Sunday, March 30, 2014

Flying Fantasies

Flying is like signing away your rights as a human being. Not only is your life put on hold, but you never know which side of providence your fate will fall.

On my most recent flight to Holland, I thought lady luck had smiled on me and my fellow passengers, but after we were all seated in the full, upright and locked position, our carry-ons stowed away, we were told that there was a slight problem with one of the landing lights, which would only take 20 minutes to fix. I could see lady luck start packing her bags and by the time we were told that unfortunately they needed to wait for a replacement part to be flown in, which would take at least 3 hours, she had stepped out of the plane altogether.

We were 'deplaned' and asked to wait at the gate, where we were offered complimentary refreshments, a euphemism for the familiar constipation causing mini pretzels and soft drinks. What would that incoming plane do without the part we would be stealing from it, I wondered? Probably wait for another plane to come in, have those passengers wait 3 hours, and so on, ad infinitum.

As I was observing my co-passengers, some struggling with fretting, hungry babies, others snoring away or talking on their cell phones, I couldn't help admire the collective patience and goodwill that filled this cold and sterile space. No cursing or yelling, no angry kicking, just a group of docile, well-behaved human beings. Had this been a European flight we would have been entitled to compensation for this lengthy delay under the new EU air passenger bill of rights, but Americans are willing to put up with large amounts of abuse in the name of individual freedom.

I had plenty of time to compile a mental list of very sensible suggestions that I am thinking of presenting to the FAA on my return to the States, the first of which is to get compensated for a 3 hour delay with something more tangible than crackers. Here are a few others:

• Airlines should keep a replacement part airplane on hand which could be gutted at will, thereby preventing any delays and its ensuing trickle-down effect.

• Since flights are often delayed, why not let them leave early? We are told to arrive at the airport 2 or 3 hours ahead of departure, so this would be a very reasonable thing to do. Those unwise passengers who do not follow the 'waste 3 hours of your life and arrive early rule' would only have themselves to blame if they miss their flight.

• Flight crews should be required to take classes in normal English. The use of pompous words adds an unnecessary sense of doom and emergency, as if passengers are not nervous enough as it is. Why are we 'prohibited to tamper, disable or destroy'? Why do things always happen 'at this time' on an airplane and not just 'now'? And the 'final and immediate boarding call' would make any late comer shit in their pants. 'Last call' would be enough of a warning.

• For a small extra fee, an upgrade would qualify you as a 'free-range' passenger, allowing you to roam the isles once the airplane has reached cruising altitude. For an extra-extra fee, a crew member would be assigned to you to dance the polka. This would be invigorating and provide free entertainment for the entire airplane.

• In order to prevent a serious medical condition called 'economy class syndrome', whereby blood clots develop in the legs after sitting for prolonged periods in cramped conditions, airplane seats could face the isles and be turned into bunk beds. For passengers desiring close physical contact, twin bunk beds would save extra room for the polka dancers.

• A buffet style counter could put an end to the manpower intensive feeding time ritual. It would allow the flight attendants to play an instrument or sing chorus style as accompaniment to the polka dancing.

• Along with the customary ear sets, towelettes and free mini pretzels, airlines should distribute free charcoal activated underwear pads to absorb the incessant anal salutes that are produced on a long flight. A less politically correct solution would be to restrict access of flatus-prone persons by using a methane breath test prior to boarding.

• As some of you may have experienced, trolleys at European airports have a default brake system which requires continued pressure for the trolley to move. This idiotic system causes severe hand cramps and requires unnecessary physical exertion. Allowing the trolley to move should be the default condition, not the brake.

Have an idea that didn’t make the list? I am all ears! Together we can put some common sense back into the flying experience. leave comment here