2016 was a good year.  I flew more than 388,000 miles in 2016 on a combination of paid and award tickets.  That is more than 15 times the circumference of the Earth and 1.6 times the distance to the Moon.

Ethiad first class 777-200 Abu Dhabi to Dallas

In terms of time, these flights totaled 787 hours, or 33 days, or 4.7 weeks or 1.09 months in the air.

I amassed over 250,000 Elite Qualifying Miles on American and, thanks to rollover MQMs ended the year with more than 460,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles on Delta.  Therefore I easily requalified for American Executive Platinum and Delta Diamond status for 2017.  Best of all, I earned an additional 8 systemwide upgrades on American and four global upgrades on Delta.  Those will be put to good use in 2017.

My domestic flight map for 2016:

Many domestic routes were flown more than once
American 777-200 first class Dallas, TX to Chicago, IL

My international flight map for 2016:

Several of these routes were also flown more than once

New Airlines and New Products

Last year I flew some airlines for the first time and tried a few new products on others.


My first flight in Korean Air first class, Atlanta to Seoul/Incheon 777-300

New airlines were Ethiad, Qatar, China Eastern, Yeti, Maldivian and LATAM.

The highlight of the year was flying the Etihad A380 first class apartment from Abu Dhabi to New York and also showering on the plane.  Hell yes!
Ethiad first class apartment in slumber mode
Ethiad A380 first class shower. The circular dial shows the time remaining.  Five minutes of water is standard
LATAM 787-8

On the opposite end of the luxury spectrum from Ethiad and Korean Air first class, I also enjoyed my first experiences with two small airlines.

Maldivian Airlines Dash 8 at Male after the flight from Koodoo, Maldives and the Park Hyatt Hadahaa

Although the plan for a helicopter flight to Everest Base Camp fell through, I got a reasonably close up look at Chomolungma (Goddess Mother in Tibetan) or Sagarmatha (Nepalese) via a sightseeing flight out of Kathmandu, Nepal on Yeti Airlines.

Mt. Everest 29,029 feet (top center) Lhotse (right) from a Yeti Airlines Jetstream 41 at 23,000 feet.

As far as new products, I flew several flights on which the airline was introducing new aircraft models into service.  The nicest of these flights was on a fairly recently introduced Qatar Airways A350-900 from Philadelphia to Doha, Qatar.

Qatar A350-900 business class


In October, I was in business class Dallas to Los Angeles on the first flight of an American Airlines 787-900.

American Airlines 787-900 business class seat
First flight AA 787-900 business class section full of bloggers.

The American 787-900 is the first time a US airline has employed an aircraft with international level premium economy seats.

American Airlines 787-900 premium economy seat (AA photo)

I flew the Thai A350-900 from Bangkok to Phuket during its first week in service. While the Qatar A350-900 and American 787-900 were both impressive, the business class seat on the Thai A350-900 was sadly disappointing.

Business class section on Thai Airways new A350-900
Thai A350-900 business class seat

Compare the pictures of the Thai A350-900 and the Qatar A350-900 and you will see what I mean.

Flying some of the tried and true products was also worth it.

The upper deck on a Delta 747-400 upper deck on a Delta 747-400 is one of the best if not the best business class experiences.  Shanghai to Detroit.
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Japan Airlines 777-300 first class New York to Tokyo
Cathay Pacific first class 777-300 Hong Kong to San Francisco

Not all flights were in premium cabins.  Japan Airlines had the best long haul economy seats.

Japan Airlines 777-300 Skywider economy section
Japan Airlines economy lunch

Although I have not been impressed with the service from the ground staff of China Eastern Airlines, it has protected me in economy in 2016 by always having at least one empty seat beside me.

China Eastern 777-300 Chicago to Shanghai
China Eastern dinner in economy

China Eastern is also the only airline I’ve flown that offers paid upgrades on the in-flight entertainment system.  Of course, the prices are ridiculous.img_2684

In 2017, I will leverage the top-tier status earned in 2016 in the OneWorld and SkyTeam alliances to enjoy and report on additional travel experiences.