Never missed a flight? You’re doing something wrong

By Morwenna Evans Tuesday, June 3, 2014

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The panic and horror of missing a flight is something we all try to avoid (hopefully by arriving at the airport with plenty of time of spare). However, according to American maths professor Jordan Ellenberg, “if you’ve never missed a flight, you’re not doing it right."

The statement comes as part of his latest theories published in a new book: How Not To Be Wrong: The Hidden Maths of Everyday Life.

Ellenberg argues that every hour spent in an airport rather than enjoying the in the comfort of your own home is a negative unit. Therefore, if you arrive early at the airport time and time again, although you may never miss a flight, you will spend multiple negative units of time aimlessly perusing the duty free aisles of an airport.

The compromise is to arrive at the airport at an optimal time; this should minimise wasted time but also keep your chances of missing a flight slim (around 1 or 2%). Although Ellengerg conceded the figure “depends on how you personally feel about the relative merits of missing planes and wasting time”. So, the next (or first) time you miss a flight, best not to worry. Rather focus on the positive time units you’ll rapidly accumulate!

Categories: Trivia