One of the best parts of logging all my flights in OpenFlights is the ability to pull interesting statistics from all my flying over the years. For example, I finally crossed the threshold of flying 1% of the way to Mars. Which is actually a weird metric, given that the distance to Mars changes substantially over time (turns out they base it off the shortest distance between the two planets). Besides things like the number of unique airlines flown, the number of airports visited, and the breakdown of flights by class of service, I can also pull up how many miles I’ve flown by aircraft type.
I’m meticulous these days about logging the aircraft type and tail number of my flights. To date, I still don’t think I’ve flown on the same exact aircraft twice. But I have flown some of the same types quite a lot. It’s far more boring to pull the top 10 aircraft types by number of segments, so I’ve decided to break things down by miles flown. Here’s how my flying shakes out:
1. Boeing 737-900 (49,966 Miles)
It’s no surprise that the Boeing 737 takes the top spot (actually, the two top spots). Boeing’s popular narrow-body is the fleet backbone of the five largest U.S. airlines (although American and Southwest don’t operate the -900 variant). I’ve flown Boeing 737-900 flights on Alaska, United, Delta, and KLM. Most of my flying has been on Delta cross-country flights for work.
2. Boeing 737-800 (39,538 Miles)
The Boeing 737-800 takes second place. This slightly smaller variant is operated by many airlines, and it is the aircraft I’ve flown with the most different carriers. These include United, Delta, American, Alaska, Southwest, KLM, Qantas, and Ryanair. It is by far the most popular 737NG variant, with nearly 5,000 aircraft produced and delivered.
3. Boeing 747-400 (23,675 Miles)
How I wish I would have had a chance to log more miles on the Queen of the Skies. I’ve been fortunate enough to fly the Boeing 747-400 on several occasions, including a round-trip to London British Airways, a round-trip to Russia with Delta, and a single flight each on both United and Qantas. But my Boeing 747-400 flying is likely over, due to the aircraft being abruptly retired by British Airways and already phased out of other airline fleets.
4. Boeing 777-200ER (22,559 Miles)
With multiple long-haul flights logged on both Alitalia and KLM, I’ve put more miles than I anticipated on the Boeing 777-200ER. It is one of the most common variants, second only to the very popular -300ER that is used by a large number of airlines.
5. Boeing 777-300ER (17,166 Miles)
Boeing’s newest 777 variant (until the launch of the much-anticipated 777X series) falls just behind the 777-200ER on my list. I’ve logged flights with United, Cathay Pacific, and China Airlines on the type. Given that it’s fairly common, I’ll probably end up on it many more times over the coming years.
6. Boeing 757 (17,059 Miles)
I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the Boeing 757. I love picking out the “stretch 737” among the other aircraft at airports. However, I’ve had a couple miserable trips aboard them, being stuck at the back of a very long cabin for cross-country flights. The worst was flying in seat 31E for five hours from San Francisco to Washington Dulles between two rather large guys. Not an experience I want to remember.
7. Airbus A320 (16,586 Miles)
I’m surprised how few miles I’ve logged on the Airbus A320. With multiple U.S. airlines operating these aircraft, I figured I’d have more miles logged. But the 737 is more common domestically. Still, given the number operated by Delta and United, this was puzzling. I must have flown mainly shorter flights.
8. Airbus A380-800 (16,104 Miles)
Ah, the Airbus A380. What an aircraft. I remember booking my first trip aboard one back at the beginning of 2017. It was a long-haul in Asiana business class from Seoul to Sydney. I still recall how crazy it was that there was an entire cabin of people below me. Since that first flight, I’ve also logged flights with Air France and British Airways. Those are the only three. One day I’ll add Emirates to the list, hopefully in first class from San Francisco to Dubai.
9. Boeing 767 (14,809 Miles)
This one actually surprised me. I didn’t realize I’d flown the Boeing 767 as much as I have. My flights have included two long-haul flights, one from Seattle to Beijing and the other from Montevideo to Miami. This wouldn’t have cracked the 10,000-mile mark, except I totally forgot I’ve also flown a round-trip on one of Delta’s premium service domestic routes.
10. Boeing 787-9 (12,304 Miles)
I’ve somehow escaped a ton of Boeing 787 flying. The aircraft have become the backbone of many carriers’ long-haul fleets. My two Boeing 787-9 long hauls have been with Virgin Atlantic and XiamenAir. I’ll expect this number to go up substantially in coming years. I wouldn’t be surprised if Boeing 787 flying eventually ranks third on the list.
I was sad to not see the Airbus A350 crack the top 10. I’ve only had one flight aboard Airbus’ newest wide-body, a Finnair business class flight from Los Angeles to Helsinki. The other surprise was how much I’ve not flown the Airbus A320 family. I knew I’d flown some with United and Delta, but it doesn’t even come close to the 737 mileage.
I expect the Boeing 747-400, Boeing 757, and Boeing 767 to all fall on the list. The Boeing 787s will continue to rise. And I’m sure the 737 variants will continue to reign supreme.
How about you…do you track your flying with OpenFlights or another program? Do you like to geek out on the statistics as much as I do?