Wednesday, January 01, 2014

2013 Travel Highlights (with an emphasis on airline flights)

As usual these blogs are mainly to let me keep track of stuff in the future, but I hope at least someone reading this will take an interest. So here goes ...

Well, it's the end of the year (I wrote this last week) and time to review my year in travel. Last year (2012) was a real drought. In fact I had to manufacture a trip to Brisbane to maintain my four decades of flying at least once every calendar year. I must say though that it was a great trip - I got to see The Stranglers and Blondie in concert, fulfilling two long-time concert wishes! The only other time I had an annual aircraft-free close call was one year when my only flight was on New Year's Eve from Sydney to Canberra.

2013 was another matter altogether, but by comparison with my travel-heavy years it was very light on. Here are the highlights:

New countries:
  •  Bahamas. Thanks to a cruise from Florida our whole family visited the Bahamas for the first time.
  • Mexico. Somewhat of a cheat. I was working in Arizona and I walked across the border for about 15 minutes. Very interesting conversation with US Border Protection on the way back, but all was fine in the end.
New US states:
  • Florida (holidays)
  • Nevada (holidays)
  • Arizona (work)
Special mention - yet another visit to Dallas/Fort Worth airport in Texas without ever actually entering Texas.

New aircraft:
  • Airbus A380, three times.

My new flight distance record:
  • Sydney to Dallas. It's not the all-time record for a regularly scheduled flight, which is held by Singapore Airlines on the New York Newark (EWR) to Singapore (SIN) route. That flight ceased on 23rd November 2013, making Sydney to Dallas the current record holder. Turkish Airlines will soon commence an Instanbul to Sydney flight which will overtake Sydney to Dallas as the new record holder, but will fall short of Singapore's EWR-SIN all-time record.
Most remarkable trip from an aircraft variety perspective:
  • Holiday to the US which involved eight flights on seven different aircraft. Oddly the only duplicate aircraft was an American Airlines 757. The whole trip was:
    • SYD - DFW, Qantas (QF) 747 (Economy)
    • DFW - MCO, American Airlines (AA) MD-80 (Economy)
    • MCO - JFK, AA 757 (Domestic First, with lie-flat beds that were wasted on a 2.5 hour trip)
    • JFK - LAX, AA 767 (Domestic Business)
    • LAX - LAS, AA 757 (that's the repeat, Domestic First with normal seats like Australian Domestic Business)
    • LAS - LAX, AA 737 (Economy, surprisingly the only 737 on the trip)
    • LAX - SYD, QF A380 (Economy but with a spare seat beside me which makes all the difference, my first flight on the A380)
    • SYD - CBR, QF Dash 8 (Economy of course)
So all in all it was a very interesting travel year. 2014 promises to be very different but just as interesting in that I hope to be able to add two new countries (Taiwan and Japan) thanks to a family cruise in March. I've been to Narita (Tokyo) airport a few times, but never entered Japan.

Here's hoping for many more special travel experiences in the future. Happy New Year everyone!