Monday, February 16, 2009


I'm not a fan of most humans. There's a pretty narrow range of folks on this planet I get along with. I think this is because most folks just seem to stumble around without thinking, and it drives me nuts.

I am reminded of my general contempt for humanity whenever I fly. Humans at their irrational, self-interested worst.

Take the boarding process. People tend to forget that the plane isn't taking off until we're all on board. And while they rightly think that boarding the plane quickly might speed up the departure, they tend to ignore clear instructions on how to actually make the boarding process happen more quickly, and instead follow their own lizard-brain scarce resource competitive programming.

Example: My trip home from London

The counter staff announce to folks very clearly that they should only approach the gate when their section has been called, because failure to do so slows down the process. So what do the sheeple do when they ask the first group to board? They mob the gateway, so that everyone approaching the gate must slowly wade through a sea of bleating idiots, trying to determine whether the person they're about to step past is genuinely in the queue to board, or just mobbing the area because they can't think and follow directions. And so a stroll that should take 10 seconds takes 60.

So the sheeple, all trying to get in front of their tiny boarding group, and thus get on the plane more quickly, actually slow the process for everyone ahead of them in line.

Now on some levels, this actually makes sense: The only people they can beat on the plane are people in their own boarding group. Slowing the process for the groups ahead doesn't change the sequence of the boarding in their group, just the time that their boarding begins. So if people only care about being the first in their group, mobbing makes sense, if they're willing to screw folks boarding ahead of them and slow the entire process, just to have a better shot at the overhead space in row 42.

I actually approve of Southwest's cattle corral batching process, which does seem to speed entrance onto the plane. If humas are going to act like sheep, treat them that way.