It looks mighty cold out there!

It looks mighty cold out there!

The Library of Congress shows that Matthew Henson was the first person to reach the North Pole on April 6, 1909. It took him eight attempts to finally make it to the North Pole. The journey was difficult and I bet he never imagined that a little over 100 years later an airline could have flown over the North Pole region 10,000 times. United Airlines flight 898 from Beijing to Washington, DC marks their 10,000th polar flight.

Today in the Sky points out that United Airlines has quite a few daily flights on four polar routes: Chicago-O’Hare Beijing; Chicago O’Hare-Shanghai; Chicago O’Hare-Hong Kong; and Washington Dulles-Beijing. The routes and flights didn’t come easy. In 1999 with the combination of better technology and better cooperation from Russia, UA were able to start the first of these first flight in Jan 1999 from Chicago to Hong Kong.

Polar flights are able to save time, fuel and money. Currently United Airlines only flies about 20% of the polar flights worldwide.

Image: hundun

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me:
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Saving time and money while increasing exposure to harmful radiation. A cool idea, but – I’m truly skeptical of the risks.

You know while I was researching this story I did find some people talking about the radiation. Have you blogged on this already? I think it is an interesting idea!

A cool idea – as in – it’s one of the coolest things that exists in aviation. If I’m being incoherent, it’s because I slept three hours last night.

Ha! I get it Gray. Coolest like cold, like the north pole is cold? 🙂


They currently “only” fly about 20% of the polar flights worldwide? Does somebody fly more polar flights than UA?

Other airlines flying over the pole are: American, Air Canada, Cathay Pacific, Continental, Delta/Northwest, Emirates, Korean Air, and Singapore Airlines.

And actually the 20% was from 2007 when there were almost 8,000 polar flights and United fly 20% of those.

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