Off to a good start!

Last year I traveled quite a lot and managed to reach an Air Canada status that allows me into the airport lounges. (I did this the hard way by travelling entirely on the cheapest fare class, which accumulates points at 25% the rate of higher classes.) I am also eligible for flight upgrades, but the rules suggested that an upgrade to Business Class for my Toronto-Madrid leg would use all of my e-upgrade credits PLUS $750. Then there are confusing Upgrade Bid opportunities.

So there I was 2 nights ago, poking around on the website for “Altitude” members, wishfully thinking. I found myself on a page with zeroes in the Added Charges box, right beside a button that said “Request Upgrade”. I couldn’t resist and my fingers hit the button. I hadn’t entered any credit card information, so hadn’t approved any charges.

Soon I got an email saying “Upgraded to Business Class” and I could even see my seat assignment that confirmed it!

Furthermore it seems that I haven’t even used any of my e-upgrade credits.

I have no idea whether there was a glitch in the system or some algorithm was instructed to accept the next little old lady who asked, if her name started with C, because business class was too empty for that flight and that doesn’t look good.

This might not help my adjustment to appropriate humble pilgrim mood, but I’ll take it!

I should explain that I’m flying to Spain to walk the Camino Mozárabe from Almeria on the southeast coast, going 600+ km inland through Granada and Córdoba to Mérida. More or less. This route is much less traveled than the popular Camino Frances or even the Via de la Plata. Normally, one might expect to see only 2 or 3 other walkers on the route over 4 weeks. However, thanks to an internet forum, it seems that a dozen people from far and wide are packing their backpacks, boarding planes and trains, as we speak (so to speak), and converging on Almeria this week.

Routes in Spain leading to Santiago de Compostela in the northwest corner

Last year I walked from Seville north to Astorga (shown in green on the map). Previously, a couple of times, I walked the Camino Frances (pink) from the French border, westward to Santiago.

I think our non-group consists of independent walkers who still enjoy a bit of company. We will try to spread out a bit so we don’t feel like a school excursion and don’t overwhelm the minimal pilgrim accommodations. We are already chatting excitedly on WhatsApp as we wend our ways to Almería.

Random Notes:

  • It’s odd to be on a flight with no work papers or laptop in my bag.
  • In a brilliant move, Vancouver airport had a person stationed at the start of the security line, actually asking people what their boarding time was, and directing people to a faster line if their time was short. I had never before seen that done in such a proactive helpful way. Good job YVR!
  • What am I to do with the cosmetic case, socks, etc. that are given out in Business? Carry them across Spain? No way.
  • I was going to post a selfie of me here on the plane, but I looked so old and tired that it spoiled thw illusion.

4 thoughts on “Off to a good start!

  1. Have a wonderful time… What a great adventure with Fabulous company… Buen Camino pilgrim 😎

  2. I seen an airport staff member mashalling the pre security queue at Vegas airport. That was the one and only time. Well done with your upgrade. Walking the Camino Frances for the second time Sept. 2018. Kinda thinking I should have picked another route.

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