I’ll admit it, I’m a bit nutty about travel. Where most people dread getting on an airplane, I’m frequently happy, especially when traveling with my family. Being a self-avowed aviation geek, I keep track of all kinds of kooky stats about my travel. I was excited when I chalked up my first million miles in the air and am working my way to 2 million.
So, a little bit of me geeked out when I realized I had blown by 100 unique airports in my time on the road and didn’t even notice. Looking back through the list was fun and lead to some observations:
- IAD (Washington Dulles) is my home airport and sits #1 on the list, with 567 (gulp!) visits (either a departure or arrival). I’ve hit IAD at a ratio of almost exactly 10:1 over my other home airport of DCA, and 550 more times than BWI (my bailout home airport).
- DFW is #2 on the list which shows how much I rely on American Airlines to get around the country. Thanks for having my back AA!
- Denver holds the 3rd spot on the list because of very frequent business travel. Jeebus, 260 visits? That one’s going to be in 3rd place for a looooong time.
- While the list shows 101 airports, it turns out my 100th was EYW (Key West).
- There are some airports I’ll likely never land at again, like PAE (Boeing Field), where we landed on one of the Star MegaDO events. A legendary aviation geek day.
- There’s Denver’s Centennial airport, a private strip where I got to fly a private jet for the first time!
- Rome ranks 33rd on the list. We had a great trip last year and I’m hoping to move Rome into the top 20!
- Among airports that I’ve only visited once, Venice has to be the most memorable trip.
- And, then there’s the places, no offense intended, which are on the list but probably don’t need another stop anytime soon (Detroit, Billings, Rochester, Cincinnati, Birmingham, I’m looking at you).
- For the life of me, I can’t figure out the 5 times I was at West Palm Beach (PBI).
Travel is, in so many ways, what you make of it. Virtually every airport on this list has a story for me. Not all of them are fond memories. Landing at Richmond in a raging blizzard because IAD, DCA and BWI were closed, then driving in that same blizzard really slowly home so I could be there to help my wife when we had a newborn at home was nerve-wracking then. I made it home safely so it’s more of a smile now. But, flying my longest flight, the polar route to Hong Kong was wild, something many folks don’t get to do.
Even on the days where I’m tired from long flights and time away from my family, I need to remind myself how lucky I am to be able to use those miles to make the world a smaller place for our children. We’ve been talking about taking a day trip to Houston to bring some smiles to a good friend and my daughter got a kick out of “how strange it would be to fly somewhere just for the day”. She’s suffering from a bit of travel fatigue after a crazy summer crossing the globe. But, there was still a little gleam in her eye when we were talking about it. She must be my child.
Thanks for indulging my little walk down memory lane. I’m a bit inspired by the guys from the podcast Dots, Lines and Destinations to shoot for another 99 dots on my map. And a bunch of lines to connect them.
My full list is posted below for those interested.
Do you have any cool stories about any of these airports? How many dots are on your map?