Sunday, January 10, 2010

Progress? The Wrights disagree...

I am, of course, talking about the airline industry. For those of you who are surprised to learn that I know of Wilbur and Orville Wrights (WOW) - well, I was surprised too. The last few months I have had several wonderful opportunities to experience the joy that is airline economy class.
By the way, this is my most well-researched article yet. All facts are straight from Google (notice how specific I am). I have provided suggestions on how to fix several glaring problems in the airline industry and have excellent scientific bases for most, if not all, of them.

1. Seat Belts:
It's been 107 years since WOW managed to get themselves off the ground for a sustainable flight (at least one that did not involve voluntary or in-voluntary homicide at the end). We have had 19 other great achievements then ( but we still choose to strap ourselves in with a little black strap that costs barely more than your average fortune cookie. What the hell is up with that?!

Electro-magnetic fields that forcibly hold us in place during take-off and landing.

  • Fries cellphones that are switched on nanoseconds after the flight lands.
  • Kid next to you can't irritate you.
  • Passenger next to you can't keep his or her elbow on your armrest. Take that bitch!
  • Slightly elevated chance of frying a pacemaker.
  • Can cause prolonged magneto-retention effects on wheelchairs rendering them useless.


2. Boarding passes:
Really? In the 21st century, we have electronic bills, electronic tickets, electronic personalities and to a certain extent electronic sex lives and yet we have to show them a piece of paper before they let us board the plane? Why? What is the point of this? I carry ID and have already cleared security. They can verify my name against their database to make sure I am catching the correct flight. What the hell is this piece of paper for? Not only is it using obsolete technology, it makes me have to clumsily carry it around, wonder if I am allowed to fold it, take care of it between connecting flights. WHY??

Painfully inserted sub-cutaneous e-boarding chips placed under your left ring fingernail.

  • No more paper boarding passes.
  • More trees = more places for people in India to paint with a white stripe (!)
  • Some people have a low tolerance for pain and will prefer to not fly. These are the same people that crib about ear-aches on the flight and ask if they can go to the toilet before the airplane takes off.
  • Potential for loss of boarding pass if your arm is lopped off in a with the rapid transport cart.
  • Some bleeding may occur if the insertion is not done right.
  • Will always set off the metal detector. Body cavity searches become mandatory


3. Layovers/Stopovers
Do you know the destination and origin of WOW's flight? Here's a hint: they didn't have to change terminals.
Which genius woke up one morning and said: "Hey! I just had a great idea. You know how people always want to go from A to B? Well, I think we should take them from A to C and then from C to B. Let's make them wait hours at C too!! It's sheer genius!". The board of directors looked at him and SHOULD have said: "WHY?!, WHY MOFO WHY?!" But mysteriously, they said, BINGO!

Make airplanes so long that you don't have to fly anywhere. Just get in at one door, and walk out the other.

  • No stopovers!
  • No changing gates, looking for connecting flight information or worrying if your luggage made it.
  • You get to carry ALL your luggage ALL the time!
  • Slight increase in ticket price.
  • Could be hazardous to old people.


4. One-Door Policy
One of the first things they tell you during the safety lecture is: "This plane is equipped with 4 doors, two in front, two in back and four on either wings. This plane is also equipped with mathematically-challenged stewards". Why then, in the name of the Incas, do we all have to stand in line to get out of the plane?! What, do the other doors not open in the case of a non-emergency? Did they really think, while designing the plane, that there should be doors that can not be opened in the absence of an emergency?! If so, how did they test that door without an emergency?! How do they know it WILL open during an emergency?!

Convertible-type airplanes: you heard it here first folks!

  • No waiting after you reach your destination. (How you reach your destination given that you will be in what is essentially an open-casket traveling at 600+ mph in the clouds is debatable)
  • You don't have to listen to that chump call everyone he knows to let them know his feet have touched the ground.
  • Limited frustration at people who sit in their seats till their row clears up and then jump and proceed to make others wait while they haul their baggage from the over head compartment.
  • Tickets cost less.
  • Slightly increased chance of decrease in cabin pressure.
  • Difficult to consume alcohol on flight.


5. Non-reclining seats
While most people are not fans of bending over, in general, the idea of leaning back is a pleasant one because it lulls the passenger into a false sense of security as he/she tries to ignore the fact that they are essentially traveling in a self-propelled phallus. It also means you don't have to stare at the back of the seat in front of you and discourages you from looking around at your fellow passengers. But every flight has two-three rows (only in economy class) where the seats don't recline.... and it really makes me wonder... WHY?! Does the guy behind me need to eat his meals off a plate that is perfectly parallel to the ground? Do they think that they will need to invest in airplane ceiling artwork to keep the 8-10 unfortunate souls stuck in that seat something to stare at? Could design engineers not find 5 inches to spare in a 300-foot aircraft? Does the reclining in any way prevent someone from reaching an exit?! Hint: if you can't squeeze in the gap behind a reclining seat, you probably have bigger problems than reaching the emergency exit, like going to the toilet (which I maintain is a far more serious, and common emergency.)

A new eugenics program to decrease the dimensions of future races of humanity to more easily fit more people in an airplane.

  • More reclining space.
  • Ticket prices stay the same far into the future.
  • Program will need time to mature.
  • Airlines may counter by reducing seat size, necessitating further size reduction of humans till we end up in a vicious cycle that causes the entire human race to fit into a matchbox.


6. Frequent Sucker Miles
This program really takes the cake. When I create a Frequent Sucker account, they ask me for details of my life that my mom doesn't know. They want my contact information, they want to know if they can text me their latest updates, want me to become friends on Facebook and 'Like' their dumbass logos but when it comes to actually getting credit for flights flown? It doesn't happen automatically. Oh wait, you didn't show your card and/or enter your 16-digit card number when you booked tickets? That's alright, just send us your original boarding passes, ticket stubs, restaurant receipts and life-jacket colors so that we can verify you are not lying. Of course, if you were trying to get out of a ticket you already booked, then they can just verify that information in a database, or bill you cancellation fees without needing you to produce any stubs or tickets. Wunderbar!

Another painful sub-cutaneous chip implanted between your eyes - only this time, it's permanent.

  • Never have to 'remember' to get miles.
  • Now you can fulfill your life-long ambition of getting a hand-held metal detector waved in your face each time you cross the metal detector.
  • Painful update process each time you fly deters idiots from flying.
  • Could cause small delays during check-in especially if sterile surgery rooms are unavailable.
  • That's it! No other cons!


You may have noticed a pattern so far. I'll clue you in. All the risk assessments are marginal! That's because I have selected these suggestions after a lot of careful research into cost-benefit analysis, shifting paradigms multiple times while maintaining my ethical integrity in the midst of driving polarizing innovation and rejuvenating synergy between marquee partners. Hell Yeah!