Airlines extra fees in 2010: $22 billion!

According to a Wall Street Journal report, the American carriers have made a lot of money thanks to add-fees – $22 billion in 2010.

For instance, Matt McCall, the president of Penn Financial Group reports in the following video that he had to « pay 50 dollars for 4 inches » exceeding the standard luggage size the night before.

Most people pay such add-fees as they do not want to change bags in the very last minutes. It depends on the airlines – as in the video – but the fee for overweight carry-on bags can be twice as expensive. Some passengers are willing to pay add-on fees if needed.

However some other passengers may not have time to perform the luggage change required, and they pay add-on fees just before departure. So they pay, and the airlines rake the add-on fees revenue which is to increase even further:

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Volcanic ash posing a threat to flight safety

Sunday 5/22/2011 – Breaking news:

The Grimsvötn volcano began erupting yesterday. It is located underneath the uninhabited Vatnajokull glacier in southeastern Iceland. As it has been sending ash into the skies up to flight level 650 i.e. 65,000 ft or around 20 kilometers or 12 miles.

The European fleets might be grounded due to the spreading of an ash cloud which is forecast to drift over Scotland on Tuesday – May 24, 2011 – and expected to reach France and Spain by Thursday or Friday. Here is an interesting short documentary about how the scientists examine the volcanic ash, and how they determine that it can pose a threat to aircraft.

Watch the video:

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Solid-as-a-rock A380 aircraft struck… by lightning!

It is not uncommon for aircraft to be struck by lightning but this super heavy Emirates Airbus A380 got hit by a jagged bolt of lightning right over the pilot’s seats.

A huge amount of electric energy must have passed through the airframe of the aircraft during its approach at London Heathrow last week. Amazingly the commercial aircraft escaped damage, and nobody was hurt.

Is it any wonder this airplane may sustain such a stress in a clap of thunder? The size and the nature of the A380 airframe seems to be the right solution to such hazards. Thanks to its thick metal structure, the plane behaved as a perfect Faraday cage:

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Cold weather DC3 cargo aircraft flights to Antarctica

The Canadian Kenn Borek Ltd. DC-3 you can see below has been modified to perform landing on ice strips with skis. This aircraft, as well as another DC-3T – a Basler BT-67 – carry out Antartica Logistics and Expeditions (ALE) flights. Therefore they have been upgraded to sustain take off, flight, and landing at very low temperatures. Please, listen to Philippe Cousteau:

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Boeing Phantom Ray maiden flight

The Boeing J-UCAS (Joint-Unmanned Combat Air System) took off from Ewards U.S. Air Force Base on April 27, 2011. This stealthy drone has been developed from the X-45C.

Video of the first flight:

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