TSAWTD, chapter umptyump

One of my dreams is to meet the nitwit who thought a good way to load an airplane through a door at the front is  front seats first. If things go well, it will be on an airplane, and I will have a heavy carry-on with sharp corners, which I will drop on his toes.  Indeed, I will be so distracted apologizing while I pick it up, I will probably drop it on his other foot.

American Airlines plans to charge extra for the first few rows and continue to allow them to board first, with the extra carry-on junk their fees to check bags has motivated.  Yet again we see why the civil aviation industry has not made a penny of net profit since the Wright Brothers; has any other such wonderful technology ever been in the hands of such  nincompoops?

Author: Michael O'Hare

Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, Michael O'Hare was raised in New York City and trained at Harvard as an architect and structural engineer. Diverted from an honest career designing buildings by the offer of a job in which he could think about anything he wanted to and spend his time with very smart and curious young people, he fell among economists and such like, and continues to benefit from their generosity with on-the-job social science training. He has followed the process and principles of design into "nonphysical environments" such as production processes in organizations, regulation, and information management and published a variety of research in environmental policy, government policy towards the arts, and management, with special interests in energy, facility siting, information and perceptions in public choice and work environments, and policy design. His current research is focused on transportation biofuels and their effects on global land use, food security, and international trade; regulatory policy in the face of scientific uncertainty; and, after a three-decade hiatus, on NIMBY conflicts afflicting high speed rail right-of-way and nuclear waste disposal sites. He is also a regular writer on pedagogy, especially teaching in professional education, and co-edited the "Curriculum and Case Notes" section of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Between faculty appointments at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, he was director of policy analysis at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. He has had visiting appointments at Università Bocconi in Milan and the National University of Singapore and teaches regularly in the Goldman School's executive (mid-career) programs. At GSPP, O'Hare has taught a studio course in Program and Policy Design, Arts and Cultural Policy, Public Management, the pedagogy course for graduate student instructors, Quantitative Methods, Environmental Policy, and the introduction to public policy for its undergraduate minor, which he supervises. Generally, he considers himself the school's resident expert in any subject in which there is no such thing as real expertise (a recent project concerned the governance and design of California county fairs), but is secure in the distinction of being the only faculty member with a metal lathe in his basement and a 4×5 Ebony view camera. At the moment, he would rather be making something with his hands than writing this blurb.

11 thoughts on “TSAWTD, chapter umptyump”

  1. Is net profit important? The managers and CEOs have done very, very well, and the industry keeps getting bailed out — regularly — with sums that dwarf all spending on AMTRAK since its formation each time.

    If you're in the CEO/CFO/Senior VP class, why would you change a formula that's working so well for you?

  2. TSAWTD = "They Suck At What They Do."

    They certainly act like there's a competition for who gets to be shot first after the revolution.

  3. "…thought a good way to load an airplane through a door at the front is front seats first."

    It's for the first class passengers. It makes things easier for them, and makes them feel important. The rest of us are only on the plane because it's the cheapest fare; i.e. we don't care about customer service.

  4. It’s for the first class passengers.

    I think that's wrong. The article refers to the first few rows of sardine class.

  5. What they should do is seat through the front door, have people move to the back, and then exit through the back door — doesn't every jetliner nowadays have a back door?

  6. It seems to me that the airline industry and the financial services industry are 2 of the most deregulated industries in the last generation and they are 2 of the most predatory – as in preying on their own customers.

    Wadda coinkidink!

  7. This is the Southwest model, and the only thing I really hate about it is that people put bags in overhead compartments near the front even if they sit in the back.

  8. Not defending that practice, (I don't do it myself.) but that's probably because, if you arrive at the back, and there's no space left in the overhead compartments, heading 'upstream' to find an empty compartment isn't exactly easy.

  9. There is something American about making sure that everyone in coach has to see how the rich live. When I was in Japan this was considered bad taste, and planes boarded in the middle of the jet body, with economy passengers turning right and premium cabin turning left, neither seeing how the other half lived.

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