Sunday , July 21 2019

Why fly?

Summary:
I hate flying. There’s driving to the airport, then looking for a parking space, then airport security, (some tickets even require you to get a boarding pass at the airport), then waiting in a slow moving line to board the plane, then sitting in a tiny seat for 20 minutes before the plane actually takes off, then a bumpy ride, then waiting a long time to get off the plane. You might even have been forced to put your carry on bag in the luggage section at the last minute, requiring you to wait at baggage claim.   I love trains. They are smooth and spacious and comfortable, at least if you live outside the US.  So will someone explain the following to me: Moritz Leiner, a representative of the Association of Ethical Shareholders Germany, urged Lufthansa to reconsider its

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I hate flying. There’s driving to the airport, then looking for a parking space, then airport security, (some tickets even require you to get a boarding pass at the airport), then waiting in a slow moving line to board the plane, then sitting in a tiny seat for 20 minutes before the plane actually takes off, then a bumpy ride, then waiting a long time to get off the plane. You might even have been forced to put your carry on bag in the luggage section at the last minute, requiring you to wait at baggage claim.  

I love trains. They are smooth and spacious and comfortable, at least if you live outside the US.  So will someone explain the following to me:

Moritz Leiner, a representative of the Association of Ethical Shareholders Germany, urged Lufthansa to reconsider its climate-change policy, pointing out that the company operates four daily flights from Munich to Nuremberg, two cities that are only a two-hour drive apart.

The driving time seems like an odd comparison, so I goggled some train data for Munich to Nuremberg:

Why fly?

So there are 55 trains a day, with an average time of 1:20 and the fastest at 1:02. I understand why people fly when the cities are far apart. But why do people take short flights? Can someone explain what I’m missing? It seems like low hanging fruit for the fight against global warming. And I’m not even a fan of high speed rail boondoggles in places like California. But what about where you already have decent train service? Why fly?

PS. I’m usually sitting around row 37. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if every passenger in front of me was a Navy Seal. How long would it take them to stand up, grab their carry-on and walk off the &$#*@&$ plane. The actual humanity in front of me takes forever, exhibiting an especially annoying mix of selfishness and clumsiness.


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Scott Sumner
Scott B. Sumner is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, the Director of the Program on Monetary Policy at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and an economist who teaches at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. His economics blog, The Money Illusion, popularized the idea of nominal GDP targeting, which says that the Fed should target nominal GDP—i.e., real GDP growth plus the rate of inflation—to better "induce the correct level of business investment".

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