Today, we can hardly imagine our lives without air travel. Sure, our everyday activities might not hinge on the ability to get on a 737. However, aviation is surely key to going on holidays and exploring the wide world out there. And since statistics is busy measuring the said world, here are some interesting aviation stats for the Statistics Day!
1. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines – KLM standing for “Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij,” literally “Royal Aviation Company” – is the oldest airline operating under its own name in the world. It was established in 1919 when people realized that planes are more than airborne coffins for dashing aviation pioneers.
2. You probably heard that airline food is terrible – second only to hospital food in that criterion. But do you know that American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating one olive from each salad served in first-class?
3. The first non-stop transatlantic flight was carried out by Alcock and Brown on 14–15 June. They used a modified Vickers Vimy bomber, taking off in Newfoundland and making landfall (crashing) in Galway. They also carried some mail, so this is also the first transatlantic airmail flight. It took them 16 hours to complete the flight. Today, you can do London to New York in 6.
4. Speaking of London: Heathrow is a very busy airport – so much so that one plane takes off every 45 seconds.
5. Back on food facts: Lufthansa serves 5% of the world’s caviar supply. The German airline purchases 10 tons of caviar every year. Somewhere out there, a copywriter for sea passenger compensation company is researching whichever ship company consumes the most eggs.
6. The first flight of Brothers Wright was probably the shortest hop in aviation history, lasting only 12 seconds and flying the total distance of 120ft (36.5 m). That’s shorter than the wingspan of a Boeing 747!
7. Online check-in is really boss, but it wasn’t here forever. Northwest Airlines (RIP, 1926-2010) where the first ones to offer it, back in 1999. I bet they were so happy that Y2K didn’t turn out to be a real thing!
8. The transatlantic-capable Boeing 747 is no small plane – the upper deck alone has the same square footage as the regional Boeing 737. That’s the plane you use for your small, budget-airline hops for a weekend in Ibiza. And that’s just that upper deck that gives 747 the characteristic hump!
9. The Airbus A380 – the competitor for 747 – isn’t some piddly lawn-dart either (that honor goes to F-104). If you laid down all the cabling in an A380 end-to-end, it would stretch 320 miles, or from Edinburgh to London.
10. Hamburg Airport is fully capable of handling those large A380’s. Why do we mention Hamburg? Because it’s the oldest airport in Europe – it was built in 1911. 18 million people pass through the airport each year!
11. There an average of 9,728 planes in the sky at any given time, carrying 1,270,406 people. Not one of them had a sandwich at non-extortionate prices, though.
12. If you think your ears popping on take-off is bad, imagine what flight would be without pressurized cabins. However, the first commercial airliner with a pressurized cabin appeared only in 1938 in the shape of Boeing 307 Stratoliner. Only ten of those were made, though – the honor of the first widely used commercial passenger airliner was the Lockheed Constellation, launched in 1943.
13. Getting lost at an airport is a drag. Getting lost at King Fahd International Airport is a tragedy/adventure. Its 780 square kilometers large, holding the Guinness World Record for being the largest in the world. It’s larger than Bahrain, which I’m sure the Bahrainis love to hear about.
14. Do you know what’s the longest flight in the world? That honor goes to Singapore – New York, the recently relaunched non-stop flight by Singapore Airlines. With the range of 16,700 km, the flight takes 18 h 45 min – or barely enough time to watch Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.
15. Just last week, there were nearly 2,000 cancelled and 32,000 delayed flights in Europe alone. Luckily for you, you don’t have to just swallow this indignity while trying to get comfy on a hard airport chair. Know your rights and claim flight compensation for delayed, disrupted or overbooked flights with Skycop. You stand to gain up to €600 in-flight compensation.