Productivity Is Critical

James Flanigan puts a clean, clear statement on record (“Information to Give Airlines Added Thrust,” March 12). He says that greater productivity is what information handling with computers is all about. Pontificators say that labor saving is what computers are all about.

In long association with computers, I have yet to see anyone lose a job to a computer. Countless people, though, have been made more productive--from the laid back to the overachiever. This puts grins on their faces (and certainly on the faces of the customers, management and the stockholders). Unions that haven’t recognized this should look for opportunity there.

I went into the Trans World Airlines office on the Champs Elysee in Paris once and asked for a change in my schedule. The lady asked for my name, point of origin of my trip (LAX), carrier, flight number and date.

With a few keystrokes, she brought up my entire three-week, several-nation schedule on her terminal. Changes took only a few minutes while we both smiled. That was over 15 years ago. Capacity and speed have increased immensely since then, and with them, productivity.


Never again should one suffer the scowls of a planeload of Boeing 747 passengers, seated and belted, waiting to take off on a polar flight while a defective seat belt is replaced. The belt in 1A and the tray table in 14C will be ready, the captain, crew and passengers feeling good about being more productive.

Flanigan’s airline example is only one of many. As usual, he has gone to the heart of the matter.




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