Why Do Bees Swarm Airports?


A swarm of bees kept US Airways Flight 2690 grounded at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport yesterday afternoon for over two hours. The plane, which was heading to Indianapolis, was unable to take off when the swarm surrounded the nose of the plane. Since some people on board were allergic to bees, the passengers were kept on the plane to avoid contact with the insects. A beekeeper was called in to dissolve the dilemma — an appropriate response to a situation like this since honeybees, which are becoming rapidly endangered, play an instrumental role in agriculture. But this isn’t the first time bees have affected air travel, nor will it be the last.Swarming bees are not, despite pop culture representation, aggressive. To the contrary, these bees are full of honey they stored up on for their trip and are relatively placid — they’re just looking for a new home. Swarms develop when a colony has become overpopulated. The old queen bee assembles a team of workers to follow her to a new location, which is determined and agreed upon by scout bees. The swarm typically travels only 20 minutes or so from its original location to the new hive. Every now and then, the location for the new hive is not ideal -– as in the case of swarms near airports or airplanes. A beekeeper is usually then brought in to help relocate the migrating bees.

Yesterday’s occurrence wasn’t the first time swarming bees affected air travel. Here are some other flights affected by bee interference:

25,000 Bees Found Dead In Oregon

‘Soccer Ball-Sized’ Swarm Of Bees Disrupts Flight

Andy Hay via Flickr

Travelers have grown used to numerous airline interruptions, but Wednesday’s delay of a US Airways flight from Charlotte may have been a first.

A “soccer ball-sized” swarm of bees descended upon workers towing Flight 2690 from the gate, causing them to hastily retreat. Passengers on the Indianapolis-bound plane had no idea what was happening until the pilot announced over the intercom that the jet was under attack from the winged insects. No bees managed to make it into the aircraft.

Help arrived a short time later in the form of beekeeper Jimmy Odom, who drove the bees and their queen away from the runway. Odom said the bees were docile and merely looking for a new place to hang their hive.

The 1:15 p.m. flight, which had already been delayed 30 minutes for an unrelated mechanical issue, finally took off around 4 p.m. It’s not known if any passengers were stung by missed connecting flights.

Flight 2690’s misfortune was just one of the mishaps happening at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport that day. A plane flying to Rome from the airport was rerouted to Philadelphia after mechanical issues popped up above the Atlantic Ocean. And earlier in the day, a moving walkway caught fire in one of the concourses, forcing an evacuation of the smoke-filled terminal.

A Guide To In-Flight Wi-Fi And Power Outlets

BrentDPayne, Flickr

In-flight internet access is on the up and up. Thanks to a list compiled by Lifehacker, it’s now easy to get a glimpse of just how much progress has been made over the past few years. It looks like AirTran and Virgin America are the best bets for in-flight Wi-Fi, while United Airlines is the worst. According to the company’s website, only 59 of the airline’s 700+ planes have Wi-Fi.

We did a little more digging to find out exactly where airline Wi-Fi stands (prices are for domestic flights), and here’s what we came up with:

*These fleets are serviced by Gogo Inflight Internet. Frequent fliers will want to consider buying a Gogo pass, which can cover all flights in a day or month. Since the majority of airlines use Gogo, one pass could cover multiple legs of a trip — even if different airlines are used.

It is also important to note that even if the airplane you’re flying has Wi-Fi, every seat may not have access to a power outlet. No airline has yet ensured outlets at each seat, but Seat Guru has documented where the power outlets are in each type of aircraft. Additionally, you’ll want to check and make sure you have the right adaptor, or you might find it difficult to get some work done at 10,000 feet.

What Would You Do With One Million Loyalty Points?

Loyalty
the Italian voice/Flickr

That’s the question 10 lucky winners will need to decide in Best Western International’s Loyalty Millionaires promotion, a part of their 25th anniversary celebration. Two randomly selected winners will be chosen each week through July 14, each winning one million bonus points to redeem in any way they like, and not just on hotel rooms either.

“Whether it’s a trip with the family or that special something you’ve been saving for, we hope our 10 lucky loyalty millionaires get their summer off to a great start,” said Dorothy Dowling, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Best Western International in a Broadway World article.
With more than 60 redemption options starting at 8,000 points, including free hotel nights, retail gift cards like Starbucks, Target, Home Depot and Amazon, BWR members have countless options to redeem their rewards points. One BWR member recently redeemed their points for retail partner gift cards and used them to buy a tractor.
Redemption options include free hotel nights as well as retail gift cards like Apple, Barnes and Noble, Starbucks, Walmart, Target, Home Depot and Busch Gardens.

But what, exactly, might one million Best Western points get you? We did some calculations for a variety of stuff Gadling readers might want to have or do.For starters, a million points will get you about four months in a Best Western Hotel. But it will also enable buying 200,000 air miles on American, Delta, US Airways or Alaska Airlines. You could also get $3,846 in gift cards from Starbucks, Disney, Outback Restaurants or Dunkin Donuts. Want to spend those million points on gear? You could walk away with a Canon PowerShot A2600, some Beats by Dre Studio High-Definition Headphones, a Samsung 8GB Galaxy 2 Tablet 7″ Screen and tickets to see 400 movies at an AMC Theater with some change leftover.

Read more about Best Western Re
To enter, sign up for the free Best Western Loyalty program then register on the Loyalty Millionaire tab on their Facebook page.

New Loyalty Perks for Smartphone Shoppers

American Airlines To Cram More Seats Onto Aircraft

legroom plane
big-ashb, Flickr

As if squeezing into an economy-class seat wasn’t already a claustrophobe’s nightmare, American Airlines has announced plans to add even more seats to its planes, further encroaching on passenger legroom.

The carrier, which is trying to raise revenue following its merger with US Airways, will increase the number of economy class seats on its 737s and MD-80 fleet. The news came out after the airline’s VP of flight services made an announcement to the carrier’s flight attendants.

American Airlines says it doesn’t know exactly how many extra seats it will add, but airline consultant Michael Boyd told CNN that for the plan to be cost-effective, the airline would have to install at least 10 new seats in each aircraft. Adding what amounts to roughly two extra rows would mean taking 2.5 inches of legroom from each of the existing rows of seats.Freaking out yet? Well Boyd said passengers shouldn’t be too concerned at this stage. A slimmer seat design, along with changes to the bathroom and galley layout could save precious space. All up, he believes we might be left with about one inch less legroom once the new seats are installed. Still, it’s one inch too much for passengers who are already feeling the pinch.