Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Math Problem

Back from Los Angeles -- got a chance to meet with several people in business-like stuff so it felt more business-y and less like the hollow excuse to scarf down pizza that the trip actually is.

The trip back forced me to confront a math problem, perhaps even a math paradox (in the, puzzling, but not really self-contradictory sense of paradox).

Flight from Ontario to Phoenix took off on time and landed early -- in fact, I often land early in Phoenix. However, the flight from Phoenix to San Antonio was delayed by 40 minutes, then delayed another 40 minutes while we sat in the airplane, on the ground, and they loaded sundry luggage from other planes on the flight.

It so happens that the flight to L.A. went the same way, early into Phoenix, then a shortish delay before takeoff to Ontario. I'd guess maybe 60-70% of my flights out of Phoenix have been delayed -- which probably translates to 50% after taking into account my natural tendency to exaggerate while ranting.

And that brings up the puzzle: These flights are typically delayed because the plane I'm supposed to be riding hasn't landed yet -- i.e. they're late getting into Phoenix. However, as far as I can recollect I've got close to a 100% on-time arrival ratio from both San Antonio and Ontario, and that just doesn't jibe with my 50% delayed departure ratio.

Maybe all the other airports are just completely screwed up...

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