2012 has been an incredible year, filled with exotic travel and great adventure, though you’d hardly know it if you’re a regular reader of Live and Let’s Fly. Award Expert really hindered my blogging this year and as I look back on what I’ve done versus what I’ve written about the last 12 months, I shake my head in disappointment.
So consider this month-by-month review below a preview of what is to come on Live and Let’s Fly. From Easter Island to Havana, from Reykjavik to Kabul, from Tranistria to Jeddah, there is much to share and I will do so. Here’s my 2012 travel highlights:
JANUARY: A flying adventure to start the year off, flying from Los Angeles to Seoul in United Business, a trip to the DMZ, Seoul to Beijing in Air China Business, Beijing to Frankfurt in Lufthansa First on the A380, Frankfurt to Hong Kong via Bangkok in Thai First, then Hong Kong to Los Angeles via Istanbul in Turkish Airlines Comfort Class.
FEBRUARY: A perfectly acceptable trip to Bermuda on Delta and great stay at the Fairmont Princess hotel in Hamilton.
MARCH: The fated United-Continental merger finally happens on 3/3. Bedlam ensues for several weeks as I adjust to the new system. New York to Easter Island via Lima in LAN Business, a great stay there, then Easter Island to Miami via Santiago also in LAN Business. Later in the month, I traveled from Philadelphia to Bishkek, Kirgizstan via Toronto and London on Air Canada and bmi, returning from Almaty, Kazakhstan (with some hassle) on Lufthansa via Frankfurt.
APRIL and MAY: Frequent domestic travel, but no major trips as I prepare for my summer in Germany.
JUNE: A last-minute trip to Havana, Cuba to report on Cuba’s aging aviation industry via San Jose, Costa Rica on TACA. Stay tuned in particular for this report. A trip to Germany via Philadelphia on US Airways’ incredible new Envoy Class lie-flat business class product.
JULY: A perfect trip to the west coast of Ireland and fond memories in Frankfurt.
AUGUST: Truly a month of travel, starting with a jaunt to Iceland on SAS then the Moldovan breakaway region of Tranistira (via Kishinev, Moldova on Lufthansa). Simply fascinating. Then, a perfectly relaxing vacation in Istanbul including a great stay at the Park Hyatt there. Then a trip to Belgrade, Serbia and an overland journey through the Balkans with stops in Sarajevo, Dubrovnik, Podgorica, Tirana, Skopje, and Thessaloniki (where I thoroughly enjoyed the Hyatt Regency after a week of humble eastern lodgings) before flying back to Frankfurt on Agean, then back to the U.S. again in US Airways Envoy class for next-to-nothing thanks to the now defunct bmi Diamond Club.
SEPTEMBER-NOVEMBER: Busier than ever with work, I traveled frequently between Philadelphia and Los Angeles, enjoying my status match to Executive Platinum on American Airlines but determining that even without internet, I could not leave my first love United Airlines. A trip to Hawaii on United with a great stay at the Kahala.
DECEMBER: A trip to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on Saudia Airlines, flawless stay at the Park Hyatt Jeddah, then a trip into the war-zone of Kabul, Afghanistan, where I cobbled (ha ha) together some amazing photographs and memories. Another trip report not to miss. Return on Saudia as well, an underrated airline that I would not hesitate to fly again.
Tomorrow: looking ahead to 2013.