Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Fear Factor

I need to fly to Myrtle Beach this summer to go on vacation. I think most people would book their flights this way: go to an airline's website, type in the departing and arrival cities and dates, then click the "Find Lowest Fare" button. I do things a bit differently.

I basically have two options: First, I can fly from Los Angeles to Atlanta on a big plane, then from Atlanta to Myrtle Beach on a little plane. Or, I can fly from Ontario to Salt Lake City on a little plane, then on to Atlanta on a little plane, then to Myrtle Beach on a little plane. So I have to weigh the pros and cons of both itineraries.

The most dangerous parts of any flight are take-off and landing, so that would favor flying out of LAX and using 2 hops instead of three. On the other hand, big planes carry more fuel and are better at crashing into buildings, so that means I'm better off flying out of Ontario on a little plane. But little planes can't handle bad weather as well as large planes, so I should leave out of LAX. Then again, security is better at smaller airports, so Ontario is the better choice.

It basically boils down to one question: what force is going to try and kill me? Is it going to be "man" with either a psycho with a box cutter or a drunken air-traffic controller, or "nature" with a mid-summer thunderstorm? If I choose nature, then I fly out of LAX on a large sturdy plane and avoid the crazy Salt Lake City weather. If I choose man, then I have to decide if I am going to be killed intentionally or accidently. If it's intentional, I fly out of Ontario where there is better security and less appetizing fuel-gorged missiles. If the crash is going to be accidental, then I should fly on fewer planes so that lazy mechanics or exhausted air-traffic controllers will have fewer chances to get me.

I've heard that other people actually enjoy planning their summer vacations. I don't see how.

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