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August 07, 2009

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From my habits and what I've seen of my seatmates -- yeah, I'd say it's not at all implausible that 24% of the people flying simply don't need to go to the bathroom during a typical continental-U.S. flight. This seems particularly likely given that there's probably that many people in the flying public who rarely make fully cross-continent nonstop flights.

Nonetheless, I think your larger point is quite solid!

It's pretty rare to go to the bathroom unless it's a very long flight, such as a transatlantic one. Most intra-EU flights take a max of about 3 hours.

For a year or so in my pre-Microsoft life, I developed technical surveys for Intel on topics like whether IHVs planned to support Plug and Play, whether notebook OEMs would use standardized batteries, etc. My conclusion: it's really easy to spend serious money on a survey that delivers reams of information that's utterly useless. Collecting data that you can soundly base serious business decisions upon is very very challenging, and over that year I mostly learned how much I didn't know and a subset of all the things not to do. And developed a deep respect for people who develop good surveys. (Oh, and I'm one of the 24% who never unbuckle the seatbelt, even SEA-LHR.)

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