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JD Lasica at Social Media has put up a list of front-line 2009 conferences.

For what it’s worth, I’ll be attending fewer of those kinds of conferences this next year, while I get more heads-down with and Linux Journal work. The current calendar includes several VRM-related conferences (plus the usual IIWs), Public Media ’09, Supernova, LinuxWorld, OSCON, Reboot and Lift. When VRM takes off, it will become a topic of other conferences as well — and that alone should push me past another 100,000 miles on United next year.

That’s actually small potatoes compared to what many other business travelers compile, especially ones who travel frequently across oceans. I flew to Europe four times last year, from Boston to London, Paris and Amsterdam (hubbing through Frankfurt, Zürich, Warsaw, Chicago and Washington). That seems like a lot, and it is; but I’m guessing that two trips from anywhere in the U.S. to anywhere in Asia would yield the same sum of miles, or more.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to make travel better with VRM: by providing passengers with the tools required to improve airline service. I might have more to say about that in the next few days, or after we get back to Boston from our very pleasant family vacation in Santa Barbara. (Which is just a  paradise right now.)

Bonus link to an old but still relevant Conor Cahill post, plus the comment I just appended to it (currently pending approval):

I realize this is an old thread, but it comes up at the top of a search for United Global Services, so it’s still current in that respect.

I’ve been 1K for three years running, and flew at least two full-fare business class flights overseas from the U.S. in 2008. I’m also rather publicly a United flier, with over a dozen thousand photos taken from the windows of United planes. (Plus thousands of photos tagged United, UAL and United Airlines.)

Before that I was a Premier or Executive Premier flier on United, going back to the early 90s.

But in the current economy no clients are funding business class flying for the near future, and my total miles with United are still a bit short of a million. So I figure if I reach GS, this will have to be the year for it. Otherwise, ain’t gonna happen.

By the way, my experience with United has included nothing bad in all the time I’ve been with them. My only persistent complaint is an odd one: I don’t want upgrades to business or first class if it’s not to a window seat. I’ve been offered several upgrades this past year to aisle seats and have turned them all down. (I accepted one that did go to a window seats.) One time this past year I was upgraded to an aisle seat and it annoyed me badly because the seat I gave up in economy had a windwow. Yet I still managed to shoot this set in a hurry while the woman with the window seat next to me was asleep.

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I got to use my minimal Deutsch this morning: “Der Bahnhof ist Kaput.” The train is broken.

The only way to get from Terminal A to Terminal B was to go through security twice and passport control once. Then began the hunt for Gate 62, from which my connecting plane to London will depart, presumably. My ticket says that. The departure listings do not. They just say “B”. Gate 62 is identified by a hand-drawn sign. One needs to go through passport control to get to it. Right now it’s closed. Along the way I followed directions to “go downstairs” on an escalator. There were two. Neither were well-marked. I took the one on the right and realized halfway down that it went to the street. So I ran up the moving stairs, got to the top and took the other one.

That’s on top of a flight in a cramped seat in an overheated Lufthansa 747. Am I wrong or are Lufthansa’s steerage seats extra narrow? For what little it’s worth, the “entertainment” system was broken too.

Food wasn’t bad, though. Service, good. Inside the plane, anyway.

Oh, my iPhone says “Searching…” So much for a GSM phone working in Europe. Guess I needed to clear something with AT&T first. Not sure how to do that from here. Or London.

And I’m paying 18¢/minute to “roam” on the t-Mobile system to which I pay $29.99/month already. Nice.

Anyway, cheers.

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