One of the contractors I work with has an office in Centennial, Colorado. Usually, I’ve flown into DEN to visit them, but COS isn’t much further from Centennial, so my coworkers and I decided we’d try out COS instead for our most recent visit.
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
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.
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).
5 – 6 Jul, Orlando (MCO): A mechanical issue led to a delay as the airline brought in a replacement aircraft; the replacement aircraft ingested a bird into the engine, leading us to wait for a second replacement aircraft. By that time it was after 22:00, so we accepted a flight change to the following afternoon.
Nearly every time I’ve flown through Cleveland, I didn’t want to; one time when I did want to, I couldn’t.
My first trip through CLE was traveling from a family Christmas party in Chicago to visit a friend in New York for New Year’s week. I’d been hoping to find a direct flight between the cities, as I wasn’t yet looking to visit new airports, but a direct flight cost six times as much as flying through Cleveland on American Airlines. Cleveland wasn’t even an American hub, but their schedule that day had a single regional jet fly from O’Hare to Cleveland and then from Cleveland on to JFK, which ended up being the first known time I’d flown on the same aircraft twice.
It took over four years before I would visit the airport again; I had a trip home from Oklahoma City through Denver to Dayton, but the OKC–DEN leg was delayed and caused me to miss my second flight. United only has one DEN–DAY flight per day, so they offered me a second layover in Cleveland.
It’s unlikely that I’ll see much more of Cleveland in the future; United has dehubbed the airport, which means that CLE no longer serves my home airport of Dayton. CLE is about a three hour drive away from home, which leaves it in the awkward position of being too close to fly to as a destination, but too far away to act as a practical origin airport, particularly with DAY, CMH, CVG, and IND all within two hours of home.
Last year’s numbers were high due to a particularly busy July and August 2012, which were alone responsible for a third of that year’s travel. I didn’t end up having quite that busy of a travel season this year, so my number of flights dropped, but they were still higher than most years.
I visited 11 airports for the first time this year:
I’d actually diverted to GRK before for a DFW thunderstorm, but we didn’t get off the plane, so I didn’t get to count it then. Otherwise, I was able to pick up a few hubs I hadn’t been to before, and the rest were new destinations.
I had hoped to maintain at least American Airlines AAdvantage Gold and United Mileage Plus Silver this year, but I only ended up having two trips on American, so I’m back down to nothing there. I did maintain Silver on United, and Gold with Hilton HHonors.