Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Last Minute Flights

Wait until just before takeoff to decide on flight plans
  (+2, -3)
(+2, -3)
  [vote for,

The airlines currently have to guess the flights they need to schedule between different areas, and we book seats on these flights ahead of time. The system is outdated and could be more effective.

Instead, we should just book a trip from point A to point B. When we all arrive at the airport, planes ready to take off can be allocated to destinations based on the actual number of people traveling to them. This can eliminate the number of empty seats, allow for intelligent optimization of plane allocation, and reduce the overall costs of running the airline infrastructure.

ironfroggy, May 07 2007


       This could work if airports had large adjacent hangars storing planes of various sizes, and large adjacent bars storing pilots of various certifications.   

       But in reality, planes and crew that take off from an airport have previously arrived there, carrying passengers, and spend very little time on the ground. (I'm guessing that an unused plane is more expensive than a slightly underused one.)   

       That means that the room for spontaneous equipment switches is very limited.
jutta, May 07 2007

       Also, it would be difficult for those on the other end intending to meet the travellers. Last time I flew (San Francisco US to Manchester UK) the websites I looked at showed a variance of about a day in flight lengths due to number of connections and length of time between. Had I asked my brother to stand in the airport looking for me for 24 hours he would probably have been less keen on being the one to pick me up.
stilgar, May 07 2007

       Quite possibly but I'd bet arguments over how to split the fares would doom the plan pretty early. Still, + if it's not mandatory.
stilgar, May 08 2007

       [Ian] //you might be able to be handed off from airline to airline as if you were some class of interchangeable freight// - thus, this would work better on short-hop flights between European cities which are already closer to regular bus services than long-haul flights. In fact I once arrived at Antwerp airport a few hours early for my flight to London. Antwerp airport is tiny with just two or three check-in desks, so when I asked if there was any way to get an earlier flight the person at the check-in desk where I was just called over to the next desk (which was a diferent airline) and asked if I could go on their (earlier) flight. They let me on and I got home early. I don't think this was any sort of formal arrangement - some kind of "quid pro quo", I think.
hippo, May 08 2007

       With this system the flight crew are unlikely to ever see home again. The system as described depends on having as many people at point B wanting to fly to point A as vice versa. In order to get around this flights would have to operate much as Mr Tindale's buses do, i.e. lots of short local routes and a lot of plane-hopping involved if you want to go to somewhere out of the way. Ulan Bator for instance.

[notes that hippo's irritatingly similar anno has appeared first]
DrBob, May 08 2007


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