I’ve received an uptick in nasty email and comments this week celebrating the imminent collapse of Live and Let’s Fly. I’ve also received notes and comments from many concerned about me and my family as we adjust to this new world. I want to take a few moments to talk about the path forward for LALF during this uncertain time.
Put simply, we are going to be just fine. I’m not going anywhere and neither is Kyle. I started LALF in 2009 as a labor of love and over a decade later it remains a labor of love. Yes, the blog has grown substantially and now produces (or at least produced) healthy income each month. I’m projecting, based upon preliminary numbers, that this will drop significantly. Even so, we’re on track for our best month ever in March 2020 in terms of traffic. My answer? To keep writing.
Arguably, this blog has never made sense from a cost/benefit analysis perspective. Putting more time into Award Expert, my credit card points and frequent flyer mile consulting service, would have been been more financially rewarding. Putting more time into my import/export company may have been more rewarding. Heck, using my law degree in a more direct manner would have probably made more financial sense.
But I’m convinced more and more as I grow older that you have to love what you do; that there are some things in life more important than money as long as your basic needs are provided for. And the money often follows anyway. I’ve long resisted pushing credit cards on this blog and only recently put the infrastructure in place to even offer affiliate links. Don’t worry, I’m not going to be aggressive. But reading this thread on Twitter from Nomadic Matt humbled me in the sense that a blog my size is leaving a lot of revenue on the table each month.
I’m blessed in the sense that the overhead is low for both Award Expert and LALF. Thus, even though Award Expert is essentially dead right now, the company can go into hibernation mode and return. Award Expert does not have any employees, only independent contractors. I don’t say only lightly, for these are dear people who now have less work. Thankfully no contractor relies upon Award Expert as their primary source of income, which makes this situation so much easier for me.
Going forward, you can continue to expect 3-4 posts per day on LALF. I’ll continue to cover COVID-19 related news, but also dedicate at least one post each day to a lighter topic, like my 10 favorite airline commercials I published earlier today. I gathered so much great content during my recent trip to Africa and have some great stories to share. As time permits, I will clear the backlog of hotel and lounge reviews and offer more evergreen posts on the various loyalty programs of the world.
But each day I am still writing to myself…I think that’s key to sustain a blog on a long-term basis.
My other business is in a very precarious position…this is not the place or time to discuss it, but I may open up at a future time about it, since it has an enormous impact upon my life.
In our nation and in our world, we have reached a new crossroads of opportunity. In terms of potential, I see now what I saw after 9/11. We now have a chance to rise above partisanship and band together as a people, indeed as a world, to combat a common enemy. In terms of the economic duress this enemy will inflict upon us, we have a chance to help our brothers and sisters in practical and tangible ways like never before. We also have a chance to improve ourselves, through service, sober reflection, and hard work. Don’t waste your time at home watching Netflix (although I am enjoying Season 3 of The Crown). Plant a garden. Write a book. Tackle those long-neglected household projects with the help of YouTube.
Thanks to each one of your for reading. My ultimate source of hope remains rooted in my faith, but I am convinced we will get through this difficult time and come roaring back later in the year, humbled yet refreshed, weaker yet paradoxically stronger. Stay safe out there. Even during this difficult time, I am thankful for the simple gifts of this life.
Great post! Wishing you and the whole family health and luck!
Yeah. I think the world will be ok, actually will thrive in a few years. Hope we learn to compromise, grow more empathy and stop electing party populist fire brands.
I don’t think people will stop traveling. People are a lot more curious and open minded about the world than 20 years ago. That won’t change.
Also today’s environment is a teachable moment for Republicans. They hate paying taxes because they think they earn money and are successful because they are self made.
Nope, you are a product of the system. You survive because the system lets you thrive. You cry mommy when the system stops working, like right now. If you are self made go out and sell stuff, make money. See how successful you are. So all those successful self made men, please lose the swagger, the society has an invisible hand in your success.
After the 2 trillion fiscal stimulus and trillions more in fed repo the visible hand of the society is not insubstantial either. So your efforts in your success are appreciated, but you are not completely self made.
debit – go blow Bernie tonight. Your posts do nothing but make those who voted for trump run to the election booth in November to vote for him again.
Stop being a parrot of the MSM.. we get it. Now give it a rest
I don’t think any of us would mind too much if kyle was cut… his articles are rather annoying if you hadn’t noticed and actually make me visit here less and less.
Lisa, it’s your right to not visit the site so goodbye & have a nice day! 🙂
Strongly disagree with that…
@Lisa Rasmussen: I feel the same way with you about Kyle. I disagree with his points, but I still visit this site to read Matthew and other readers’ articles and advice/comments. I stopped reading his articles since he thought the way United Airlines requires passengers to qualify for Elite qualification made sense. Since then, every time I see his name, I scroll up/down to the next article to prevent getting high blood pressure 🙂
Don’t leave this site as Matthew and other readers (e.g. reader Jack with his picture) write a lot if good stuff/advice.
I mean if you dislike Kyle, he basically posts exclusively on weekends….just come M-F
Kyle is a decent, kind, generous, and smart man. I realize you may not always agree with his positions, but he is about as good as it gets and an indispensable member of the team.
Matthew, all the best, keep on keeping on.
Nasty comments? I’m sorry to hear that, Matthew. Frankly, I’ve never understood why people waste their time putting (more) negativity out into the world. (“If you can’t say something nice, …) And I think it’s an unfortunate quirk of human nature that many people are less inclined to be civil when they can’t physically see the person with whom they’re interacting.
But, for what it’s worth, I plan to continue to enjoy reading your blog (even if you understandably need to advertise a little more … I’ll even turn off my ad blocker ;)). And I wish you well in your endeavors, both fiscal and personal! I think you’re right in that there are opportunities available to us in otherwise gloomy times. This is a chance for us all to step up, not check out!
@ Matthew — Please don’t start pushing credit cards. I am so tired of this type e of content at other blogs. It is a real turnoff, especially right now. That said, why would people celebrate the demise of your blog? That is truly sick behavior. Why can’t we all just be happy for each other’s successes? Life is way too short for such hatred.
I have no plans to shill credit card through dedicated posts or pushing deals that are not good for consumers. You may see links in posts on other topics, but trust me, it’s not my style to push cards and I won’t be joining that bandwagon.
Just don’t become TPG.
Thanks for the post Matthew. Did you ever do the in-depth review of you TK flight to ATL?
It’s coming on Tuesday! Was just working on it last night. Over 400 photos to whittle down.
Post all 400!
Hoping things will be back to normal by the end of Sept. Have booked 4 business TK ATL-IST-TXL for my in-laws 80th & 75th birthdays for 15 days.
The wife and I are going to show them around our 2 favorite places, Berlin and Berchtesgaden.
Thanks Matthew! I always enjoying your content and the straightforwardness of your posts versus other bloggers. Definitely looking to hear more about your stories once we get back to some semblance of normality!
Hang in there & keep up the good work. The world of airlines, planes, travel, exotic locales & FF programs are something to look forward to when things start to get back a new normal.
Happy to hear you and Kyle will keep writing and please ignore the haters and nasty emails. Not sure what motivates this type of person when so many people are suffering.
As I have said many times, thanks for what you do and sharing your life (and little Augustine) with us.
I’m glad that reports of your demise are greatly exaggerated and that you’re in pretty good shape. Chin up for us all.
Correction: the blog’s demise, not your personal demise.
Given that you will have more spare time as no long-haul travel in the next few months, may I suggest you to edit your most popular post “Thrown Off a United Airlines Flight for Taking Pictures!”? Please add a link to your blog which indicate that you have settled it out of court. People google “United airlines” will find your link. It is your choice whether those first time readers be told half the story or full story.
Enjoy reading your blog because you did not hard-sell product.
May the Lord bless you and your family.
Hi Tony, we didn’t settle, there was no lawsuit, and no secret agreement. I did write about the outcome and can add a link to the original post.
Good stuff! Whatever happened with your disagreement with Swiss on the first class award space that was opened up by Aeroplan? Is that settled now?
Thank you Matthew. I enjoy both you and Kyle and still make a habit daily of clicking on your site.
All the best!
All the best, enjoy the blog greatly!
More importantly, why haven’t you appeared on one of the Facebook Live happy hours with OMAAT? Would love to see that!
I told Tiffany I’d love to do it. Maybe next week…
My first job out of college was in consulting. I was learning up on everything points and miles (since consulting doesn’t pay as good as you’d think). I started off with TPG and quickly outgrew their content (I also feel it got worse). The next blog I found was LALF. I consider this the “real” first blog I started following and look forward to the post everyday. Keep it up!
You’re very resilient. I’m sure you’ll come up with many ways to keep readers entertained, even if it’s without the same financial return of the other businesses.
Your site is greatly appreciated; it’s unfathomable that some would relish its demise.
Always enjoy reading your blog, keep it going, and I hope you and your family are able to stay safe in these uncertain times.
Keep up the good work Matthew and Kyle! In distressing times like this, the nasty people and bullies seem to go wild on the internet (probably because they have more free time), trying to hurt as many people as they can. It’s very unfortunate that so many nice people are being personally attacked online for no valid reason.
The truly sad thing is that one particularly troubled person (who loves to send hate-filled messages that he thinks are icognito but I can easily trace right back to him) is poisoning his impressionable son.
Just ban / block the troll then and be done with him!
Oh he’s blocked. He just (thinks) he is continuing to get through with other IPs…
@Matthew: Many others have given you compliments and encouragement already, therefore I will not bore you and others with one more. However, many readers and I probably need to thank you for your time, dedication, and hard work. Thank you! And if I read it correctly, you’re a J.D. (?) If that is true, it is very impressive and I admire that achievement.
Correct, JD (and even worked in the Star Alliance Legal Department!). Thanks for reading!
It’s human psychology to remember things that stand out. We remember the one nasty email and forget the 99 encouraging emails.
This is how our ancestors spotted danger. It has been selected for by evolution (which the dumb Republicans don’t believe in)
Don’t let that quirk of psychology hold you back. I need to make an effort to remember that myself many times.
This is a great blog, especially for Southern Californians. It’s been clear u weren’t thrilled with the limits on traveling, but u never put your readers’ health at risk by giving questionable advice that minimizes the situation (ahem, the points guy).
Things will turn around. Land-based and short haul travel will be back in 10 to 12 weeks and u will catch up then.
I am sure u will also come up with a lot of clever articles on points, airline financial troubles and ancillary aspects of travel. You’ll pull thru.
I’m glad to hear you’ll be continuing the blog. Luckily I still have a large backlog of posts myself, which I hope lasts long enough to get me through to the other side of this nightmare.
First of all thank you for sharing this labor of love with us. I think this blog is more than just trip reports. Think you and Kyle are unique voices and I especially enjoy your personal takes on cultures you encounter and the world around us. It’s unfortunate that some people would choose to be negative on any of your and Kyle’s posts as they can simply visit other sites.
Wonderful post direct from your heart! Best wishes to you and your family! Stay safe Matthew!
Keep up the good work !
Please add me to the LONG list of readers who appreciate your efforts. Very best wishes to you and your family.
I look forward to the upcoming posts and appreciate all your hard work and dedication!
You are one of the best writers in the business – valued for your information and fairness, without the drama of others in the space and offering a unique perspective with each post, not afraid of controversy, and often proposing solutions to problems identified. There are many things to write about to keep readers informed and entertained during this health crisis when most of travel must come to a standstill temporarily. Looking forward to a regular steady stream of content from you as the days and weeks go on. Also waiting for the second passport detailed post follow up from 2/20/20)! Thank you for sharing your experience and information with us all!
We’ll keep coming back. Being able to continue through my aviation online-reading routines has been a nice escape — even though all the blogs are keeping current of the dire situation of the aviation community.
Thank you for the continued efforts on your part. Could we some simple posts like about favorite plane-spotting sites and pictures. Or perhaps how seats have changed through the years. I’m sure you have plenty to share anecdotally.
I have always enjoyed your posts and as a native Angeleno, fellow UA enthusiast (still), and someone with 25+ years of international travel and educational experience I would like to thank you and your team for all of your hard work and dedication to putting out quality content. It’s apparent this is a labor of love and from this post it is evident you have your priorities in order.
If you are not going anywhere, neither are we. You obviously do this for the love and inspiration you share. Kyle and you give so much more than you take, and for that, I, for one, will always be grateful.
You probably know this, but if all LOVE you or if all HATE you, you are doing something wrong. Be true to yourself, do your thang and some will like you, some will despise you and some will love you. That is the nature of this… What is the saying about trying to please everyone all the time?
God bless you, Matthew. All the best to you and Kyle. I’ll be right here waiting for whatever you write.
I know I’m late to the party but this blog is one of the best I’ve ever read! Although I don’t have the means to travel yet, I enjoy viewing the photos and reading the stories of your travels very much! Please don’t stop posting!!