I know, I know… everyone and their mom does “year-end review” stories. I am adding one more. Really, this is more for me and our team to look back to see what and how we did for the year. While I am at it, I might as well share, right?
This was the first full year where I sort of half-assed it. Probably not the right word to use, but I am going with it. July 2018 will mark the 10th year I have been running this site. A decade. For many of those years we published one story per weekday, week after week. That takes quite a bit of time. Even just editing and formatting another person’s story can take hours. And all those emails — they never stop.
I was driven by passion and love of airplanes. I also was hoping to make this a full-time business. In 2016, I was given the opportunity to try to make that happen and I hated it. I started to lose the love for the site and that wasn’t cool. So, I decided to get a job that I love and turn AR back into a hobby. This was the right call — I am happier now than I have been in a long time.
Of course there have been consequences. We have moved from a very consistent five stories per week to one, two, maybe three. I think there was one or two weeks with zero. I wish we could have daily content — I love reading our stories myself. However, the time commitment wasn’t sustainable, and that’s okay.
The number of stories might be down, but I don’t think we have half-assed the quality of our content. I am really proud of our stories and what we have been able to accomplish this year. I feel so grateful to have so many amazingly talented and passionate folks that have been able to share their experiences on AR.
Of course it is nicer when we write stories and people are there to read them. As expected, our traffic is down compared to previous years, but not as much as I thought. We still had over 3 million visitors to the site in 2017 and we’ve grown to over 100,000 Twitter followers. A huge thank you for sticking around with us, and hello to our new friends!
Alright, let’s move a bit away from the emotional stuff and let’s get into some stats (hey, we have something for everyone here).
I always enjoy seeing where our readers are located. We are still strong in the US, but the percentage of our readers from different countries is growing, which is pretty cool. Here are the top ten countries: United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Germany, India, Singapore, France, Netherlands, and Japan.
Breaking it down to cities, the top 10 are: New York, Boston, London, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Sydney, Washington DC, and Houston. Looking at the top 50 list, you will also find Seattle area cities like Everett and Renton. I am sure it helps that a few of us are based in Seattle and we cover Boeing and Alaska Airlines quite a bit. Sadly Toulouse is #162, Mobile is #536, yet Hamburg is #50. Looks like we need to get some more Airbus readers — we love you guys too! .
TOP 10 READ STORIES IN 2017
Here are the most read stories in 2017, that were also written in 2017:
- Rare Lockheed L-1011 returns to the skies once more (JL Johnson) – never underestimate the power of the tri-holer. Especially one that is flying!
- Living Dream – Flying in seat 1A on a Boeing 747 (Manu Venkat) – if you don’t want to go re-read the story, at least scroll down on this story and watch the video
- Lucky! Flying Aer Lingus Business Class on an A330 (Jason Rabinowitz)
- Flying in business class, on the upper deck of a Korean Air A380 (Kevin Horn)
- Queen of the Skies review: Flying upstairs on the Lufthansa 747-8I (JL Johnson)
- Taking a VIP Polaris flight on United’s first 777-300ER (me)
- Drama with a Qatar Airways Boeing 747-8F delivery (me)
- Exploring Kansas City International’s Shuttered Terminal A (JL Johnson) – I am so happy to see this story make it on this list. Such a fun and unique angle on an airport that normally wouldn’t get the love that it deserves.
- Flying business class on a Singapore Airline 777-300ER (Ken Hoke)
- Flying salmon marks the retirement of the Alaska Airlines 737 Combi (me) – so sad that there are no more Alaska Airlines 737 Combis flying anymore
TOP 5 STORIES READ IN 2017, BUT NOT WRITTEN IN 2017
These stories were read the most in 2017, yet they were written before 2017. I think that makes sense…
- How to get a good seat on Southwest (2011) – SHOCKER! Every year, this is our most popular story.
- Flight review of Air France A380 in premium economy (2015)
- Inside different crew rest areas (2014) – So many different news outlets asked if they could use our photos for their own stories on this one.
- Flying China Eastern’s new 777-300ER (2016)
- Why do some airlines have row 13 and some do not (2009) – Wow, this is an old one and haven’t seen it in a really long time. This was the first time I felt like a big boy blogger because I reached out to many different airlines to know if they have a 13th row.
TOP 10 STORIES READ EVER!
Never done this before and not quite sure why (maybe I have and I cannot remember). My first “story” posted on July 23, 2008 and these are the most read since then. There are some familiar ones seen on the list above:
- How to get a good seat on Southwest (2011) – I wasn’t lying, this is always a top read story. It has 20% more views than the #2 story. Sure hope there are lots of people out there getting great seats on Southwest and if so, you are welcome!
- Covering the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 (2014) – Never a good feeling getting traffic because of a crash.
- Following the crash of AirAsia flight QZ8501 (2014)
- Etihad economy class review (2014)
- How different airlines boarded (2013) – Whoa. Kinda disturbing this is so much read, it is almost five years old and horribly outdated. We should probably do a new version, huh?
- Inside crew rest areas (2014)
- Flying Allegiant for the first time (2010) – There are 163 comments on this story. Many sharing their own (not all positive) experiences.
- Detailing the hijacking of Ethiopian flight 702 (2014)
- Flying the Spirit Bare Fare for science (2016) – I love this story and it nails who we are so well. Also the most recently written story on this list. FOR SCIENCE!
- Comparing the Qatar Airways 777 and 787 (2013)
MY FAVORITE STORIES WRITTEN IN 2017
We don’t go writing stories trying to get traffic. We write what interests us, and luckily, most times those are the same things that interest you. Other times our stories might be too specialized or outside the airline realm too much and won’t make it on any top traffic lists. Here are some stories that I really enjoyed this year that didn’t make any top lists:
- Crop dusting by Francis Zera: This is my favorite story on AR for 2017. That says a lot. The photos, the planes, and the people. It not only captures a passion for flying but I also learned a lot about the crop dusting business. (also, before publishing, I realized how the title of this bullet could be read in a childish manner. Heh, I am not changing it. Sorry Francis)
- Elephants in the Boeing factory by me: I know this story is recent, but the traffic on it stinks like elephant dung. Whatever… I still think it is a cool story. Maybe the traffic will come in 2018 or maybe it will never be loved. Either way, I enjoyed writing it and learning about that darn circus!
- Flying on a C-130 by David Lynn: I have been wanting a story like this for so long. Comparing flying military vs commercial and this story nailed it.
- Cargo in Iceland by Francis Zera: Words? Who cares… look at those photos! Francis is amazing with the camera and did a great job covering cargo operations at Iceland’s Keflavik’s airport.
- How low cost carriers saved my relationship by Kevin Horn: Where also are you going to see that story title like that? We love ultra low cost carriers for a number of reasons (even when they might suck), but this is such a real world example in how they can change a person’s life.
THE 2017 CONCLUSION
I would love to make grand promises of our growth and more stories for 2018, but I can’t. It is what it is. I can tell you that we are going to continue to have a good time. Share when we have a good story and hold back when we don’t. We might try a few new things and I might become a bit more snarky in my old age. I think that is a good thing :).
Really, I want people to feel that they can share their passion for aviation on AirlineReporter. That can mean a number of different things. For many, it is just knowing there are others out there, like you, who love planes. Many of you will leave comments talking about your own stories or interact with our story. We really do love your comments and we look forward to them (even yours Cook).
Even some of you reach out asking if you can share your story on the site. I would love that. We just need people who can write well (I don’t have much time for editing), have some good photos, and brownie points if you know how to use WordPress. If interested, shoot me an email at email@example.com with some ideas. Almost every single writer has started with an email and now we have flown over 2.1 million miles. Not going to lie, that is pretty impressive!
Cheers to all of you and hope that 2018 is going to be a great one for the airline business, AirlineReporter, and for your travels!