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Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Today in History: Lindbergh and Earhart Took Flight

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

On this day in 1927, Charles Lindbergh took off from Long Island, N.Y. in his custom-built Spirit of St. Louis. The plane was so fuel-heavy that it barely cleared the telephone wires at the end of the runway—and the close calls didn't end there. Lindbergh became sleepy after only a few hours and decided to fly within 10 feet of the water to keep his mind sharp. The fight to stay awake persisted. He later held his eyelids open, and in a fog, hallucinated that ghosts were passing through the cockpit. Some 3610 miles and 33 hours after departure, Lindbergh landed in Paris and became the first person in history to make a solo transatlantic flight. He’d been awake for 55 hours.

Exactly five years later, Amelia Earhart flew out of Newfoundland in her red Lockheed Vega to become the first woman (and second person) to pilot a solo flight across the Atlantic. She was already a well-known figure for being the first woman to cross the Atlantic in an aircraft as part of a team in 1928. After that arduous flight, she spoke to The New York Times:

"Tired and hungry, but cheerful," she commented, lounging in her wooly coat and breeches and stout leather boots. "And we got here all right. There wasn't any race with Miss Boll, but, of course, I'm glad to be the first woman across."

On her solo journey four years later, weather and technical troubles forced Earhart to land in Ireland instead of Paris, about 2447 miles and 14 hours into the journey. It was plenty far enough to make her way into the history books.

How did the historic aviators pack for their respective flights? Lindbergh brought five sandwiches and said, "If I get to Paris, I won’t need any more, and if I don’t get to Paris, I won’t need any more either." Amelia Earhart brought chicken soup in a thermos and a can of tomato juice, which she opened with an ice pick.

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Food
United Airlines Has Gotten Rid of Tomato Juice, and Customers Are Freaking Out
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Lovers of tomato juice are a small camp, but a vocal one. And they're furious that United Airlines has replaced their beloved Mott's tomato juice with Mr. and Mrs. T Bloody Mary Mix on all flights under four hours, which includes most of its domestic runs. United said these changes are part of efforts to “streamline” its food service, the Chicago Business Journal reports.

The stealth substitution has fueled a rebellion among loyal tomato juice fans, as The Week points out.

There is some truth to the claim that tomato juice tastes better on flights. One study revealed that the noise level on an airplane affects our perception of taste, making savory or umami flavors more delicious. Another industry-funded study said the air pressure and humidity levels make bolder drinks seem more appealing.

Premium and economy passengers flying United can also say goodbye to Sprite Zero, Jim Beam, Courvoisier, and Amaretto, which were cut from the menu. And although airlines are not exactly known for their cuisine to begin with, passengers will likely start to see a difference in the types of meals being offered. The Chicago Business Journal writes:

"The reduction in food being offered in many instances in first-class and business-class cabins is not insignificant. Hot breakfasts are being replaced on some routes with only fruit plates and muffins, and more substantial lunches are being switched out for wraps and chocolate slabs."

The airline has said it is "monitoring customer feedback."

[h/t The Week]

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Live Smarter
This Travel Site Factors in Baggage Fees to Show You the True Cost of Your Flight
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If you're looking to find the best deal on airfare, there are more tools out there to help you than ever before. Travel sites allow users to compare ticket prices based on airlines and the dates of their trip, but the numbers they show don't always paint the full picture. Additional fees for baggage can make a flight that seemed like a steal at booking suddenly a lot less convenient. Fortunately for frugal flyers, KAYAK has found a way to work this factor into their equations, Travel + Leisure reports.

To use the fare search engine's new baggage fee feature, start by entering the information for your flight like you normally would. Flying from New York to Chicago and back the first week of May? KAYAK recommends taking Spirit Airlines if you're looking to pay as little as possible.

But let's say you plan on checking two bags on your flight—different airlines charge different baggage fees, so Spirit may no longer be the cheapest option. If that's the case, KAYAK includes a Fee Assistant bar right above the search results. After entering the number of carry-on and checked bags you'll be traveling with, the results will automatically update to show the true cost of your fare. Ticket prices for New York to Chicago rise across the board with the addition of two checked bags, and Delta now becomes the best deal if you're looking to book through one airline.

The new baggage fee assistant is one way for travelers to make savvier purchases when booking online. But even with the added fees included, you'll need to do some extra research to determine the true value you get from each ticket price that pops up. Wi-Fi, legroom, and in-flight meal quality are all factors that could make a slightly more expensive airline worth it once you board.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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