Airport #88/100: Fort Lauderdale (FLL)

Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States

First visit: 16 March 2019
flighthistorian.com/airports/FLL

I’ll be honest that I wasn’t too impressed with FLL on my visit. It’s certainly possible that I was visiting at a peak season, but the airport just felt crowded in a way that I wouldn’t normally expect for an airport its size. The arrivals road loop could not handle the amount of traffic flowing through it, leading to a much longer (and much more stop-and-go) shuttle trip to the rental car center than I would have expected from the distance traveled.

It’s also one of the airports whose terminals don’t seem to be connected past the security checkpoints, which does tend to get in the way of exploring the airport before my flight. At least Terminal 3 (E/F gates) and Terminal 4 (G gates) had a connector, so since my flight departed out of 3 I was able to visit half of the airport. Though it was still under construction, the parts of Terminal 4 which were finished looked pretty nice.

Terminal Silhouettes: NRT

NRT.svg

I’ve had an issue with certain airports equipped to handle large quantities of large aircraft – in many cases, the jet bridges are not connected directly to the terminal structure, but instead are connected to immovable “fingers” extending from the structure. These fingers allow the aircraft to be further from the terminal, and support using multiple jet bridges for faster loading and unloading of very large aircraft.

As I discovered when I created my terminal silhouette for Vancouver, it’s not immediately clear whether the fingers should be considered part of the jet bridge (and should therefore be omitted from the drawing) or part of the terminal (and should therefore be included in the drawing).

Tokyo–Narita has similar fingers in both Terminals 1 and 2, and I debated for a while whether or not I should include them, and even started drawing them:

Fingers on part of Terminal 1

Ultimately, though, the terminal silhouettes are an aesthetic representation of an airport, and I liked the simplified, fingerless version of Narita better. I decided to learn from my Vancouver silhouette, and drew Narita without the fingers.

Beyond that, my other decisions were what buildings to include in the drawing at all. Satellite maps of NRT seem to show an airside connector of Terminals 2 and 3; however, airport maps (and my recollection of Terminal 2) seem to indicate that this hallway is not available for the traveling public, so I ultimately decided to exclude it. Likewise, there were a few buildings touching the southeast side of Terminal 2 which appeared to be purely administrative; since they were self-contained structures that weren’t deeply integrated with the terminal, I left them out as well.

Airport #87/100: Tokyo–Narita (NRT)

Narita International Airport · Narita, Chiba, Japan
First visit: 10 February 2019 · flighthistorian.com/airports/NRT

This was my first trip to Japan, and as such, my first time visiting a Japanese airport. Since both my incoming and outgoing flights were on American Airlines, I only got to experience Terminal 2.

Welcome to Japan sign

As the customs exit left me in the landside part of the terminal and I had to catch a shuttle into Tokyo anyway, I didn’t have the opportunity to explore the terminal on my way in. However, on my way home, I made sure to arrive at NRT about three hours before my flight so I’d have time to look around before departing.

The landside part of the terminal had a decent amount of shopping and I still had a couple of souvenir requests from friends to fulfill, so I headed up to the T2 shops. While I was up there, I found an observation deck.

Terminal 2 north observation deck

After going through security and exit immigration, I took a walk around all of the international gates of Terminal 2.

World clock with daylight map

The Platinum status I’ve earned with American Airlines grants me lounge access on international itineraries, so after I was done exploring I decided to go visit the Admirals Club.

View from the NRT Admirals Club, with a few OneWorld tails visible on the ramp

It was a nice enough airport and I wouldn’t mind flying here again, though if I do, I might try to fly a Star Alliance or SkyTeam airline so I can check out Terminal 1.

My “Worst” Layovers

Flying out of a smaller city like Dayton, I’m used to having flight layovers on the way to nearly everywhere I travel. While any layover is going to lengthen a trip, one of the most common complaints I hear from traveling companions is when a layover forces them to fly east to go west, or vice versa.

Traveling east (DAY–IAD) to go west (TUL)

[All maps in this post are generated by Paul Bogard using the Great Circle Mapper – copyright © Karl L. Swartz]

I started thinking about a way to quantify how bad a layover was, and ultimately decided that it would be best to compare the sum of the (great circle) distances for each of the flights flown compared to the (great circle) distance of a direct flight from the origin to the destination:

{ratio}_{layover} = \dfrac{distance_1+distance_2+\ldots+distance_n}{distance_\text{direct}}

This would give me a ratio of how much further I flew than I needed to, where a higher ratio would mean a worse layover. A ratio of 2 would mean I flew twice as far as I needed to, a ratio of 3 would mean three times as far, and so on. A ratio of 1 would mean a layover didn’t add any extra distance at all.

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2018 Year in Travel

In 2018, I visited Australia and New Zealand, each for the first time. Other than that, my travel was largely similar in nature and quantity to 2017 – frequent routine business trips, with a few weekend vacations thrown in.

Hotels

I stayed in hotels a record 124 nights this year. Business travel was down slightly, but my three-week Australia and New Zealand vacation added a lot of personal hotel nights.

Flights

I ended up flying 109 flights this year, totaling 87,306 miles (140,505 km).

My 2018 flights worldwide
My 2018 flights within the United States

Maps generated by Paul Bogard using the Great Circle Mapper – copyright © Karl L. Swartz

New Airports

I visited eight airports for the first time this year:

  • #79 – SYD (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia)
  • #80 – PER (Perth, Western Australia, Australia)
  • #81 – MEL (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)
  • #82 – CHC (Christchurch, New Zealand)
  • #83 – DUD (Dunedin, New Zealand)
  • #84 – AKL (Auckland, New Zealand)
  • #85 – LBB (Lubbock, Texas, United States)
  • #86 – PVD (Providence, Rhode Island, United States)

With 86 airports visited to date, I have only 14 to go to reach my goal of visiting 100 airports.

New Airlines

I flew on two airlines for the first time this year:

New Aircraft

I flew on three aircraft families for the first time this year; all three were from my Australia and New Zealand vacation.

Airbus A380
Boeing 787
ATR 72

Aircraft illustrations created by Norebbo

Superlatives

My longest flight was 8,580 miles (13,808 km) from Dallas to Sydney. This 17–hour flight was the longest I’ve ever been on. I also flew my second-longest flight ever this year: 6,516 miles (10,486 km) from Auckland to Los Angeles.

My shortest flight was 139 miles (223 km) from Dallas to Lawton.

Map generated by Paul Bogard using the Great Circle Mapper – copyright © Karl L. Swartz

Driving

I drove approximately 22,587 miles (36,350 km) this year – 11,616 miles (18,694 km) in my own car, and 10,971 miles (17,656 km) in rental cars.

2018 US driving (rental cars in red, my car in blue)
2018 Australia and New Zealand driving

Map tiles by CartoDB, under CC BY 3.0. map data © OpenStreetMap contributors under ODbL

Frequent Traveler Status

This year, I maintained Platinum status with American Airlines and Diamond status with Hilton. I did not earn any other status this year.