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Does anyone else think that flying is badly engineered?

I recently flew back from France. It was a quick flight on a BA A320 and very smooth and comfortable.

However, it made me think that there are a number of things about flying that are very badly thought out.

1. Boarding. Planes board by group and perversely, the first to board (apart from the very old and the very young)are those sitting at the front of the plane. That way, they can be in the way of Group 2, and both can be in the way of Group 3 so that by the time Group 4 gets on board, it takes half the scheduled flight time to crawl over and around the first three groups and their baggage to reach one's seat.

Now, I know that this is something to do with putting too much weight at the back of the plane while the front is empty, but it seems to me that the designers of something that weighs 575 tons (A380) and cruises at Mach 0.85 could sort out a way of boarding more sensibly - perhaps using a rear door.

2. Baggage.Why is it that if you arrive at the airport in good time and check in that your bag is among the last to appear at the baggage claim at the other end? Mine is always nearly last - except this time, when I checked in with about an hour to spare: it was the second one on the conveyor. Hardly seems fair.

3. Boarding again. The Eurostar makes two-minute stops at interim stations. Passengers are on the platform at places where the doors to their carriage will stop. Several hundred people can board in that time. Why is there only ONE door for boarding a 747, an A380 - or any other plane carrying more than a dozen people? What it is, is that thinking has got too deep into a rut and no one is even considering alternatives.

4. Baggage again. With all the mechanisation and automation available, why is it considered better and safer?) to encourage large carry-on bags rather than storing them in the hold? It's containerised already so why all the additional weight in the overhead? It must alter the centre of gravity and affect stability, especially given how variable that weight is.

5. Check-in. I won't moan more than to observe that 'Baggage drop' today takes just as long as check-in used to.

Efficiency experts - there's your cue!


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