June 17, 2011

Fight or Flight

This week, we take a closer look at an interesting phenomenon in which a bunch of people voluntarily squeeze themselves into a giant pressurized metal tube which is then sealed and propelled into air. Yep, we are indeed talking about the joys of flying coach class. A gentleman named Tony Januss kicked it all off when he launched a commercial aviation company cleverly named the St Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line on Jan 1, 1914. This was closely followed by the first baggage loss – an unrecorded fact of history, uncovered only by What Ho! sleuths. We’ve come a long way since. In 2009, airlines served peanuts to an estimated 770 million passengers in the US alone.

Sadly, airline travel is not what it used to be. No one enjoys it any more. The passengers don’t. The crew doesn’t. Suffice it to say that we were not surprised when we were commissioned by McKinsey and Co to analyze and reverse this trend. And, true to our style, we decided to call a spade a shovel and started off with a few tweaks to flight announcements.

First, the boarding announcement – “Welcome aboard and please pretend to pay attention to this announcement. You know where the seat belts are. In trials, four years olds have figured out how to buckle themselves up in five seconds or less. If you are unable to do so, please contact us and we’ll be happy to enroll you in the George W Bush Mensa Club. Sudden loss of pressure is not a good thing. First, secure your own oxygen mask and then your child’s. If you are traveling with more than one child, you might want to toss a coin. If you look out the window and see us hurtling towards the Bay of Bengal, feel free to grab one of our complimentary seat cushions, useful as a flotation device while swimming in shark infested waters. Please note that there is a $25 fee for detonating bombs while on board the aircraft.”

Then, at mid flight -“People, we are encountering turbulence. Or, then again, it could be that we are trying to dodge missiles fired by North Koreans. In any case, there is no need to panic until a sudden drop in cabin pressure. If you *still* haven’t figured out how to fasten your seat belts, please raise your hand. Sarah Palin is looking for campaign volunteers. As for your meal, you know how it goes – if you pay monkeys, you only get peanuts”

And finally, on landing-

“Folks, contrary to what you think, we were not shot down. Please keep your butts glued to the seats until what’s left of this plane reaches the terminal. On behalf of Captain Kangaroo and his fake pilot license, we thank you for the opportunity to take y’all for a ride. Remember that no one loves your money more than KingLearJet Airlines. And, please don’t leave anything behind, especially spouses.

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