As 2011 comes to a close it is time once again to look back at all the crazy I’ve managed to experience in such a short period of time. This was once again a banner year for me, with plenty of new experiences. It also had a number of repeats, however, and those were mostly good, too. And so, without further ado, some of the highlights of my 2011 travel numbers.
It was a personal best for me in terms of total miles flown at 217,781. That is more than eight times around the globe (though I only did that as an actual trip once) or 87% of the way to the moon. The miles were spread across 103 segments for an average of over 2100 miles/flight; apparently this was the year of long-haul for me. That said, I also managed to grab some really short flights, like a 93 mile hop from Carlsbad, CA to Los Angeles. Awesome views of sunrise on that one.
It was also the year of one million actual flight miles. I actually know there are many more from other trips as a kid that I cannot properly document so I’m not counting them, but I definitely became a millionaire this year.
Of the 104 segments there were 54 routes I had previously not flown. There were also 54 in coach. That’s right, more than half the flights (though only 47% of the total miles flown) were in coach. It isn’t always champagne and caviar for me, though there is plenty of that, too. Oh, and only 5 of those segments were work-related, making up less than 1% of the total mileage flown. Only 19 of the flights were on regional planes of fewer than 90 seats.
Speaking of airplanes, I flew on 33 different aircraft types, including 7 I had not previously flown on. I finally got to fly on an A380 (though I had been on one a few times prior) and I got to fly the 787 in its first week of commercial service. I also got the A345 and A342, a Dash8-100 and an E35, completing my collection of all the Embraer RJs. That’s something of an ignominious accomplishment, but there it is.
As for where I traveled, there weren’t as many new countries for me this year – only 7 – as last. Austria, South Africa, Mauritius, China, Brazil, Argentina and Sri Lanka are the new entries in that collection, bringing my total number over 50. I managed to enter a foreign country 20 times through the year, plus all the returns to the USA. No wonder I needed extra pages in my passport. Again. Two of the trips had 3 countries in them; I’ll best that mark early in 2012 with a six-crossing week in January.
Perhaps the most surprising number to me, however, was the total spend I had in consular fees. I paid for new pages for my passport and for my wife. There were also the visas required for India, China, Brazil and Argentina (though I ended up getting out of that last one). Overall I spent nearly $1,000 on consular fees alone. No regrets there at all, but the numbers can add up in a hurry.
I didn’t count how many nights were in hotels or on airplanes (something to add to my list next year, I suppose) but my best guess count based on my TripIt records is nearly 100 nights spent not at home.
There was a trip derailed by an earthquake (I ended up in Guam/Hong Kong instead of Tokyo) and then two more trips later in the year to Tokyo to make up for it. I had an airline try to charge me more while at the gate and I managed to take a VDB in a foreign language. I got to drive a jet bridge, load baggage, make boarding announcements and walk a plane out on pushback (all appropriately supervised, of course).
I got to join three different couples in celebrating their weddings all over the world and narrowly missed out on crashing a couple more wedding parties here in India towards the end. I got to relive a bit of history with TWA and a ride in a helicopter over the tip of South Africa.
Indeed, it was a good year, maybe even a great year. And 2012 shows no signs of that letting up. Happy new year to all; may your upgrades clear and your flights on time.
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