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 ’œyear-end review’ type stories. I don’t know why. Maybe I am not really that into the whole ’œnew 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!


When AR first started, our readers were based mostly in the US, then we went more global. For the last few years about  50% of our readers have been based in the US and the other half divided around the world.

Here are the top ten countries that read AR: United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Germany, France, India, Singapore, Netherlands, and Japan.

Here are the top ten cities that read AR: New York, London, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, Sydney, San Francisco, Houston, Washington DC, and Melbourne.


These are the five top that were read in 2016, but were written in previous years.

#1: How to get a Good Seat on Southwest, written in 2010
This story, every month, is in the top three most read stories and every year it ends up being one of the most read stories.  Almost all of the traffic comes from Google; people searching how to find a good seat. No lie, I review this story every time that I fly the airline!

#2: From First to Last: Etihad Airways economy Class Review, written in 2014

#3: Inside Look at the Crew Rests from Different Airlines, written in 2014

#4 Flight Review: Air France Airbus A380 Premium Economy, written in 2015

#5 Requiem for a Tri-Jet Masterpiece, written in 2015


#1 Spirits Bare Fare
I am really glad to see this story get so much traffic. There are many stories that we publish that I love, but get very little traffic and that’s frustrating. I really appreciate when a great story gets the attention it deserves and this story from JL is one of those. It is wonderful in so many ways and he nails why Ultra Low Cost Carriers can be so amazing.

#2 777 9 vs 10 Abreast Seating

#3 First Qatar Flight Disappointing

#4 Flying China Eastern’s 777-300ER
The review on China Eastern didn’t turn out so great, but what I loved is they were listening. They heard the complaints and worked with the author on how they can improve their service in the future. I am excited for us to give them another shot sometime soon!

#5 Business Class Reimagined: Ethiad A380 Business Studio Review

Does it hurt my feelings that none of my stories made it on the top 5? Nah. Does it hurt that my most read story is at #13 (my TAM Airbus A350 review)? A little. But that’s okay. We write our stories for use and feel lucky to share them with you. If they get lots of traffic, cool. If not, meh’¦ we had fun.


Well look at that. Since I am writing this story up, I can create my own category to talk about the stories that I enjoyed writing the most (heh):

He's a good bag!

He’s a good bag!

#1 Damn it Bag, Where’d You Go?
At the time, this sucked. Bad. But as a story, I loved telling it. One of the benefits of running AR is when crappy stuff happens while traveling, I know there will at least be a good story out of it. To this date, I have only worn that shirt once (even though it used to be my favorite). Plus, Rolly McRollersons and I have become even closer.

Wearing cowboy boots to Missoula

#2 Giddy Up on a Alaska Q400
“Where can we fly and wear cowboy boots?” Always a good question to start planning a trip! I really enjoyed writing up this story. I think partly because this wasn’t some media trip where I was flying with strangers (don’t get me wrong — that can be fun). This was a trip that I was paying for on my own and going with a cool gal (who is now my girlfriend). It really showed me that even though I get to do some pretty amazing things, even the simple and cheap(ish) stuff, with awesome people, can be just as cool (and sometimes cooler).

Watching my new friends get off the combi in Seattle

Watching my new friends get off the combi in Seattle

#3 Flying with the Fishies – On a 737 Combi
I have been wanting to do this story for years. Do a milk-run on an Alaska Airlines 737 Combi, hang out with some fish, and then fly down with the first Copper River Salmon of the year. I got to learn about salmon breeding AND fly on cool planes. Yea, this was a totally rad adventure!


Here are some other random analytics I pulled out:

  • 55% of readers are on desktops, 33% mobile, and 12% on tablets.
  • 43% are using Chrome, 32% Safari, 9% Firefox, 9% IE. Who are the two people that used Netscape? Seriously?
  • 99% of our stories were awesome. The 1% knows who it is…
  • Our biggest referrers are: Google, Facebook, Twitter, Bing (you go Bing), and FlightAware.
  • Most popular search terms that lead people to AR: ’œhow does jetblue board,’ ’œetihad business class review,’ ’œL1011,’ ’œavgeek,’ and ’œJAL premium economy review.’ (I looked these up a few days before publishing and I still am not sure how I feel about these)


Seriously’¦ thanks for reading. It was a great 2016 and I am excited to see what this year will bring. We love all the engagement and comments that we see on here (even when you disagree). Keep it up!

Speaking of leaving comments… if you had stories you liked best (or even didn’t like) share those with us. Could be one of ours, could be one of your own!

Other yearly reviews: 2015201420132012201120102009

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me: david@airlinereporter.com

Yaktacular! Flying on a Three-Engined Yak-40
JL Johnson

2016 was an incredible year. I am excited for all of the stories we will get to share in 2017. Hang onto that cowboy hat, it’s going to be a wild ride.

Jonathan in France

Hilarious piece David! Interesting statistics. But you’re right to take them with a pinch of salt. They measure quantity not quality. Happy flying to everyone in 2017.

You are right on with quantity vs quality! But there are some stories that I think are great, but no one likes them (not always mine either). But that is how it goes!


P. S. Seshadri

If last year was great, 2017 will be even greater. I loved reading all the stories last year (though my flying is limited to once in two years from AMD to JFK and back via one of the Gulf Three). With very best wishes

If you are not going to fly often, those sound like some great flights :).

Thanks for reading,


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