In a year with much less than typical travel, I still wanted to do a yearly summary post for the trips I did take. Given there was seemingly more trips that didn’t happen than those that did, I will also reflect on the trips that I was unable to take. Looking forward, I think it will be a long time before things return to normal, whatever that means, but hopefully it will be safer to get out and explore as we move into 2021. A map of my flights in 2020 is below. By far my least number of miles in more than a decade. While I don’t think traveling unnecessarily is a good idea right now, I believe it can be done safely with proper precautions.
No new countries, and only 2 international trips, both of which were within North America. A work trip in January to Montreal, and a quick getaway to burn some vacation time and Scuba dive in December to Mexico. While my work travel was drastically reduced after February 2020, a lot of my travel was still work related, with a few domestic trips between March and November. I guess percentage-wise, this year had more leisure travel than in past years.
Elite requalification was a non-issue this year, thanks to most programs just extending status. Among many stresses in 2020, thankfully worrying about achieving any status was thankfully not on the list.
2020 in Travel: Flights
Not a lot to talk about here, as air travel within North America is far from exciting. That was the case pre-pandemic, and it has only gotten worse. 49 segments flown this year, well below half of my normal, maybe a third or less than some busier years. Distance wise, also way down, with zero long haul flights, the 40,000-odd miles flown less than a quarter of last years total. My longest flight was between Seattle and Milwaukee, coming in under 4 hours. My shortest flight is as always, the 67 mile hop between Milwaukee and Chicago. Most flights were on American, but I also flew a few times each on Alaska, Delta and United for the convenience of nonstops. My first trip of the year was on American but due to some issues, I rerouted to Air Canada which made for a better experience anyway.
In perennially depressing numbers, total time in the air adds up to almost 5 full days. That’s with no long haul flights, yikes. Still way down in 2020 vs past years. As for planes, only one trip on my least favorite bird, the CRJ-200. My most common type is the A319, with 9 segments. Assorted other Airbus flights, some Boeing 737s, and the rest are larger regional jets. Almost 60% of my flights were in premium cabins. Not bad overall, especially since I strayed away from American more often that I do sometimes. 100% upgrade rate on United, even as a Lifetime Gold. That says something about how much leisure travel there is. And the large F cabin on an E-175. Playing the loyalty game still is a benefit to me, with around 75% of flights on American were upgraded thanks to my status. Only a handful of flights where I was eligible did not clear.
2020 in Travel: Hotels
Surprising to see 51 nights in hotels in 2020. Much more than I would have guessed. Still feels like a lot considering how much less travel there was this year. I tried to use Hyatt when I could, and admittedly, I’ve been pretty impressed with how they handled things this year. I have Marriott Lifetime Platinum status, but I would have requalified mostly due to getting 40 nights credit, 15 from a credit card, and 25 nights due to my status. Despite everything, I enjoyed several nice hotels this year. Some notable stays include the Renaissance Montreal and the Hyatt Centric Portland (review coming).
2020 in Travel: Trips that didn’t happen
Despite ambitious travel plans for 2020, it was a slow year, for a good reason. I don’t often plan ahead too much, but this year was different…before it became really different. Some of these trips were planned in advance, some more last minute, but none of these happened.
My last business trip before the world turned upside down was the first week of March. Definitely a strange time to be traveling. Sanitizing surfaces, kind of leery of contact with others, but no masks or any real distance from other people. We just didn’t know what we didn’t know. After a meeting, a group of colleagues were on the same flight. When we went our separate ways in DFW, I don’t think any of us realized how strange the rest of the year would be.
My next planned trip was to Arizona to visit my snowbird parents during my daughters spring break from school. No go. Another big trip we were all looking forward to was a late May trip to celebrate my parents 50th wedding anniversary which is later in the year. The plan was for a week in Spain using up some timeshare points my parents had. We were going to spend a few days in Belgium on the way home. Of course that trip was no go.
Another trip where I had high hopes was a cheap ticket I bought on Qatar Airways, to try out their Q-Suites. This trip has changed countless times, Originally April, then December, now hopefully fall of 2021. I’m hoping to try out Qatar business class before then though. Stay tuned for that.
Running a marathon is not everyone’s idea of a fun time, but this was another planned trip this year that didn’t happen. The Berlin Marathon was cancelled, so that trip didn’t go. I’m rolling over my entry into 2021, so the plan is for another attempt. Berlin is one of my favorites cities in Europe, so look forward to returning.
One final trip that didn’t happen was one I put together pretty last minute. I had time off in December to use up some remaining vacation time that would expire at the end of the year. Originally I was planning my Qatar Airways adventure, but that wasn’t going to happen, so I looked at other options. Turkey is (soon to be was) open, and I found availability in their new 787 Business Class product. My plan was to try to get to a new country, so I added a quick hop to Skopje. Given the ongoing pandemic, I decided this is not a smart idea, so I cancelled. I still took time off from work, and instead traveled closer to home, to Mexico. Getting back into scuba diving after a long layoff was a nice change of pace, and a safe way to travel. No crowds, and outdoor activities.
Happy New Year!
Thanks for reading. If nothing else, hopefully I could provide a brief escape from things this year. 2020 was quite slow with so few trips, I made very few posts. Hopefully as things get better in 2021, there will be more travels and more posting. Stay Safe!