I've been thinking about flying

I was quite recently on a trip to Rome. On the trip, I noticed that there is a load of stuff that I simply do not understand about flying, airports, people taking a flight and so on. So I decided to list all the things that I wonder about, if you have answers, let me know.

1. Getting the ticket. Sometimes, it seems that one way tickets cost more than a return fare. I just don't get it. This is pretty much public information so I guess there are a plenty of people buying return tickets instead of one way and simply leaving the other leg of their ticket unused. I guess there must be someone who falls for this and pays extra for not having a return ticket to leave unused. If you happen to be one of those people, or know one, please let me know.

2. Getting to the airport. I took a cab to the airport. There seems to be a dilemma with the airport cab pricing. If I buy my airline ticket a bit early and fix my travel date etc. beforehand, I get a discount. On the taxi though, I have to pay a few euros extra if I want to make a reservation beforehand.

3. The security check and/or terrorists. Does this really make us a bit safer? There are a lot of things that make me feel that the security people are giving us some kind of cargo cult security, carrying out established rituals that leave a few obvious gaps for those who really who want to do something nasty. I'll not go into details as to how to do so, but I think that if someone feels terroristy, they can carry out their bad deeds without my advice. The most obvious example of this quasisecurity was on Gatwick airport some months ago, where some nasty looking fellas armed with assault rifles were looking into the croud and giving the impression that they could actually do something if there was a terrorist in the croud. By the way, they were guarding people who were coming out of the planes, giving us all a hint of how much the UK officials trust the checks carried out at the other airport.

4. Getting on the plane. It seems there are a lot of people who are in a hurry to get on a plane. If you are one of the people (or happen to know one) that believes that you'll get airborne any sooner if you are among the first ones to board the plane.

5. On the plane: seating. People take great care to secure their children when driving in a car. Most of the children's seats are are designed so that the child is not facing the direction the vehicle is headed to. I am under the impression that this is to give extra security in case of head-on collision. Most airplane crashes are probably happen head-first but the same logic does not apply for aircraft. Go figure.

6. On the plane: electronic devices. During takeoff and landing, you are not allowed to read your kindle for some reason. It would make sense in a way to forbid all unbound heavy items during the riskier takeoffs and landings but no. You are allowed to read a Dostoyevsky as long as it's on paper. I assume you can hold a brick in your hands as well.

7. Getting out of the plane. Whereas it makes little sense to be among the first ones to get onboard, it makes some to get out fast. But, according to my observations the people who are the most eager to get out of the plane are the ones who have checked in luggage so that they will have to spend time waiting at the conveyor belt anyways.

Update: Quite a lot of people I have discussed with have proposed that if the plane crashes, it makes little difference how you are seated. While this is true, I wonder why they have instructions on how to brace yourself before impact. Some people have also suggested that being seated facing the back of the plane would cause nausea, which I disagree with since most of the flight is horizontal anyways with no acceleration to any direction whatsoever. Of course there is takeoff acceleration and the braking at landing, but one of these accelerations you will have acceleration that twists you off your seat in any case.

This page was last updated on 30.7.2012

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