Tag Archives: gratitude

Giveaway: One American Airlines SWU (Expires February 28, 2015)

UPDATE: This contest is now over. Thanks for entering!

To kick off my week being a featured blogger, I’m giving away one American Airlines systemwide upgrade! This can be used to upgrade any one-way flight (up to 3 segments) in any fare class, but be warned that international flights can be hard to upgrade (e.g. DFW-HKG), and some upgrades can trigger additional taxes/fees (e.g. LHR). The flights must be marketed and operated by AA to be upgraded. The SWU expires February 28, 2015, so your flight needs to happen on or before that date to be eligible. The giveaway will end at some point before I stop being a featured blogger, so ideally, your flight occurs after February 8, 2015 as well.

To enter to win, all you need to do is comment on this post with something you’re grateful for (e.g. “I’m grateful for the wonderful information provided in this blog!” but something that’s actually true and not inane). You can comment as many times as you wish, provided that you list out a separate thing that you’re grateful for in each comment. I will randomly select one comment as the winner. Note that I reserve the right to delete/make ineligible comments that I believe are nonsensical (e.g. “Blejiooisa”) or otherwise not something that anyone should be grateful for (e.g. “I am grateful for ISIS”).

All of us who participate in this hobby have so much to be grateful for, and I hope that this giveaway helps us cultivate gratitude just a little bit more.

On the Merits of Flying Coach Part 1: Cultivating Gratitude

Lots of travel bloggers out there focus on aspirational travel redemptions, and for good reason too, since flying first class is much more accessible/affordable via points or miles than via cash. But I think there are a number of reasons as to why it’s important to fly coach from time to time that are often forgotten when reading too many travel blogs.

The first and most important reason I enjoy flying in coach–and the focus of this post–is because it helps me cultivate gratitude. I’ve talked about the importance of gratitude in the past, and anything that helps strengthen my sense of gratitude is a plus for me.

Flying coach helps cultivate gratitude just because it’s such a crappy experience that you can’t do anything except expect nothing; in fact, I generally tend to expect annoying things to happen like the flight being delayed or sitting next to a smelly seatmate or being smacked in the face by someone attempting to put his/her suitcase in the overhead compartment. And when I go in with such low expectations, I can’t help but be grateful for nearly every flight.

Since gratitude is a muscle, you can get better at it by practicing, and flying in coach always helps me practice my gratitude. I’m grateful for uneventful flights, I’m grateful for safe travels, I’m grateful that I have the freedom and ability to fly, and I’m grateful for traveling to new places. And I don’t think I’d be able to cultivate this same gratitude if I were always flying in business or first, and it’s also easy to forget how to be grateful for these other things if you’re always reading other people’s trip reports about constantly flying in business or first.

The Number One Thing I Learned from Living in Denmark

In college, I had the wonderful opportunity to study abroad in Denmark for a semester (which was prompted by an earlier wonderful semester studying abroad in Hungary). Denmark held a lot of mystique to me before I lived there, being that it has been regularly ranked as the happiest country in the world (or at least one of the happiest).

Who doesn’t want to be happier? I even took a class about the psychology of happiness while I was in Denmark. And here’s the secret that I learned about how to be happier: be grateful.

Gratitude is a muscle. We can all exercise this muscle more. When I read reports of people on Flyertalk acting all DYKWIA and think about what happened recently on Asiana 214, I just think that people could try to be more grateful when they arrive safely at their destination and not worry so much about the littler things. They’d be happier with themselves and less annoying to others.

When I fly, even in coach, I’m always a bit giddy, because it’s like, “holy shit, I’m in a giant metal tube that somehow gets off the ground and takes me somewhere far away so quickly compared to other modes of travel! this is fucking awesome!” It’s maybe not glamorous to fly in coach, but I’m grateful that air travel is accessible to so many more people nowadays, and in spite of recent events, it’s still an incredibly safe way to travel.

In general, I’m a very happy person, and I attribute that largely to gratitude. I wasn’t always good at gratitude, but during my time in Denmark, I learned to cultivate gratitude, and it’s changed my life for the better.

Here’s a seemingly silly exercise that actually works: keep a gratitude journal. Every day, write down three things that you’re grateful for. They should be specific things, not platitudes (e.g. write something like, “I’m grateful that David helped me out on a project at work” or “I’m grateful that I ran into my friend Dana on the street today”, rather than generic things like, “I’m grateful for my family and friends”). Try it out for two weeks, and see if you feel a difference.