The solution, McHugh is quick to point out, won't be found in adding more airports and airplanes. That will only exacerbate the congestion, which is already an all-too-easily roused menace. A problem at one major airport-a security breach, say, or stormy weather-backs up air traffic at all the other major airports. As a result, passengers arrive late, some missing their connecting flights. The current "hub-and-spoke" air traffic system is, well, the hub of the system's flaws. As it works now, you fly a packed airliner from one spoke, say, Kansas City, to the hub, a larger airport such as Chicago's O'Hare. Then you board another crowded jet to the second spoke-Indianapolis, for instance-where you arrive between five and 10 hours after you began your journey. The system is cost-effective and thus very popular with airlines: Most passengers and cargo head through 29 hub airports on their way to one of 600 spoke airports. Passengers, though, hate it. The system may help keep their ticket prices low, but fatigue, wasted time, and the bitter irony of traveling aboard a state-of-the-art commercial jet airplane while averaging only 88 miles per hour, door-to-door, is more than many can take. "The average traveler goes 33 percent out of their way," says Embry-Riddle researcher Ken Stackpoole. "That eats up a lot of time."