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.

Terminal Silhouettes: Redrawn ORD with Concourse L Stinger

ORD

ORD.svg

Chicago O’Hare was one of the first terminal silhouettes I drew. While I generally like how it turned out, I’ve learned a lot of techniques from the dozens of terminals I’ve drawn since then. For a while, I’ve wanted to redraw ORD from scratch and try to recreate a better version of it.

Earlier this year, ORD opened an expansion to Terminal 3/Concourse L, adding another five gates (L20–L24). I’d watched its construction progress from the windows of the old Concourse L, and first got to walk through it in April.

2018-04-27 16.51.53

With this extra expansion, my terminal silhouette was now out of date. With CLT (which I also recently updated for a concourse expansion) I simply edited the drawing; however, with ORD, I decided to use this as my opportunity to redraw the silhouette from scratch.

ORD Diff

I learned a few things from my new drawing.

First, I’d always assumed that the entrances to Terminals 1, 2, and 3 (labeled below) formed half of a regular hexagon around the passenger drop-off/pick-up loops, which would mean that the terminals had 120° angles between them. However, T1 and T2 formed a 115° angle, and T2 and T3 were only at 110°. This also means that despite my prior assumptions, concourses B and C are not quite parallel with concourses F, G, and H.

ORD Terminals and Concourses

Second, I was able to confirm that the two Y-shaped concourses (E/F in Terminal 2, and H/K in Terminal 3) were basically identical in size, other than that the arms of H/K were longer. I was actually able to copy and paste E/F to create H/K, with relatively minimal modifications required.

I still think that O’Hare is one of my favorite terminal shapes. The layout has a lot of instances of symmetry while still having each terminal manage to be completely unique, and it manages to fit a lot of gates in a relatively small area in a way that’s entirely pleasing to my eyes. I had a lot of fun recreating this silhouette.

Terminal Silhouettes: Updated CLT with Concourse A Expansion

CLT

CLT.svg

Charlotte (CLT) had been building an expansion onto terminal A for a while. Nonetheless, I was pretty surprised when I flew through CLT on 18 July that I’d managed to unintentionally book a flight on the day that it opened.

The new concourse forks off from the existing Concourse A where the long moving sidewalk hallway used to be:

CLT-a-extension.png
Existing airport terminal in gray, new concourse A expansion in magenta

Unfortunately, adding the new expansion has made CLT look slightly less “like a reindeer,” as one of my friends noted about the original silhouette.

https://www.pbogard.com/projects/terminal-silhouettes

Terminal Silhouettes: LBB

LBB

LBB.svg

Lubbock was an interesting airport; it appears to be curved, but it’s actually just a bunch of straight lines with shallow angles. The main curve features fifteen segments (separated by concrete ribs) over ninety degrees, so each one occupied only a six-degree slice of the curve.

Additionally, while I normally leave out awnings, LBB’s awning was really part of the structure, and connected by the concrete ribs, giving the terminal such a signature look that I really had to include it.

https://www.pbogard.com/projects/terminal-silhouettes