Monday, May 21, 2012

Traveling Can Be Interesting ...

While this does not follow my normal thread about software, it is interesting to me on a personal level (and I'll link it to software at the end). Those who know me well know that I have had my share of interesting travel experiences. From delayed flights to subsequent missed connections to natural disasters that have stranded me one place or another, I am never at a loss for a good travel story.

As I write this, I am experiencing something a little different from the past. As our plane was waiting in line to take off, it was called back to the gate to pick up a passenger whose bag made it on the plane, but they did not. Because of the return trip, they also need to refuel the plane. When the passenger came on board, air marshals accompanied the person.

We now await at least two things before we can push off from the gate again: first, the refueling needs to be completed (wonder if the late passenger gets to pay for that? Stranger things have happened); second, the person in my row that got up to go to the bathroom about 15-20 minutes ago needs to return. There are probably a couple other things, but those two would seem to be a must.

It will be interesting to see how long we will be waiting and how late we subsequently arrive at our destination. The flight is a long one already: 13+ hours from Newark, NJ to Beijing.

Getting back to software: The airline and/or airport knew they were missing someone whose baggage was loaded onto the plane, yet not soon enough prior to departure to do something about it and save a return trip to the gate. Enhancing their capability to detect this type of issue prior to departure could save them some money and possibly protect their on-time rating (not to mention keeping people at ease): a software enhancement worth thinking about.