The 19 Most Popular OMAAT Reviews Of 2019

Filed Under: Misc.

Yesterday I wrote a post about the 19 most read OMAAT posts of 2019. As I explained at the time, the posts that were most read aren’t the posts that I’m most proud of.

The internet is a weird place, and it’s perfectly normal for a post that it takes me 10 minutes to write to get significantly more traffic than a post that it takes me hours and hours to write, and which requires a significant investment (in cash or miles).

The 19 Most Read OMAAT Reviews Of 2019

In this post I thought it would be fun to share the 19 most read airline, airport lounge, and hotel reviews of 2019.

Here they are, starting with the most read (in parenthesis I’ll note when the posts were published, since some of the most read reviews were published in previous years):

  1. Turkish Airlines Lounge New Istanbul Airport (2019)
  2. Norwegian Premium 787-9 London To New York (2019)
  3. Icelandair Business Class 757-200 Keflavik To Frankfurt (2014)
  4. Delta First Class 737-800 Boston To Tampa (2019)
  5. British Airways First Class 777-200 London To Boston (2019)
  6. Alaska Airlines First Class 737-800 Los Angeles To Puerto Vallarta (2017)
  7. Japan Airlines Business Class 787-9 Dallas To Tokyo (2019)
  8. United Business Class 787-10 Newark To Brussels (2019)
  9. Qantas Business Class 787-9 San Francisco To Melbourne (2019)
  10. TAP Air Portugal Business Class A330-200 Lisbon To Newark (2018)
  11. EVA Air Business Class 787-9 Vienna To Taipei (2019)
  12. China Eastern Business Class 777-300ER Los Angeles To Shanghai (2016)
  13. Air France First Class 777-300ER New York To Paris (2019)
  14. Japan Airlines First Class 777-300ER Tokyo To Chicago (2019)
  15. United Airlines Business Class 787-8 Tahiti To San Francisco (2019)
  16. KLM Business Class 787-9 Amsterdam To New York (2019)
  17. TWA Hotel JFK (2019)
  18. Thai Airways Business Class A350-900 Bangkok To Milan (2019)
  19. American 757-200 Business Class Miami To Dallas (2019)

Norwegian Premium, the most read flight review of 2019

My Observations Based On This Data

I find this data to be really interesting. Here are a few things that stand out to me:

  • The most read travel review was only the 50th most read post on OMAAT this year
  • Airline reviews generate a lot more traffic than airport lounge and hotel reviews (with the exception of #1, which is clearly due to the opening of New Istanbul Airport)
  • Based on page views it seems like most people are searching airline reviews of products they’re likely to try, rather than searching reviews of aspirational products that they want to read about out of curiosity (for example, a lot more people are reading a review of Delta 737 first class than a review of the Etihad A380 Residence)
  • Due to my mom’s health situation I didn’t take a lot of review trips around the middle of the year; as a result this data isn’t necessarily all that useful, since I’ve reviewed a lot of products in the past couple of months, so they haven’t had the entire year to rack up page views yet

Delta 737 first class

Etihad A380 Residence

It sure seems like reviews of widely available products generate the most traffic, which isn’t too surprising. Logically I should almost focus on reviewing the products that have the most “seats” in the fleet, even if those are domestic flights. The reviews might not be that exciting, but they do seem the most useful to people.

In the past couple of years I’ve enjoyed reviewing some unique airlines (from a US perspective), ranging from Pakistan International Airlines to TAAG Angola. I know many OMAAT readers love these reviews, though there’s not exactly a lot of Google search traffic for some of those reviews.

Pakistan International Airlines’ 777 business class

So this does always make me think about what the best approach is towards deciding on what products to review. For example, Ford and I are going to Namibia in a few months, and there are two options I’m considering for the journey home:

  • I could book Air Namibia business class, which is a small airline that I find incredibly interesting; they have a single long haul flight to Frankfurt, and there’s not much out there about it, though of course that’s of limited use
  • I could book Ethiopian Airlines business class; to me this isn’t quite as interesting, but Ethiopian has become a powerhouse in Africa, and it’s definitely a more widely useful review

Logically it would seem that the latter makes the most sense…

The Business Side Of Travel Reviews

In some ways travel reviews are difficult to justify purely from a data-crunching perspective:

  • There’s a significant financial and/or points investment required
  • The posts take a long time to write (especially when you factor in editing, resizing, and uploading pictures)
  • The travel experience as such takes up a lot of time

Ultimately I know that travel reviews are what keep many people coming to this site. They’re a long-term investment, rather than just a short-term investment in focusing on what will generate page views.

Furthermore, I think it’s important to stay up to date on the best products out there, because at the end of the day that’s my business.

The TWA Hotel JFK is my most read hotel review of the year

Bottom Line

As I said when I shared the 19 most read posts of 2019, this data isn’t going to greatly change the approach I take. I’m not a data-driven guy when it comes to content on this blog, for better or worse.

That being said, I do think I can still learn from this information. I’ll continue to review unique products and small airlines, because I personally find those to be really interesting. But I’m also going to try to focus more on “mainstream” products, especially of domestic flights.

Once again, thank you guys so much for reading. I’m incredibly fortunate to be able to do what I love every day and call it a job, even if it doesn’t feel like it. I owe that all to you guys.

Are you surprised to see what the most read travel reviews are on OMAAT? I’m always open to feedback on the reviews you guys find most useful & interesting!

  1. The top 5 of this list is very telling as to what most people are googling. While tons of these are aspirational, that shows what the truly useful reviews are.

    Your personality and reviews are what set you apart and are why so many of us are loyal readers. Keep cruising (literally) in 2020!

  2. Clicks are good but a bit of a vanity metric – it’s not what is driving your revenue. More interesting form a business perspective is what are the most read articles by

    1) repeat or regular readers
    2) first articles read by people who become repeat or regular readers
    3) what articles generate the most credit card referral clicks
    4) what type of reader (casual or regular) clicks on credit card links

    I wouldn’t expect you to post on this, but if you were to make editorial decisions based on data I’d choose some more nuanced metrics than number of page reads.

  3. What Peter said. I’m glad you recognize that we come to the blog for your unique voice, so please don’t let the page views guide you!

  4. Regular reader here. Ben’s reviews are so useful that I’ve noticed now they are usually the first result on google for common searches, and are even usually featured in the “preview” box at the top.

    I imagine it might be interesting to splice the data between “regulars” and people who come to pages from google while searching general terms like, “Best business class” or “new airport Istanbul” etc. As they are very different audiences.

    I always smile when I Google an evergreen question about lounge access, etc. and Ben’s post is right there, because I know he will answer exactly what I am trying to find 🙂

  5. Maybe more accurate to have the title also “The 19 Most Read OMAAT Reviews Of 2019”?

    A bit interesting that a post from 2014 is in the top 3…

  6. A detail item suggestion for reviews: USB ports, high or low current/duty? (Prior to the introduction of the iPad in 2010, there wasn’t nearly as much variability in “charging speed” of USB ports as there is now.) Then Apple “cheated” on the USB spec and introduced a high current charger. Now, there are 12 watt (original spec”) and 24 watt (USB spec “bent” for the iPad) chargers/ports. So, when reviewing a hotel room/airport lounge/aircraft cabin, if it offers USB port(s), which type? Various iPad/iPhone models will show “Not Charging” when plugged into a 12 watt port. My solution to this conundrum is to carry “iClever” USB chargers that offer 24 watt USB ports and are auto-ranging, meaning they can be plugged into 90-240 VAC power and not blow up. But, if there’s no AC outlet available, how good is the USB port provided?

  7. If you want to post more “useful” reviews, start reviewing Premium Economy. A lot more airlines are introducing it, and there aren’t many reviews out there. There’s also a lot of variation on both the hard and soft product in PE.

    I’m flying United in PE 3x next year and not that sure what to expect since the reviews are limited.

  8. Can’t see the forest for the trees?

    What Ed said, and more. “Data” and “metrics” are the trees but The Forest is the magic juice that keeps OMAAT on top. I read stuff on OMAAT that I know I’d bypass on another blog, even if the headline and prose were the same. It’s the byline, stupid.

    Ben is who he is. And, of course, he isn’t who he isn’t. That’s a veiled reference.

    Detailed coverage of La-Z-Boy recliners from Des Moines to Daytona Beach? Please, not at the expense of what’s interesting to loyal readers. I display an OMAAT page a dozen times every single day. Some days, several dozen. There’s many like me. We’re the forest.

  9. Am I the only one curious why a five year old review of an intra-europe flight without even lieflat beds was the third most viewed review of 2019?

  10. Everyone just agree to use his credit card links if he promises to do the reviews that the regulars want to see more rather than what drives google traffic. Deal????

  11. Thanks for the reviews @Lucky! Despite the issues concerning your mother’s health you’ve still kept on feeding us with reports, which I am sure everybody is thankful for 🙂

    There was one thing that did leave me a bit puzzled however: Your Lebanon trip. Did you decide not to make reviews for any reason in particular? I think many of us would appreciate a post (even if brief) explaining why there was such an abrupt ending to your Lebanon experience.

  12. Just want to thank you for this blog. I stumbled on it early this year looking for a review of Iberia biz class and subscribed. Now I am a daily reader. Thanks to you I decided to get an Amex Gold card to supplement my Chase trifecta and signed up for Rakuten (through your link ). Happy New Years to you and your family and wishing your mom a speedy recovery.

  13. I like the “rare airline” reviews (so +1 on Air Namibia!). Often there’s very little out there and I come to your site first. I guess a mix of these and more popular products makes the most sense to me. Keep up the good work.

  14. Ben, please don’t focus more on US domestic flights in 2020, as these are of little interest to your growing international audience. As everyone knows, they are an appallingly sub-par product and you will be setting us up for loads of depressing reading.
    I have noticed that this blog has reverted to almost completely US-centric content since James left.
    Please don’t give in the rank populism; leave that to the experts in the White House. haha.

  15. Really boils down to what extent this is a business or a hobby for Ben. There’s some split, only Ben knows what it is.

    The people who comment on a blog post are an irrelevantly tiny portion of the total traffic (and likely unrepresentative of the whole) and should be ignored regardless of what Ben’s attitude is.

    If it’s a hobby, he should do what he wants.

    If it’s a business, he should do what the data indicates (although I agree with others that page views aren’t the important metric, referral link revenues likely are).

    Or whatever the balance is between hobby/business.

  16. Ben, please don’t review too many domestic products-theyre all the same except for Mint and transcon, and ofc service. been there done that.

    You still have to fly Azul biz from Sao Paulo to FLL! 😉

  17. We have several people at work who read your website many times a day – probably thousands of clicks each a year – and while we read both stories and reviews, the reviews are what make us keep visiting this site. Please don’t forget!

  18. If you decide to fly Ethiopian, take the business class flight outbound from Addis rather than inbound – the food at their base is much better than their other catering because they have Ethiopian traditional dishes, which is the best business class food I’ve ever tried – I generally skip the main just to have more of those.

  19. Sometimes your reviews / trip reports just include too many IMHO irrelevant photos.

    If you are writing say a review of Iberia we don’t need to see photos of other planes parked at Madrid airport or at the arrival airport. They simply aren’t relevant to flying Iberia.

    Nor do we need to see photos of bowls of fruit or cans of soda in the lounge when you can just say ‘fruit including xxx and yyy was also available’. We know what fruit looks like. Ditto cans of soda – we don’t need pictures of a fridge full of tin cans. That’s a couple more photos you don’t have to format.

    Don’t type out the menu and also show pictures of it – choose one style rather than duplicate the information. That makes less work for you yet we still get the info on the food and beverage offerings.

    Consider each photo you want to include and ask ‘does it add value to the review’ if it’s just another view of a lounge seating area but from a different direction but shows nothing more then don’t include that photo.

    I like your reviews but sometimes it’s a marathon effort to read them when they should be more middle distance.

  20. +1 glenn t.

    It also would be useful if you included in credit card reports, Miles spend and transfer reports etc. when it is only applicable to US residents. For example: you write about BA, VS credit cards etc. but these cannot be had by UK residents yet are UK airlines since they are for US only. The same goes for Miles transfers etc. You have more than just US readers.

    Enjoy the smaller airline reviews for entertainment. Whilst more international mainstream airline reviews for more useful.

  21. OMAAT is my go to. I must visit this website 50 times a day . I read TPG or Sam Chui once in a blue moon. How about an OMAAT shop in 2020? I’d buy a hat and sweatshirt.

  22. ChrisC – disagreed, loving the details! Keep up the good work, Ben! 🙂

    D3KingAmerican – agreed! OMAAT is in a league of its own! 🙂

  23. Honey the reason we love you is bc yes I will probably never fly Air Namibia longhaul biz but that flight is whack. You think other vanilla bloggers are gonna write about that?
    Stay spicy.

  24. A single year doesn’t give a full picture. A lot of the most read posts probably have a very short shelf life – days or weeks. In contrast, I suspect reviews of flights and hotels will generate traffic for years.

  25. I can’t find a better place to break it to you, Ben, but Garuda has just once again closed Heathrow reservations for Summer 2020, as per Airlineroute!

    I would also like to say thank you for your amazing posts throughout the year and have a great new year!

  26. Interesting some of the older posts that made the top 20 like for Icelandair, TAP Portugal and China Eastern.

    I am much more likely to read the reviews of airlines I may take in the future. I really appreciate the detailed reviews and read at least 2-3 articles a day. As I am about to return to the US, I also follow your credit card advice and will look to further restructure the cards I carry once I am back. Thanks for the effort you put in – hope it continues to be a rewarding career for you (just clicked through to request a credit card the other day).

    I would prefer a review of Ethiopian as it was recently an option for a trip I was taking to South Africa from Tokyo (I ended up booking Sing Air as it was more predictable).

  27. There are I think three aspects to this game
    1) accumulating points. Here I think at least annually comparing the various ecosystems (Chase vs Amex vs Citi vs others) for points accumulation based on spending and desired airlines/hotels.
    2) managing points, here we look for options to buy points or transfer bonuses
    3) spending points. This is where reviews come in. I look for reviews to places I plan to travel but also aspirational reviews (Etihad) and curiosity reviews (Angola TAAG)

    You focus a lot on 3 but I personally would like to see more of 1

  28. Ben’s reviews are some of the best internet travel content available – keep up the details and thanks for 2019!

  29. @Ben, a quick thank you for the hard work you and your team (special shout out to @Tiffany) tackle for us. Your news pieces and product reviews helped me plan several great trips in 2019 (including one in Shanghai with Ford’s help), let alone generate a vast knowledge base I retain going forward. Y’all are rockstars.

  30. Hi Ben,
    international reader here.
    Because of your reviews (and tipps) I booked First Class on Garuda Indonesia when they had a sale, I chose a specific routing from Europe to Tokyo with Air China based on your recommendations, and am now seriously looking into doing a HON mileage run at the beginning of 2021 based on your completely whacky suggestion.
    So please don’t focus on the US, because then your blog is getting useless for me.
    Happy flying 2020!

  31. Air Namibia vs Ethiopian?

    This is all about “mission”

    People perform far better when they believe in the mission. Regardless of money.
    This is why Wikipedia (contributors work for free) beat Microsoft Encarta (millionaire employees).

    Your original mission was to travel the world and review interesting airlines
    Deviating too far from this for money can lead to poor outcomes

    Reviewing a bunch of products that aren’t interesting to you will lead to subpar reviews.

    Go back and read some of your old reviews.
    Pay special attention to the reviews when you are very happy in your life (trips with your Dad and with Ford)
    Compare to when you did some long haul thing by yourself

    Compare the last review of a trip with the first review in that same trip. Often the last review suffers

    Compare the weird reviews with your 18th Lufthansa review

    My feeling: make wise decisions regarding the data. But try to balance this in a way to keep to your mission

    I think your 2020 blog will be far better if you
    -space out the trips more instead of marathon trips
    -make them part of a vacation with someone you love instead of grueling solo affairs
    -do interesting (to you) reviews

    That said, it’s pretty easy to throw together a few domestic reviews. You’re on the plane already anyway and evidently they drive traffic

    Lastly: I think it’s better to fail doing something you live, than make money doing something that makes you miserable.

    Good luck!

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