Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Open letter to all airlines

Want to enhance customer satisfaction without spending a dime? Have FAR fewer announcements. Keep those nasal whiny stewardesses away from the mic unless you can do something to make the PA system less tinny and grating on the ears. Teach them how not to show us with their voices just how much they hate and are bored by their jobs. Do NOT let them say they appreciate correct change. The arrogant bitches are not above making change any more than the guy who sells me my coffee with a smile from his stand on Park Ave. If there's a delay, of course I want regular updates every 10 minutes. No more, no less. But trying to sell me your fucking co-branded credit card while I'm strapped to this beast is cruelty to humans and should be punished.

Oh, and while we're on the topic of seatbelts ... that seatbelt sign… pilots forget it’s on for hours … or, giving them slightly more credit, perhaps they just abuse it in an attempt to err on the side of caution. Unfortunately in the latter case they sabotage themselves by numbing the flying public to the sign and forcing us to go against it based on our own judgment alone without the benefit of weather radar or forecasts. Automate it so the pilots don’t need to have any angst or responsibility for the safety of their ambulant passengers. If my laptop can tell it’s being jostled, so can a plane. Each 5 seconds, the plane would assign a volatility factor. It would then monitor a moving average of that factor over the past 5 minutes or so. If it got above a certain threshold number, “fasten seatbelts.” Once the turbulence stopped and the average drifted back down below a separate, lower threshold, “go to the john.” Add predictive analysis to this if you want, bringing in feeds from the weather computer to anticipate areas of chop. This might even allow you the ability to give a more nuanced indication to your customers of what to expect: Monitor the average over the past 5 minutes plus the predicted values over the next 2 minutes. Inform your passengers of various levels of predicted severity: red means nobody up, not even the crew, orange means crew and a “strong call of nature” are permissible, yellow means you can it in your seat with the belt off and get up for the bathroom or to retrieve something from luggage, and green means no holds barred.

Oh, and hurry up with that Clearstream lane!!

Oh, and most DEFINITELY hurry up with the next SST. It takes me as long to get LAX to JFK as it took JFK, himself, fifty God-damn years ago.

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