General Rule: Small is Usually Better.

I’m sure it’s because I’ve been living on a small island for a lot of years, but every trip I take is a reminder of how BIG everything is most everywhere else. Things are on a small scale here on Maui. There are only a few high-rise buildings and they’re only eight or ten stories. There are only three traffic lights on the 25-minute drive between our home and the airport. There are little one-lane bridges all over the island … 47 of them just on the road along the north shore to the town of Hana.  But stuff on the mainland is big! The buildings, the shopping malls, the parks. Big everything.
 

For instance, how big is big when it comes to airlines? I came across a news item today that said United Airlines averages more than 5,300 departures a day. A day! That’s a staggering number. Waiting at London’s Heathrow Airport for my flight to Boston last week, I was having a drink and watching planes land. After a few minutes, I began to realize that there was a steady stream of planes coming in, so I began timing the interval between landings. It was 90 seconds, give or take 8-10 seconds. And they just kept coming and coming. Now that’s big, isn’t it!
 
And speaking of flying, this morning I came across an on-line article listing the seven worst U.S. airlines. (My daughter, an accomplished and successful writer/author, says these stories are now referred to in the trade as “listicles”.) The rankings are based on several criteria: on time performance, lost baggage, denied boardings, etc. At any rate, and for what it’s worth, here’s the list:
 
7. Southwest
6. American
5. Frontier
4. United
3. Sky West
2. Express Jet
1. Envoy.
 
Envoy, by the way, was formerly American Eagle, and is owned by American Airlines.

Speaking of bad flying experiences, get a load of the new seating configuration being suggested by Zodiak Seats, a French company that supplies equipment to airlines. It’s a seating configuration called “Economy Class Cabin Hexagon” and it allows more people to be carried by each flight.
 
The company says this arrangement provides more room for each passengers arms and shoulders. Swell, but you will also be sitting face-to-face with another passenger. That’s fine in the comfortable surroundings of an Amtrak dining car, but on five hour flight from L.A. to Chicago? I think most definitely not.
 
So stay loose and stay alert … ever on guard for the latest outrage about to be perpetrated on us by the airline industry. I don’t know if it will be hexagonal seating or standing up clinging to a subway strap, but it’s out there. Some clever young executive is already working out the details. I shouldn’t complain. When they spring it on us, it will be just one more reason to take the train.