Just a few hours to go until I begin my first international mileage run! Hard to believe this day has finally arrived.

First flight will be Austin to Dallas, leaving AUS at 12:25 p.m., arriving DFW at 1:25. I’ll have approximately one hour in Dallas, then take the 9½ hour flight to Frankfurt. That flight will be on a Boeing 777, arriving FRA at 7:10 Saturday morning. I’ll have a 3.5 hour layover in FRA, then take a Finnair Airbus A-319 to Helsinki, arriving at 2:10 Saturday afternoon.

I’d like to take a lot of photos of the sights in Helsinki, but don’t know how much opportunity I will have. Sunset is 4:45 p.m., and the latest weather forecast calls for showers, with a high of 38, a low of 36.

Several mileage runners on Flyer Talk are taking advantage of the low fares to Frankfurt and are flying in on Friday and making a three-day weekend out of it; they have already arranged to meet for dinner on Saturday night. I’ve been trading e-mails with one couple from New York City that will be sitting two rows in front of me on the DFW-FRA flight. Years ago travelers in NYC could fly direct to Europe from JFK. Now, they have to fly to Texas to take a flight to Europe! Oh well, they are doing a mileage run and will appreciate the extra miles