The Story of How a Guy Trying to Maintain Elite Airline Status Landed in a Mexican Jail Without His Passport
Mileage runs are often short trips that very frequent fliers sometimes book to maintain their elite status with their preferred airline. I personally have no idea why someone would get on a plane if they didn't have to, but for people who are always traveling and enjoy the perks of an elevated status, it can be worth it. TV producer Andrew Kimmel had just flown back to L.A. from Indonesia and found himself just short of maintaining elite status with American Airlines. So he decided to take a quick 24-hour trip to Mexico, thinking it would be no big deal.
What happened next is the stuff of Hangover movies. But it happened in real life. The story involves a Mexican jail, a lost passport, and a very nice stranger from Kenya. It's quite the journey.
I don't exactly understand why American Airlines would charge over $1,000 to maintain his status when he was only $275 away, but that's not the point. The point is Andrew flew to Mexico specifically to keep his elite status with American Airlines. He wasn't planning to go there. It was basically supposed to be a quick layover before he went home to L.A.
When you're traveling and you're obviously a tourist, sometimes people take advantage of you. It sucks, but it happens. Most of the time, though, the police don't get involved. However police corruption is pretty rampant in Mexico.
It's legit terrifying to be in a foreign country without your passport! That's your ticket home. Except for, you know, your actual plane ticket. I can't imagine Andrew was as calm and chatty with the police officers as he made himself out to be. I would definitely be freaking out a little if I was taken to a jail cell and had no idea where my passport was. At least he had a new friend who was in a similar situation.
Well, this story has taken a turn! He's probably not so lighthearted at this point. Especially after having to witness the guy from the U.K. wipe himself with a blanket. That probably wasn't on his list of things to do during the 24 hours he planned to be in Mexico. Remember, this is all happening because American Airlines wanted to screw him out of his elite status.
I had forgotten that he had been traveling the whole previous day! From Indonesia! He's probably so tired he's going crazy at this point. But honestly, he might still have been in better shape than his friend from the U.K. If I was on vacation and my husband ended up in jail for getting into a fight, he'd be staying there the whole time.
In other news, a random woman paid his bail! This is the kind of stuff that happens in movies. This is not real life! Except it is.
This series of unfortunate events seemed to be miraculously coming to a close thanks to a lovely woman from Kenya and a very nice man who offered a ride. But remember... at this point, Andrew still doesn't have his passport or debit card.
It's amazing that he was able to get on a flight without a passport! Good thing he had a photo of it on hand. Things seem to be looking up at this point. But of course, of course, this is not where our story ends.
Ah yes! Bureaucracy does it again! Without the passport they told him he didn't need, he can't get the immigration form. If he can't get the immigration form, he can't get on the plane they told him he could get on without a passport. We call this a vicious circle.
Well, this was unexpected. Seriously, is this the plot of a rom-com? I guess going through harrowing experiences makes people real sexy for each other. That's science, right? Anyway, at this point Andrew may not have a passport or a way home, but he got smooched by his savior. whom he met only hours before.
This is how you know you have great friends. They make sure you're OK, and then they make fun of your situations. Mercilessly. Memes and all. I guess the extra money worked because Andrew finally got home, landing in LA around 10:30 at night with the greatest story to tell forever.
What a way to round out the year, eh? I imagine that the second he got home, he said, "Happy new year," chugged a glass of champagne, and then collapsed in bed and fell asleep. He did have some fraud charges from his stolen card to deal with, but that was a 2020 problem. Not a 2019 one.
What did American Airlines have to say about this story?
Wow. They probably had a whole meeting about how to respond to this thread, and this is what they came up with. Harsh, American Airlines. Harsh.