An Internet Crawl
September 13, 2011
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I started by reading a news article about how airplanes are more densely packed than ever before. Why is this? There was a time when air travel was luxurious. When did it become so lowbrow and pedestrian? Low fares, obviously. Everyone can afford to fly now and there are more people now than ever.
Let’s find out about the first point in that statement. The news article makes mention of a deregulation act passed in 1978. Coincidently, that’s about the time air travel started declining in quality. Reading an article on the act claims it introduced competition and reduced regulation. Thanks to the lower fares, airline passengers increased from 207.5 million in 1974 to 721.1 million in 2010. Although more people are being served, the quality has suffered and the infrastructure can’t support the load.
Now look at the second part of the equation. More surfing to an article with a US Census chart shows that there are over 100 million more people in the US than when I was born. Going back to 1950. the US population is half what it is now. Can you even imagine it? Half the people everywhere? No wonder we were so prosperous at that time and now there’s not enough resources to go around.
There’s a saying that is used by people who deliver services: it’s the Tradeoff Triangle (it also goes by other names). The concept is “Good, Fast, Cheap; choose two”, which means you have to sacrifice something to get more of something else. In the case of the airline industry, everything has been sacrificed for Cheap. They’ve held on to Fast for a little while, but with the extreme increase in passenger load, it can’t be efficient anymore. Flights sell out and you have to choose a less-desirable flight time. You can get sacrifice Cheap and get a little more Good by buying business-class, but that is a limited experience.