Bigger Means Less Remote

IMG_8279I sat next to a pilot from United Airlines on a recent trip.  He was about to upgrade from flying Boeing 767 aircrafts to the 777 model.  The 777 allows for greater range and more passengers.  He was excited as this was a sign of greater seniority and higher pay despite the demand of additional training and time. 

After the flight I was thinking about the consequences of his upgrade.  Larger planes means more passengers.  More passengers means higher population densities.  Typically the bigger the planes and the more passengers the higher the likelihood that it will be routed between major cities.  London, New York, Hong Kong, Tokyo, etc.  Many pilots start on small regional aircrafts, connecting disperse cities that are not economical to serve with a larger plane.  The more an aviator progresses professionally the more they fly higher demand routes.

Becoming larger does not lend itself to the art of exploring edges.  An Airbus A380 (550-800 passengers) is rarely going to find itself anywhere but one of the largest airports in the world.  It is easy to aspire towards a bigger structure, with more people involved, and great recognition.  However, we may be sacrificing the niche we fill so beautifully.  Do not mistake the value of a bush plane networking remote villages with a transoceanic flight delivering yet more people between populations capitals.

Being small, nimble, and remote is tough to duplicate and immediately remarkable.  There are many organizations serving the masses anonymously.

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