Do you like planes? These steel birds often
evoke conflicting emotions: they mesmerize some people and terrify others. But also,
there are those who can’t live without the thrill of take-off and the excitement of landing.
And among them was a man who bought airplane tickets, not to get to some destination, but
just for the sake of flying! Mr. Jan Mul, a Dutchman who was born in 1932,
spent more than 20 years of his life flying to a different European city every single
Wednesday! As a result, the man had more than 1,000 flights under his belt!
Traveling by plane was Mr. Mul’s main hobby and his biggest passion. The day before the
flight, the flight itself, and the day after were his favorite days of the week. On the
first day, he was preparing for his journey. The day of the flight was naturally the most
exciting for him. And the day after the trip, he shared his impressions and the tiniest
details of his adventure with his nearest and dearest.
Much to his disappointment, Mr. Mul didn’t succeed in infecting his wife with his love
for air travel. For one, the woman always preferred road trips. What’s more, she got
impatient with all the airport’s hussle and bustle and chose to wait for her husband at
home, listening to his amazing travel stories afterward.
One of the most curious things about Mr. Mul was that the man didn’t care where he went!
He didn’t have any favorite destination or place where he needed to be. For him, it was
all about flying. Besides (and this is where he loses me), the more turbulence the plane
hit during the flight, the more fun it was for Mr. Mul!
But wait! The unusual travel habits of this unique frequent flyer went further than that!
His main stunt was never leaving the airports he arrived in! Mr. Mul would fly to Paris,
Munich, or Oslo in the morning, step out of the plane, spend several hours at the airport,
walking around and looking at things, and then fly back home. He stated that he didn’t
like leaving his wife on her own. Moreover, traveling for him was just about that – the
way, the flight, the plane, not about seeing new towns and cities.
Naturally, with Mr. Mul traveling with the same airline company every Wednesday, its
cabin crew couldn’t help but notice. Some of the flight attendants described him as
one of the friendliest and most pleasant passengers they’d ever had on their flights. He was
always eager to have a chat with the cabin crew members, and the only thing Mr. Mul ever
required was a window seat. This way, he could see the sky, clouds, and the view during the
flight. Sadly, some time ago, 82-year-old Mr. Mul
passed away, just a couple of days after his last flight to Stockholm. That time, the man
traveled with his grandson who shared his granddad’s love for airplanes.
But that’s not the end of the story! The airline company Mr. Mul always used decided to commemorate
the memory of their most loyal passenger. To do so, they invited Mr. Mul’s wife and
his grandson Tom on a surprise flight to Stockholm. Just like Mr. Mul used to do, the plane, along
with its VIP passengers, remained at the airport for about half an hour and then returned to
Amsterdam. Both the cockpit and the cabin crew knew Mr.
Mul’s story and did their best so that Tom and his grandmother had an awesome day. For
example, not only did the precious passengers have a chance to sneak a peek at the cockpit,
but they could also stay there during take-off and landing! Besides, they were treated with
Business Class meals and a glass of champagne. Mrs. Mul kept thanking the crew for the amazing
day that made her forget about everything else. As for Tom, he was elated: after all,
just like his grandfather, he was crazy about airplanes. He recognized them all by sight,
and knew where each of them was heading. No wonder, since the guy’s dream was to become
a pilot! However unbelievable it may sound, Mr. Mul
wasn’t the only person who loved flying more than anything else in this world. How about
a man who clocked a whopping 38 million air miles?
It happened in 1988 when Jacques Vroom took a loan to buy an unlimited lifetime First
Class pass for himself and one companion. It cost him about $400,000 at that time, which
would be more than $870,000 nowadays! The thing is that Vroom worked as a consultant
who created mail order catalogs for big retail companies. He flew a lot on business anyway,
and to different exotic locations at that. That’s why he decided that such an unlimited
pass would eventually save him a fortune. It turned out he was right. Since Vroom preferred
to solve any last minute business problems himself, he often had to book flights mere
hours before the departure. You can imagine how much business class tickets cost him at
such short notice. Also, the man often caught the return flight on the same day, which typically
made the price even more exorbitant. At the same time, with his unlimited ticket, Vroom
could come to the airport in the morning, fly wherever he wanted without any additional
costs, and return home for dinner. But pretty soon, the traveler began to appreciate
the flexibility and freedom his pass provided even more. The great thing was that the pass
allowed him to collect air miles. That’s why Vroom not only traveled with one companion,
but also brought other people along, using the accumulated air miles.
The air traveler used to fly about four times a week, and, just like with Jan Mul, it was
mostly the flying that made him excited. Vroom didn’t really like staying anywhere other
than his home, in Dallas. That’s why he would arrive at his destination, spend a bit of
time at the airport, and take the next return flight home. Geography was mostly irrelevant
to him. Rumor has it that once, he flew his 12-year-old daughter from Dallas to London
to visit some cosmetic store. When Vroom’s son was at college in Maine, he covered 2,000
miles every Saturday to see him play football. Another time, he headed for Washington, D.C.
and picked up his father-in-law because they wanted to go out with his wife, and there
was nobody to babysit the kids. Also, there was that time when Jacques Vroom traveled
to London to get motorcycle tires for his Ducati because it was cheaper than getting
them delivered by freight. But also, of all the possibilities he had,
Mr. Vroom found one that let him help people. He used his air miles to fly AIDS patients
around the globe who didn’t have money to travel and see the world.
Unfortunately, several years ago, the airline company calculated that Mr. Vroom and other
people with unlimited passes costed it more than $1 million a year each, and they grounded
him. There’s probably no need to say how upset he was. According to him, the company used
the words “lifetime” and “unlimited” in their contract, and then they just took it all away. Where would you fly if you had an unlimited
air pass? Let me know down in the comments! If you learned something new today, then give
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