Alex Stone on the fascinating psychology behind waiting — particularly at airports:
They found that it took passengers a minute to walk from their arrival gates to baggage claim and seven more minutes to get their bags. Roughly 88 percent of their time, in other words, was spent standing around waiting for their bags.
So the airport decided on a new approach: instead of reducing wait times, it moved the arrival gates away from the main terminal and routed bags to the outermost carousel. Passengers now had to walk six times longer to get their bags. Complaints dropped to near zero.
Also, when it comes to picking “the right line” to be in I never think about this, but so true:
But there’s a curious cognitive asymmetry at work here. While losing to the line at our left drives us to despair, winning the race against the one to our right does little to lift our spirits. Indeed, in a system of multiple queues, customers almost always fixate on the line they’re losing to and rarely the one they’re beating.