2014 has been a record travel year.
I have flown on 86 flights this year, which has been my best year yet.
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.
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
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!
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).
- Longest Flight: MCO – SEA (2554 miles)
- Shortest Flight: FLG – PHX (119 miles)
- Least Direct Layover: ORD – DEN – ICT, 122.5% (720 miles) longer than ORD – ICT
I had six unexpected overnight stays this year:
- 14 – 15 Apr, Newark (EWR): High winds cancelled my connecting flight.
- 27 – 28 May, Chicago-O’Hare (ORD): Thunderstorm cancelled my connecting flight. Also had to take an extra layover in Denver the next day.
- 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.
- 25 – 26 Aug, Chicago-O’Hare (ORD): Air Force Two closed the ramp at Chicago, followed by a thunderstorm. This one was quite a trip.
- 10 – 11 Oct, Charlotte (CLT): A stuck cargo door at Lawton led to a chain of delays that ended up with me being stuck overnight at Charlotte.
- 11 – 12 Dec, Chicago-O’Hare (ORD): I was delayed leaving Orlando by a late incoming aircraft, causing me to miss my connection in Chicago.
As often as I travel, I haven’t had much occasion to visit New York City, so JFK and LGA are substantially underrepresented on my flight log.
I’ve only deliberately visited New York twice – in 2008/2009, I flew into JFK and out of LGA, and in 2014, I did the opposite, flying on to Boston as part of a multi-city trip. Of course, later on in that trip my return layover was through EWR, and I got stranded overnight, leading to an unexpected extra visit to New York City.