A quick look back at 2010

It is now the new year, with new goals and new milestones on the horizon. But not too late to take a quick look back at 2010 and the travel milestones I hit during the year. Not surprisingly, the more I travel the harder it is to reach new and different accomplishments. Indeed, 2010 had many fewer than 2009, though in a couple categories it surpassed the previous year.

Perhaps the most significant numbers of the year are the total amount of time in the air:

  • 151 segments
  • 208378 miles
  • 18 days 13:31

Those numbers are “butt-in-seat” and based on the distances between the starting and ending airport as calculated on www.openflights.org. They do not include 500 mile minimums or the like. In most cases the durations are based on wheels up to wheels down as tracked by the appropriate authorities, not the block time of the flight or estimates. The 208K miles is the most ever for me in a calendar year as is the 151 segments.

Of the 151 segments flown, more than half (86, to be precise) were routes I had not flown previously. It is certainly becoming more and more difficult to find new ways to get to different places but I continue to try. New lines and new dots are still of value to me and I’m finding that I’m paying a bit more to get them.

I also passed through 77 airports during the year located in 18 different countries. I actually Immigrated 31 different times, including the various times I returned to the United States. On four of my trips there were multiple foreign countries involved.

I visited 15 distinct countries, plus the USA. Eight of those countries (St. Maarten, Sint Martin, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Togo, Guyana, Morocco and Tunisia) were new to me. Two of the crossings (into Togo and back into Ghana were on foot while the Sint Martin/St. Maarten crossing were by car; The others were all by plane. I also added a new state visited – Idaho – to my list even though I drove over from Spokane to get there rather than flying in.

My travels included flying on 24 different airlines (possibly a few more if regional/express carriers are included by I’m not great at tracking those). Of those 24, 13 were airlines I had not previously flown on (AC, AT, BA, BD, BE, HA, LC, RW, SN, TGY, VS, YV & YX). Again, it is getting much harder to find new ones at reasonable prices but I’m doing my best, including a couple booked for the early part of 2011.

None of my milestones north, south, east or west were new extremes for me this year. Nor was my longest flight (SYD-SFO) longer than previous records. I did get a new shortest flight for my list, one that will almost certainly never be broken.

Somewhat amazingly, of the 151 flights I only had three instances where I was struck by operations so irregular that they caused a missed flight. One of them – during my JetBlue AYCJ adventures wasn’t a big deal and I got back on track without really missing anything along the way. Two others – a US Airways delay out of Belgium and a Royal Air Maroc fiasco in Casablanca – caused me to overnight unexpectedly. The US Air incident wasn’t so bad but the Air Maroc one was pretty awful.

Finally, I managed to pick up five new aircraft types during the year. My favorite was probably the smallest, the Cessna 208 Caravan I, though the Saab SF340 was fun, too, and the Embraer 175LR was the best ride of them all.

And I got robbed once where the guy took money directly from my hands and probably a couple more times due to bad negotiating skills in markets. At least I robbed the guy who physically took the cash out of my hand back.

And while I sit on the airplane now, enjoying a flight from Lufthansa into Frankfurt and on to Munich, I realize that I may only be three days into the new year but I’ve already got a new line for my map and tomorrow will bring another one, along with a rubber duckie souvenir. Not a bad way to start the year.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.