Strange but true travel facts

Trip Start Jan 30, 2007
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Trip End Dec 31, 2011


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Flag of United States  , New York
Sunday, March 1, 2009

From Harper's magazine search database


5/85Portion of American adults who have never flown in an airplane: 1/3
Air Transport Association of America (Washington, D.C.)

5/85Longest recorded flight by a chicken: 302' 8"
International Flying Chicken Association (Rio Grande, Ohio)

2/86Percentage of all hostage deaths in airplane hijackings since 1968 that occurred during rescue attempts: 85
Rand Corporation (Santa Monica, Calif.)/the U.S. State Department

4/86Percentage change in the number of FAA-certified airlines since deregulation: +150
Federal Aviation Commission

Percentage change in the number of FAA inspectors since then: +2
Federal Aviation Commission

8/86Percentage of cruise-missile test flights that have ended in failure: 30
Strategic Studies Program (University of Calgary)

10/87Percentage of the U.S. passenger-airline business controlled by the top eight companies in 1978: 81
Airline Economics (Washington, D.C.)

Percentage controlled by the top eight companies today: 91
Airline Economics (Washington, D.C.)

3/87Percentage change in the average fare per mile of air travel since deregulation: +42
Melvin A. Brenner Associates (Rowayton, Conn.)

3/87Market value of an airline landing slot at LaGuardia Airport in New York City: $25,000
Federal Aviation Administration

At National Airport in Washington, D.C.: $100,000
Federal Aviation Administration

3/87Cubic feet of fresh air circulated per minute for each passenger on a commercial flight in 1976: 15
Xenex (Honolulu)

Today: 6
Xenex (Honolulu)

6/87Number of feet separating President Reagan from reporters as he walks from the White House to his helicopter: 50
Hold On, Mr. President!, by Sam Donaldson (Random House)

Number of feet that separated President Carter from reporters: 2
Hold On, Mr. President!, by Sam Donaldson (Random House)

1/88Average number of days Mario Cuomo traveled outside New York State each year from 1984 to 1986: 16
Newsday (Melville, N.Y.)

Number of days Cuomo traveled outside the state in 1987: 34
Newsday (Melville, N.Y.)

11/88Members of Congress who have sent condolence letters to the families of the victims of the Iranian airliner crash: 6
Iranian Condolence Project (N.Y.C.)

8/88Amount the U.S. Air Force will spend this year on imported-goatskin flight jackets: $5,193,000
U.S. Air Force

10/89Airfare for a corpse on an American Airlines flight from New York City to Los Angeles, one way: $630
American Airlines (Dallas)

Airfare for a live person, round trip: $398
American Airlines (Dallas)

10/89Total number of frequent-flier miles U.S. airlines owe their passengers: 600,000,000,000
Frequent newsletter (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

12/89Cost to a Pole of a commercial flight on LOT Polish Airlines from Gdansk to Warsaw, in zlotys: 5,000
LOT Polish Airlines (New York City)

Cost of a 3-mile radio-taxi ride in Warsaw, in zlotys: 6,000
Gazeta Wyborcza (Warsaw)

10/90Amount the Pentagon spent on each spare toilet seat cover for its C-5B cargo plane last year: $1,868.15
Air Logistics Center, Kelly Air Force Base (San Antonio, Tex.)

2/90Percentage change, since 1974, in the amount of commercial air traffic in the United States: +100
U.S. Federal Aviation Administration

Percentage change, since 1974, in the number of commercial airports in the United States: 0
U.S. Federal Aviation Administration

6/90Number of trees Harper & Row will plant to replace those used to publish 2 Minutes a Day for a Greener Planet: 1,000
Harper & Row (San Francisco)

8/90Amount the U.S. Air Force spent this year to study the effects of jet noise on pregnant horses: $100,000
U.S. Air Force

1/91University of Colorado employees traveling to the Orange Bowl this month to handle mascot Ralphie the Buffalo: 12
John Parker, Parker Ranch (Hudson, Colo.)

4/91Average number of miles an item of food consumed in the United States travels before it is eaten: 1,200
Worldwatch Institute (Washington)

8/91Chances that a worker anywhere in the world is employed by the travel and tourism industry: 1 in 15
WEFA (Bala-Cynwyd, Pa.)

4/93Estimated distance the average major-league home run would travel if hit on the moon, in feet: 4,200
David B. Slavsky, Loyola University (Chicago)

10/94Number of transatlantic flights the Concorde can complete in the time required for Columbus's first voyage: 448
Harper's research

2/94Price, per flight, of co-piloting a Su-27 Russian fighter jet with a former Soviet test pilot, from MIGS etc. of Florida: $9,000
MIGS etc. (Sarasota, Fla.),

2/94Price paid at auction last December for an unused urine bag carried on the Soyuz 22 Soviet space flight: $1,035
Sotheby's (N.Y.C.)

8/94Price of a nine-night "Schindler's List" tour of Krakow, Poland, from Edgewater Travel in Chicago: $1,750
Edgewater Travel (Chicago)

12/96Kilos of heroin found on Colombian President Ernesto Samper's official plane last September: 8
U.S. Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs

9/96Price McDonnell Douglas charged the U.S. Air Force last year for each C-17 airplane hinge delivered: $2,187
Center for Defense Information (Washington)/General Accounting Office (Washington)

11/97Factor by which the B-2 stealth-bomber's maintenance hours have exceeded its flight hours since last year: 124
U.S. General Accounting Office

11/97Number of U.S. interceptor jets sent into Bosnian airspace in September to block "anti-NATO" broadcasts: 3
U.S. Department of Defense

11/97Months after a Hard Rock Cafe opened in Beirut last winter that the U.S. lifted its ban on travel in Lebanon: 7
Hard Rock Cafe, International (Orlando, Fla.)/U.S. State Department

12/97Number of the four bombs aboard an Air Force jet lost in the Colorado Rockies last spring that have been found: 0
U.S. Air Force

4/97Estimated number of Cobra attack helicopters privately owned by Americans: 25
F.B.I./U.S. News & World Report (Washington)

5/97Ratio of decibels emitted by an airplane jet engine to those emitted by "the Trap," a new car alarm: 1:1
Ampro Electronics Inc. (Santa Monica, Calif.)

1/98Estimated total eastern German spending on fighter jets that NATO expansion will necessitate: $10,000,000,000
Center for Defense Information (Washington)

2/98Estimated gallons of jet fuel required to send Al Gore to Kyoto's Global Warming Conference last December: 60,000
Harper's research/Boeing Co. (Seattle)

10/99Ratio of the cost of building an F-22 fighter jet to that of upgrading an F-15 to twice the F-22's effectiveness: 1,500:1
U.S. House Defense Appropriations Committee

10/99Number of Vietnam-era helicopters that the U.S. donated to Mexico for drug control between 1996 and 1997: 73
U.S. Department of Defense

Percentage of them that the U.S. agreed to take back last summer after Mexico found them defective: 100
U.S. Department of Defense

10/99Weeks after Pakistan vowed last July to rid a disputed territory of Pakistani rebels that India downed one of its planes: 6
Embassy of Pakistan (Washington)

8/99Number of live contraband Chinese chipmunks that the Dutch government ordered KLM to shred last April: 440
KLM Airlines (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

10/00Average number of miles by which the Concorde flies closer to the sun than other passenger planes: 4.7
British Airways (London)

12/00Number of planes crashed by the Wright brothers before their first successful flight on December 17, 1903: 1
Wright Brothers National Memorial (Kill Devil Hills, N.C.)

2/00Percentage of Chechnya's air force destroyed last September when Russia bombed a single plane: 100
Embassy of the Russian Federation (Washington)

4/00Percentage change between 1969 and 1998 in the annual number of planes hijacked worldwide: -89
U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (Washington)

7/00Number of full flight tests of the U.S. National Missile Defense system conducted in the program's first seven years: 2
National Missile Defense Joint Program Office (Arlington, Va.)

Number that were deemed a success: 1
National Missile Defense Joint Program Office (Arlington, Va.)

Amount by which a congressional estimate of the system's cost exceeds the Pentagon's: $19,000,000,000
Congressional Budget Office (Washington)/National Missile Defense Joint Program Office

7/00Amount the U.S. proposed charging the U.N. last May to fly a battalion of peacekeepers into Sierra Leone: $17,000,000
United Nations (N.Y.C.)

Estimated amount it would cost to fly in a battalion via commercial airline: $6,000,000
United Nations (N.Y.C.)

1/01Ratio of the record distance for human space flight to the maximum distance depicted in 2001: A Space Odyssey: 1:1,642
Harper's research

11/01Number of years that Osama bin Laden's half-brother owned the Houston Gulf Airport before his death in 1988: 6
Ian Munro (London)

Number of years since then that the airport has been owned by his estate: 13
Ian Munro (London)

10/02Total amount the Bush campaign paid Enron and Halliburton for use of corporate jets during the 2000 recount: $15,400
Enron Corp. (Houston)/Halliburton (Houston)

2/02Last year in which there was a decrease in racial-profiling claims made against U.S. airport security: 1998
U.S. Department of Transportation

Ratio of the number of such claims made last year before September 11 to those made in all of 2000: 2:1
U.S. Department of Transportation

5/02Hours for which New Orleans's airport was partly evacuated in February over a package later found to contain gumbo: 5
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (Kenner, La.)

6/02Number of ecstasy tablets seized at Miami's airport in February from an 81-year-old woman in a wheelchair: 9,931
U.S. Customs Service (Miami, Fla.)

1/03Ratio of net profit earned by U.S. airlines since 1970 to federal subsidies given the industry since September 2001: 1:1
Air Transport Association (Washington)/Harper's research

1/03Minimum number of box cutters taken from U.S. airline passengers since last February: 34,777
U.S. Transportation Security Administration

3/03Number of pygmy monkeys seized from a traveler's pants last December by L.A. customs officials: 2
Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California (Los Angeles)

4/03Fine levied on three Norwegians in 2001 for throwing paper airplanes at the U.S. embassy: $350
Aftenposten (Oslo, Norway)

9/03Months after the first manned flight that Wilbur Wright identified "war" as a potential use for airplanes: 22
James E. Tobin (Ann Arbor, Mich.)

11/04Distance in feet traveled by the winning pumpkin at Delaware's Punkin Chunkin Competition last year: 4,434.28
Bruce Bradford (Howell, Mich.)

Length in feet of the barrel of "The Second Amendment" pumpkin cannon from which it was shot: 150
Bruce Bradford (Howell, Mich.)

12/04Minutes of weightlessness that Virgin Galactic passengers will experience on suborbital space flights in 2007: 5
Virgin Group (London)

7/04Percentage increase in the SBA's travel budget requested by the White House last year: +107
U.S. Small Business Administration

10/05Number of terrorist acts that one song by the Houston-based rapper Arabic Assassin describes him committing: 4
Harper's research

Months he worked as a baggage screener at George Bush Intercontinental Airport before being fired in July: 6
Transportation Security Administration (Dallas)

11/05Minimum number of infants impeded from boarding airplanes because their names were on the U.S. no-fly list: 14
U.S. Department of Homeland Security

12/05Miles per hour of two low-flying Danish fighter jets in February when they startled a reindeer named Rudolph to death: 450
Royal Danish Air Force (Karup)

Amount his owner, a professional Santa, was paid by the Air Force in September to buy a new Rudolph: $5,000
Royal Danish Air Force (Karup)

4/05Number of private jets in China: 2
Raytheon Aircraft Company (Wichita, Kans.)

5/05Minimum number of miles that a private jet has been flown to take U.S. terror suspects to "rendition" abroad: 302,000
Kalla Fakta, TV4 (Stockholm)

Round-trips from D.C. to Tehran that this many frequent-flyer miles on American Airlines will buy: 4
American Airlines, Inc. (Fort Worth, Tex.)

7/05Tons of CO2 emissions that would be replaced each year by a proposed windmill project on Long Island: 235,000
Renewable Energy Long Island (Bridgehampton, N.Y.)

Tons produced each year by a single jumbo jet making a round-trip trans-Atlantic flight daily: 210,000
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

7/05Percentage of U.S. auto travel that occurs on two-lane roads: 28
The Road Information Program (Washington)

Percentage of traffic fatalities that do: 52
The Road Information Program (Washington)

8/05Average number of times each day that aircrafts intrude into D.C.-area restricted flight zones: 2
Federal Aviation Administration (Washington)

8/05Amount that Northwest Airlines expects to save each year by eliminating free magazines on flights: $565,000
Northwest Airlines (Minneapolis)

Amount by eliminating free pretzels: $2,000,000
Northwest Airlines (Minneapolis)

1/06Chance that an airliner has dangerous levels of disease-causing pathogens in its drinking water: 1 in 7
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

2/06Percentage of the air-ambulance helicopters in the U.S. that have crashed since 2000: 10
Alan Levin, USA Today (Washington)

4/06Chance that a passenger on a flight of two and a half hours or longer will have a cold within a week: 1 in 5
Martin B. Hocking, University of Victoria (British Columbia)

11/07Number of customers who have flown the Vatican's new "pilgrim airline" to holy sites in Europe: 890
Mistral Air (Rome)

Size, in ounces, of the bottle of holy water provided to each customer on its inaugural flight in August: 3.4
Mistral Air (Rome)

2/07Amount the Defense Department is paying North Dakota researchers to develop a biofuel for military jets: $4,800,000
Energy & Environmental Research Center (Grand Forks, N.Dak.)

3/07Amount that Iran's tourism ministry says it pays travel agents for every Westerner they bring to the country: $20
Islamic Republic News Agency (Tehran)

Amount it pays for an Asian: $10
Islamic Republic News Agency (Tehran)

10/08Amount of loose change recovered at U.S. airport-security checkpoints since 2005: $1,050,371.78
U.S. Department of Homeland Security

11/08Minimum number of reporters who traveled to Wasilla, Alaska, in the two weeks following Sarah Palin's selection as VP: 90
Office of the Mayor (Wasilla, Alaska)

12/08Year by which computer server farms worldwide are projected to produce more greenhouse gases than air travel: 2020
McKinsey & Company (N.Y.C.)

5/08Length, in miles, of Beijing's newest airport terminal: 2
Foster + Partners (London)

5/08Average number of passengers on Big Sky Airlines' daily flight from Lewistown, Montana, to Billings last year: 2
Big Sky Airlines (Billings, Mont.)

Subsidy that the federal government paid the airline per flight: $770
U.S. Department of Transportation

8/08Number of American cities where all regularly scheduled airplane service has been eliminated during the past year: 38
U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics

8/08Number of new U.S. airports built since 1993: 1
Airports Council International (Geneva)

8/08Additional cost to U.S. airlines this year due to increases in the price of fuel: $20,000,000,000
Air Transport Association of America (Washington)

8/08Total earnings for the U.S. airline industry in 1999, its most profitable year to date: $5,300,000,000
Air Transport Association of America (Washington)

8/08Years that the E.U. kept a secret list of items banned from air travel, before it agreed to publish the list this year: 5
European Commission (Brussels)

1/09Total amount the Bush campaign paid Enron and Halliburton for use of corporate jets during the 2000 recount: $15,400
Enron Corp. (Houston)/Halliburton (Houston)

1/09Number of box cutters taken from U.S. airline passengers since January 2002: 105,075
Transport Security Administration (N.Y.C.)

3/09Amount an undisclosed buyer offered the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport last year for the Larry Craig bathroom stall: $5,000
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