60 Seconds with Mileage-Runner Extraordinaire, Marc Tacchi

60 Seconds with Mileage-Runner Extraordinaire, Marc Tacchi

Mileage runs: We’ve reported on them since 1986, but we’ve never quite seen a run like this one. Marc Tacchi, a 30-year-old pilot from Vancouver, Canada, and prominent member of FlyerTalk.com, recently completed “The Great Canadian Mileage Run 2005,” using an Air Canada Flight Pass in which he achieved the following:
Mileage earned: 1,003,625
Current Flight Segments in Aeroplan account: 276
Days in an airplane: 56 out of the past 61.
Favorite Air Canada aircraft: B767-300
Times he saw March of the Penguins: 0
(He never actually got through it without falling asleep.)
and finally … weight change: +8lbs.
When Marc completed his record-breaking mileage run (nearly 350,000 BIS miles in 61 days) he called us from Hong Kong to share with us his experience. We were all ears, and questions.

InsideFlyer
So what’s your background for something like this?
Marc Tacchi
I joined FlyerTalk in 2000. I was flying Medivac and I was in hotels all the time, but knew nothing about anything. I was searching the Web site and came across FlyerTalk, and now I’m Starwood Platinum and life is good.

IF
Being a pilot and flying as much as you do doesn’t seem like normal behavior for someone in your profession.
Marc
If you’re someone in my profession, you enjoy flying and you enjoy aviation. To me it’s just taking my interest in aviation and playing with my hobby.

IF
I’ve never known anyone in your profession to be a mileage junkie.
Marc
I’m a contractor; the company I work for buys my tickets to where I’m based. I fly about 150,000 miles a year just for work.

IF
Are mileage runs something you’ve been doing all along?
Marc
No, this was my first mileage run.
I was based in Anchorage. I was flying one flight a week from Anchorage to Los Angeles and back to Anchorage. It would be about a 25-hour day, and then I’d go back home. I was flying Alaska back and forth, getting 3,000 or 4,000 miles a week, 16,000 a month. I was home in Vancouver and I couldn’t find anything to do on my days off. But I had to always be available to take a flight. I was looking for something positive to do. Too bad Air Canada doesn’t have a lifetime status. I’d be getting close.

IF
With the Air Canada Flight Pass, didn’t you have a 30-day option and then a 60-day option?
Marc
No, just a 60 day option. But they broke the payment down to two 30-day options.

IF
You went into this looking at the value of the million miles, right?
Marc
Yes. It was where am I going to be in two months. I could do nothing and have free time, or at the end of two months have a million miles.

IF
This task cost you what?
Marc
$7,000.

IF
How many people told you you were crazy?
Marc
I believe there was a pool at Air Canada

IF
In the marathons, there’s a term of hitting the wall. In a mileage run, was there a point where you hit the wall?
Marc
Yes, at week 6-7, I asked myself what the heck was I doing, I had 600,000 miles.

IF
What made you go on?
Marc
It was an agreement I had with Beth, a FlyerTalker. Before I started, I knew things would come up. She would be there everyday to pick me up and drop me off.
She said okay, but you’re going to do it! If you don’t want to get out of bed one day, I’m going to force you out of bed, and so we played off each other. You need a strong partner.

IF
What is the one thing you did to pass all that time?
Marc
Rest. And I read the 20 best sellers sold at the airport.

IF
What about the weight gain?
Marc
I was doing really well. I ordered the fruit plates. But then Air Canada stopped meal services, so I stopped eating on board and I would eat in the lounges, which was mainly snacks, and that’s when the weight came back on.

IF
Did you run into copycat people?
Marc
There were three other FlyerTalkers that did it. Not for a million miles; they had different goals.

IF
So, there were two groups of people, one did it for the rewards they could out of it, and one group did it for elite status.

IF
Was security an issue, with you showing up so often?
Marc
Security wasn’t a problem. I had to explain to a few customs people that my purpose was to earn miles.

IF
Boarding passes: How deep are you stack of passes?
Marc
287 boarding pass. About 4 1/2 inches high.

IF
What will you do for an encore?
Marc
An international mileage run.

IF
Would you do it again?
Marc
Yes. I would like to do an international mileage run. There are a lot of places I would like to see.

IF
How was your health with all this travel?
Marc
It was not an issue for me. The shortest flight was 12 minutes; the longest was 5 hours.

IF
What was your favorite flight?
Marc
Vancouver/Los Angeles. I sat next to some interesting people, a few movie stars.

IF
Least favorite?
Marc
Vancouver/Toronto.

IF
What would you change?
Marc
I would not have set it at a million. I would have set it at 800,000 and enjoyed it a bit more. I really enjoyed meeting so many FlyerTalkers!

IF
Did you have a seat mate from hell?
Marc
A Hungarian woman. This woman sits next to me, about 300 pounds, holding a sausage. She starts talking to me in Hungarian. I tell her I’m sorry, I don’t speak Hungarian. She keeps talking, the flight attendant comes over and she starts talking Hungarian to him, and she never stopped talking the complete five hours. I still, to this day, don’t understand what she was trying to accomplish.
Along the way I met great people; I even had an Air Canada agent drive me home once.

IF
It seems Air Canada welcomed this.
Marc
Not at first. About week three it became positive.

IF
Before you started the mileage run, did you have all your flights planned and booked?
Marc
No, I did it about 3 to 4 days out. Each booking takes about 6 minutes online. I broke the Flight Pass one time.

IF
You say you’re down to about 600,000 miles. What are you plan for the miles?
Marc
I plan on using them as the need arises. When I’m down to zero, it would not bother me. There’s always going to be some way to earn more.

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