Monday, March 15, 2010
Air travel 2015 rant
by Larry Geller
Since I’m still not in the mood to write anything serious, I thought I would reveal my suggestion for improving the air travel experience. It’s related to my Hospital Rant (previous article). I thought of it while waiting at Queens for my procedure.
Flying anywhere these days can be a horrible, often degrading experience. Here in Hawaii we can’t even go to the next county without boarding a plane. Having to take our shoes off is the least of it, now some airports are installing porno scanners that will expose our bodies to salivating government inspectors. While we are insulted and embarrassed, real terrorists will find ways to circumvent the system.
I have a better plan. You’ll still have to take your shoes off, but after that it’s not so bad.
What will happen by 2015, as burgeoning passenger loads strain the system and passenger riots in protest of the intrusive security become common, and as the scrutiny proves insufficient anyway, is that a whole new approach will be mandated by the Homeland Security Czar.
Check-in centers will be set up in cities very similar to the same-day surgery center at Queens Hospital. Every passenger gets a little area separated from the others by a curtain hung from the ceiling.
You bring your luggage along at the appointed time and relax on the hospital-style gurney, after removing shoes and socks, which you place in a little plastic bag provided for the purpose. Someone interviews you about allergies, checks your tickets, verifies your destination, and asks you to relax for a short while.
Soon, a white-coated staff member comes by and shoots something into your big toe. You’re out like a light. They then attach a tag to your toe with a bar code and destination code, and put the same onto your luggage handle.
No hassle, no waiting in lines. Passengers can be stacked in horizontal cylinders on the plane by baggage handlers. No meals needed, no snacks, no blankets. Airplanes will be loaded to double or triple the current capacity.
When you wake up, you’re in your hotel bed in London.
With any luck, London is where you wanted to be. With a bit more luck, your luggage is next to the bed instead of on its way to Bahrain. Your shoes have been neatly arranged near the door. The person next to you is your spouse, if traveling together. The kid in the crib is actually yours, if you brought one along to start with.
You can go 2nd day air, priority or express, no more first/business/coach. You’ll have your own tracking number so friends and relatives can chart your progress on a web page. For an extra charge, the London hotel will sign a receipt for you when you arrive.
Email sent to me: A solution to all the controversy over full-body scanners at the airports.
Have a booth that you can step into that will not X-ray you but will DETONATE ANY EXPLOSIVE DEVICE YOU MAY HAVE ON YOU!
It would be a win-win for everyone and there would be none of this crap about racial profiling and this method would eliminate a long and expensive trial. Justice would be quick and swift. Case closed!
This is so simple that it is brilliant. I can see it now: You're in the airport and you hear a muffled explosion. Shortly thereafter an announcement comes over the PA system, "Attention, standby passengers, we now have a seat available on Flight number...":)
Brilliant in its simplicity. And we could all take as many bottles of shampoo as we want on board, no more silly restrictions.