Saturday, August 7, 2010

Crime Doesn't Pay

I will be going to the airport soon, and this not long after coming from a trans-Atlantic round-trip a couple of weeks ago. I don't mind plane rides other than it's impossible to lay back far enough to sleep well. At least that's the case in coach. A few hundred more dollars, maybe I'll enjoy a higher class seat. As long as I have a book and an occasional drink, all if fine.

But what kills me is waiting for getting on the plane. Obviously between connecting flights you need some layover time or potentially miss a flight. On my most recent round-trip, I had a seven hour layover in Chicago. I knew that going in, but the plane had mechanical problems. This added another two hours or so of waiting. This waiting period became longer than the actual flight! You can't read anything that long without your eyes burning out. And with $9 crappy beer in a plastic cup, it's hard to make the time go well.

It almost feels criminal, and in fact I think it is. The airports are literally killing. Killing time.

The shear level of chronocide is astounding. There has to be a better way. Unfortunately, with the complexity of the machines involved and the large numbers of people to operate and who need to travel, it's hard to get past the problem. Other than everyone gets flying cars or teleporters, I don't know what can solve this.

What can make mass transit more efficient?

I can think of one thing: make chronocide criminal. That is, if you have to wait longer for a plane than you should, that should be compensated financially. Perhaps this will give an incentive to airlines to find ways of minimizing delays. Inter-airline competition obviously has not eliminated such delays, probably since all airlines are willing to accept delays and so creates a plateau of wasted time no one can avoid. But if chronocide becomes too expensive for airports and airlines, maybe that could change it.

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