The Extra Dimension

The Extra Dimension features deep discussions on how technology intersects with other parts of our lives. Welcome to the heart of the technological convergence.

Transportation – Long Distance

Episode #16The Fringe #407

Come on a journey with Brandon Johnson, Brian Mitchell, and Ian R Buck as they explore the intricacies of planes, trains, and boats.

Transportation Miniseries

Overview:

    • Planes
      • Why Flying is So Expensive - YouTube
        • Things that go into the cost of a flight:
          • Fuel
          • Crew
          • Airport fees
          • Taxes
            • FAA
            • TSA
            • International Transportation Tax
          • Airplane
          • Maintenance
          • Administrative costs of airline
          • Insurance
        • Very little of it goes to profit for the airline
      • How Budget Airlines Work - YouTube
        • Budget airlines reduce costs by:
          • Ordering planes in bulk.
          • They still buy new planes because they are the most efficient.
          • Only use one type of plane. Reduces cost of training staff.
          • Less luxury features.
            • Seats don’t recline.
            • No seat pockets to clean in between flights.
          • Flight attendants in the beginning of their careers, with as little training as possible.
          • Flight attendants do more roles, like check people in and clean the plane.
          • Food and drinks are not included with the ticket.
          • Duty-free sales.
          • Don’t operate out of big airports, or when they do they fly at less busy times.
          • Schedule planes for many flights a day, so they are always making money.
          • Not having assigned seats encourages passengers to show up early.
          • Use the point-to-point model.
          • No connections.
          • Have customers print tickets at home, or a kiosk.
          • Having passengers walk up steps to the plane instead of jetways.
      • Phantom flights | The Economist
        • Hidden-city tickets are a way to take advantage of the weird economics of airline pricing.
        • Hypothetical Delta prices: Atlanta -> Cincinnati $251 (they’re the only ones who fly direct) Atlanta -> Cincinnati -> Dallas $197 (other airlines fly Atlanta -> Dallas)
        • You could buy the cheaper ticket and just get off in Cincinnati.
        • This exploit only works as long as few people use it.
      • Big Plane vs Little Plane (The Economics of Long-Haul Flights) - YouTube
        • Hub-and-spoke model
          • Hub airports allow airlines to run far fewer routes; hub-to-hub trunk routes, and hub-to-secondary routes.
          • Trunk routes require large capacity, so you see really big planes flying those.
        • Point-to-point model
          • Direct flights from secondary airports to other airports.
          • Less demand for most of those routes requires smaller planes.
          • Until recently, smaller planes could not make long enough flights and were not efficient enough.
          • Now that small planes have longer range, we see a rise in Long and Skinny routes.
    • Trains
      • Why Trains Suck in America - YouTube
        • Cities 200-300 miles apart are in the sweet spot for trains to be quicker than planes.
        • Trains were a huge factor in the economic development of America.
        • Freight hauling is where the money is, so passenger cars existed primarily to advertise a railway to the business executives who would be deciding which company to contract with.
        • Once cars and planes took those executives away, there was little point to keeping passenger cars.
        • Passenger trains in America operate on other companies’ lines, so they are not given priority.
        • In Europe, not much freight is transported via rail.
        • American cities are much less densely populated than European cities, so they are less walkable.
        • Amtrak is not subsidized enough to get out of the vicious cycle: no money means they can’t improve, which means low ridership, which means no money.
        • Amtrak offers a “fellowship” for writers, artists, creatives -- this is part of the aesthetic draw of train travel, as efficiency isn’t really there
        • Lower cost of tickets and lower supervision (TSA checks aren’t really present on trains) make law enforcement raids of Amtrak somewhat frequent?
        • High speed rail in the Midwest is unfortunately stalled
    • Boats
      • Slower
      • Cheaper
      • Far less pollutive than planes
        • Though cheap dirty fuel is legal in international waters
      • Water-locked
      • More effective for shorter distance and pleasure cruises
      • Some longer distances in Northern Europe
        • Blends with pleasure cruise
      • How Maritime Law Works - YouTube
        • Maritime law!
        • A country owns the sea up to 12 miles from shore. “Territorial Waters.”
          • Innocent Passage is allowed through Territorial Waters. Innocent purposes do not include:
            • Fishing
            • Polluting
            • Weapons practice
            • Spying
          • Innocent passage must be done quickly and without stopping on shore.
        • Another 12 miles out is the Contiguous Zone.
          • Four types of laws can be enforced by a country here:
            • Customs
            • Taxation
            • Immigration
            • Pollution
        • Within 200 miles from shore: Exclusive Economic Zone
          • It is International Waters, but the nearest country is the only one allowed to harvest natural resources there.
          • When two countries’ shores are less than 400 miles from each other, it is up to them to figure out who gets access to what.
            • Most times they divide it at the equidistant point.
        • International Waters
          • All Oceangoing vessels are required to be registered at some country.
          • When the vessel is in International Waters, the home country’s laws apply onboard.
          • When the vessel enters another country’s territorial waters, the laws of that country applies.
        • Baby nationality
          • According to the UN, a baby born in International Waters should inherit its parent’s nationality, regardless of what country the vessel is registered to. Most countries follow this.
          • If a baby is born in Territorial Waters of the US, it automatically gets American citizenship. Not always true in other countries’ Territorial Waters.
      • In an Age of Privilege, Not Everyone Is in the Same Boat - New York Times
        • Boats, and to a lesser extent planes, are places where we increasingly see a differentiation between rich and middle class
        • Some cruises physically separate the most expensive, exclusive rooms. If you’re not in, you don’t even know they exist.
        • Other cruises make the expensive stuff visible; it advertises the services, but can lead to resentment among the passengers.
      • FRENCHMAN FULFILLS LONGTIME DREAM OF MANKIND BY `WALKING' ACROSS ATLANTIC OCEAN IN 61 DAYS | Deseret News
  • Environmental comparisons for Brian’s trip
    • Plane would be ~900 kg/person of CO2 emissions
    • Boat was ~20 kg/person of CO2 emissions
    • Trains while moving can have zero emissions

Attributions