In your infuriating travel story of the day, there's news of dozens of Continental Airlines' supposedly nonstop transatlantic flights stopping for fuel and causing
headaches delays for thousands of travelers all because the company wants to save money. The Wall Street Journal explains today that the headwinds from Europe to the United States averaged 47 knots last month (they're usually 30), which means planes have to burn more fuel to get from here to there. But, United Continental has been using smaller planes to save money--smaller planes that can't hold as much fuel. And when heavier winds kick up, that means travelers are treated to an unscheduled stop. As The Journal reports, "Last month, United said, its 169-seat 757s had to stop 43 times to refuel out of nearly 1,100 flights headed to the U.S. A year earlier, there were only 12 unscheduled stops on roughly the same volume of 757 flights." And the unscheduled stops are not in fun spots. The Journal adds, "Remote Canadian fields at Gander and Goose Bay are the primary places to top off the tanks, but United confirmed that some of its 757 jets were also diverted to Iceland; Ireland; Nova Scotia; Albany, N.Y.; and Stewart International Airport, 60 miles north of Manhattan."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.