I came across this bit today at The Guardian:

"And by giving Mr Johnson such an air-mile-heavy job she gave him plenty of time-consuming activities, all of them well away from Westminster."

I assume 'air-mile-heavy job' means 'a difficult job' in this context, but I can't quite understand the connection between something so abstract and light as an 'air-mile' to something being arduous.

Any idea on how common this expression is?

Does anyone know where does it come from?

  • 3
    Not a common expression, but I have heard similar things once or twice. It implies a lot of flying back and forth, which is quite tedious and stressful, and which (I think the article implies) keeps the individual incommunicado for great periods of time.
    – Hot Licks
    Nov 16, 2016 at 22:07
  • It means lotsof travel....
    – Jim
    Nov 16, 2016 at 22:07
  • 1
    This is a simple case of somene putting words next to each other to make it mean what they want it to mean. It’s not an idiom or set phrase.
    – Jim
    Nov 16, 2016 at 22:09

2 Answers 2


air-mile-heavy means it results in lots of air-miles, which could mean the redeemable points ... [EDIT] or the more prosaic distance covered.

Air Miles.
trademark Points (equivalent to miles of free air travel) accumulated by buyers of airline tickets and other products and redeemable against the cost of air travel with a particular airline.

  • 4
    Maybe. With frequent flyer miles it would be unambiguously so, but one could also use air miles in references to distance traveled by air. Some business travelers rack up the air miles, but others rack up the road miles, and neither need be enrolled in any kind of distance-based loyalty program.
    – choster
    Nov 16, 2016 at 22:18
  • Yeah, "air miles" does not necessarily refer to racking up "points". It's quite common to say something like "It's 2300 air miles to East Podunk from here."
    – Hot Licks
    Nov 16, 2016 at 22:20
  • @choster and HotLicks Fair points. Updated answer accordingly.
    – k1eran
    Nov 16, 2016 at 22:37

I came across exactly the same question reading this article and would suggest : a job in which you travel a lot, thus piling air miles

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