Better than my Triumph!?

I was reading an article about ghost flights today. That is, when an airline needs to get a plane from location A to location B, but there are no passengers and they make the flight anyway. There are a myriad of reasons this happens. Sometimes, that plane just needs to be at that location to make the next flight. A bit more problematic, often the airlines access to flight slots are tied to actually using them, so if they start canceling a bunch of flights, the slots might not be available at that airport when demand returns.

And none of that really matters where the trivia question is concerned, but it is how we got here. It was mentioned in the article that some jets can use 5 gallons of fuel per mile. That number, on first blush, seems astounding. However, if you start to rub it down with some math, it’s actually pretty impressive.

For our purposes here we are talking about medium and long-haul flights, 1750 to 7200 miles. These are where you will see planes like the Boeing 777, Airbus A380, etc. The trick to the math here is number of passengers (between 241 and 544). These planes are getting absurd MPG as a plane. But if you start to look at the MPG per passenger, it gets really interesting.

On the low end, you have the Airbus A340-300, which burns 26 pounds of fuel per mile. Roughly, that is 4 gallons per mile. But the A340-300 carries 262 passengers, which puts their individual MPG at 67.4. On the other end, a Boeing 787-9 burns 20 pounds of fuel per mile (~3 gallons) while carrying 304 passengers, for 102 MPG per seat.

For reference, my Triumph motorcycle is knocking down about 42 MPG. I have to say, I was surprised. I thought the motorcycle would be better than the jet.

And this was all a great excuse to break out my latest train picture, because that’s traveling, so we are saying it applies. This is the NY subway at 72nd, right next to Central Park.

Listed in General


Comments are closed.