Year In Review: 2017 In Way More Than 17 Photos

Year In Review: 2017 In Way More Than 17 Photos

I generally don’t like year in review posts. However, I figured a year in review post would help me keep my years straight as I continue blogging. I want these year in review posts will serve as virtual bookends so that I may, years from now, look back and not only see where I was and what I was doing, but also see how the blog has changed. Most importantly, I hope these year in review posts allow me to look back and see how I’ve grown as a writer.

Unlike other year-end pieces I figured I’d make this one very photo intensive. I wanted to share images that stuck to me from earlier posts, but also images that didn’t make it into be blog for one reason or another. So, without further ado, I present the year 2017 in 17-ish photos.

Note: There are way more than 17 Pictures, Sorry.

Chicago To London Via Los Angles

2017 started off strong, after a few short work trips I took a trip to London. Rather than flying from Chicago to London like a normal person, I flew from Chicago to Los Angeles to London and back. I did this because I wanted the chance to review the British Airways A380 and the OneWorld Business Class lounge in LAX. Sadly, I don’t think either of those reviews saw the light of day.

OneWorld Business Class Lounge LAX
OneWorld Business Class Lounge LAX

After a short visit to the OneWorld Business Class lounge in LAX I boarded the British Airways A380 to London. The highlight of the trip was that when we landed in London the crew allowed me to visit the flight deck.

British Airways A380 Flight Deck
British Airways A380 Flight Deck

I then spent a few days in London which ended up being an excellent trip.

Big Ben London
Big Ben London

After a few days in London I went back to Chicago via Los Angeles again on the A380. On the way back I visited a few British Airways lounges in Heathrow and failed to take a single picture. The lounge was fairly crowded and I was much to embarrassed to snap photos of the buffet line. Luckily, those days are long done.

A Week In Paris

Shortly after London it was time again for another trip to Europe. This time I’d be visiting Paris. On this particular trip I was lucky enough to book the American Airlines 787-9 in the new Premium Economy cabin. That review ended up being my most viewed post in all of 2017!

American Airlines Premium Economy
American Airlines Premium Economy

After a decent flight I spent about a week exploring Paris. During that time I got pickpocketed while transferring between Paris Metro lines. Luckily I caught the thief and had my wallet back in moments.

Eifel Tower Paris
Eifel Tower Paris

While in Paris I went to the Louvre and visited Mona.

Mona Lisa Paris
Mona Lisa Paris

After saying hello to Ms. Lisa I took a day trip to Versailles and took my favorite picture that I took all year. I still think it looks more like a painting than a photograph.

Versailles France
Versailles France

To end the trip I upgraded my economy class ticket to business using a miles and co-pay upgrade so that I would have the chance to finally review Business Class on American’s 787-8.

Singapore Airlines Suites Class To Frankfurt

A few weeks after paris I finally found and book Singapore Airlines Suites Class from New York (JFK) to Frankfurt Germany. The only downside was that I was in Chicago and had to first get to JFK. To get to New York the cheapest option was the fly Delta via Atlanta. That was a lot of fun because I was able to visit the Delta SkyClub and outdoor terrace in Hartsfield-Jackson airport.

Delta SkyClub Atlanta Airport
Delta SkyClub Atlanta Airport

After a short layover in Atlanta I made it to JFK and waited in the Virgin America Clubhouse for my Singapore Airlines flight to Frankfurt.

Virgin America Clubhouse JFK
Virgin America Clubhouse JFK

Singapore Airlines Suites Class was incredible, but I totally wish the flight was longer. 8 hours just really isn’t enough time to fully enjoy the onboard experience.

Singapore Airlines Suites Class
Singapore Airlines Suites Class

I hope I’m lucky enough to try out the new Singapore Airlines Suites class in 2018.

Lufthansa First Class Frankfurt To New York

When I landed in Frankfurt the Singapore Airlines ground staff tried to escort me to my connecting flight. Little did they know that I was heading immediately back to New York! I opted to leave the secure terminal and walk to the incredible Lufthansa First Class terminal in Frankfurt.

Lufthansa First Class Terminal
Lufthansa First Class Terminal

The First Class terminal was truly amazing. This was by far the most impressive pre-flight ground experience I’ve ever ugh experienced. Not to mention they had nearly unlimited Haribo gummy bears available to guests!

Lufthansa First Class Terminal Haribo
Lufthansa First Class Terminal Haribo

After turning into a gummy bear I visited the famous Lufthansa First Class Terminal bath. Obviously a Lufthansa FCT rubber ducky was waiting by the tub.

Lufthansa First Class Terminal Bath
Lufthansa First Class Terminal Bath

After a quick bath in Germany I was summoned by the ground staff that my car service to the aircraft was ready. Sure enough when I wend downstairs I found an AMG Mercedes S-Class waiting for me.

Lufthansa First Class Car Service
Lufthansa First Class Car Service

The ride to the majestic Lufthansa Boeing 747-8i was absolutely fantastic. There’s something so cool about being driven around at tarmac level in a private car.

Lufthansa 747-8i
Lufthansa 747-8i

Once onboard the aircraft I fully enjoyed the 8 or so hour trip back to New York in Lufthansa First Class on the 747-8i.

Lufthansa First Class
Lufthansa First Class

A Few Quiet Months Without International Travel

After three “trips” to Europe by the end of April it was time to settle down for a few months. During that time I saw U2 live in concert at Soldier Field in Chicago.

U2 Concert Soldier Field
U2 Concert Soldier Field

Next, I decided to purchase a DJI Mavic which I crashed nearly instantly.

Chicago From DJI Mavic
Chicago From DJI Mavic

Then I took a few trips to Los Angeles in the span of just a few weeks. The first was a family trip in which we stayed at the amazing Malibu Beach Inn.

Malibu Beach Inn
Malibu Beach Inn

The second was the tail end of a work trip to Portland Oregon. I had to snap a picture of the famous airport carpet along the way.

Portland Airport Carpet
Portland Airport Carpet

Back in Los Angles my friend and I explored the city, the highlight of which was a fairly hungover visit the Venice canals.

Venice Canals Los Angeles
Venice Canals Los Angeles

Then it was off to Cleveland for yet another wedding.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Then onto Steamboat Springs Colorado for yet another wedding.

Steamboat Springs, CO
Steamboat Springs, CO

Then finally, it was back to Los Angeles for the final wedding of 2018! Wow there were a lot of weddings in 2017.

Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica Pier

Insane (Mostly Qatar Airways) Year-End Mileage Run

Toward the end of the year I embarked on the most insane trip of my life. In two weeks I flew a total of 61,000 miles, mostly on Qatar Airways in Business class.

The trip effectively began in Los Angles with a review of the Star Alliance Business Class Lounge at LAX.

LAX Star Alliance Business Class Lounge
LAX Star Alliance Business Class Lounge

The trip then continued in Business Class on both the Asiana Airbus A380 and Asiana Boeing 747-4.

Asiana A380
Asiana A380

The Qatar Airways portion of the journey began after a night and almost a full day exploring Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam.

Ho Chi Minh Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh Vietnam

After that it was a series of flights between Vietnam and the United States via Doha in both directions. The legs between Ho Chi Minh and Doha were on the Qatar Airways Airbus A330.

Qatar Airways A330 Business Class
Qatar Airways A330 Business Class

While the legs between Doha and New York were both on the beautifully designed Qatar Airways Airbus A350.

Qatar Airways A350 Business Class
Qatar Airways A350 Business Class

While in Doha I was able to spend a ton of time in the fantastic Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge.

Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge
Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge

As well as visit Doha for a full day and explore the downtown area and the Villagio mall.

Doha Qatar
Doha Qatar

Not to mention I was finally able to snap a picture of the extremely odd Teddy Bear which sits in the center of Hamad International Airport.

Hamad International Airport Doha
Hamad International Airport Doha

Around The World In A Weekend

The final leg of my Qatar Airways business class ticket took me once again back to Ho Chi Minh Vietnam. This time it was on the dated Qatar Airways 777.

Qatar Airways 777 Business Class
Qatar Airways 777 Business Class

Once back in Ho Chi Minh I flew over to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific in Economy class. During an overnight layover in Hong Kong I had ample time to explore two of the most incredible airline lounges I’ve ever visited.

The first was the stunning Cathay Pacific The Wing First Class Lounge which includes a private cabana.

The Wing Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge
The Wing Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge

Second was Cathay Pacific’s The Pier First Class Lounge which is incredibly elegant.

The Pier Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge
The Pier Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge

After a long layover in Hong Kong I flew Cathay Pacific Economy Class from Hong Kong to Chicago. During that flight I missed the spaciousness of business class, but quickly realized that I had no problem sitting in an economy seat for 13 hours.

American Airlines Executive Platinum Status

After all of that travel I finally earned American Airlines Executive Platinum status. I’ve been working on attaining that status for some time now so I can’t tell you how nice it was to finally receive my membership card.

American Airlines Executive Platinum Card
American Airlines Executive Platinum Card

Credit Cards

Speaking of cards, 2017 brought with it a few new credit cards and a few new versions of cards already open. The first card I received in 2017 was the updated metal American Express Platinum card.

Metal American Express Platinum Card
Metal American Express Platinum Card

Shortly thereafter I received the Citi Premier Rewards card after downgrading my old Citi Prestige card.

Citi Premier Rewards
Citi Premier Rewards

After that I finally received a Chase Freedom card which came after I downgraded my existing Chase Sapphire Preferred account.

Chase Freedom Card
Chase Freedom Card

A few weeks later Bank of America sent me an updated BankAmericard Cash Rewards card.

BankAmericard Cash Rewards
BankAmericard Cash Rewards

And finally late in the year I decided to open the Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red card to hopefully earn the $3,000 American EQD’s after spending $25,000 in 2018.

Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red Card
Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red Card

My First Flight In A Single Engine Aircraft

Toward the very end of the year I had the opportunity to go flying in a friends Mooney M20E. I’ve been a longtime fan of general aviation, but never have had the opportunity to go flying myself.

Sunset Flight In A Single Engine Plane
Sunset Flight In A Single Engine Plane

Against his better judgement he let me take the controls for a few minutes and I absolutely loved every minute of it. I’ve had the goal of getting my private pilot license for some time now and 2018 may be the year that finally happens.

A Few Weeks In Chicago Before Traveling Again

Shortly after Christmas I came back to Chicago to remain grounded for a couple of weeks. On the way back my American MD-80 flight flew right over the city which offered unprecedented views of downtown Chicago.

Chicago Skyline
Chicago Skyline

Once back in Chicago the weather took a turn for the worst and remained at sub-zero temperatures for the remainder of 2017!

Downtown Chicago
Downtown Chicago

Final Thoughts

Ok, fine, I didn’t come close to 17 pictures, but come on! 2017 was a year filled with more adventure than I would have ever imagined. At the start of the year I had all but given up on my goal of ever reaching Executive Platinum status, but after finding some insanely cheap flights I was able to do so. Along the way I saw parts of the world I had never imagined visiting, especially in such a short timeframe. It’s been a fun past few weeks in Chicago as I prepare for 2018 and try to figure out how I’m going to once again fly 100,000 miles to re-qualify for Executive Platinum status.

You may notice I never wrote reviews of some of the lounges I mentioned above. That’s because I didn’t take nearly enough photos to fill out a proper review. Luckily in 2018 I hope to revisit both Cathay Pacific lounges and the OneWorld Business class lounge to finally write those reviews. Additionally, I’ll be heading back to London in a few weeks time and hope to finally get some reviews of British Airways lounge in Heathrow.

I hope you enjoyed this year in review. I’m looking forward to what’s to come in 2018!

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