It has been hot. I mean…HOT. It’s been a long time since we’ve had so many 100 plus degree days here in the DC area. Heat doesn’t bother me like it used to. I spent 2 years in Dallas during my airline time. I moved there in April. It was 75 degrees and sunny everyday. I thought…wow..what a great place. On June 1st the temp rose to 110 degrees, and I don’t think we had a break at all until the middle of September! Before my time in DFW, I didn’t care for summer at all. Ever since…heat just doesn’t bother me anymore.

Summer can be especially tricky for travelers. Thunderstorms, hurricanes, crowds, density altitude…. What’s density altitude? It’s an airplane thing. 🙂 Without getting too technical, and thus embarrassing myself, I’ll just say that as air gets hotter, and more humid, it becomes less dense. Here’s an excellent article on the subject. This negatively impacts aircraft performance in a variety of ways, most notably, airplanes need longer runways, and don’t climb as well.

This is especially problematic at short runway fields such as Reagan National (DCA). I remember getting yelled at by a particularly testy passenger telling me that I had overbooked the flight and all this weight restriction stuff was bullsh*t. I wonder what he thought when the flight left with 20 empty seats because we just couldn’t carry the passengers due to the negative impact of the hot summer day on the aircraft’s performance?

Just a little friendly advice, one way to help survive summer on the road is to fly early. Not only are those pesky thunderstorms far less likely before the day gets hot, but you are also far less likely to run into a relatively little known problem with summer travel from certain airports, weight restrictions. I’ll stop babbling for now!