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Want to know more about the Faces of FlyerTalk?
I love meeting and chatting with folks that have been on FlyerTalk longer than me. Nazila (lalala) spends her days consulting and innovating climate and weather research using social media. In her leisure time, she can be found in her garden, kitchen or walking her dog, Ernest. Based in Seattle, Washington she is often seen fleeing from the scene of the crime. On average, she flies 150,000 miles a year, mostly on Alaska and American Airlines. Her favorite destinations are Paris, Helsinki, Rome and Orcas Island.
She enjoys the diversity of people that FlyerTalk brings together. True aviation geeks, miles and points junkies, and those grandparents that fit into both of those buckets. A lifetime 2.5+ Million Miler with American, she recently took a short 80 mile flight … because she just needed to hop on a plane after not being on one for a month. Now that is someone that loves to fly! … Nazila, thank you for sharing your perspectives and experiences with us all. We’re thrilled to you be a part of “Faces of FlyerTalk”.
When did you find FlyerTalk and how did you find it?
I discovered FlyerTalk in August 2000. I was looking for information on the TWA Elite program. I was already an Elite (25K) flyer and wanted to know about other benefits. I didn’t post until later. My first post was sometime that month about TWA flights not getting posted correctly. I was terrified that I would be flamed by asking a stupid question. The TWA community was very welcoming.
Do you consider yourself an infrequent, fairly regular, or miles and points addicted reader?
I am a regular reader – very consistent and focused. I give advice when I feel I have something to contribute.
How often are you on FlyerTalk, and what forums do you typically visit?
Thanks to the iPhone app, I read FlyerTalk on a daily basis, usually while walking the dog in the morning. I visit Alaska, American, Hyatt, SPG and then Travel Buzz, Dining, Tech, and Photography Forums.
Do you travel for business, leisure, or both?
20% for business, 80% leisure. In some cases, I had to use the preferred carrier for each city pair, now I book my own carrier and hotels, so I go with my preferred carrier.
What credit cards are you carrying in your wallet right now, and which ones do you recommend to friends?
Hyatt Chase Visa (no foreign transaction fee), SPG Amex – at this point in time, I value hotel points over airline miles.
What’s the single most successful thing you’ve done to acquire points and miles?
I do that conventional thing called sitting your butt in the seat and flying the required number or segments/points or miles to attain or retain status. I will admit to the joining in on the American Airlines 25th Anniversary promo in 2001. Participants received miles from buying from AA partners in e-shopping, car, hotel and airline partners and flying on AA and other one world carriers to get 25,000 bonus miles. Back then that seemed like a lot of miles. I am also guilty of buying many boxes of Kellogg’s cereal and pastry swirls to redeem 100 mile coupon on the back of the box. We donated the cereal and pastries to our local shelter, they were very appreciative.
How many miles / points have you accumulated in the past year? In your lifetime?
In 2011, I flew approximately 160,000 miles, mostly revenue except for two international trips. I have no idea about hotel points; I did not have that many paid stays. As far as lifetime, I am a 2.5 million miler on AA with approximately one million actual flown miles (AA and TWA). According to my math, I have flown 560,000 actual miles on Alaska and Horizon Air. I’m sure I have hundred thousand other miles flown on other carriers, but no real loyalty to any of those airlines or record.
Do you use a tracking program to keep track of your miles / points? Which one?
No, I just have great math skills.
How does your spouse / partner / family / friends feel about this hobby?
My taller half and I have the same travel patterns. My parents and our friends benefit from our miles and upgrades. My friends are somewhat skeptical, but some are quite happy to live vicariously through my travels.
What’s your most memorable trip?
I can really think of two. In 2005, I spent ten days in Iran with my mom visiting family I hadn’t seen since the early 70s. It was exhausting to meet everyone and process information, first in Farsi and into English and back into Farsi, just to make conversation. The best part of the day was before we went to bed every night when we talked about what we did and my mom would tell me about her extended family. I got to meet my father’s side of the family as well. I wish I had stayed longer.
We both flew BA Med to Iran in Club Class on Alaska Air miles; that was fun.
Greenland – My TH gave a paper in Nuuk a few summers ago. We spent another week traipsing around Greenland using the extensive ferry system. That was good fun, until we got stuck on Disko Island because a ferry ran aground. We nearly missed our flight home. Thankfully, we managed to hire a small boat to take us back to Illusiat. Dodging icebergs in a cabin cruiser at dawn is a memory I will never forget.
What suggestions can you give to rookies and newbies on FlyerTalk?
Read the forums before you post to see what the tone and mood is in each group. Some forums are more active than others and some posters have very strong personalities. Use search and the wikis in the popular forums to find an answer before asking something that is commonly posted. If you have posted a question that gets answered and people ask you to post your results or resolution to your issue, follow up with an update. It is only polite. Don’t fall of the face of the earth, people are quick to wonder what your motives were to post and then disappear.
Also remember, this is a global group that travels far and wide and is not always in your time zone. Don’t expect immediate answers. For example, the expert of the best place to kayak in the Yucatan might be in Botswana on a safari and can’t answer your question until they get back, or they could be sleeping.
Are there any particular fellow FlyerTalk members whose advice you follow?
I usually take the advice of people who I have met in person – SanDiego1K, joanek, techgirl, l’etoile, and Obscure2k when it comes to hotels and my general need for culture and food related information. JDiver, brp, and hillrider when it comes to American Airlines travel. A few years ago, JDiver gave TH the most precise set of instructions about where to buy chocolates in the Brussels airport on her way from the non-Schengen to Schengen area, including which chocolates were on special that week. That was brilliant.
What’s the one thing you’d like to see change on FlyerTalk?
I would like to see more emphasis on frequent flying.
Have you attended or are you planning on attending any FlyerTalk related events?
I have attended several London DOs, SeaDOO, a Brooklyn Reality tour, and random meetings with FlyerTalkers. I usually do attend by myself.
Nazila, thank you again for sharing with us. We’ve got a couple of thank you gifts to get to you, and your avatar will now show you, as one of the Faces of FlyerTalk for years to come.
Here are a few pictures Nazila has shared with us:
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