Monday, July 27, 2015

Rolling Stone: Meet the Man Who Flies Around the World for Free

Up in the Air: Meet the Man Who Flies Around the World for Free
Last year, a young man walked into the Seattle airport and took the next flight to anywhere — and he hasn't come down since
By Ben Wofford July 20, 2015

Schlappig, 25, is one of the biggest stars among an elite group of obsessive flyers whose mission is to outwit the airlines. They're self-styled competitors with a singular objective: fly for free, as much as they can, without getting caught. In the past 20 years, the Internet has drawn together this strange band of savants with an odd mix of skills: the digital talent of a code writer, a lawyer's love affair with fine print, and a passion for airline bureaucracy. It's a whirring hive mind of IT whizzes, stats majors, aviation nerds and everyone else you knew who skipped the prom.

Wow. It's a lonely life, but I'm very amused at this guy's ability to game the airlines' own rigged system.

The real irony is that none of this would be possible if the airlines would just play fair with their customers. But they don't. Schlappig is proof that if make the rules too complex for anyone (including yourself) to understand, there will always be a few people who figure it out and take you to the cleaners using those very same rules.

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