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Sunday, December 31, 2023

Travel Stats 2023

Happy New Years Eve!  2024 is upon us and it's been another fun year of travel.  I saw a shift in my flying frequency this fall though still ended with many fun trips home and around the world. 

I ended the year with just over 148,000 miles flown across 106 flights (with 142,618 BIS on United).  I was grateful for limited travel impacts - weather always seems to be a question though I missed most major storms.  I only had one SSSS experience in Zurich and my visits through PreCheck and Global Entry were generally fast.  I also was able to fly on one of the last United BOS-LHR flights, visited Longyearbyen, and made it across the United Island Hopper. 

My time spent with Hyatt was also similar to last year - nights credited were 104 not including free nights from the credit card.  

I hope everyone has a happy start to their New Year with many future travel opportunities!

Friday, December 22, 2023

When PreCheck or Clear doesn't matter

Years ago the TSA introduced PreCheck and GlobalEntry as a way to expedite security for travelers.  While the process involves a fee plus additional security checks and background evaluations, the overall effect was positive especially for frequent flyers and those with regular international itineraries.

However, it seems as though the promise of a quick security check before flying may have passed.

This recent article speaks to the shift that is occurring for those who have signed up for these programs, including the newest program Clear (I've decided not to take part in that for now - you can't have my retinas!):  https://www.cnn.com/2023/12/22/travel/tsa-precheck-clear-airport-security/index.html

It was only a matter of time before this happened - the increasing number of travelers post-pandemic has overwhelmed the lines at times.  Is it possible that eventually we see the primary security line noted for flyers with PreCheck??  

I'm flying out of Logan today and expected to see crazy security lines since this was said to be the busiest day to fly before Christmas.  My wait was all of one minute (not including the time needed to address the facial recognition software which never likes my driver's license).  I'll take the win.  

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Sapphire Lounge Visit - Boston Logan

One of the newest perks for holders of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is access to Sapphire Lounge locations.  Similar to other clubs hosted by airlines, the Sapphire Lounge is a location for travelers to take a break and recharge before a flight.  You can find more direct information on the Lounges here:


Future locations include Phoenix, San Diego, and Las Vegas.

The amenities offered include dining, bar, work locations, complimentary wifi, and private bathrooms.  At Logan, the lounge is open from 5am-11pm and is located in the Terminal B to C connector. 

I had a chance to visit the lounge recently and was very impressed!

For complete details on this location, visit this link:


Friday, December 1, 2023

Thanksgiving Week Visit to Longyearbyen, Svalbard

We made it!  Part 1 of our Thanksgiving trip was a trip to Longyearbyen, the northernmost settlement in the world.  After a day in Oslo due to flight timing, we were on our way with a brief land in Tromso.  The Tromso airport deplanes on the tarmac so we got a few good pictures of the setting sun.


After takeoff, it wasn’t long before we caught the polar night.  Landing in LYR was smooth with no issue on arrival – it was definitely dark!

The hotel shuttle bus was waiting when we arrived, and the Radisson Blu Polar Hotel is only a short drive into the main settlement. From there you can walk to just about all restaurants and other locations.

For this trip our places of choice:

Afternoon drinks at CafĂ© Huskies: https://www.visitnorway.com/listings/caf%C3%A9-huskies/252587/

Nuga for dinner on the first evening (reservation needed): https://www.nugasushi.com/

Drinks at Karlsburger Pub where there is an extensive whiskey/bourbon selection – we tried the Hankey Bannister varietals and the 1792 Small Barrel: https://www.karlsbergerpub.no/homepage/

Dinner at Kroa Restaurant (reservation needed): https://www.kroa-svalbard.no/?lang=en#


One of our primary hopes was to see the Northern Lights – unfortunately, the polar night included cloud cover and snow which prevented any views.  We’ll hope to be back again for another try and to get some exploring via snowmobile.