Wing and a Prayer Blog is Back… and Acerbic as Ever

After a long hiatus, Gray Roberge returns to blogging. And his first post after declaring his return lambasts Flyertalkers and travel bloggers for caring about their travel experiences on the days before and after the anniversary of September 11, failing to appreciate its importance, and being overall self-centered on the important occasion.

Here’s what he had to say about yours truly.

And finally, the King of Excess Himself, His Holiness Gary Leff of View From the Wing, writes on September 12 with a speculation of whether a double elite qualifying mile promo may occur. Just a few days before, he got in one of his trite cracks at unions, one of American industry’s main checks on corporate greed.

And since he criticizes my blog posts a week before and a day after September 11, just how was Mr. Roberrge handling the occasion on his blog?

I was not yet back to blogging on September 11 (chuggin’ on those med school apps)

Well, gee, you know what they say about glass houses.

Now, I didn’t post on September 11th. This is not a political blog. There was no shortage of commentary from all sides on the occasion marking the date. Many lives were lost on September 11th. Many lives were lost in the response to September 11th. All deserve commemoration. And to my mind the way that the hackneyed phrase about the terrorists not winning becomes true is by continuing to live our lives. And by not reaching back a week prior September 11th to snarkily claim I’m bashing unions in a post where I talk about service levels across various airlines and suggest that union rules may be one part of the equation for US airlines but explicitly not the main driver of differences.

He thinks September 11th means that greed is bad, and materialism is unseemly, and the rhetoric evokes more of an aesthetic dislike for certain behaviors than a utilitarian one, but I’ll leave aside the analysis of his political philosophy or what in the world his entreaties to folks to be charitable (donating miles to families trying to reach the Mayo Clinic) — however noble — has to do with September 11th.

And while he bashes me without any knowledge of my charitable giving, I’d happily compare with his. If American Express wants my tax returns as a condition of doing business with them, and I willingly provide them, I suppose I shouldn’t be shy about such things with the world.

I find it especially ironic that Gray’s calls for acting charitably come in one of the least charitable posts towards fellow bloggers that I’ve seen in recent memory, at least among bloggers who write priarily about travel rather than politics. But I’ll leave it to him to ask himself why that is.

Now that the Wing and a Prayer blog has taken his MCAT and applied to medical school, maybe he’ll have some time to work on his bedside manner.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. I find his writings to be very entertaining. I think he has some talent as a wordsmith. No comment of the content though.

  2. Gary —

    I was amazed when I read his post. Unbelievable. While I now doubt would react the same as you did, the best course of action is to just ignore the guy. But first, report him to Randy, so at least he gets stripped of his boardingarea affiliation. There is nothing wrong with a little healthy competition between bloggers and maybe some ribbing, but he went way beyond that long ago.

    Heck, Randy is allegedly sitting on 17M miles, right? Wonder what Gray would say about that?

  3. Mr. G-

    I think Gray’s point went way over your bald head. Here we examine an issue of consumption, not politics. At viewfromthewing you find ways to take as much as possible- by means of twisting the arms of various corporations. While I agree that sept. 11th is quite stale nowadays, Gray points out that bloggers such as yourself should take a break from twisting arms and pretending to be royalty, and perhaps align your interest and passion with something just a little bit more important than your precious miles.


  4. This yokel has an inferiority complex himself; thus, it explains his need to criticize Lucky and Gary’s posts. @Gary and Lucky, please continue your informative blogs.

  5. I actually just unsubscribed to WAAP in my google reader after he posted this weekend. I realized I hadn’t missed his postings. Agree with chitownflyer – keep up the informative blogs that are relevant and succinct.

  6. Gary,
    I think this young man will come to find he’s made a terribly poor decision. These mileage strategies we all discuss are hobby, not life. To insinuate we think it’s what’s truly important in life is just being a bit silly. It’s like crashing a movie theater and getting mad at the audience for not feeding the poor instead. There’s a time and a place. This guy needs to get a grip, but instead he’s made a fool of himself and lost all of his readers in the process. Oops.

  7. Did you note how he DID not single out Rick from Frugal Travel Guy and called him Avuncular, even though he churns cards and collects every mile? Perhaps that is because Rick is not bombastic and pretentious in his writings?

    And his post was quite humo(u)rous in a way that Americans unfortunately find offensive!

    However, I think he was perhaps a bit too harsh with Gary (but it was only a few funny sentences). Unlike Lucky, Gary doesn’t tell us how he flies 300,000 miles a year and how he has 2 million miles and how he is a mileage millionaire etc.

  8. Wow, I just read Gray’s post, and boy was that one of the most sanctimonious, self-righteous pieces of pap I’ve read in a long time. Yeesh.

    @ First Reaction – I didn’t find anything in Gray’s post very humorous. Many bloggers, like Lucky, post some of their statistics to show readers who may be considering mileage running what’s involved in the hobby, and what the potential rewards are.

  9. Lucky and Gary post details about their trips, flights, and hotel stays, so readers have a good understanding of their travel habits, and why certain programs are more beneficial. It seems to me WAAP blogger is more interested in advancing his political views and agenda.

  10. Please don’t defend Frugal Travel Guy. That guy is the biggest (maybe literally!) of the arrogant goons. His blog actually portrays himself as THE WORLD EXPERT ON FLYING FREE. Are you kidding me? Gary and Lucky have forgotten more than he ever knew about cheap travel. I’m convinced that Rick’s singular goal in this endeavor is to line his pockets.

    And let’s now forget FTG’s posts from a couple weeks ago when he was considering writing to United for compensation due to a smelly plane. (Sure, he says he didn’t, but if I were a betting a man……)

  11. @Protected – in all fairness to FTG, he was considering complaining to UA not about the stinky plane, but about the delay due to the stinky plane…a minor difference, but a meaningful one. He also took into account that while he was only facing 40 minutes or so in the stinky plane, the crew faced an entire shift and perhaps that was reason not to complain. And in the end he didn’t send the letter of complaint (after reader feedback), but instead sent a letter praising the pilot for doing the best he could at 6 AM to deal with the issue.

    That said, his header claiming he is the “The World’s Expert on Flying Free” is really arrogant and annoying. He’s one of the top blogger-experts on churning airline credit cards, true, but there are a lot of bloggers who are just as good as or better than he is at other aspects of earning miles (mileage runs, etc.), and several (including Gary, IMO) who are much better at telling you how to USE your miles to get maximum value.

    And I have trouble with a late middle-aged man who calls his wife “KatyBug” in public.

    But at least FTG isn’t as sanctimonious as Gray at WAAP, or as insipid as Chris Elliott, who manages to get major media outlets to actually pay him.

  12. Interesting to see comments on somebody else’s blog? I agree with most that Gary and Lucky know tonsmoe about awards and mileage runs than I do, but in all fairness, they are buying miles and flying for them as well. I AM getting mine for FREE as stated with churning and customer service vouchers. It is a simple distinction many will understand. As far as writing on the stinky plane, I took the advice of my readers who were not afraid to comment directly on my blog their opinions,and I did NOT complain. They made more sense than I did. Protected don’t be shy. Stop by occasionally and put in your two cents worth.

  13. Gary
    Some folks have nothing better to do then attack others
    your post is too kind in response but that is what keeps u first class as one of the best writers and bloggers out there.Reason? No personal attacks.Thank You for your service to we who seek the inside up to date word on the best these travel providers and their programs bring forth year round.Your service is greatly appreciated from this regular reader.Long ago in marketing I learned when folks arent talking about u and or saying something bad or good about you thats when there is a real problem

    There is no such thing called bad publicity 🙂
    The worst publicity?When they stop talking about you
    Cheers and keep up the great work

  14. I got mentioned on the FTG blog today! I’m a celebrity! A few points Rick:

    1. I don’t care what you call your wife. That’s Craig’s comment! LOL.

    2. I don’t know about Gary, but if you read Lucky’s blog, you’ll realize he ain’t buyin’ miles. And he knows how to use his miles for something other than yet ANOTHER trip to Hawaii — that has got to be one of the more uninspiring uses for miles ever!

    3. It’s humorous that you want people to comment on your blog! If I recall, you didn’t even allow comments for a long time — something about wanting ‘a more personal interaction with your readers!’ HAHA. So do you moderate your comments now, or do they post instantly like Gary’s and Lucky’s? Think about that and maybe you’ll find your answer……

  15. Ooops, Gary moderates his comments too. I stand corrected. So maybe Lucky stands alone as the uncensored voice in the field?

  16. Looking at the linked address, the post you’re linking to appears to be from 2010. Is that correct?

  17. I get it. THIS post is from 2010 also — I saw it linked today at Milepoint. Never mind. Carry on. I’m going back to sleep now.

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