Since we are reaching the end of the year, I wanted to spend some time to look back, not only at the flights from 2019 but also from the whole decade.
When I started 2019, I already knew that I would reduce drastically the amount of flying compared to previous years, and it turned out that way. I switched to a new job and decided to spend more time at home than flying around. I turned down many deals and opportunities for cheap flights and kept air travel only for the necessary.
When I look at the summary from my.flightradar24, I took a total of 30 flights
Some of the stats: 98k kilometers, 9 domestic and 21 international
I started the flying year in January, coming back from Cancún to México on an Aeroméxico 737-800, and then from México to Sweden via Frankfurt on an Airbus a350, business class! I did a quick video of the takeoff that you can watch here:
I paid only 45,000 SAS EuroBonus points + 1300 sek for this flight in Business Class using one of my American Express Elite Fly 2-4-1 vouchers. Looking back these vouchers were one of the most valuable assets of the past decade.
The interesting thing about this return flight from México was that it had a layover in both Frankfurt AND Munich (MEX-MUC-FRA-ARN), an extra leg compared to the usual route. It was longer, but it also gave me the chance to fly from Munich to Frankfurt for the first time.
Then I didn’t have any more flights until March and April that I flew with Copenhagen with Norwegian, and with Iberia to Madrid for Easter.
The next big trip was with Lufthansa in July, from Sweden to Argentina. I was able to secure two seats in Premium Economy with a Companion Ticket promotion from Lufthansa, where the second seat was only 50% of the price. The flights ended up being cheaper than in Economy, even better considering that it was during the summer. The only drawback was that the flights were non-refundable nor changeable, so we HAD to take the flights, or we lost them if the flights changed.
I didn’t record any videos on the outbound flight, but on the inbound, to our surprise, we were upgraded to Business Class (due to being Star Alliance Gold / SAS EuroBonus Gold) at boarding! It was a fantastic surprise when we were boarding the plane. Lufthansa rarely does this, so I guess it was due to operational reasons (maybe oversold economy?).
During this trip to Argentina I was able to fly a domestic route (Ushuaia – Córdoba), in which the pilot was one of my best friends from high-school! One of the major and most satisfactory achievements of the past decade was to be able to be on the same flight as her as pilot. Here’s a video of the takeoff:
After July, I had another long 4-day trip to México on Lufthansa 747-8 back and forth, I wrote about it here. I was able to fly both in the Upper deck and lower deck (for the first time). Posted a full flight review here:
Finally, to conclude the year, I took a 48h trip to Tokyo to try two business class products I never tried before: Finnair’s business class on the Airbus A350 from Helsinki Vantaa to Tokyo Narita, and Qatar Airways Qsuites on the 777-300ER from Narita to Doha, and from Doha to Munich. I booked the Finnair trip Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles (60,000 + 24 usd in taxes), and the Qatar Airways flights using GOL Smiles miles (57,000 miles + 30 eur taxes). All miles were about to expire so I had to use them anyways and it was an excellent chance to try and review these products for the YouTube channel
That was the wrap up of 2019 flights, and compared to previous years it was a drastic reduction: only 30 flights compared to 59 in 2018, and 77 in 2017! 2017 was certainly the craziest year:
Looking back now and reflecting about the entire decade, it certainly was a decade of learning, experimenting and trying. I had the chance to play around with MANY frequent flyer programs including American Airlines Aadvantage, Delta SkyMiles, Lufthansa Miles & More, SAS EuroBonus, Aerolineas Argentinas AR Plus, GOL Smiles, Alaska Airlines MileagePlan, AirFrance / KLM Flying Blue, British Airways Executive Club, Iberia Avios, MEA Cedar Miles, and more. I certainly tried to get the most out of them, also learning from failures. I qualified for Delta Diamond Medallion and took advantage of GCU a couple of times. I also managed to get up to Gold Member on SAS EuroBonus which secures me Star Alliance Gold status.
Last decade was also learning about credit cards for me. My FIRST ever reward credit card was a Citibank Argentina Aadvantage Mastercard Gold, and from the very first moment I got it I learned a lot about how to optimize spending to maximize points earned. Now Citibank Argentina doesn’t exist anymore (it was bought by Santander) and they don’t even operate the MasterCard product (only Visa and Amex). Since I move to Sweden I tried many more credit cards including the SAS Diners Club, British Airways Visa, American Express Gold Card, Re:member MasterCard, EuroCard Corporate, etc. Now I can say I finally arrived at a point that is very much optimized with my SAS World Mastercard Premium and SAS American Express Elite. I started making some review, tutorial and tips/tricks videos on my YouTube channel, hope you find them useful.
Overall, it was an extraordinary decade. Who knows what’s next for 2020-2030, but on thing is for sure: I will keep flying. I might not be able to fly as much or often because of other obligations / life goals, but I will certainly be chasing the most exotic routes, flights and aircraft to be able to both review and enjoy. I want explore hopping on more inaugural flights like the one I already booked (SAS FIRST a350 flight from Copenhagen to Chicago), and also ANA’s first flight from Stockholm to Tokyo.
Thanks for tuning in here, on YouTube or Instagram over this years. This is just the beginning and there will be much more content coming!
Wish you a great new decade full of flights and adventures 🙂