I am often amazed at the resources that pop up online without much fanfare. One for Transportation is the Research and Innovation Technology Administration, thankfully shortened to ”RITA” , which is part of the Bureau of Transportation Statistics at BTS.gov . Here you’ll find flight, airline, and airport statistics provided by the US Government that include everything from flight delays to jobs in the industry. If you are a researcher this is an essential resource, and even travelers will find the information very interesting. Did you know, for example, that extra baggage fees were $887 million – almost a billion dollars – in the second quarter of 2011. This is a lot of extra revenue for the airlines and also suggests an obvious budget cutting travel tip – travel light and use a carry on rather than checked baggage! You won’t save $887 million, but one of the reasons that number is so high is that the extra baggage fees have become exceptionally high over the last few years as many flights do NOT provide any free checked bags. My personal experience has been that travelling light has many, many advantages. For example on our 2010 family trip to Venice, Italy we decided to walk to our hotel from the train station rather than hire a water taxi. This was a charming walk because we only had one bag each to roll along, with more it would not have been possible.