I’ve made a small update to DTW – a few of the piers on the old North Terminal were removed, so I changed my silhouette to match.
As with many of my other updates, DFW is one of the earlier terminals I drew, and was not as high quality as I wanted it to be. I’ve now redrawn it completely from scratch, and also captured some minor terminal construction that had taken place since my original drawing in 2015.
As I redrew DFW, I learned that terminals A, B, C, and E were not quite as similar as I originally thought. D (as the newest terminal) is very obviously different, but I’d assumed the other four were all basically similar half-circles. Instead, I found that C and E were actually very slightly elliptical, while A and B did indeed appear to be circular.
Additionally, I’d assumed that the Skylink train stations (highlighted in black) on all terminals except D were symmetrical and in the same position on each terminal. That turned out not to be the case. Each terminal had its stations at a different distance from the center of the terminal’s circle (essentially, the stations stuck out more from some terminals than others) and in the case of Terminal A, even the two stations on the same terminal stuck out different distances. Terminals B and C were vertically symmetrical in their placement of stations (the stations were at the same angle from the center of the terminal’s arc), but A and E were not.
DFW certainly has one of the most recognizable terminal shapes, so it was a neat one to recreate.
It’s been a while since I flew through SLC, so when I flew through last week, I noticed right away that there were some extra concourses nearly on top of the existing terminals.
It turns out that SLC is building a pair of replacement concourses on the site of the existing concourses. It looks like their intent will be to move existing flights from the existing concourses C/D/E/F/G to the new concourses A and B, tear down C/D/E/F/G, and then possibly expand A and B to the east.
Because of the work in progress, for the first time, I’ve created two terminal silhouettes in the same drawing – the old terminal before any construction started (circa 2015), and the combined site with both the old and new facilities intertwined. I suspect I’ll eventually also add the final configuration to this image once construction is complete, and perhaps some more intermediate steps if I can find appropriate reference materials.
A year or so ago, I was traveling through Portland, Maine, and noticed the airport had some ground-level gates numbered 11, 12, and 14. Gate 13 was missing.
In retrospect, this shouldn’t have surprised me. Thirteen is considered to be an unlucky number, and many buildings skip their thirteenth floor, but I’d never thought about an airport skipping its thirteenth gate. I started to pay attention, and noticed that many other airports passed over gate 13 as well.
I finally went ahead and researched the gates in every one of the 396 U.S. primary commercial service airports (airports with at least 10000 passenger boardings in 2018) and made a map, split into three categories:
Green: Airports with a gate numbered 13.
Red: Airports without any gates numbered 13.
Gray: Airports whose range of gates doesn’t include 13, so 13 isn’t being skipped. Usually this is because the airport has fewer than 13 gates per concourse, but some airports started their gate numbers higher than 13 as well.
Larger dots on the map represent larger airports.
- There didn’t appear to be any large geographic trends in which cities were more worried about the number 13; the northeast seemed to have a slightly higher ratio of airports skipping 13 to having it, but not by any substantial amount.
- The smallest airport that has a gate 13 is Flint, Michigan (FNT). The largest airport that skips gate 13 is Denver (DEN).
- Las Vegas (LAS) did not have a gate 13 in any of its concourses. Since it’s a city known for gambling, I’m not surprised that it would avoid unlucky numbers.
- A lot of larger airports had gate 13 in some concourses and skipped it in others (BOS and ORD were notable examples). I wonder if there’s some correlation between skipping gate 13 and the year each concourse was built.
- Some airports skip gate 13, but still have baggage claim 13 (IAD did this). Maybe people aren’t worried about bad luck once they’re off the plane and done with flying for the day.
How I Made the Map
I’ve written up how I made the map on my portfolio website:
I started my travel-heavy position at my job in 2009, so the 2010s were the first decade where I really frequently traveled throughout the decade.
Since then, I started tracking my flights in a spreadsheet, then eventually wrote an entire flight logging database website. I learned how to extract history from GPS navigation devices and started logging my driving. I also started tracking hotel stays and a myriad of other travel activities as well.
As a result, I have quite a lot of data built up on my travels over the last decade. For the past seven years, I’ve put together annual end-of-year travel summaries. With the turning of the decade, it seemed to be a good time to make myself a decade travel summary. While there’s a small overlap between the decade and annual summaries, I’ve generally tried to focus the decade summary more on areas that make more sense on a 10-year scale, so even readers of my previous summaries should see some new statistics!
In the Air
From 2010 through 2019, I flew on 824 flights, with a total distance of 555 874 miles (894 590 km).
My first international trip of the decade was a business trip to Germany in February 2010, and I finished my international travel with a Nordic vacation in August 2019. In between, I picked another multi-country Europe trip, as well as travel to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan.
Within the U.S., I’ve now been to every major hub airport, and a lot of minor airports as well.
I somehow managed to visit four German airports (Frankfurt, Munich, Nuremburg, and Berlin) while visiting no more than one airport in any other European country.
I visited 93 airports this decade, 76 for the first time.
When I’m flying for work, contracts with airlines for particular routes drive which airlines I can fly, which means my most-flown airlines change year to year. I started out the decade flying mostly American, ended up primarily United in the middle of the decade, then went back to American by the end.
With Dayton as my primary airport, I fly on a lot of regional jets. At the start of the decade, the 50-seat ERJ-145 dominated my flights. By the end of the decade, I was mostly flying the larger 70–90 seat E-170/175/190 and CRJ-700/900 jets.
My most traveled routes were by far Dayton to Dallas/Fort Worth or Chicago O’Hare. Dayton requires a layover for most of my trips, and most of my flights were on American or United this decade. DFW is American’s largest hub, and ORD is a large hub for both airlines.
On the Ground
I drove approximately 207 331 miles (333 667 km) this decade.
|Personal Vehicles||154 363 mi||248 423 km|
|Rental Vehicles||52 968 mi||85 243 km|
|Total||207 331 mi||333 667 km|
2016 far exceeded all my other years for driving, mostly because of my summer project to visit every one of Ohio’s 88 counties.
My driving in the U.S. has generally connected into two large clusters, with a bunch of smaller areas. The largest cluster is based in my home state of Ohio, and it largely extends to places I’ve driven to from home, although that started to overlap a few places I’ve flown to (particularly in the Carolinas). I also have a Texas-Oklahoma cluster, since I started the decade frequently traveling to Dallas and Abilene TX, and ended the decade with a lot of trips to Tulsa and Altus OK.
Within Europe, though I’ve been to other countries, I’ve only driven in Germany and Iceland.
Likewise, I’ve visited other cities in Australia and New Zealand, but Perth and Dunedin were the only areas I drove in. Perth was my first experience driving on the left side of the road – I lived in the UK for three years as a child, but I was not old enough to drive.
I visited a good portion of the United States and some of the world, but quite a bit of my travel was focused in Oklahoma and northern Texas.
My top 10 metro areas (excluding home) by number of nights I’ve stayed there this past decade are as follows:
|Rank||Metropolitan Area||Total Nights Visited|
|#1||Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.||97|
|#2||Orlando, Florida, U.S.||96|
|#3||Altus, Oklahoma, U.S.||71|
|#4||Seattle, Washington, U.S.||60|
|#5||Washington, D.C., U.S.||55|
|#6||St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.||50|
|#7||Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.||41|
|#8||Abilene, Texas, U.S.||40|
|⋮||Wichita, Kansas, U.S.||40|
|#10||Chicago, Illinois, U.S.||36|
For each year, my most visited metro area (by number of nights stayed):
|Year||Most Visited Metropolitan Area|
|2010||Washington, D.C., U.S.|
|2011||Washington, D.C., U.S.|
|2012||Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.|
|Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.|
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
|2014||Orlando, Florida, U.S.|
|2015||Orlando, Florida, U.S.|
|2016||Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.|
|2017||Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.|
|2018||Altus, Oklahoma, U.S.|
|2019||Wichita, Kansas, U.S.|
I visited 11 countries this past decade, 7 for the first time. (I also had a layover in Finland this year, but since I did not leave the airport, it’s not counted as a visited country on this map.) Every country in the world that I have ever visited, I also visited at some point this decade.
My favorite airport restaurant (and the one I’ve eaten at the most) is Tortas Frontera, with three locations at Chicago O’Hare.
I’ve generally been pretty lucky with avoiding major travel disruptions, but 2014 was not my lucky year – I got stuck overnight six times due to weather or other flight delays and cancellations. Three times were in Chicago, one was in Baltimore, one was in Orlando, and one was in Charlotte.
I also got stuck overnight in Little Rock in 2015 due to a thunderstorm. In 2018, a series of weather and mechanical delays caused me to miss my connection at DFW and spend the night in Dallas.
In 2015, I had a flight from Wichita Falls to Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas which was cancelled, but the flight was a short enough distance that the airline had a taxi company transport us on a fleet of 10-passenger vans. I even received a boarding pass for that “flight.”
2019 wasn’t quite a record-setting travel year for me, but it was still among my busiest. Internationally, I got to visit Japan in the winter, and Sweden and Iceland in the summer. Domestically, I spent a lot of time on the east coast and in the Midwest, but somehow managed not to ever make it out to the Pacific time zone.
Travel was down slightly this year, but I still ended up spending 112 nights away from home – 77 for work, and 35 for myself. The plurality of my personal nights were for my summer trip to Sweden and Iceland; most of the rest consisted of a lot of short weekend trips or visits to friends and family.
I ended the year with 106 flights, totaling 74 110 miles (119 268 km).
This was my first year with two separate international trips. I had a work trip to Tokyo in February, and a vacation to Stockholm and Reykjavík in August.
The Tokyo trip was my first time trying out American Airlines’ 777 premium economy class; my job only pays for economy flights, but I was able to purchase a same-day upgrade with my own money for a reasonable price on my Dallas to Tokyo flight. For a 13–hour flight, it was pretty much exactly what I needed; lots of extra legroom, a little extra width, and a nice side pocket to keep devices while they’re charging.
I also upgraded to premium cabins for some of the flights on our vacation; we upgraded to business class at check-in on the Finnair Chicago to Helsinki flight, and won a bid on business class upgrades on the Icelandair Reykjavík to Chicago flight.
The Icelandair 757 business class was closer to a domestic first class flight – lots more room, better service, but no lay-flat bed. Since it was a daytime flight, beds weren’t necessary.
The Finnair A330-300 business class had lay-flat beds, which was nice for the overnight flight. However, at 6′5″ (196 cm), I’m too tall for the bed, so I didn’t really sleep any better in the bed than in my AA premium economy seat. I don’t believe that flight had a premium economy option, but for my future long-haul flights, I’ll probably just upgrade to premium economy rather than business since the beds don’t provide me enough extra benefit for the enormous cost difference.
Domestically, I spent a lot of time in the Great Plains (particularly Oklahoma) and the east coast.
I decided to try a new visualization of how I flew using a directed graph. I wrote a small module for Flight Historian that could convert flights from my database into a GraphML file, then used yEd Graph Editor to convert it to a radial arrangement.
On this graph, each circle is an airport I visited at least once this year, and each arrow is a flight I took this year. (The circular arrow by OKC shows my flight where we took off from Oklahoma City, and had to return to Oklahoma City due to a mechanical issue.)
My busiest routes were between DAY and DFW or DAY and ORD, with strong showings for DAY ⇄ CLT and DAY ⇄ PHL as well. This makes sense, as Dayton is my home airport, these other airports are all American hubs that serve DAY, and American was my most flown airline this year.
In the last few months of the year, I flew a number of trips on Delta, which brought me a decent number of flights between DAY and ATL.
I visited 10 new airports this year.
|#88||FLL||Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States|
|#89||FAY||Fayetteville, North Carolina, United States|
|#90||PIT||Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States|
|#91||BHM||Birmingham, Alabama, United States|
|#92||MCI||Kansas City, Missouri, United States|
|#95||MIA||Miami, Florida, United States|
|#96||ILM||Wilmington, North Carolina, United States|
By picking up FLL and MIA this year, I finally visited all of the large hubs in the United States.
I did not fly any new aircraft families in 2019.
I drove approximately 24 765 miles (39 855 km) in 2019.
|Personal Car||15 418 mi||24 813 km|
|Rental Vehicles||9 347 mi||15 043 km|
|Total||24 765 mi||39 855 km|
Altus (in southwestern Oklahoma) contributed to a lot of my rental driving – it’s not possible to drive directly into Altus, so I’ve flown into a variety of airports in the region (largely Oklahoma City, Dallas/Fort Worth, and Amarillo). I also had one trip where I flew into Kansas City to drive to Wichita, rather than flying into ICT directly.
Similarly, I didn’t have the option to fly directly into Portsmouth, New Hampshire on several trips there this year, which lead to some driving to other New England airports.
I visited Key West and drove the Overseas Highway (the southern terminus of U.S. Highway 1) for the first time this year.
States and Countries
I visited 24 states this year, five for the first time – New Mexico, Delaware, Alabama, Minnesota, and Vermont.
I also visited four countries this year, two for the first time – Japan and Sweden. (I also had a layover in Finland, but since I did not leave the airport, I don’t count it as a visited country for the purposes of this map.)
Frequent Traveler Status
For the first time, I earned status with IHG (from a number of Holiday Inn stays), reaching their gold tier. I also maintained my Diamond status with Hilton, and my Platinum status with American.
- My longest two flights were my 6 414 mile (10 322 km) flight between Dallas and Tokyo, and the same route in reverse coming home.
- My shortest flight took off from and returned to OKC due to a mechanical issue, traveling a net zero distance.
- My shortest flights that actually went somewhere were my 117 mile (188 km) flight from Charlotte to Fayetteville, North Carolina, and the same route in reverse.
- I drove at my highest elevation ever (approximately 14 132 feet or 4 307 meters) by driving up Mount Evans via Colorado State Highway 5 – the highest paved road in North America.
- That’s a higher elevation than my OKC–OKC flight, which only reached 11 076 feet before returning to the airport.