Delta Airlines put together an interesting 2:34 video about what happens to your luggage from check-in to coming off the luggage belt at your destination.
I know plenty of people have lost luggage (it has happened once to me as well, delivered by UPS two days later) but this video brought an idea to mind: large systems like this which require a large number of employees and machines across cities around the world might also be considered quite efficient and remarkable. Perhaps we could argue about what constitutes an acceptable rate of error or delivering luggage to your final destination and weigh this against alternative forms of delivery such as paying to ship the luggage by private companies. More broadly, we could ask whether it is fair or realistic to expect mechanized/large-scale systems of today to be perfect 100% of the time (or perhaps we don’t mind until it is our luggage that is lost). Indeed, the luggage delivery systems of today for the tens of millions of airline passengers might have been unimaginable even 60 years ago.
Could someone design a better and cheaper system?
Also: is an app for tracking your luggage simply a means to help reassure passengers and to show them that most of their luggage does indeed make it to the right place?
According to this New York Times article, people who work in mental health professions are much more likely to hear about the personal lives of their seatmates:
Pity the traveling mental health professional. While many travelers find strangers reveal information they might not in other contexts, psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers say they must negotiate a range of interpersonal, ethical and legal issues as they travel.
So while these professionals look for ways to not reveal too much about their jobs so they are not inundated with the personal lives of others, one professional suggests saying that he is a sociologist takes care of the issue:
Niranjan S. Karnik, a psychiatrist and sociologist who teaches at the University of Chicago, said he often told seatmates, “ ‘I’m a sociologist.’ That’s an effective conversation-ender.”
I would like to hear more about this. Is this because the seatmate doesn’t know what a sociologist is or does? Or is it because people perceive it to be a boring or uninteresting profession?