On my flight to Honolulu at the beginning of December, I has my first opportunity to witness the commemoration of someone receiving Million Miler status. Now, there are all sorts of levels of Million Miler, all the way up to Tom Stuker. But this was this passenger’s first million miles, which is extra special in its own right.

I thought United’s gesture was touching and I wanted to briefly write about it.

Recognition of 1 Million Miles

The captain made his way to our row and introduced himself to the passenger. If there was an initial announcement over the PA system, I missed it. The captain being there during boarding was the first oddity. He introduced himself and said why he was there: to recognize a passenger who would be crossing the Million Miler mark on our flight. The passenger was seated in the window seat of my row, while I had the aisle. No one was between us initially. 

The captain remarked on the passenger achieving the one million milestone on this particular flight and how much of an achievement that much flying is. Following that, he presented the passenger with a commemorative coin.

The coin looked cool. I only got a quick glance. Per the captain, it’s a throwback to coins given in the military to members of specific air squadrons or for specific duties. 

The passenger received everything politely. He honesty looked embarrassed at the attention, but I could also tell he was pleased. I think United gets things right by offering such a personal gesture. We all applauded for him, at least the passengers in the vicinity who knew what was going on.

Final Thoughts

It’s was a cool moment, and one that I’m glad I got to see. I knew that airlines recognize their most loyal fliers this way, but I’d never seen it done. It’s especially memorable since the crew actually participates in the process, making it far more personal. It’s far better than receiving a recognition email. 

I don’t know if I’ll ever hit 1,000,000 miles with any carrier. I’m close to 200,000 with one of them. But I fly far too many award tickets to make much progress. In case I do, I hope airlines still offer this sort of recognition when I make it.