... from the desk of Roger Sullivan

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

What happened to the cosmic order?

As our local sportscaster said last night, “When I left on vacation, there were nine planets and the Sox were in first place.” As of this posting, the Red Sox trail the NYY by seven games. At the beginning of the season, or even a month ago, no one would have believed the turnabout.
Speaking of cosmic order, airline travel is once again an official pain in the neck. My back is grateful for the lightened load. But my need to hit the ground running on the other end of the flight has hit a serious setback called “queuing theory.”
When I was a lad, the study of mathematics wasn’t one of my top leisure pastimes. However, I do remember enough to relate my recent airport experiences with randomized versus ordered queues. It goes smoothly enough at check-in, but horribly long at baggage claim. All of those bags that were checked in reasonably spaced increments now are now offloaded simultaneously.
How’d ya’ like to be an airline manager trying to figure out how to make a buck with fuel prices soaring and the ratio of passengers to checked luggage is approaching 1:1? You save where you can, but hiring more staff to handle the significantly increased baggage load is not an option.
I fly in and out of Boston’s Logan. It was chronically the worst airport in the U.S. for baggage claim retrieval. Now it’s worse. Interesting article here ... Though I wonder how much “volunteering” there actually was.


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