Mar 29, 2023Liked by Olaf Sakkers - RedBlue Capital

Love this article....

Both my parents were airline crew and as an airline brat I always get fascinated by how the industry both helps and harms our planet.... Finding the right balance that reduces that harm is always key.

BTW I am old enough to remember people smoking onboard the plane, constantly.... thank god that stopped!



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Mar 23, 2023Liked by Olaf Sakkers - RedBlue Capital

You left out one huge elephant in the room.

We hate flying, at least in coach. All of us. Flying in first class isn't too bad, but it still has many of the attributes that we hate about flying, in particular the airport that has turned into a shopping mall with occasional planes attached. Which you view as good, somehow.

We hate it so much people routinely drive from San Francisco to LA -- 6-7 hours -- rather than the 50 minute flight that takes 3 hours by the time you are done. In Europe they prefer the train even when slower over similar distances.

So sure, it's optimized and safer. Yes, it costs a bit less per mile than driving if you drive alone (if two travel it's not so much a win especially if you have an electric car and you want a car at your destination.) But it's miserable. Horrible airports that are getting worse. They just replaced the best airport terminals I have seen in Kansas city, where it was literally a 100 foot walk from the door of the plane to your taxi, with a modern monstrosity.

Fly private of course, and most of this goes away, at a ridiculous price.

I make Utopian predictions for the robotaxi world. In particular a world where, when a few people are all taking the same trip at the same time, they are naturally pooled together to get all those efficiencies, but when they are not doing that, they can travel in private with no compromises of their trip except the congestion we get because the roads are a commons (a mistake we could, in theory, fix.)

Yes, for more than 200 miles we're still going to fly, but we're not going to praise it. We will do it because it's the only choice.

...Back to your love of airports. Today's airports make more money from store rents, parking and ground transport fees than they do in passengers fees for that minor side-business known as flying. This has warped their design. Now get through security and it's a gauntlet of perfume and then what can be a 20 minute walk to a gate. Airports imagine they are places to hang around. Train stations do not, they are functional, get through and get on the train. Ditto car parks. Airports make it deliberately harder to get to your Uber (or transit.) They have become like the Las Vegas hotel which makes sure you go through the casino to get anything.

There is a classic dilemma in transportation. Travel together can be more efficient. But the more people you bunch together, the more compromise each must make in terms of route, departure times, comfort and much more. As the vehicle grows the compromise gets so high that people move to better, much more expensive modes. They pay 10x as much to have a private car, 100x to have a private plane. This is why the A380 died -- it was too large to be efficient. Read that phrase again ... "too large to be efficient." Few in transportation understand the need for a happy medium.

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Mar 27, 2023Liked by Olaf Sakkers - RedBlue Capital

A thoughtfully-written reply and many good points. Passenger experience could doubtlessly improve.

I suspect that there can be a happier medium - especially for frequent flyers, who already submit to the increased screening demands of Trusted Traveller and similar programs - in terms of innovating around the "last 100m" problem. But this is difficult to unlock because the government/TSA control so much of it. And, as you say, there is the view that airports *want* passengers to spend more time there. But I doubt many frequent (business) flyers are doing much airport shopping in any case (at least not as a consequence of being there longer).

So, I think there is a further tweak available, and I suspect that Clear and other services like this will have more license over time to innovate here.

In any case, the point is well made that the inefficiencies of getting on airlines around security, etc, largely kill the utility of aviation on < 500mi trips.

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