Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Musings on Air Travel

While waiting to disembark from my flight to Chicago from Boston, being somewhat impatient because the flight had been delayed from a couple of hours, I got a subtle but persistant feeling that there was something wrong with the unloading process. The way it usually works, when the passengers are released to get their overhead carry-ons, only a few people can get their luggage at a time. Everyone behind them must wait for them to finish and move on before they can get their baggage, while everyone behind them waits, etc. So that everyone has to spend twenty, thirty minutes waiting while every row in front of them one by one retrieves their luggage, resulting in a lot of useless down time. During this long and annoyed wait (I didn't even have any luggage overhead to get- I just had to wait for the people in front of me to slowly retrieve theirs), I came up with a better solution: Why don't they just have all the even numbered rows get their stuff and leave (or if that's too many people in the aisle at one, everyone divisible by three or four), so that they could all retrieve at once and then simultaneously move on and out, and then the odd rows do the same. There may be something mathematically wrong with my theory (it makes my head hurt to think about it too long and it's rather late), but I suspect that the real problem is that it doesn't give as much advantage to the passengers in the front seats, giving perhaps slightly less incentive to fly that way. But that's not all that much incentive, so maybe that's false too. If someone more mathematically inclined can point out the problem with the argument, it would be much appreciated.

4 comments:

Miri said...

honeychild, the problem is not the math; its the fact that you're expecting drone-like precision and timing from a bunch of untrained amatures who have just spent as much time being annoyed, tired, and delayed on the painful flight as you have. how exactly would you implement such a program? have a little training session before each flight, taking up even more of the travelers' precious time? I don't think anyone has the time or the patience, leaving aside the inevitable accusations of fascism, dictatorships, and/or communism. I'm just saying.

Tobie said...

I think that the average person is perfectly capable of getting up when they are told to do. I'm not expecting them to rise as one and click their heels or anything. Just "even rows, you can go now. Odd rows please wait." Hopefully everyone would be decent enough to obey.

Rachel said...

If you disembarked faster you'd just spend more time waiting for your baggage by the carousel. And the airline wouldn't benefit, I think outside mechanic stuff is what takes the time, so why do they care how fast people get off?

Tobie said...

If I were allowed to wait outside standing up, with the family who's coming to meet me and probably worried because I'm late instead of in the plane, I would have a lot more customer satisfaction, I think.