Zach Griff’s 2022 travel highlights, trip stats and what’s coming next year

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As we reflect on what we have achieved in 2022, we are excited about what 2023 has in store for us.

From a travel perspective, this year started to feel “normal” again. Mask mandates ended his March, and more countries began opening their borders to tourists.

Personally, I haven’t topped my travel stats for 2019, but I was lucky enough to visit some destinations that were off-limits during the pandemic, like Bali and Singapore.

There were many other travel-focused highlights this year, so below we’ve summarized some of them and shared our vision for 2023.

Travel Statistics for 2022

Zach Griff’s Journey in 2022. Courtesy GCMap

Total miles flown: 185,780 (2021: 152,033; 2020: 133,796 miles; 2019: 205,985 miles)

Longest flight: New York — Singapore (9,527 miles)

Shortest flight: Boston to New York (284 miles)

Unique Airlines: 18

Unique Airports: 47

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Highlights for 2022

stylish private plane

Earlier this year, I got to check out one of the coolest planes I’ve ever seen, a Boeing 757-200 that’s been converted to luxury VIP specs for tour outfitters Abercrombie and Kent.

The 757 features 48 seats spread over 34 rows in a 2-2 configuration. Seats are largely similar to those found in business class on international flights, but Abercrombie and Kent’s private his jet experience includes cooked-to-order meals, the finest champagne and liquor, and highly personalized service. services.

Even better, this plane flies from private terminals at some of the world’s most difficult-to-reach airports, allowing you to get close to the action, whether it’s a safari or a remote city.

With a sticker price of $160,000 per person, I don’t think flying this jet will be the card for 2023, but at least I got a peek inside.

World’s longest flight, take 2

During the pandemic, Singapore Airlines made headlines by launching the longest flight in the world from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Singapore.

At 9,527 miles, it’s just 2 miles longer than the world’s longest flight from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to Singapore.

While flying the Newark Route in 2019, I wanted to experience a JFK flight. Not just for the novelty of taking the longest flight in the world, but also to compare the experience to that of the Newark Route.

Needless to say, it was a great experience for this aviation enthusiast. We even got to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights which is very rare.

New routes and many removed cities

As a reporter, I spend most of my time covering the aviation industry, and no article this year has caught as many headlines as one on network coordination in the pandemic era.

All major U.S. airlines have added dozens of new routes and destinations this year, but two of my favorites are United’s expansion of transatlantic routes and Delta’s new service to Cape Town and Tahiti. is.

I was lucky enough to fly a United Airlines inaugural flight from Newark to Palma de Mallorca, Spain in June. I was very happy to be able to participate in this fun time.

However, this year was not all about expansion. The Big 3 US airlines continue to remove smaller US cities from their maps.

Combined, American, Delta and United have pulled out of a whopping 64 US cities since the pandemic began, according to Cirium data and network analysis conducted by aviation consultancy Ailevon Pacific.

Major tech upgrade

Every year we look forward to checking out new travel-specific tech, and 2022 is one of the best tech ever.

The highlight of the upgrade is Apple’s new MacBook Air. This he launched in July and has quickly become my go-to laptop. This computer is powered by the tech giant’s latest M2 processor for incredible performance and all-day battery life. In fact, I used my computer on the longest flight in the world and landed with 85% charge left.

Apple unveiled other new devices and gadgets this year, including the second-generation AirPods Pro, the iPhone 14 lineup, and the Apple Watch Series 8.

I’m also a fan of GoPro’s latest Hero11 camera, and had a lot of fun testing DJI’s new Mini 3 Pro drone on my outdoor-focused trips. Check out all our travel gadget picks in our annual gift guide.

New second hand machine

Delta has taken a very interesting approach to fleet strategy this year.

An Atlanta-based airline has acquired pre-owned Airbus A350s and Boeing 737s from various airlines and quickly introduced these aircraft to its fleet as travel demand is growing rapidly.

The plane is currently flying in Delta’s paint and color scheme, though the cabin itself hasn’t been updated.

That said, the ‘inferior’ A350 isn’t necessarily as dated as you’d hope, especially if you’re traveling as a couple. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised when I flew Delta’s first used A350 in June.

Major transformation of domestic first class

Not only did Delta add a second-hand fleet to its fleet this year, it also delivered its newest domestic workhorse, the Airbus A321neo, or “new engine option.”

The plane itself may look like a classic Airbus A321, but the interior sports are perhaps the biggest upgrade to the domestic first-class experience.

Delta installed custom recliners with added privacy, more storage, and many other improvements.

In fact, I think this was the biggest innovation to happen to the domestic inflight experience this year.

Lounges are more comfortable…and more lively

Travel is back to roughly 2019 levels, so airports are once again very busy. Perhaps nowhere is that more evident than in the lounge.

Overcrowded lounges are back after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. But once you step into the lounge, you’ll at least enjoy a much more upgraded experience.

Delta Air Lines opened three stunning new Sky Clubs this year in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. My personal favorite is the one in Los Angeles. Here you’ll find a year-round outdoor deck perfect for plane spotting.

American Airlines and United also opened new outposts this year, including the massive United Club in Newark and the first-of-its-kind Admirals Club in the US capital.

Premium economy is all the rage

If you’re looking for a little more comfort on your next international flight, consider jumping into Premium Economy.

This midway service between business class and economy is becoming more popular than ever, with more and more airlines adding this cabin to their long-haul flights.

This year, KLM’s new Premium Economy was introduced and I flew the first flight. The experience, especially the food component, seemed more like business class than economy.

In fact, it won TPG’s award for Best Premium Economy Cabin.

US airport renaissance

One silver lining of the pandemic is the acceleration of airport infrastructure projects. Perhaps nowhere is that more evident than in the Northeast, where new terminals have sprung up at LaGuardia and Newark airports.

American Airlines and British Airways are located in JFK’s Terminal 8, which now features three new lounges and an upgraded premium check-in experience.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) also underwent a major upgrade with the opening of Delta’s new skyway in Terminals 2 and 3.

Memphis has also reinvented itself as a post-Delta hub with a new 23-gate terminal that opened in February.

Scheduled for 2023

2022 is going to be a big year for me and 2023 has a lot more to come.

I don’t have too many bookings yet, but I’m looking forward to flying United’s inaugural flight to Dubai in March, then back to Japan and flying a new Qantas flight from Sydney to New York via Auckland.

We’re sure more is planned throughout the year, so stay tuned to TPG for even more exciting coverage in 2023 and beyond.

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