2014 Year in Travel

2014 has been a record travel year.

2014 Flights

2014 Flight Map

I have flown on 86 flights this year, which has been my best year yet.

2014-flight

In particular, the last four months of the year have had me traveling about three weeks a month; I’m on a high stakes program at work, and it’s been a particularly busy travel time for that program.

2014 Hotel Nights

2014-hotel

Hotel nights are up this year, too. From 2011 through 2013, I was doing a respectable amount of travel, but the phase of my program combined with budget cuts (and the 2013 federal furloughs and shutdown) had a serious effect on the number of nights I spent on the road. However, I moved to a higher priority program in mid-2013, so while our budget still isn’t great, the priority of the program and the acquisition phase we’re in means that mission-critical travel has climbed back up. In addition, I’ve had far more personal hotel nights this year than usual, an effect of taking a good number of weekend trips when I got the chance, plus a true vacation in the summer.

These stays ended up being:

  • 97 nights in Hilton brands
  • 2 nights in Marriott brands (a stay at the Gaylord Opryland)
  • 1 night in Wyndham brands (American Airlines put me up at a Baymont at the Charlotte airport)
  • 6 nights in a VRBO vacation home in Flagstaff I rented with some friends this summer
  • 1 night in military base lodging

New Airports

I’ve visited six new airports this year:

This put me at 54 total airports visited out of my 100 airport goal. I’m over halfway there!

Elite Status

End of Year Status 2014

I was able to reclaim Hilton HHonors Diamond this year – in fact, I hit the 60 nights required for Diamond in September, and ended the year with 96 elite-qualifying nights. In addition, I was able to hit United MileagePlus Gold for the first time (in fact, it’s the first time I’ve hit the second tier on any airline’s program).

Of Note

I had six unexpected overnight stays this year:

My Airport History: Newport News (PHF)

Flight Log: http://www.flighthistorian.com/airports/PHF

Newport News has been relatively unremarkable for me; I visited it on a single trip in 2009 and haven’t been back since.

However, it was the first place I’ve ever rented a car (up until that point, I’d been content to ride with coworkers on work trips, and I was 24 years old, so I hadn’t rented a car for personal use before). I’d been meaning to ride in a coworker’s rental car, but we were coming in on different flights, and his got cancelled. I got to have my first experience renting a car with very little notice, but it must have gone well, as I usually volunteer to be a driver on nearly all group work trips nowadays.

As I left, PHF became the first airport from which I’d had a flight on a turboprop.

Airport #54/100: San Juan (SJU)

SJU

Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport · San Juan, Puerto Rico, United States
First Visit: 26 November 2014 · http://www.flighthistorian.com/airports/SJU

First Impressions

SJU, honestly, just felt a bit outdated and run down. While it appears that it’s undergoing a bit of much-needed renovation, the parts of it I went through were not in great shape. Signage to the passenger arrivals area wasn’t spectacular either, which became especially relevant, when we realized our rental car company wasn’t actually authorized to pick us up from the rental car shuttle area.

Of course, being an island airport, I suppose it doesn’t have a whole lot of competition — there are a few other commercial airports on the island, but none with the capacity or number of destinations that SJU has.