If you are following any other travel blogs (or any other blogs for that matter), you are probably tired of all the "year in review" posts. So I did not want to do that; instead, I decided to look back at all my flying this year. After all, with 97 flights in one year, there are a few stories that pop into my mind.
Interestingly, all besides one of those flights were commercial flights this year - unlike some of the past years where I racked up a bunch of flights either flying on my own, flight testing avionics systems for work, or flying training missions with the Civil Air Patrol. This year the only non-commercial flight was half an hour ride in a 1940s Tiger Moth in beautiful Wanaka on New Zealand's South Island. There were lots of exciting "firsts" for me on that short flight - riding in an open air cockpit (complete with goggles and white scarf!), flying a tail dragger, doing my first spin over the Wanaka lake… So much fun!
Also, somewhat odd when compared to past years, the map of my domestic flying does not look all that exciting.
The international map is a combination of half of my round-the-world trip and the trips I took back to Europe - first visiting Brussels and Cologne on the way to Euro 2012 finals in Ukraine, then the fall trip to a travel blogger conference in Spain, Oktoberfest, Vienna, Ukraine, and Istanbul. And I almost got to fly back in first class!
All this flying totaled up to almost 238 hours in the air with 93340 miles/150216 kilometers flown. Put another way - ten straight days in the air, going 3.75 times around the Earth!
I have visited 49 airports in 16 countries while flying on 16 different airlines. And my
bags backpack was only lost once! Of course, that was the only time I actually checked anything in with a connecting flight - well done, webjet!
Thanks to FlightMemory crunching the numbers, here are a few more interesting stats:
Being based in Tulsa, it is naturally at the top of the airports I have been frequenting this year. In fact, most of the gate agents remembered me and tried to hold an Economy Plus seat for me with some extra leg room.
Next three cities on the list also make sense - Chicago, Denver, and Houston are United's hubs and since I have had the fortune of being able to fly on United for nearly free. Oh, I will so miss listing for a standby seat 40 minutes before the flight, jumping into my car, get to the airport with 20 minutes to go, and get on the flight to grab some deep dish pizza in Chicago or check out a different gym in Houston.
Portland is the single city I have visited the most this year. I loved it when I was out there a few years ago and finally got to go back this summer. Chris Guillebeau's World Domination Summit, my buddy Chris' wedding reception, driving out to the Pacific coast and hiking up the Saddle mountain - all amazing experiences. I am pretty sure I will end up in Portland at some point...
Surprisingly, Sydney is right up there on the list, next to Portland. I guess I have been there three times as well, but aside of flying the Boeing 747 simulator with my couchsurfing host and trying some 'roo steaks, I was not very impressed with it. Same goes for jetStar - Quantas' low cost spin off that I flew three times - enough to land it #3 spot on my most flown list this year.
Lastly, the list of aircraft flow makes me sad - exactly half of my flights were in ERJs and CRJs - the smallest commuter jets out there. The nice thing about living in Tulsa is that it is somewhat equidistant from three United hubs - Houston, Denver, and Chicago. The not so nice thing is that it is not such a big city, so they only have small jets scheduled on these routes so for the most part it was not a comfy ride, unless I could score an exit row seat. But I guess that's the price I had to pay for the amazing 2012. And I will not complain!
Unfortunately, all good things end and so are my flight benefits on United - so in 2013 I will have to do it the old fashioned way - flying with, gasp, a confirmed ticket! Of course, that does not mean I will be paying for that ticket, but more on that (and my travel plans for 2013) in my next post. Stay tuned!