Sunday, 30 June 2013

Random Airport Musings

As an engineer, maximizing efficiency is (for better or for worse) always on my mind.  Recently at the Singapore airport, I noticed they had a very different airport security screening system vs the US.  In the US, there is a central security screening (yay TSA) after which you’re all set to go.  In Singapore, there is a trivial initial security screening to get to the inside of the airport but the full screening is found at each individual gate instead of a central one.

Which is better or worse I wonder?

US System

·         One single area for screening
·         Peaceful once you get past it
·         Long potential wait at screening area

Singapore system

·         Significant duplication of equipment and staff at each gate (dozens+)
·         Easy to get to your gate and gate is busy with only your flight
·         Can’t leave boarding area once you get there

Hard to say really as there is pros and cons to each but I find the duplication of equipment and staff likely unfavorable from a cost analysis (Singapore has cheap foreign labor however).  And while I hate the bottleneck of the initial screening area, I prefer to just get it over with myself and have freedom once I’m done. 

On a side note, I finally got the chance to ride the new Boeing 787 on Japan Airlines.  I can’t reiterate enough how much better Asian airlines are (excluding Chinese airlines) over US.  Delta has the record for some of the oldest planes in service at 20+ yrs, and its noticeable when you ride them vs the brand new JAL planes.  The friendliness and service orientated staff is also leaps and bounds superior.  It recaptures a bit of that feeling of actually ENJOYING a flight. 

At least in business class, the seats are also great with almost a fully flat recline, I actually was able to sleep some for once (important on a brutal 24 hrs straight of flight time).  The JAL lounge in Tokyo also now holds the record for best lounge I’ve ever seen.  Though I usually fly delta due to corporate policy and mileage, I think I’m going to have to stop bothering with them whenever possible.  Its just not worth it.

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