Making Use of the Worlds Most Precious Commodity
I fly a lot. When I was a boy, I remember looking up at airplanes as they passed overhead and thinking how great it would be to be on them. Like most young boys, I thought that air travel was sophisticated, glamorous and exciting. After racking up several million air miles with different airlines, I now know that it isn't any of those things. It's boring, uncomfortable, stressful and more than anything ... a huge waste of time.
For me, travelling to the airport (Heathrow) is typically a 30-60 minute journey, despite the fact that I live only 15 miles away. Getting through security is rarely less than 10 minutes and often longer. Walking to the departure gate is typically another five or ten minutes. So, by the time I'm in position to board an airplane, I've ‘invested’ an hour or more. It's a similar story on landing, with immigration, luggage collection, customs and another journey to the hotel or office. I would say there's at least two hours (and probably a lot more) of 'dead' time associated with every flight - even short-haul domestic flights.
Recently, while waiting for my checked bag at LHR, I did a little maths to pass the time.
Looking at just one major international airport:
So, all of the passengers travelling through LHR in a single day represent more than half a year spent around a baggage carousel.
Imagine if that time could be put to use. In fact, imagine if only 1% of that time could be put to use.
In a year, 1% of that time would amount to over 19,000 hours. Makes you think, huh? A lot of global problems could be solved (or opportunities developed) with 19k hours of effort. If you had access to 19k FTE hours over a 12-month period, what would you do with them?