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Mr. Upgrade's 20th Year Trailblazing - First Class Flyer. When the Red Sox beat the Dodgers 7-4 in 2008 at the LA Coliseum they did so in front of the baseball’s biggest-ever crowd: 115,300 fans. I mention this for a couple of reasons, kind of related: 1. I used to be a minor league pitcher. 2. I now publish reports and alerts with, it recently occurred to me, a lot more readers than all those fans. How did a minor league pitcher end up with more than a Coliseum-sized collection of followers? To best answer why so many subscribers, I need to go right back to my baseball days, back to the early nineties, to a Kansas City Royals farm team. Traveling back and forth every year to Spring Training on one-way tickets (two of which cost much more than one round-trip), I got interested in airfares—more specifically, getting better ones. My wages were a barren $850 a month, 6 months out of the year, so saving $300 on an airplane ticket, twice a year, was to me an earnings upgrade. (In case you're wondering, the Royals gave us a check equivalent to full-fare coach money, over $600 each way at the time if memory serves—and let us keep the change.) I got hooked on the challenge of getting a really good deal. I'd save 25% often, sometimes even as much as 50%. Don't ask me why, maybe I was born with the upgrade gene, but this happened so much the teammates started asking me to get them deals too. I'd routinely get massive savings – and everyone was thrilled with the “change” the Royals allowed us to keep. With our minor league paycheck, the money we made on flying around amounted to as much as 20% of our annual salary. You could almost say booking flights was a great side-business to playing ball. What started out as a hobby has now become a career. I'm fascinated by the workings of the airline industry the way a lock picker's fascinated with locks. Or, more to the point, picking them. It's one weird métier, but it sure suits me. Naturally, the more adept you get at airfares, the more you gradually start climbing the ladder of better travel experiences all ‘round. Over the years I've had the privilege of sharing my upgrade and ticketing strategies with Major League All-Stars, Hall of Famers, Academy Award Winners, Grammy Winners, Fortune 500 CEOs, and tens of thousands of ambitious air travelers just like you. Why endure air travel when you can enjoy air travel? That’s a fair airfare aphorism. See you up front,
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