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NAX: Taking frequent flier status to a whole new level - Odessa American: Ken Brodnax

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NAX: Taking frequent flier status to a whole new level

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Posted: Wednesday, September 16, 2009 12:00 am

If you asked everyone you know to compile a list of five things they hate to do the most, going to the doctor or dentist probably would garner the most votes.

But you can bet that a good number of them would put flying (especially in this age of homeland security) on their lists.

After all, there are countless reasons to hate air travel, starting with the sometimes comical security measures — having to take off your shoes, answer dumb questions and occasionally submit to being “wanded” to make sure you don’t have a bomb stashed in your shorts.

Then you have to contend with planes being late, sitting endlessly while trapped in a metal tube of a plane waiting for takeoff, hearing all sorts of odd noises during flights, having to sit next to bizarre characters for hours and then holding your breath wondering if your bags arrived at your destination.

Plus, sitting in airports, like time spent in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, is the surest way to make time drag.

All of these forms of torture, however, make the grand adventure planned by Brendan Ross of Round Rock that much more confusing.

According to the Austin American-Statesman, the 29-year-old soon-to-be air traffic controller is spending the next month being a glutton for punishment.

He’s planning to take 70 airline trips in 30 days. What’s more, he’s going to be spending the spare time hanging around airports. He’ll be eating, sleeping, washing and bathing in the airports while waiting for his next flight.

Ross posted an ad on Craigslist on Aug. 17 asking that someone buy him a $599 pass to fly on JetBlue for a month. In the ad, he offered to sleep in airports. Two days later Wired magazine, based in San Francisco, took him up on his offer and also is providing him $30 per day to spend on airport food. In exchange, he’ll be blogging about his adventures.

Chuck Squatriglia, the editor of Wired’s blog about transportation, said, “I think most people would consider this idea hell on earth, but he’s actually gung ho about it. I’ve been kind of surprised by how willing he is to do this. It just seemed crazy enough that it could be a lot of fun and something our readers would enjoy following.”

Ross, a former youth minister, is waiting for security clearance to begin his job as an air traffic controller in the Seattle area.

“It’s supposed to be some kind of an experiment as opposed to sending me around on vacation,” he told the American-Statesman.

“I know this is kind of crazy, but it always makes for good stories later,” Ross said. “The idea is to act as if you were just a regular traveler, and you were stranded for 30 days.”

Ross said he plans to stay clean by bathing from sinks in airport restrooms and taking the occasional shower in airports that have them. He also packed detergent so that he can wash his clothes in airport sinks.

But before declaring the guy a victim of terminal stupidity — get it? — we might want to acknowledge he could be smarter than the average bear. By doing it his way, Ross actually could do the entire 70 flights and only have to go through security once.

Odessa, TX

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