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Tim Foolery

Most Popular Blog Posts: 2018 Edition

Each new year, I like to take a look back at the prior year. I recently shared my 2018 Travel Year in Review, which showcased my various flights and trips. Today I’m going to take another look at my most popular travel blog posts in 2018.

Let’s start by defining the parameters. We’ll be looking at two posts 1) The post that was most popular in 2018, regardless of when it was published and 2) The most popular post that was penned in 2018.

Most Popular Post – Any Publishing Date

LATAM In Flight Entertainment (IFE) continues it’s reign as the most popular post viewed in 2018. In this post, I shared how useful LATAM’s App was for maintaining a distraction while flying. It surprises me that this continues to be such a popular topic, two years after it was originally published!

Most Popular Post – Published in 2018

This years most popular post doesn’t really surprise me. The content is beautiful. Not saying this just because I created it, but because my subject is utterly breathtaking. Vienna. The post titled The Most Instagrammable Places in Vienna was such fun to create too. I spent the better half of a day walking around Vienna, enjoying the late winter atmosphere snapping pics of beautiful and noteworthy places. I’ve heard from a handful of people who’ve used this guide during their visits to the city. Such a compliment.

The Wiener Staatsoper / Vienna State Opera House.
The Wiener Staatsoper / Vienna State Opera House.

I dig looking back to see how last year turned out. It’s helpful in not only planning for travel, but helps in curating content for future posts. What type of content do you want to see more of in 2019?

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Travel: 2018 Year in Review

We closed out another year Last night. As with years past, I like to review my travel stats and share my Travel Year In Review. I spent my New Years Eve in Chicago, with friends who host a black tie New Years in their home. Last year I was in Denver so started off the year with miles already accruing, this year, not so much.

I mentioned this last year that the difference between coach and first class is getting more and more narrow and I continued to see that in 2018. Sometimes, first is even less than economy, depending on the route and how close to departure you are booking. Since booking in First Class gets you double qualifying miles, I was able to keep my Premier Platinum status with United. Here’s how my year ended up – with the previous four years included as a comparison.

By the Numbers: (2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013)

Total Miles Flown: 83,138 | 81,978 | 68,278 | 72,293 | 53,322 | 73,825
Total Segments Flown: 44 | 55 | 45 | 41 | 37 | 44
Cabin Segment Breakdown (F/B/C): 20/8/16 | 21/3/31 | 8/5/32 | 2/5/34 | 0/5/32 | 7/4/33
Airlines Flown (new airlines bolded): 5 (United, Austrian, Brussels, Air Canada, EVA, Singapore) 8 | 5 | 4 | 7
Hotel Nights: 73 | 84 | 69 | 67 | 56 | 71
Hotel Stays: 33 | 35 | 35 | 47 | 32 | 31
Airline Miles Redeemed: 367,500 | 85,000 | 0 | 155,000 | 37,500 | 105,000
Hotel Points Redeemed: 90,000 | 12,000 | 106,000 | 283,500 | 134,000 | 13,400
Countries Visited (new Countries bolded): 3 + 2 (Austria, Belgium, Canada, Singapore, Argentina) 3+3 | 3+2 | 6+1 | 8+1
Longest Single Segment: ORD-TPE @ 7,457 | ORD-TPE @ 7,457 | ORD-CDG @ 4,153 | ORD-HKG @ 7,787 | MUC-ORD @ 4,535 | ORD-PVG @ 7,056
Shortest Single Segment: MDZ-COR @ 288 | GIG-GRU @ 210 | CUZ-AQP @ 195 | CVG-ORD @ 264| YUL-YQB @ 145
Northernmost Airport: BRU (Brussels) | CDG (Paris) | CDG (Paris) | LHR (Heathrow) | ARN (Stockholm) | LHR (Heathrow)
Southernmost Airport: EZE (Buenos Aires) | BKK (Bangkok) | LPB (La Paz) | HKG (Hong Kong) | MCO (Orlando) | SGN (Ho Chi Minh City)
The most frequent non-home airport: PDX (Portland) | DEN (Denver) | Tie between EWR & LAX (Newark and Los Angeles) | BNA (Nashville) | YYZ (Toronto) | BNA (Nashville)

I flew enough miles to:
Circumnavigate the world: 3.3 | 3.2 | 2.3 times | 2.9 times | 2.0 times
Make it a third | a third | a quarter | a third | a fifth of the way to the moon

My 2017 Map. Where did you travels take you?

In Summary

How did your 2018 Year in Travel turn out? Did you keep your status – upgrade your status? Were you able to check off one – or more – of your travel bucket list items this year? What is in store for 2019? Do you plan on taking that one big trip you’ve been talking about, or are going to take many smaller trips to visit friends and family? If you want my advice, it doesn’t matter where you go, just go. Enjoy the journey. Experience the destination. Share a drink, a meal and a laugh.

Singapore Weekend By The Numbers: Was it Worth It?

A weekend in Singapore? From Chicago? That’s utterly crazy, right? Most people would think so, but not me. I love and adventure and I love to spend miles and points on truly unique experiences. If you haven’t read about my Singapore Weekend yet, you can do so by starting here.

Here are the critical numbers on the trip:

  • Time Spent in Transit/Flying: 44 Hours
  • Time Spent in Singapore: 68 Hours
  • Flight Segments: Five
  • Number of Airlines Flown: Three
  • Total Miles Flown: 20,300
  • Michelin Starred Restaurant Meals: Two
  • Airlines Miles Redeemed: 160,000 (United Mileage Plus)
My route to Singapore

So, was it worth it? Absolutely. I loved the journey to and from Singapore and I had a blast while exploring the City for the first time and can’t wait to return.

What do you think? Am I nuts for spending 160,000 United Miles for a long weekend on the other side of the planet? What crazy trips have you taken?

United’s Historic Route Announcement

Earlier I wrote about how United Airlines teased us yesterday with the promise of an “Historic Route Announcement” coming today.  I put out my hopes and thoughts on what this announcement would be.  You can take a look at that in more detail here.  

Just after 11am central time today, United Airlines’ CEO Oscar Munoz made good on his promise and here’s what we found out.  United will be expanding service at San Francisco (SFO), including:

  • Toronto, Canada (YYZ) – NEW SERVICE
  • Melbourne, Australia (MEL) – NEW SERVICE
  • New Delhi, India (DEL) – NEW SERVICE
  • Seoul, South Korea (ICN) – INCREASED FREQUENCY
United Airlines
United Airlines

Well, I don’t know if I would call this historic.  I wouldn’t even call it interesting, honestly.  Three of these routes are already served by Star Alliance Partners: Air India to New Delhi, Air Canada to Toronto and both United and Asiana  (and Korean) fly between Seoul and San Francisco.  The only thing new here is a Star Alliance flight between SFO and MEL, which currently is only operated by Qantas.

Marginal increased frequency (assuming the Star Alliance Partners don’t reduce their frequencies in light of these coming on) at a United Hub.  Great.  

So if you take a look at my predictions, I couldn’t have been more wrong.  Chicago is still the red-headed step child. United Airlines still doesn’t serve Africa.  I guess this is why I’m a casual observer and not in the airline industry.

Were your predictions right on or were you as off base as me?

United Makes “Historic” Route Announcement!

Yesterday, United Airlines teased us with an “Historic Route Announcement” that would be coming out today.  The AV Geeks around the internet were abuzz with the possibilities.  The announcement read:

United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz will host a media conference call tomorrow to discuss an historic package of new and expanded international routes and talk about how they are a capstone to a breakthrough year for United.

This package of new and expanded international routes, really piqued my interested.  As a United guy who lives in Chicago, I’ve felt like the red-headed stepchild lately.  We did get the first Polaris Lounge, which is a great improvement over other offerings, but we still don’t have any regular 787 service from O’Hare and our reach to Latin America is limited.

United Airlines
United Airlines

What I Want:

I would love to see addition services from O’Hare – here are my dream new destinations:

  • Sydney (SYD)
  • Singapore (SIN)
  • Bangkok (BKK)
  • Johannesburg (JNB)
  • Buenos Aires (EZE)

Now, I have done no real research on these routes from Chicago.  I do know that Delta’s ATL-JNB route is quite profitable.  These are all very long flights that may not make much sense if you can’t fill the plane with cargo and passengers, but I’m selfish.  I want to visit (or revisit) each of these cities and I’d love to have a non-stop option from home.

What I Think Will Happen

What do I really think will be announce?  I think Chicago will be shut out and we’ll see a big announcement about more services at Dulles.  The new Polaris Lounge was just announced recently and I wager that we’ll see United announcing flights from Dulles to:

  • Johannesburg (JNB)
  • Accra Ghana (ACC)
  • Addis Ababa (ADD)
  • Abu Dhabi (AUH) / Dubai (DXB)

I think United is going to double down on Dulles and the historic announcement will be the carriers return to Africa and adding new destinations.

What do you think is on deck here?  How crazy do you think I am with my hopes and thoughts here?