ready for an adventure like this. I took over the family company several years ago and pretty much work 8 days a week since then. And the last year has truly been a major downer. Our largest customer filed for bankruptcy. Mom had perforated diverticulitis and went septic and barely made it (5 weeks in ICU followed by 3 weeks of rehab). My assistant was off for her first child, then came back, then decided to leave to spend more time with her daughter (admirable). And I suffered a severely pinched nerve in my neck. Fun fun fun!

    Anyway, those are some of the things that ran through my mind the second I read about this amazing opportunity and what a blast it would be to “hit the reset button”! And I’m super easy going (I do drink sometimes Ben, so beware – I think it’s the Irish in me! nothing too bad though 🙂 ). I’ve never been there. I’ve never flown American Business Class. I have my Global Entry (NEXUS actually) but haven’t used it yet, valid passport, carry-on luggage, my brothers lined up to assist in my absence, and huge excitement in my gut about the whirlwind fun of it all! Last but not least, I’ll probably try to get some exercise in on the trip because I’m signed-up to do the Tough Mudder in Buffalo NY at the end of July, and this trip would put me in a great, refreshed state-of-mind to git er done!

    Thanks All !

  138. I’ve been loyal to *A for the last several years, but it may be time to switch to the dAArk side. I’d love the chance to have a taste of the good life with you, Mr. Lucky. …And you’re welcome to my warm nuts if you run out of yours

  139. Fly me to the Baltic’s daughter!
    With IATA’s imprimatur,
    HEL is nowhere near that slaughter-
    House where sinners reign;

    Here, the sun is ever shining,
    Never through the night resigning,
    Glistening the lands, assigning
    Luster to the plain;

    And, of course, as your selection,
    I’d respect your predilection
    For a warm saline confection
    Savored with champagne.

  140. To the tune of Call Me Maybe ( )

    I think that traveling is swell
    And I love adventures as well
    My status is on SkyTeam
    So American is new to me

    Flying across the ocean
    In a forward cabin
    There’s so many places to explore
    And Finland’s new to me

    Hangin’ out with American
    Celebratin’ the Helsinki addition
    The best part is getting there
    I’ll sing pop songs like this all flight buddy

    Hey I love flying
    And airplanes are AAwesome,
    So lets join American Airlines
    In Helsinki maybe?

    On the flight they’ll be some sweet meals
    And some pretzel bread would be crazy
    I love ice cream at altitude
    So Helsinki maybe?

    A ramekin of warm nuts
    And a diet coke beverage
    I hope they have limes,
    So Helsinki maybe?

    Hey Ben, your blog is awesome
    And our times in Finland would be crazy,
    Let’s have an AAdventure
    So Helsinki maybe?

  141. I should add that I’d happily report to your readers on any of your quirks that you’ve yet to share with us already!

  142. Checked my schedule it’s open, I’m my own boss so I can take off when I like. I’m entertaining. I like drinking. Never been to that part of the world. Look like I should be from that part of the world. I’ve never won anything (so I won’t get my hopes up now, since I’m not very creative and I see the guy right above me has made a U-tube video {OH LAWD})

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