Quaintly Necessary


On The Road again. Actually, in the air again for a flight from Boston to Phoenix & now on the near transcontinental return trip.

Sometime or another in the past twenty years or so, Congress passed legislation that forbade flying while smoking. Before that, smoking was not permitted during takeoffs & landings. The premise being, in case of an accident, the cigarette could ignite fuel vapors & a fatal explosion would incinerate any survivors. I wonder if that was ever proven to have actually happened. Thus during takeoffs and landings, the No Smoking Light was Lit.

Then, smokers took to the bathrooms. How high school of them. Remember the song, Smoking in the Boy’s Room by Three Dog Night. So smoke detectors were installed along with a federal penalty for tampering with them. Smoking had been extinguished from public passenger flights.

In today’s competitive commerical flying business sector, profit margins over unstable operating costs have been razor thin at best. In response to these conditons, operating costs were pared. The inflight meals reduced to token free beverages and a menu from which items could be ordered along with a smart device for your credit card.

In addition to the elimination of inflight meals, there are now charges for convenience. Baggage fees were the first to be levied.

Now certain desirable seats are available at the cost the market will bear. Before the price differential was only between first, business and coach classes. Even true business class seating seems to become extinct. Seats towards the front of the plane cost more for the convenience of prompt exiting. Exit row seats have more legroom which translates to another profitable revenue opportunity. Convenience is profitable.

The most recent expansion of the fees is the convenience of early boarding so one may grab cherished legroom, or avoid baggage fees through the selfish use of the overhead bins. The bins remain free from cost and the imposed discipline of size restrictions.

So, what remains the next profitable revenue stream? A return to inflight smoking. All the airlines have to do is airlock the rear compartment of the coach cabin with an exterior exhaust port for the thickening veil of cigarette, cigar and other legalized smoking substances. The airlock is necessary so as not expose other innocent passengers to the vile smoke. The airlock would be locked prior to takeoff and not unlocked until all other passengers have deplaned.

Then what?

Sidebar. This is being typed as I sit in the middle seat of a transcontinental flight. These seats should be deeply discounted.

DoubleSideBar: Airline travel is convenient, inhumane, efficient and cruel. The immobile sitting for hours can’t short or long term healthy. Perhaps the aircrew can orchestate a by row, stand, stretch and stroll regimen.

TripleSideBar: WiFi should be free.



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