Tier Status Gold

I’ve been on a lot of flights in the last year. A lot. Only a handful of long haul, but I’ve been to Australia three times, the USA twice, South East Asia, and I’ve been making quite a lot of flights around New Zealand, most of them short hops.

Almost every flight has been with Air New Zealand, and eventually this starts to get recognised. In July I made it to Silver Class, which brings a few limited benefits. But look at what the Air New Zealand mPass app on my phone showed today:

mPass App showing Gold Status

mPass app, showing new Gold Tier status

New Tier Status: GOLD. Now I’ll get some worthwhile benefits. Lounge access, Priority check-in, Priority boarding, Priority waitlisting – now we’re talking! Priority check-in is irrelevant for Domestic flights, or even International originating from NZ. But Air New Zealand lines can be long in other countries.

There’s one other benefit which is particularly interesting to me – Fast Bag Tags. These are not just the usual ‘priority’ tags that everyone has. No, these are are special tags that apply to flights on turbo-prop planes. Rather than having to check your bags in, you can carry them out to the plane, hand them off just before you get on, then get them as soon as you get off the plane at the other end. This only works for the smaller regional flights, but it’s perfect for me, especially for all the short trips I make to Tauranga. I live relatively close to the airport, which means you tend to cut it fine when planning when to depart. You can’t afford any delays at checkin – now I don’t have to worry about that if I’m checking in a bag. I can turn up 15 mins before the plane leaves, swipe my phone to check in, and go straight to the plane. How good is that?

The flip-side to it all is that I’ve had a lot of time away from home, and a lot of early mornings and late nights. If you’ve only ever done casual travel, you don’t realise just how draining it can be doing business travel. Here’s an example: Recently I had full day of work in Christchurch. This meant getting up at 5 AM, departing the house at 6 AM, for a 6:50 flight. Work from 8:30 -> 6PM in Christchurch, then head to the airport and back home, getting home around 9PM. Shower, bed, up at 6AM the next day and back to the airport, off to somewhere else for a couple of days. I enjoy moving around, but it doesn’t leave a lot of time for anything else.

At least now things will be just that little bit nicer at the airport.

Anna’s Turn

A couple of months ago I was the one finishing a long slog of study. This time it’s my wife’s turn, as she has now finished all her exams. All going well, this will mean that she will have completed her undergraduate degree. It does not mean the end of her studies – there’s at least two more years to go – but it does mark an important milestone.

Academic studies do not come naturally to Anna, and it has not been an easy path getting here. But she has persevered, learning how to learn, working out which study techniques work, and which ones don’t. In the last year in particular, she has really gotten into it, and now regularly achieves high praise for her work.

The last couple of weeks of exams were fairly intense, but I did what I could to help, and we got through it.

Since she has been working so hard, she decided she deserved a holiday, especially since I had a couple of ‘holidays’ in the USA earlier this year. I don’t think anyone who has been on a boot camp run by Narbik would describe it as a holiday, but we’ll let that slide. So she’s headed off to Brisbane for 10 days, leaving me home alone.

She thought it was a wonderful idea going to see her friends in the Brisbane area, until a couple of days out, when she realised we would be apart for 10 days. I don’t think I would be much use over there though – between Anna, Lara and Sarah, I wouldn’t get a word in the whole time.

To occupy myself, I’ve been in Wellington this weekend, at Kiwicon, a rather informal security conference. Lots of fun too. Good chance to catch up with various people I know in the industry.

Business travel coming up this week too, so I’ll be away again. Also means I won’t let the house get too messy while Anna’s away. Don’t want to get in trouble…