We flew over 412,000 miles this year - Image: GCMap.com

We flew over 412,000 miles this year – Image: GCMap.com

Let me be honest. I sort of roll my eyes a bit every time I see one of these “year-end review” type stories. I don’t know why. Maybe I am not really that into the whole “new year, new beginnings” sort of thing (I never do a new year’s resolution). However, it is a spot in time to check in and sort of see where AirlineReporter is and compare to previous years. Since I am taking the time to look at all our analytics and think about 2016, I figure I might as well paste a few stats into a story, share them with you, and add some commentary. Spoiler: 2016 was a pretty slick year!

From year to year we have seen great growth. 2016 wasn’t about additional readership or miles flown, but about something much more important to me: growth of love. As I wrote a few weeks ago AirlineReporter and I had an interesting year together. An important year. One that will shape the future of the site, our writers, and our content. I think mostly for the good. That said, I have been very happy to see that even with lower content, we didn’t see a huge drop in traffic and your comments seem to be up (thanks)! We have also just hit 90,000 Twitter followers and expect to hit the 100,000 mark later this year. That’s freak’n awesome.

Let’s run through some of these stats. Hold onto your seats, this is going to be a slightly better than average ride!

The first A350 – Photo: Jason Rabinowiz

I would say that Jason Rabinowitz and I are pretty good friends. He also writes for AirlineReporter from time to time. Often he reaches out and asks if it is okay to share a story. I have never turned him down. Other times I spend lots and lots of time trying to convince him to share his story. He often agrees. Neither of these is the case for when he went to watch the first flight of the Airbus A350-1000 in Toulouse, France.

I couldn’t go, so I wanted to live through his story. He had a great time, shared it via his social media, took some great photos, but I couldn’t convince him to write up the story. Fine. Guess what? I am going to write up a story for him. Kinda.

Boeing jetliners, from its first 707 to the latest 787 Dreamliner, line up along a Boeing Field taxiway in Seattle, WA on July 15, 2016 to celebrate the company’s 100th anniversary - Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren

Boeing jetliners, from its first 707 to the latest 787 Dreamliner, line up along a Boeing Field taxiway in Seattle, WA on July 15, 2016 to celebrate the company’s 100th anniversary – Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren

One of the best parts of doing this whole AirlineReporter gig is all the people that I end up meeting. Very early on I met Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren. He was working for NYCAviation.com at the time and we were both new to the airline blogging world. He was also based in Seattle and we created a friendship and have always had a healthy competition.

It was obvious to me that Jeremy was an extremely talented photographer. Early on, I think he would agree that I often won our healthy competition, but the jealous pendulum soon swung the other direction. Soon, bigger and bigger names were looking to make use of his skills and abilities (and rightfully so). He did time as co-Editor-in-Chief with AirwaysNews (Airchive at the time) and was getting more and more freelance work — including USA Today. He has taken photos of some amazing airline-related events and some non-aviation stuff too (including the Super Bowl). He even took the photo that I am currently using on my author profile and Twitter account (while we were in Houston).

Jeremy and me getting down to business... kind of - Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren

Jeremy and me getting down to business in Houston… kind of.

Going from being an AvGeek with a camera to one heck of an amazing photojournalist is quite the journey. I wanted to share some of his perspective via an interview that we had.

Flying out of Tampa... nice view for November!

Flying out of Tampa… a nice view in November!

For Thanksgiving I flew from Seattle-Tacoma (SEA) to Tampa (TPA) to visit my dad. Since he was letting me use some of his Southwest Airlines miles (thanks dad!) I ended up flying them to visit. Although I am a big fan of the company and people of Southwest, when it comes to flying them — they aren’t my first choice. The big reason is that there aren’t many places they fly to non-stop from Seattle (also no seat assignments, no power plugs, and no buy-on-board food). With my trip to Tampa I was lucky to only have only one stop – at Chicago’s Midway (MDW) – both times. I say lucky since I have had to do that trip multiples times with two stops, which is not fun at all.

File photo of the new interior - Photo: Southwest

File photo of the new interior – Photo: Southwest

Since this was a personal trip, I had no plan to do a story, but the last leg did me in. My final flight from MDW to SEA was on a Boeing 737-800. I was excited because this would be my first Southwest 737-800 flight — it also had the new Meridian seats from B/E Aerospace. However, I wasn’t quite sure if that was a bonus or a downfall. I have read (even here on AR) about the seats and have heard mostly bad things. But after four hours flying back home, I have come to a few conclusions.