Notes from a pilot's kid

Flying one million kilometers since 2006

Just updated my flight history map since I now have 10 years of data. Overall, I’ve flown 1,038,882 kilometers (645,000 miles) since graduating high school, with six consecutive years flying over 100,000 kilometers. See the map:


The network of routes alone is below, without the geographic component. The airports that have taken me to the most places are a mixture of places I or my family have lived (Boston, Salt Lake City, Tokyo) and Delta hubs (Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Tokyo-Narita, New York-JFK). Although I still flew a lot from 2006 to 2010 while I was in university in Houston and while living in Taipei, since Delta only connects these cities to its nearby hubs, nearly every trip went through ATL, CVG, or SLC for Houston and Tokyo-Narita for Taipei.

Network of routes I've flown since 2006

The longest route I’ve flown is New York’s Kennedy airport to/from Tokyo-Narita (10,800 kilometers), which I’ve flown 9 times. The shortest? Salt Lake City, Utah to/from Pocatello, Idaho, an airport near my parent’s home in western Wyoming, which is a distance of only 241 kilometers and is operated by a turboprop aircraft. I’ve flown that route twice. Another short route I’m familiar with is Boston to/from New York-LGA and New York-JFK, which are routes about 300 kilometers in length. Together, I’ve flown between New York and Boston 46 times.

For seven of the last ten years, I was on at least one airplane 30 days out of the year (which actually doesn’t sound bad compared to some classmates I know who worked in consulting). 2009 was a particularly busy year with 101 total flights over 61 calendar days. I flew fewer times in 2015 than I have in the last ten years because I mostly stayed put in Tokyo and Taipei. A chart of flight days per year is below.

In 2009 and 2010 I did a lot of domestic US travel, which can involve making a lot of connections. This is reflected below in the measure of the average number of flights per day of flying. For example, in 2009 one in two days where I flew, I had to make a connection somewhere.

Number of flights by year

At the end of 2009 was my craziest day of flying as a pilot’s kid (read: standby passenger) so far. I was heading home to Jackson Hole, Wyoming from a friend’s house in coastal Connecticut. Since more direct routes were completely full due to a snowstorm and general pre-Christmas travel loads, I somehow came up with a route with open seats: Hartford to Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale to Atlanta, Atlanta to Denver, Denver to Salt Lake City, and Salt Lake City to Jackson Hole, all in one day. I love flying, but I still remember that day vividly and don’t think I’d want to deal with an itinerary like that again for a while.