by Madeleine Kando
There was a time in my life when I used to get a thrill out of flying. After all, it is an event that comes closest to what everybody has experienced at one time or another in their dreams: being able to fly. I still have those dreams. That one particular instant when your body leaves the ground and becomes weightless is exhilarating. It taps into a primordial memory of our species having been birds at some point in our evolution.
I still insist on booking a window seat every time I travel, just because I have a childish desire to look down on the world as if I was an angel or a bird. The last time I flew over the US I realized how enormous this country is. For hours and hours we flew over desert. For hours and hours we flew over farmland. It sure gives you a different perspective on things. I wonder what Galileo would have said, if he had been sitting next to me?
I know what he would have said. He would have asked why we, as a species, as a culture of progress, invention, enlightenment, discovery, allow ourselves to be cramped like sardines in these flying giants called airplanes? What possesses us to take a marvellous invention like flying and turn it into one of the most painful, agonizing experiences you can imagine?
The only people for whom flying hasn’t become a nightmare after all these years are the flight attendants. They have grown uglier, older, ruder, but that doesn’t bother THEM, it bothers the passengers.
Have you ever wondered about the reversal of roles on airplanes? The motto used to be ‘the passenger is king’ (making the flight attendant the servant by default). Nowadays, flight attendants take great pleasure in showing off their position of power by incessantly reminding us of all the things that we are not allowed to do:
‘Attention everyone: Federal law requires that you discontinue the use of cell phones and other portable electronic devises. Federal law prohibits smoking. Federal law requires that you fasten your seat belt. Federal law requires that you buckle up whenever you're seated. Federal law requires that you bring your seats upright and give any remaining drinks to a flight attendant. Disregarding these federal laws will result in your immediate, automatic ejection of this airplane, no matter what altitude it is flying at. Thank you for your cooperation’.
If you think that current flying conditions are bad, take a look at SkyRider’s proposed seating arrangement: passengers will be sitting on seats that resemble saddles, as if you were sitting on a horse. "For flights anywhere from one to possibly even up to three hours ... this would be comfortable seating," says the director of the company that is designing these seats. “Cowboys ride eight hours on their horses during the day and still feel comfortable in the saddle." So don’t forget your stetson, the next time you fly. ‘Heehaw’.
Ryanair, another reputable airline company, has been toying with the idea of standing-room tickets on short flights.
Another innovative arrangement coming down the pipeline is the “cargo class’ of seats. Passengers will face each other, like soldiers ready to jump out with their chutes strapped to their backs.
leave comment here
Monday, September 13, 2010
by Madeleine Kando