Every day, the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization provides service to more than 44,000 flights, for a total of 16.1+M flights per year. If you look at worldwide numbers, estimates from 2018 suggest that at times, there can be more than 200,000 flights per day in the sky. Here’s an example from 2018:
And here’s a typical day of flights to/from the United States:
It all looks kinda like a swarm of bees, huh?
Anyway, you’d think that all those planes flying to and from so many places all at the same time would have to be a logistical nightmare, right? Well, not really. Airlines have been doing this for a long time and their schedulers are really good at putting hubs, and even time change, not only to good use, but even to their advantage. Take a look…
According to the National Weather Service, lightning strikes about 25 million times a year and kills an average of 49 people. But how often does it strike planes?
Believe it or not, it’s estimated that every plane in the U.S. commercial fleet is struck by lightning at least once every year. The event is described as a loud bang and a flash of light as the lightning goes through the plane. You can sometimes experience the smell of ozone, too. It’s got to be as scary as anything! In fact, I’m sure it might freak some people out, especially if they’re afraid of flying in the first place (if you are or know somebody who is, read this for some ideas to possibly help that).
Airlines know what seats people will pay the most for. Therefore, they’ve separated the cabin into seat categories and charge a fee according to the demand for each type of seat. The categories vary from something as simple as preferred seats, which aren’t any different from other seats besides being closer to the front of the plane than the back. Some low-cost carriers like Spirit and Frontier will charge extra for all the aisle and window seats, knowing people will pay to avoid being in the dreaded middle seat (although that may change in the future).
The next section airlines will charge more for are the “extra” seats. These are the seats the airlines install with some extra legroom. There are multiple reasons for airlines to have these seats. They’re the ones frequent flyers can choose when buying a ticket so they ensure they can have a comfortable flight. For the rest of the passengers who don’t want to be crammed in shoulder to shoulder, it’s a way to pay for a somewhat more civilized flying experience.
There are two other rows of the plane included with the “extra” section. The exit rows and the bulkhead row(s). I totally get the appeal of an exit row but for the life of me, I can’t understand the appeal of the bulkhead.
OK yeah, it’s kinda gross, but it’s a funny meme, in a dark humor sort of way.
Anyway, that “Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane!” opening line for The Adventures of Superman was always a little “off” to me because a bird and a plane look so different. Especially because there are admittedly some, but really not a whole lot of birds up there that are white, like most airplanes are.
So why ARE so many planes painted white? Well, it turns out there are a bunch of reasons…
Austin airport has grown tremendously since we first visited the area over a decade ago. The increase in the number of flights and passengers pushed the capacity limits of the airport, putting a strain on all of the resources from baggage handling to parking spaces, and eventually capacity limitations caused prices of flights to increase significantly.
Austin airport announced an expansion plan and the first phase of it opened in February 2019. The most immediate impact was the addition of 9 new gates, which increased the number of flights the airport can handle.
In May of 2019, Delta opened their new SkyClub in that new addition and it’s an amazing space located at the end of the terminal on the second floor between gates 1 and 2.
But for those of us who can’t get into a SkyClub, Austin airport has you covered with their new outdoor deck.