In general, in World of Warcraft, you have one basic choice of transportation between to locations in the world.
You can take a boat to and from some locations.
Other destinations are connected by flight paths.
For most of the rest, you make your way by your own means.
But point to point routes are generally covered by only a single mode of public transportation.
There are exceptions though.
Between Stormwind and Ironforge you can fly or take the Deeprun Tram.
Yeah, take the boat.
Sure, the boat is free, while the hippogryph costs a couple of silver, but in my mind, trained by the modern world, flying is always faster than a boat.
At least when the TSA is not involved.
(Fun fact: You are not allowed to take pictures of security checkpoints at the airport. Go ahead, try it, see how they react.)
So the idea of taking the boat instead of the hippogryph has never entered my mind.
At least until the other night.
I had run to the flight master as usual and noticed that the boat, the Moonspray by name, was just leaving the dock at Rut’theran Village, headed towards the dock at Auberdine.
I waited a moment until the boat was about lined up with me and started my flight. I wanted to see how much faster the flight would be over the boat trip.
As it turns out, the boat and the hippogryph travel at the same speed, or so close that I was unable to tell which might be faster.
I flew, the boat sailed.
The boat pulled up at the dock before I landed, but I had a little further to go.
So I guess, under the right circumstances, taking the boat would be the correct choice. For example, if the boat was sitting at the dock and you were headed towards Azuremyst Isle and The Exodar, the boat would be faster, and would spare you that long run up the wharf at Auberdine.
Which leaves only one question: What happened to crew?
After patch 2.3 came out, all the boats had active NPC crews. More recently the crews seem to have disappeared.
Where did they go?