Ninety percent of the American domestic travel aircraft are twin-engine jets as they are the less costly commercial travel jet to operate. Twin engines have two engines and two propellers. Nearly 13 million U.S. airliner hours were recorded in 2009. Of the more than 87,000 flights each day in the United States, only one-third of those are commercial flights.
Airbuses are one of the most popular airliners in the United States. Examples of domestic commercial airliners used are: the Boeing 747 and the newer 787 models. Older models may still be in use, but are out-of-production, such as the DC-9 and DC-10. The 747 and the McDonnell-Douglas DC-9 are arguably the most used airliners by domestic commercial carriers by percent and logged air hours.
Of the top ten U.S. airlines, all scheduled passengers flying U.S. airlines, were down, except JetBlue; and, from January through September 2009, all domestic flights were down nearly three percent. The amount of flying passengers down nearly seven percent and the amount of manufactured planes were down for the same year. Still there are around 5000 planes in the sky at any given moment in the United States.
General aircraft types are:
- Cargo: mostly carry things, not people, except some carry a very limited amount of passengers
- Helicopters: usually seats less than 10 passengers and is suited to very short trips
- Turboprops: these can carry up to around 70 passengers and are well-suited for trips up to four hours. Another type of turboprop is the economical twin piston which carries only up to eight people and is for trips of short duration. These planes are mostly for business use. Although they are smaller than commercial airliners, they often travel higher and faster than them.
- Airliners: seats 50 to 400 passengers depending on whether the flight is domestic or international. This is a large aircraft suitable for very long flights without refueling.
Airliners are what most Americans commercially travel on domestically. Specific airliner types depend on the manufacturer. There are often slight variations on internal amenities such as seat width and legroom depending also if that specific type of aircraft operates short or long flights, and has mostly economy, first or business class seats. For instance, some seats have extra legroom due to their location and positioning of the aircraft’s bulkheads.
No matter what kind of airliner you travel on, certain basic items are required or suggested for domestic travel in the United States: a paper or e-ticket is required and a travel insurance policy or travel medical insurance is highly suggested. You never know when you will need to use your travel insurance policy which can be because of: lost or stolen luggage, change in flights, theft in airline ticket etc.