Looking back: 2013 in review

It is, once again, that time of year. In a few short hours we’ll be in 2014 and the qualifying period on most of my accounts will reset. That only matters to me a little bit these days; I got my million miler status with United just a few weeks ago and hotel status means almost nothing to me. Still, the end of the year is a good time to look back and see where I’m at as well as to look into the coming year and what may happen.

Here’s my map for the year:


And some stats about my flights:



Yup…most of my flights and most of my miles were in economy. Even the long-haul had a decent amount of that. Travel is more important to me than making sure I’m always in the premium seats.

Of note, I touched all the continents which see regular commercial service. I like that. Sure, it was only 12 hours in Africa, but I did get out and explore a bit in Jo’burg and Pretoria including seeing some new (to me) things. Ditto for Australia, where the 18 hours I spent in Perth were fantastic. I really want to get back out that way some day.

I visited 20 different foreign countries during the year on 29 different visits. Only six of the countries (Hungary, Myanmar, Qatar, Slovakia, United Arab Emirates & Uruguay) were new to me. The others were repeats. It is getting harder to get to new places. Some were quick visits – I think the shortest was probably the 3.5 hours I spent in Germany to get a rubber duckie at the Lufthansa First Class Terminal – and some a bit more (seven nights in Myanmar and six nights in Uruguay). All of them have many stories to share. Some I’ve already written; many more I might catch up on eventually.

I had more paid long-haul premium class flights this year than ever before, thanks to the Yangon mistake fare. Those were fun but visiting Myanmar was even better. Really some amazing things to be seen (including one of my top 10 travel moments ever), though I also don’t believe it is nearly as isolated/removed from the rest of the world as has been suggested.


And then there was August, where I flew to South America three times – twice to Rio – in one month. It really did seem like a good idea at the time.

I was robbed in Montevideo and still enjoyed visiting Uruguay. I was on the inaugural flight from Denver to Tokyo and got into the crew rest bunks on the return flight.

I was on one of the first passenger flights with Fly-Fi and had my first Ryanair experience. Plus the inaugural British Airways A380 long-haul flight. All good stuff.

In theory there were eight new airlines for me during 2013. I’m not really sure if I should count Norwegian since the 787 I was supposed to be on broke and they put me on a wet-leased A343 instead. I was pretty disappointed about that. I was happy to try a couple random airlines in Myanmar though. Flying LCCs was mostly pleasant, though not always for the faint of heart.

Just under half flights (by both number of segments and route flown) were new to me. Only the DEN-NRT flight was new to the world. These are the routes I’d not previously flown (map from Great Circle Mapper):

As for the new year, well, I mostly don’t know what is going to happen. I do have a few trips booked, but like most years I don’t really expect the plan to hold. In January I’ll visit at least three European countries, all new to me, and Uruguay again. I’m booked to Norway in March and a few domestic trips, too (thanks, Delta!). I’m hoping for Bangladesh in February if I can make the final DC-10 flight on Biman work, but I’m not holding my breath. I’m going to fly on a 737 from New York to Hong Kong in March. It’ll take a while and be pretty ridiculous, but it also should be a ton of fun.

So, yeah, I’m going to go ahead and say that it was a pretty good year. And next year will be, too.

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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.


  1. Thanks for the recap – fun read. Looking forward to hearing about your DL domestic pickups (perhaps on Pointshoarder?) I managed to snag a total of 8 tickets.

  2. @Ryan: Could this simply be the island hopper from HNL to GUM? GUM-HKG is already a 737 (on UA) and you can do flights to Hawaii from the US on 737s as well.

  3. Great recap — has been fun to read your posts and tweets this year.

    Question though: “I’m going to fly on a 737 from New York to Hong Kong in March” — on the same plane? Sounds interesting…

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