Why ThreadTripping? Why BoardingArea? Why Now?

Some of you know me already. Most of you (to your great credit) do not.

I have been working with Randy Petersen in some capacity for the better part of the past 15 years. I have written and edited articles and newsletters (I wrote the FlyerTalk TalkMail newsletter for about 10 years from 2000-2010), helped produce numerous Freddie Award ceremonies, developed partnerships with travel start-ups and industry giants alike, and have worked with a team to launch, administer and maintain a host of travel-related websites – BoardingArea included.

For all of this I was a behind-the-scenes guy. I learned a lot about frequent flying, website development and management, and most of all, the frequent flyer community.

When I wrote TalkMail – and for a brief period I performed a similar task writing the OnPoint newsletter for Milepoint – I would scour the community for threads of interest to highlight. Not once did I have difficulty finding enough worthy threads to feature. Rarely did I have to concern myself with over-featuring an individual member, as there were hundreds of thousands of contributors, with new ones arriving and posting daily. Compiling the newsletter was among the most enlightening and enjoyable of my tasks. I was consistently amazed at the amount and quality of information, humor, and goodwill shared by members of the frequent travel communities – often hidden away in the deep, not-always-easily-searchable recesses of the forums.

When we launched BoardingArea, I worked with Randy Petersen, Canarsie and Kiwi to launch “The Gate” – a blog version of the FlyerTalk TalkMail newsletter. “The Gate” still exists today – hosted on FlyerTalk – and is still essentially what it started out to be. And while that blog admirably highlights many great threads on FlyerTalk, what it does not and cannot do is highlight great threads that spring up on other travel communities.

Which is where ThreadTripping comes in.

I no longer work for FlyerTalk, Milepoint, BoardingArea, or any other travel website/online community – but I still read the discussions. I learn how to maximize my credit card spend. I discover hotels and destinations I otherwise would never have known. I pick up travel tips that make my long plane rides easier on my aging body.

But most of all, I continue to be amazed at the amount and quality of information, humor, and goodwill shared by members of the frequent travel communities.

With ThreadTripping I will strive to once again highlight the astounding conversations taking place in the frequent travel communities – no matter in which community the conversation happens to be taking place. While many bloggers do a terrific job of condensing content found in the forums into a form that can be more easily consumed, this blog will point you back to the forums to enjoy the juicy raw goodness of the original conversations – warts, trolls and all.

I must say, during my time working for Randy Petersen I was never encouraged/discouraged from selecting particular threads. Still, when you write for an organization there is an inherent obligation to consider goals and restrictions, both in your writing and your selection of content. With ThreadTripping those self-imposed shackles are removed. The threads highlighted here are those I find informative, entertaining, humorous and just plain fun to read – and I hope you do as well.

Now, onto the threads…


  1. No one could be more pleased than I to see Mikel’s humor, sharp eye, observant nature and sense of relevant content appear as reading material on BoardingArea. I’ve long been a fan of his writing style and know his effort as a blogger will blossom. I consider ThreadTripping to be a must-read for me. One of the best things about Mikel … he writes what he sees w/o the snark. Next post please …

  2. Congrats on the launch of Thread Tripping, Mikel! It’s great to see you on Boarding Area! As I’ve said to Randy in the past, I’ve never met someone as considerate as you. I hope you’re enjoying writing as much as I am.

  3. Thank you all for the warm welcome. I’m ridiculously excited to be a part of the BA team again – and I say that without a hint of snark.

  4. I do not know who this Canarsie dude is about whom you are referring; but I personally miss collaborating with you.

    I have no doubt that you will do a fantastic job in this latest endeavor.

    Welcome back, Mikel!

  5. Mikel, I’ll bookmark your blog and make it part of my reading routine. You have a great gift for writing, bringing out the color, the humor, the excitement and the frustration of travel.

  6. Talk about a surefire way to get your comment approved for display. I wouldn’t even have cared if you had slipped in some spam – this comment was going to get approved :). Thank you for your kind words.

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