2014 Year in Travel

(updated )

2014 has been a record travel year.

Flights

A map of all my flights in 2014.

Flight map generated using the Great Circle Mapper—copyright © Karl L. Swartz

I flew on 86 flights this year, which was my best year yet.

A chart of my flights by year. 2014 shows 86 total flights (65 business, 5 mixed, 16 personal).

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.

New Airports

I’ve visited six new airports this year:

# Code Airport First Visit
49 ICT Wichita
Kansas, United States
28 May 2014
50 TUS Tucson
Arizona, United States
21 Jun 2014
51 FLG Flagstaff
Arizona, United States
28 Jun 2014
52 LAW Lawton
Oklahoma, United States
6 Oct 2014
53 SAN San Diego
California, United States
1 Nov 2014
54 SJU San Juan
Puerto Rico, United States
26 Nov 2014

This put me at 54 total airports visited out of my 100 airport goal. I’m over halfway there!

Hotels

A chart of my hotel nights by year. 2014 shows 110 total nights (76 business, 34 personal).

Hotel nights are up this year, too, to 110 nights. 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 a lot of personal nights again this year, 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:

Frequent Traveler Status

A chart of my frequent traveler status in various programs by year. For 2014, United MileagePlus Silver and Hilton Honors Diamond were earned, and Marriott Gold status was active from a partnership with United MileagePlus.

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).

Since United was partnered with Marriott, my United status also granted me Marriott Rewards Gold.

Superlatives

Unplanned Overnight Stays

I had six unplanned overnight stays this year.

14–15 Apr, Newark (EWR): High winds cancelled my connecting flight.

27–28 May, Chicago–O’Hare (ORD): A thunderstorm cancelled my connecting flight. I 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.

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.

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