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.