CLOSE
Original image

Grounded

Original image

Not a great week for JetBlue. While there were isolated reports of the esteemed airline's positive handling of weather-related delays, not much goodwill was engendered with all the cancellations.

I've never had the pleasure of flying JetBlue, but I've heard all the glowing praise. They dominated the 2006 J.D. Power customer satisfaction rankings. So they must have a penchant for being on time, right?

Not so, says the FlightStats carrier performance summary (PDF here). In December, JetBlue finished dead last out of forty airlines, with only 63.5% of flights arriving on-time. In fact, 15.9% of delays were "Excessive" (over forty-five minutes), which was also the worst.

For the record, Aloha Airlines won the gold, with 91.6% of flights on-time. Delta was the highest-ranked major carrier, in fifth place with 80.4%.

FlightStats is a pretty powerful tool. I'm flying from Newark to Durham in two months, and will now put Aloha Airlines at the top of my consideration set. Oh, right.

So, anyone get stuck on the tarmac last week? Let's also open up the floor for any bad travel stories. Air it out.

Original image
iStock
arrow
Big Questions
What's the Difference Between Vanilla and French Vanilla Ice Cream?
Original image
iStock

While you’re browsing the ice cream aisle, you may find yourself wondering, “What’s so French about French vanilla?” The name may sound a little fancier than just plain ol’ “vanilla,” but it has nothing to do with the origin of the vanilla itself. (Vanilla is a tropical plant that grows near the equator.)

The difference comes down to eggs, as The Kitchn explains. You may have already noticed that French vanilla ice cream tends to have a slightly yellow coloring, while plain vanilla ice cream is more white. That’s because the base of French vanilla ice cream has egg yolks added to it.

The eggs give French vanilla ice cream both a smoother consistency and that subtle yellow color. The taste is a little richer and a little more complex than a regular vanilla, which is made with just milk and cream and is sometimes called “Philadelphia-style vanilla” ice cream.

In an interview with NPR’s All Things Considered in 2010—when Baskin-Robbins decided to eliminate French Vanilla from its ice cream lineup—ice cream industry consultant Bruce Tharp noted that French vanilla ice cream may date back to at least colonial times, when Thomas Jefferson and George Washington both used ice cream recipes that included egg yolks.

Jefferson likely acquired his taste for ice cream during the time he spent in France, and served it to his White House guests several times. His family’s ice cream recipe—which calls for six egg yolks per quart of cream—seems to have originated with his French butler.

But everyone already knew to trust the French with their dairy products, right?

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

Original image
iStock
arrow
science
Belly Flop Physics 101: The Science Behind the Sting
Original image
iStock

Belly flops are the least-dignified—yet most painful—way of making a serious splash at the pool. Rarely do they result in serious physical injury, but if you’re wondering why an elegant swan dive feels better for your body than falling stomach-first into the water, you can learn the laws of physics that turn your soft torso a tender pink by watching the SciShow’s video below.

SECTIONS

More from mental floss studios