A Hidden Cost Due to Climate Change

Over the last decade some leading economists have written about the benefits and costs of airlines using hubs.  Here is one paper .    I have wondered how climate volatility will affect the time cost of air travel in a world of hub flights.  If I must fly from Boston through Chicago to get to my final destination, the introduction of the second leg of the trip increases the likelihood that something can go wrong as the plane that is supposed to take me on the 2nd leg flies in from somewhere else.  Given that time is a our scarcest asset and that our value of time rises as we grow richer, any increases in travel time in minutes can add up to a large total social cost in an economy that is constantly using the airport.  At one point, I wanted to write a paper on this topic but I couldn’t figure out how to quantify this effect.   From the airlines’ perspective, how costly would it be for them to have more parked airplanes and some duplication of their system as an insurance policy against late arriving flights due to weather delays?

Reader Comments

6 Replies to “A Hidden Cost Due to Climate Change”

  1. Not sure what the point would be.

    Maybe “time is a our scarcest asset,” but it’s one that companies can pretty much steal from us for free. What legal recourse for lost time is there for the consumer if a company wastes the consumer’s time with bad service or a defective product? None that I know of. “They” can make you wait on hold or at the gate as long as they want to and not get sued for it, if you didn’t specifically pay for timeliness.

    So the question is, how much more are you willing to pay the airlines for a time guarantee? (Please don’t ask airlines to sacrifice safety for timeliness!) Or, a related question: Without time guarantees, how much less will you fly in the near term because you’re worried about possible increased delays from severe weather due to near-term climate change? Would your (hugely, I’m sure) waning demand combine with that of others to lower the price of air travel?

    BTW, half the time it seems it’s not a lack of equipment that’s the problem, but a lack of crew. I’m all for paying people to sit around and not drink just in case they’re needed to fly. Are you?

  2. Not sure what the point would be.

    Maybe “time is a our scarcest asset,” but it’s one that companies can pretty much steal from us for free. What legal recourse for lost time is there for the consumer if a company wastes the consumer’s time with bad service or a defective product? None that I know of. “They” can make you wait on hold or at the gate as long as they want to and not get sued for it, if you didn’t specifically pay for timeliness.

    So the question is, how much more are you willing to pay the airlines for a time guarantee? (Please don’t ask airlines to sacrifice safety for timeliness!) Or, a related question: Without time guarantees, how much less will you fly in the near term because you’re worried about possible increased delays from severe weather due to near-term climate change? Would your (hugely, I’m sure) waning demand combine with that of others to lower the price of air travel?

    BTW, half the time it seems it’s not a lack of equipment that’s the problem, but a lack of crew. I’m all for paying people to sit around and not drink just in case they’re needed to fly. Are you?

  3. Climate volatility? Seriously?? I already have to fly through Chicago to go just about anywhere. Do you actually fly on airlines these days?

  4. Climate volatility? Seriously?? I already have to fly through Chicago to go just about anywhere. Do you actually fly on airlines these days?

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