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waiting on line

Jeanne Boyarsky
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Joined: May 26, 2003
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150

I'm sitting at the airport watching a line of now 30 people standing to board a flight. Note the previous flight hasn't landed yet.

Everyone will get on the plane but some will have middle seats. The only reason I'm not standing on that line is because I got a lucky auto upgrade to first class and board before them.

Not sure which is better. This system or Southwest's.


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Steve Luke
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Joined: Jan 28, 2003
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  21

I haven't flown on Southwest in a while, but that is the sort of thing that made me stop. People would show up 4 hours in advance to wait in line so if you wanted to not sit in a middle seat you had to get there early and wait in line too. When I travel I like to show up just before the flight boards. I much prefer any airline that offers assigned seats. Then I don't care how long you wait in line, I still get the seat I signed up for. Boarding by groups also helps alleviate that annoyance... At that point, crowding is more about getting your bag on the plane rather than under it.


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Jeanne Boyarsky
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Joined: May 26, 2003
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In all fairness, Southwest doesn't do that anymore. Now you get a spot in line based on when you check in or pay the fee to get a better spot or something like that. This was a Delta Shuttle flight. No assigned seats. But it is really easy to change flights so worth the hassle of not having an assigned seat. Plus the flight is under an hour, so how uncomfortable can it be...
Jesper de Jong
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  16

One thing that's funny about boarding and leaving airplanes is that people always want to be first to board the airplane, and also always want to be first to leave the airplane. People even pay more money for "priority boarding".

Why is it so important to be first? As if you're going to be at your destination quicker because you boarded the airplane first...

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Maneesh Godbole
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Joined: Jul 26, 2007
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    8

Jesper de Jong wrote:
Why is it so important to be first? As if you're going to be at your destination quicker because you boarded the airplane first...

In a way yes. If you get seats near the exits, you can save the hassle of patiently sitting while all the slow pokes rise, pick their baggage and sinequan shuffle towards the doors


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Jelle Klap
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Joined: Mar 10, 2008
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    7

I've only ever been aboard a single-engine aircraft, as part of a tour flight. Flying with a commercial airline has always put me off, for some reason. It just seems like such a hassle.


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Arun Giridhar
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Joined: Mar 10, 2012
Posts: 146

I haven't been on an airplane .


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Steve Luke
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  21

Jesper de Jong wrote:Why is it so important to be first?

You want to be early on the plane to make sure your bags are on board and close to the seat you have. You want to be early off because you either have a connection to make,man appointment to get to, or because you are sick of the small box you have been sitting for the last few hours.

Personally I rarely care getting on the plane, I take a small bag able to fit under the seat (I check anything bigger). I sometimes am in a rush to get off but only if the flight is late and a connection is in danger.
John Jai
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Steve Luke wrote:
You want to be early off because you either have a connection to make... I sometimes am in a rush to get off but only if the flight is late and a connection is in danger.

I have never traveled in a plane, so just curious. Here do you mean connection to next flight if your journey includes more than a flight? If yes, then normally won't the second flight takes off after much time difference between your first flight's landing?
Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast
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  34

John Jai wrote: normally won't the second flight takes off after much time difference between your first flight's landing?


Sometimes there's not too much time between the two, and then if the first flight is late in arriving, you could possibly miss the second plane. It's happened to me, and it's no fun. The airline will generally put you on the next available flight, but that can take a while.


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Wendy Gibbons
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Joined: Oct 21, 2008
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an interesting fact for americans
the airlines have to allow extra time for boarding in america, because of all the pushing and shoving slowing things down. Well this is according to radio 4, who ALWAYS tell the truth
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
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  16

wasn't there a study not too long ago that figured out the 'ideal' way to board a plane was to have all the 'a' seat people board in order from back to front, then all the 'b' seats, etc.


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Jesper de Jong
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  16

For those who haven't flown on an airline airplane:

Normally, you have a reserved seat on the plane, that gets assigned when you check in (when you arrive at the airport, or sometimes you can even check in via Internet from home). So, in principle, it doesn't matter whether you board the plane as one of the first or as one of the last passengers - your seat is reserved for you. Normally space in the overhead bins for your carry-on luggage isn't a problem, so that everybody wants to be first because they want to make sure that there's space for their bag usually isn't such a big deal.

Seats in an airplane are organised in rows. Each row has typically between 4 and 9 seats. The rows have numbers, and the seats in a row have letters. So for example in row 20 you have seats 20A, 20B, 20C, ... etc. Rows with lower numbers are more towards the front of the airplane, rows with higher numbers are in the back of the airplane.

Usually, when you board, not everybody is allowed to get in at the same time. People at the gate announce when people in a certain group of rows are allowed to board. For example, first all first class passengers are allowed to board, then the people who are in rows 15-20, then the people in rows 21-30, then the people in rows 31-40 etc.

So, I still don't get why people are so eager to get into the plane before everyone else. Some airline companies even make it possible to pay extra for priority boarding! So, there are people who think it's so important to get in first that they even are willing to pay extra for it. Ofcourse I understand that the airline companies offer this, because they can make more money off people who think this is so important. But I just don't understand why some people think it's so important.
Ernest Friedman-Hill
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Joined: Jul 08, 2003
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  34

Jesper de Jong wrote:
So, I still don't get why people are so eager to get into the plane before everyone else. Some airline companies even make it possible to pay extra for priority boarding! So, there are people who think it's so important to get in first that they even are willing to pay extra for it. Ofcourse I understand that the airline companies offer this, because they can make more money off people who think this is so important. But I just don't understand why some people think it's so important.


Many times it's because the airline -- like Southwest, various shuttles -- don't have assigned seats. Instead, the first people on the plane get to pick the best seats. If you have priority boarding, you get to pick a great seat. Other times, it's because the flier has a big carryon and they want to be sure to get space in an overhead bin for it.

For me, being one of the first to sit on a plane is a mixed blessing. Yes, you get your pick of seats and luggage space, but then (if you prefer aisle seats, as I do) you have to sit while all the other passengers stumble and grind past you, with your face at their waist level. This is often a less than pleasant experience.
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
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  16

Found it:

fastest boarding method found
Henry Wong
author
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Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 18550
    
  40

fred rosenberger wrote:Found it:

fastest boarding method found



There definitely does seem to be a "science" regarding boarding an airplane -- and every airline seems to have a different process. Heck, about the only process that is the same for all airlines is, first class and their elite members go first -- however, in that case, I don't think the reason is related to efficiency of the boarding process.

The one that I hate most is United (yes, I said it). I always choose the aisle seat, and on United, they board window-middle-aisle, so on a flight that is crowded, which hub to hub flights (like NYC to Chicago) generally are, I have a very high chance to have to check in my carry on because there isn't any overhead space left, when I get on board.


Now, having said that... The last time that I flown United, which was last week, this didn't happen -- maybe the merger with Continental was a good thing...

Henry


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Steve Luke
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  21

Jesper de Jong wrote:... Normally space in the overhead bins for your carry-on luggage isn't a problem, so that everybody wants to be first because they want to make sure that there's space for their bag usually isn't such a big deal.
...
So, I still don't get why people are so eager to get into the plane before everyone else.


This isn't my experience, especially in the last 2 years or so. Airlines started charging first for 'extra bags' (meaning the second bag) being checked in, and then even charging for the first bag being checked.* The result is that nobody wants to check bags anymore - they pack the largest carry-on bag they can get to over-full so they don't get charged for 1 or more checked bags.† The results is that the overhead compartments are almost always full, or near full. These leads to 1 of 2 'bad' things possibly happening if you are late in boarding: (1) your bag gets in the airplane, but not near your seat. This is especially horrifying if the bag ends up behind your seat, because then you have to fight up-stream to get it (you de-plane at the front). You will most likely be the last one of the plane. Or (2) your bag can't fit so you have to check the bag in at the gate. That means you have to either go to baggage claim to pick it up, or wait and pick it up at the gate but either way it isn't available to you during the flight.


*It is now a perk to get your first checked bag free when you get to certain miles / perk levels with many (but not all) airlines
†And rightly so, in my opinion
Henry Wong
author
Sheriff

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 18550
    
  40

Steve Luke wrote:This isn't my experience, especially in the last 2 years or so. Airlines started charging first for 'extra bags' (meaning the second bag) being checked in, and then even charging for the first bag being checked.* The result is that nobody wants to check bags anymore - they pack the largest carry-on bag they can get to over-full so they don't get charged for 1 or more checked bags.† The results is that the overhead compartments are almost always full, or near full. These leads to 1 of 2 'bad' things possibly happening if you are late in boarding: (1) your bag gets in the airplane, but not near your seat. This is especially horrifying if the bag ends up behind your seat, because then you have to fight up-stream to get it (you de-plane at the front). You will most likely be the last one of the plane. Or (2) your bag can't fit so you have to check the bag in at the gate. That means you have to either go to baggage claim to pick it up, or wait and pick it up at the gate but either way it isn't available to you during the flight.


*It is now a perk to get your first checked bag free when you get to certain miles / perk levels with many (but not all) airlines
†And rightly so, in my opinion



I think that it has gotten a little bit better. I noticed that on full flights, they actually announce at the gate that the flight will be full, and offer to check in "carry on luggage" for free. So, the large family with lots of oversized bags, which are sometimes larger than the children that accompany them, are no longer an issue. Those bags get checked in -- as they should have been in the first place.

Henry
Martin Vajsar
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Joined: Aug 22, 2010
Posts: 3606
    
  60

fred rosenberger wrote:Found it:

fastest boarding method found

A similar achievement, known as "Spartakiad", was regularly taking place in my country some years ago... It took a lot of rehearsal though
Henry Wong
author
Sheriff

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 18550
    
  40

Ernest Friedman-Hill wrote:
Sometimes there's not too much time between the two, and then if the first flight is late in arriving, you could possibly miss the second plane. It's happened to me, and it's no fun. The airline will generally put you on the next available flight, but that can take a while.



And you would think that if the connecting flight is supposed to be on the same plane, you will always make it. In other words, if the plan is to to exit the airplane, wait the 30 minutes or so while they clean the airplane, and then board for the next leg of the flight, you should be fine. And of course, you will be wrong.

If the first flight is really late in arriving, they may bring out another plane to take the passengers for the second flight, which means that any connection between the two flights will miss ... even though they were planned to be on the same plane !!

Henry

Greg Charles
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Joined: Oct 01, 2001
Posts: 2841
    
  11

I used to fly a lot in Viet Nam, and the Vietnamese are a culture that doesn't suffer standing in line gracefully. When the call went up for pre-boarding of people traveling with small children or with special needs, every single person in the terminal stood up and started boarding. To their credit, they didn't walk in front of other people as they might in other contexts. However, on boarding, a person might get 10 to 20 seconds to hoist luggage into an overhead compartment before the people behind would push pass them. As a result, everyone was on the plane and ready to sit down, if not actually sitting, within 20 minutes of the first boarding call. So, in a sort of double refutation of Wendy's Radio 4 claim, it's excessive courtesy that makes boarding a plane in America a lengthy process.

There are a few reasons to want to board early, even if your seat is already assigned. The biggest one is finding a place to stow your luggage, which is especially bad in America now that many airlines have started charging for checked baggage. The late to board often find all compartments in the area full and closed up by the time they get there. It's also nice to get settled and just snooze while the boarding is being completed, knowing that you can't possibly miss a plane you're already strapped into. Another issue is the possibility of getting bumped from your seat. This is a big danger for people traveling alone, as families who need to sit together, but couldn't be arsed to book seats enough in advance, ask flight attendants to bump single travelers out of their window or aisle seats that they booked months before to go sit between a couple of sweaty shriners right behind the restrooms. If you're already settled into your seat and snoozing (see point 2), that's less likely to happen to you.
Jesper de Jong
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  16

Ernest Friedman-Hill wrote:Many times it's because the airline -- like Southwest, various shuttles -- don't have assigned seats. Instead, the first people on the plane get to pick the best seats.

Here in Europe, only the cheapest of the cheapest airlines don't have reserved seats. I've been on such a flight once. I didn't get anything to drink on the flight, even for a cup of water you had to pay € 2. They do everything to make it as cheap as possible.

Steve Luke wrote:Airlines started charging first for 'extra bags' (meaning the second bag) being checked in, and then even charging for the first bag being checked.*

When I was in the USA a month ago, I saw a big ad from an airline company with a smiling lady on it and the text "You get to take your first piece of carry-on luggage for free!". I was really surprised by that. So they're now even advertising with that as if it's a great advantage. I've never seen an airline company in Europe charge for carry-on luggage.
Wendy Gibbons
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Easy jet are working on it
Steve Luke
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Joined: Jan 28, 2003
Posts: 4168
    
  21

Jesper de Jong wrote:
When I was in the USA a month ago, I saw a big ad from an airline company with a smiling lady on it and the text "You get to take your first piece of carry-on luggage for free!". I was really surprised by that. So they're now even advertising with that as if it's a great advantage. I've never seen an airline company in Europe charge for carry-on luggage.

Wow, I hadn't seen anyone charging for carry-ons yet...
 
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