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Monday, November 03, 2008

Flying To The Future

This article is inspired by a chance conversation, full of wit, with a few friends and a few strangers (now acquaintances) over delicious crepe as the ubiquitous fountain gurgled next to us inside a shopping mall. I have missed such conversations and so to that extent, I have missed Singapore.

One of the participants recently travelled to Brazil and to her dismay, she found out that she was expected to carry her own headphones if she wanted to take full advantage of the in-flight entertainment system. Alternately, she could watch the screen without dialogues. She is now training to be able to read the lips. Another recounted the horror story of having to pay for blankets and pillows on a long distance flight. His fall-back plan is now to dress as an Eskimo every time he boards a plane. I don’t blame him, given the arctic temperature they normally maintain inside the cabin.

Almost all the airlines in India are doing everything within their powers, short of shutting down the operations, to turn into black, including downsizing, salary cuts and price-hikes. One international airline fired thirteen employees as they engaged into a discussion on facebook criticizing their employers and the presence of cockroaches on-board. Presumably, that airline ran out of excuses to fire employees. Thankfully, the cockroaches’ jobs were still intact at the time of writing this article.

Looking at the above disjoint pieces of information, it didn’t take too much imagination to look at the future of flying. Let’s start from the beginning. You may or may not have a seat number. You may not even have a seat. In fact, there might not be any seats at all. You will be allowed one cabin luggage and one checked-in luggage. If you don’t find the checked-in luggage at arrival, there is no need to panic for it will be lying exactly where you left it and you can claim it upon your return or alternately file a police report for the same. The airlines liability will be limited to what it feels like.

If you want to avail of the in-flight entertainment system, you will have to bring your own DVDs that you can play on your own laptop. You don’t really have to ensure that your laptop is fully charged before boarding as long as you are willing to pay for the limited number of electrical outlets. You will have to bid for them like everyone else and you cannot share your laptop screen with anyone else. Same goes for blankets. Pillows are to be replaced by your own elbows or your fellow passengers’ shoulders as you deem comfortable.

It will be highly advisable to stuff yourself with food before the boarding because once in air, the airlines are susceptible to wide-spread famine. The limited ration will go first towards the pilot, then to the flight attendants, if there are any. The rest of the food supplies will be stored for the next flight. Owing to frequent instances of food poisoning, it is in your own interest to buy food for your pilot as well, although not mandatory. You should reduce your liquid intake as much as possible because the toilets service will come at a premium.

In case of turbulence, the oxygen masks will not spring out automatically. You will have to calmly insert coins, to the exact change, in the overhead slot. If you don’t have sufficient coins, you will need to continue to remain calm as you will still have the option to swipe your credit card at the adjacent magnetic chip reader. In case, your card is declined or the particular airline in question doesn’t accept, say American Express cards, that will be as good a time as any to start praying.

In case of emergency landing or a mid-air explosion or any other such eventuality, the economy class passengers’ right to live shall cease. The business class passengers, on the other hand, can avail of the life-jacket by bequeathing half of their net-worth in the name of the airline. This contract will be valid irrespective of their survival.

Happy flying.


Toddler said...

hilarious and a delight to read.

Annoymously said...

Fun read! Great similarities with air india out here.