By Wayne Chan
Northwest Asian Weekly
A few days ago, I flew to Seattle on a business trip.
Now I’ve flown all over the world, for work and vacations alike. You’d think I’d be used to the service (or lack thereof) that one typically gets on an economy flight nowadays.
You would think so, but you would be wrong.
The long lines, the ridiculous fees, the seats so small only hamsters can fit in, the “elbow hockey” people have to play since there’s only one arm rest between seats, the meals that only a hamster could feel full from … hmm … I sense a pattern here.
So many inconveniences and they do this with the hope that they will draw us back for more?
Well, I’ve had it. Next week, I’m driving across California on a business trip. Yes, it will take longer, but on the other hand, I get to leave when I want, eat what I want, take what I want, sit with who I want, and everything will be designed for a normal, non-hamster sized body.
Still, there is no shortage of people willing to endure the onslaught of inconveniences that most airlines put us through. Maybe we’re all gluttons for punishment. Maybe this is the airline’s way of showing us tough love. Maybe, deep inside, something in our psyche appreciates having to “do our business” in a bathroom the size of an empty fridge while said bathroom is hurtling through the sky at 600 miles an hour.
Maybe it’s the rest of the world that needs to follow the airlines’ lead.
What if the world were run by the airline industry?
Movie theaters would sell 250 movie tickets for an 8 p.m. show for a theater that only seats 200. The theater ushers would then walk into the theater and ask if anyone would like to wait around for the 10:00 p.m. show. For their inconvenience, they will be given a free box of Milk Duds.
Then, as people sit down, they are only allowed to recline in their theater seats during the movie itself. During previews and the closing credits, all seats must be returned to their original upright position. If allowed to recline the one inch of available space, any bump from behind could eject an unsuspecting moviegoer across the theater into the screen itself. The rule is: upright = safe, one inch back = seat ejection death.
Hotels would advertise nightly rates for their guests, but would charge another $25 per bag if they intended to keep the luggage in their rooms. However, if their guests chose to keep their bags in the trunk of their car and change clothes in the backseat, there would be no additional charges for that.
Dry cleaners would offer frequent launder programs that would allow customers to earn sudsy points with each paid item of clothing that was dry-cleaned. After 10 items were cleaned, a customer would have earned one free cleaning for one item of clothing.
These 10 sudsy points could be redeemed anytime, as long as that time occurred on a Tuesday evening, during a leap year, on Rosh Hashanah, during a full moon.
As an added bonus, customers could earn more points to allow them to redeem a cleaning anytime (called the premium launderer). However, as of this date, the only customers who have managed to wash enough clothes to earn this award are the costume crew of “Dancing With The Stars” and some customers with obsessive/compulsive disorder.
For security purposes, local gyms would need to inspect each customer’s gym bag before entering the gym. Any items that could be used as a weapon would be strictly prohibited.
This includes any soaps or deodorants more than three-ounce in size, but also includes other potentially dangerous items such as bras, jock straps, and gym socks that haven’t been washed in over four days.
Dentists would operate the same way, but would charge differently. While charging the same for a filling, they would charge patients additionally for checking in (pre-treatment documentation fee), time spent waiting in the waiting room with complimentary magazines from the late 1990s (pre-treatment entertainment fee), and time spent sitting in the dentist’s chair (sedentary time fee).
Upon leaving, the patient would have to pay a post-operative, post-present fee.
The problem is, the next time I have to travel across the country or to Asia, I’ll be…getting on a plane. So, until I can afford traveling first class all the time or find a great deal on a private jet on Craigslist, I guess I’ll be out of luck. ♦
Wayne Chan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.