It's been 43 exhausting weeks since he slept in a bed that wasn't in a hotel, and he spends an average of six hours daily in the sky.
He has a freewheeling itinerary, often planning his next destination upon hitting the airport.
It took Schlappig about a year to master the dozens of convoluted techniques, exploiting mistakes in ticketing algorithms and learning the ins and outs of the frequent-flyer programs airlines had created after deregulation in the late 1970s.
The second leg of the game is credit cards — collecting and canceling as many as possible, and deploying a series of tricks to reap the reward points that bank-and-airline-card partnerships would virtually give away.
Schlappig typically makes this trip when he's bored on the weekend.
He pays for it like he pays for everything: with a sliver of his gargantuan cache of frequent-flyer miles that grows only bigger by the day.
Schlappig read one detailed post after another that insisted Manufacture Spend was the only true way to fly for free — like sliding a coin into a slot machine and yanking it back with clear string.
The moment that he whiffs the airless ambience of a pressurized cabin, he's home."An airplane is my bedroom," he says, stretching to reach his complimentary slippers.
"It's my office, and it's my playroom." The privilege of reclining in this personal suite costs around ,000.
As he delved deeper, Schlappig learned about a third level, a closely guarded practice called Manufacture Spend, where Hobbyists harness the power of the multitudes of credit cards in their pockets.
Airline-affiliated credit cards award points for every dollar spent, so over the decades, Hobbyists manipulated the system by putting purchases on credit cards without ultimately spending anything at all.
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