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30 Fun Facts About Air Travel

Air travel is arguably one of the most convenient, fastest and safest means of transportation. You are actually more likely to come into harms way while reading this on your smartphone lying down on that comfy sofa in your posh living room than traveling 40,000 feet in the air on a 20-hour flight from Lagos to Sydney. Sounds incredible, but statistics don’t lie. Most air travel aficionados are aware of this but what they don’t know are some amazing facts about air travel.


We now present you with 30 interesting fun facts you can occasionally use to impress friends, family and of course that girl you are trying to woo. Here we go…

  1. Many airlines have a rule that each pilot flying the aircraft eats a different meal, in order to minimize the risk of all pilots on board being ill.
  2. One third of the world’s airports are in the USA.
  3. All International Airline Pilots speak English.
  4. The first flight attendants had to weigh less than 115 pounds, be unmarried and be trained nurses.
  5. The height requirement for Flight Attendant is for safety reasons, making sure that all flight attendants can reach overhead safety equipment.
  6. Flights longer than 8 hours require 3 pilots (1 captain and 2 first officers) to rotate flying duties. Flights longer than 12 hours require 4 pilots (1 captain and 3 first officers). They usually fly 3-4 hour shifts.
  7. An air traveler can lose approximately 1.5 liters of water in the body during a three-hour flight.
  8. Airplanes have cleaner air. The air on an airplane is probably the cleanest air you’ll ever breath, as it’s filtered with the same technology that is used to filter the air in hospitals.
  9. The normal ratio of lavatories to passengers is approximately one lavatory for every 50 passengers.
  10. An online check-in facility was first introduced by Alaskan Airlines in 1999.
  11. Beverages Tastes Better in The Air. And there’s a scientific explanation for it. When we’re in a low-pressure environment (like in an airplane), our senses have a higher threshold and can taste the sweetness of the tomato better.
  12. QANTAS, the name for Australia’s national airline, was originally an acronym for Queensland and Northern Territories Air Service.
  13. In 1987, American Airlines saved an estimated $40,000 by giving one less olive in each salad served in first class.
  14. KLM (Netherlands) is the worlds’ oldest airline established in 1919.
  15. QANTAS (Australia) is the second world’s oldest airline established in 1920.

    Air hanger for Qantas Empire Airways Ltd.Queensland, c. 1935. Photo Credit:
    Air hanger for Qantas Empire Airways Ltd.Queensland, c. 1935. Photo Credit:
  16. The world’s busiest commercial airport is Hartsfield-Jackson Airport (ATL) in Atlanta, with 970,000 airplane movements a year. It’s followed by Chicago (ORD), London (LHR), Tokyo (HND), Los Angeles (LAX).
  17. A Boeing 747 is made up of six million parts.
  18. The airport with the longest runway in the world is Qamdo Bangda Airport in the Peoples Republic of China with 5.50 kilometers in length (as of 2011).
  19. In 1971, D. B. Cooper hijacked Northwest Orient Airlines Boeing 727 – flight 305. He successfully negotiated a $200,000 ransom for the release of the passengers. He then parachuted from the rear of the plane and was never found.
  20. Since 2004, the longest scheduled long-haul flight was the Singapore Airlines flight 21 from Newark to Singapore, which takes 18.5 hours via an Airbus A340-500.
  21. Singapore Airlines cancelled this flight, meaning there is now no direct flight from the USA to Singapore.
  22. The longest flight is now a Delta flight between Johannesburg and Atlanta, which at 17 hours has the longest duration, while the longest route will be a Qantas flight between Sydney and Dallas — around 8,500 miles.
  23. The maximum speed of a Boeing 747 is 955 km/h.

    A KLM Aircraft making a landing at Saint Marten. Photo Credit:
    A KLM Aircraft making a landing at Saint Marten. Photo Credit:
  24. At any given hour, 61,000 people are airborne over the US.
  25. British Airways passengers consume six tons of caviar per year.
  26. Singapore Airlines is the second largest buyer of Dom Perignon champagne in the world.
  27. In the early years of commercial flight, before pressurized cabins were invented, airline passengers sometimes had to wear oxygen masks during routine flights.
  28. In 2011, Heathrow Airport handled 69, 433, 230 passengers.
  29. Famous people killed in aircraft accidents include SA cricketer Hansie Cronje, golfers Payne Stewart and Davis Love Sr, musicians Stevie Ray Vaughan, John Denver, Jim Croce and Aaliyah, as well as John f. Kennedy Jr.
  30. In 1936, the airship Hindenburg provided entertainment in the form of a piano lounge, dining room, smoking room, and bar during the 2½ day flight between Europe and America.
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There you have it. Hope you have been informed, educated and enlightened? Contact TravelOrbit for all your travel needs.

One thought on “30 Fun Facts About Air Travel

  1. Reply
    Richard Ngene
    May 7, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    Wow! Amazing fun facts you got listed here. So the Australians got into the air travel business first… that’s cool.

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