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Regarding boarding airplanes, I've seen ads for KLM recently that display jetbridges which allow simultaneous access to both the front and rear doors of the airplane. This seems (a) obvious, and (b) relatively cheap, to implement. And yet I have never encountered these at a US airport. Why? (The real benefit -- at least psychologically, for passengers -- would be in faster deplaning, I think.)


I'm curious as to whether any studies have considered the effect of checked bag fees and the increase in carry-on luggage on boarding times. My hunch is that the bag fees caused increased boarding time as a result of time required to stow additional bags, people over-packing and lax enforcement on carry-on bag size from the airlines.

Thought you might enjoy this on Piketty:

NO! We don't want more appearances from Piketty's Army

Too late, you're here

General Lee, I have no division.

6. 2011? Has it really become that hard to actually find something interesting in Germany that is less than a year old? Plus, the citation text is misleading, if not precisely incorrect, as noted by this link - 'Hours of training, cajoling and tons of treats have resulted in Luna the cow able to jump over makeshift hurdles of beer crates and painted logs.

"She thinks she's a horse," said Regina Mayer, from Laufen, southern Germany.


Anne Wiltafsky, who trains cows near the Swiss city of Zurich, said Luna's talents are not particularly surprising and that, historically, it was quite common to ride cows and use them as workhorses.

"Especially younger ones can jump really well," Miss Wiltafsky said in a telephone interview, adding that cows are lovable companions because they're easy-going, have strong nerves and are "unbelievably devoted" to people they like.'

#1 who advocates that banks do not make loans and instead hold 100% reserves??? This is a straw man. The much more more common proposal is that, to avoid a large moral hazard problem, depositor banks cannot also act as investment banks that buy and sell stocks.

Whenever you see "fractional reserve banking" abruptly stop reading, expeditiously hit that red x on the upper right, and conclusively write off the author as an imbecile.

FDIC insurance has pretty much ended FDIC-insured bank runs.

The so-called Volcker Rule in the Dodd-Frank Act prohibits "proprietary trading." It restricts US banks from making speculative investments which do not benefit their customers. The concern was that speculative investment activities played heavy roles in the financial crisis of 2007–2010. The rule is a prohibition on proprietary trading by commercial banks wherein depositors' monies were employed to trade on a bank's own account.

Yes exactly. The issue wasn't what banks were investing deposits in, the issue was investments made with the bank's own levered capital -- which has nothing at all to do with banking narrow or wide.

If you want to invest your own capital -- open a hedge fund or private equity firm. If you want to be a fee for service adviser for mergers and acquisitions, IPOs, add and debt offerings -- open an investment bank boutique. Either way you should have no access to the discount window, or FDIC insured deposits.

8. Smaller planes, more frequent flights. Larger planes, fewer flights, means extra time and stress when boarding and "deplaning" (it's not really a word, but has become the term used by all airlines for departing the plane). US Air has a fleet of prop jets (the Dash 8) that board quickly and, consequently, are on the ground for a very short time. At one time I traveled every week, mostly on the Dash 8. When US Air discontinued using its Dash 8 fleet in my region, traveling suddenly became a far worse, and much more stressful, experience. Smaller planes, more flights.

I don't think the economics works out for the airline companies. More crew. More fuel.

The basic concept of the A380 - a large number of pasengers who debark after trans-oceanic flights - is another model.

One that is considerably more profitable in terms of airliner sales, till now, than Boeing's Dreamliner vision.

And do note that comment about KLM - it isn't as if a second (or multiple - the A380 is a two level aircraft - ) jetways are all that expensive.

But then, the A380 also assumes its passengers will be deplaning at airports (like Frankfurt) with access to high speed rail - making it somewhat unsuited for North American markets.

A380 vs 787, these planes serve very different markets well.

A380 is good for very dense routes with lots of passengers and especially at heavily congested/slot restricted airports. You can move a lot more people for each takeoff and landing.

The 787 on the other hand is fewer passengers, costs a lot less to operate, but is still an ultra long range aircraft. It works well for 'long thin' routes -- direct service between cities that wouldn't get it with aircraft that have a higher capacity. The 787 lets British Airways try Austin - London non-stop, without it they need to shuttle passengers through Dallas. United is able to offer Melbourne non-stop service (remains to be seen if it'll work) when they don't have enough passengers at a high enough fare to make the route work with a 777, 747, or larger.

You simply couldn't fly an A380 economically on long thin routes, and you wouldn't put a 787 on major routes except to increase frequency which can be tough at some airports.

The A380 does not assume anything about high-speed rail. That's absurd. You're talking about 525 passengers instead of 425 or so on a 747 previously. Is an extra 100 (or even 200) passengers per flight (on a very small fraction of the total daily flights) going to swamp an airport's ability to handle them without high-speed rail?

A slight error. He meant to say H1B visas. Or maybe something to do with racial genetic predispositions. Whatever his favorite axe to grind -- whether it fits or not -- that's for sure.

If you expect 15-20 years of service are jetways that expensive? I'm pretty sure jetways are not a significant cost for the whole airport.

Another issue, do air companies really want the passengers to board in less time? There are other activities to do in ground like refueling, baggage and food load, plane control surfaces check (ice removal), waiting for takeoff slot in the airport, etc.

From a marketing point of view it's good to discharge the responsibility of delays to the passengers, but not too much to make them feel bad. You can reach a fine equilibrium by adopting creative ways to reduce boarding time but praying for them not to work. That leaves the air companies enough time to finish all other in ground activities and avoid the embarrassment for the pilot or the company of having to tell all the seated and anxious passengers: "please wait a few minutes while the refueling ends".

#3b: Will the italian robots fake injuries?

Even for somebody who has never boarded a plane without seat assignment, is it really so hard to figure out what goes wrong there? Everybody tries to board before everybody else. People push each other out of the way. People travelling together split up, one goes in first, holds seats for the others, usually standing in the aisle in an attempt to hold bin space as well. People travelling solo take window seats and aisle seats, then people in the aisle seats have to get up when only middle seats are left. Then there's somebody at the end with a child, no two adjacent seats left, flight attendants start searching for a volunteer who would sacrifice one of those prized non-middle seats and so on. It's a mess. Slow and, worse, unnecessarily stressful.

8. There's a very good reason wealthy people don't fly commercial: it's a miserable experience. Read the comments above. Are the passengers people or cattle? I would choose a smaller plane if it were an option. But I'm not a cow. I suppose the reality is that many passengers are. Moo!

Try business or first if you don't like the crush in economy. There is a lot of nostalgia for the way flying used to be (great service, uncrowded airports, glamorous). But it was hellishly expensive, like business class today. The reality is that most people will choose cheapness over quality all the time and the airlines are just responding to that choice. In Europe Ryanair makes a business model out of charging for extra services, like priority boarding. Most people do not pay for this.People really would rather not spend the extra $10 and suffer the congestion.

After all, $10 will pay someone at minimum wage to put up with a whole hour's worth of work, why pay that to avoid 3 minutes' worth of congestion?

+1 for first class. It alleviates a lot of problems.

"Are the passengers people or cattle?"

I think the technically correct description is "self-loading cargo."

#8. How depressing, though not surprising, that airlines are inconveniencing me with their boarding procedures for profit maximizing reasons. It would have been nice to think that is was costing them money.

Now, has anyone solved the problem of why AMTRACK does it?

What does Amtrak do?

Amtrak has a no-reserved seating fight-it-out-among-yourselves attitude to seating, even in first class. At least around here. Good luck if you have a group travelling together. I think it's one of several reasons you never see families of the train - they're either on a plane or in the minivan.

Families "on" the train, not "of" the train...

One reason this is a particular problem with trains is that people often get on in the middle of the route, like with a bus, and it's not an empty vehicle, like with a plane. So there's a seat here and a seat there, but not four seats together.

8. It's like a bank run. If I don't get that overhead bin space someone else will.

If you are in the area, I recommend this event. Hopefully, it will be made available online:

Fixing the Banks with Limited Purpose Banking – a Real Chicago Plan
May 12, 2014 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Chicago Booth School of Business C01
- See more at:

Regarding #1, I keep forgetting to mention this essay: James Buchanan: Economists have no clothes.

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