How does an airline cut costs? They hire a dog. No, really.

It’s one of my favorite stories in the aviation industry, and one I’ve used as an example several times in talks, sharing with co-workers, etc. Former American Airlines CEO Bob Crandall had a unique way of cutting costs at his airline, several years prior to the bankruptcy. This snippet, from CNBC’s A Week In the Life Documentary:

It’s an ingenious technique, and although the video describes the scenario in brevity, in fact, it involved several more layers:

  • 3 full-time guards to
  • 2 full-time guards to
  • 1 full-time guard to
  • 1 part-time guard to
  • 1 full-time guard dog to
  • 1 part-time guard dog, three random nights a week to finally a 
  • 1 free tape recording of the guard dog barking, played at random times

Reading more into Crandall’s success, it’s an interesting case study in how to use randomization to cut costs in security and enforcement.

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