February 20, 2007

A Modest Proposal

For Reducing the Discomfort of Air Travel, as well as Making it Cheaply Available to those of Lower Income

It is a melancholy object to those who dizzily travel around the globe, to enter airports- those crowded structures far outside the city. Verily hath Douglas Adams pointed out that the expression "as beautiful as an airport" could not possibly exist.

And yet, most are agreed that the unsightliness of the airport and its Rs. 70 microwaved sandwiches are as nothing, when faced with the horror of a flight on a discount airline. The cramped space, the fixed smiles of rage on the faces of the staff, the interminable delays while seated on the plane with the A/C switched off.. And who has not faced the pain of the ears popping, or even worse, refusing to pop, as the plane descends?

Given this deplorable state of affairs, whoever can find an easy method of making air travel more comfortable would deserve a statue to be put up in public as the preserver of the nation.

But my intention is not only to add to the comfort of those already travelling, but to also increase the numbers of those who currently only aspire to travel, but cannot afford to do so, even on a budget airline.

I cannot claim to have spent years brooding on the topic. But if you, gentle reader, hear me out, you will agree that my suggestion is as worthy of approval as that from the weightiest scholar.

Every putative airline passenger is to be slipped a downer, mickey finn, barbiturate or tranquilizer; then led to a gurney and told to "lie back now ducky, good night sweet prince and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest". As the eyeballs roll backwards in the head, the contents of the gurney can be dumped onto a conveyor belt and sent towards the plane.

Strong men (the kind that wince and hide their valuables) could load the doped out dopes onto metal trays stacked one above the other. An adjusted tray-belt here, a crack to the outflung elbow there and the flight is ready for take off.

Assuming an airplane that currently carries 60 passengers, the craft would now be able to load more than twice that number. The only restriction would be the weight of the sleepy bodies. Given the reduced need for stewards, food, oxygen masks and seats with floatation devices below them, the increased numbers could be huge.

Opening up capacity in this manner would lead to a drop in fares, opening the doors (of perception too!) to the poorer populace with laced pop.

I would go further with the advantages but all this modest proposing (oh i'm nothing special really, but do be mine) has made me hungry.

Time for some "most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled ...”