More than 100,000 bowlers are flying into and out of Reno this spring, bringing millions of dollars to our local economy. Each bowler also brings along an average of two bowling balls, which means added weight on airplanes that fly in and out of Reno. Not many people think about the impact of 200,000 bowling balls on the airlines.
We found out that most of those bowling balls end up in checked baggage, and at 11-16 pounds per bowling ball, that's a lot of extra weight, weight that is felt at the Reno-Tahoe International airport.
Each bowler comes with an average of two 15-pound bowling balls. Southwest Airlines flies most of the bowlers in and out of Reno, and handles all the extra baggage with a sense of humor. "Have you ever hear the saying 'what do you have in there, a bowling ball?'" laughed Melissa Farnsworth, station manager of ground operations with Southwest Airlines.
She says that in the past, checked luggage wasn't actually weighed, and bowling balls could add undocumented weight to a flight. Now, she says, every checked bag is carefully weighed before takeoff. "Anything over 50-pounds is documented and an additional weight is added so the aircraft is in balance and the weight is accurate," said Farnsworth.
No worries for passengers, but bowlers do have an impact in other ways. Airport spokesman, Brian Kulpin, says bowlers are great for our economy. "They're huge for us," he said. "Literally next year, in 2013, when the men's and women's tournaments are combined, 25% of our seats every single day will be filled with bowlers," he added. That's guaranteed revenue for airlines, that most cities can't promise.
Bowlers bring business to hotels, restaurants, and even taxicabs. Not to mention shopping. And they make for interesting anecdotes at the airport. Melissa Farnsworth remembers one event that happened years ago. "I worked as a ramp agent in Reno and we had a bowling ball coming off the aircraft. The bag wasn't zipped all the way. The bowling ball actually came out of the bag, and bounced down the ramp. So unfortunately our customers may have seen it, but we had to go and retrieve the ball and get it back in its carrier."
Bowling balls going astray is a small price to pay for millions of dollars in revenue, and happy customers.
As for the economy, Reno will welcome bowlers for years to come, because the United States Bowling Congress tournament will return to the National Bowling Stadium through 2015.
Saturday, May 25 2013 2:16 AM EDT2013-05-25 06:16:04 GMT
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