Saturday, October 10, 2009

Modern Travel

I consider myself to be an experienced traveler, having traveled in excess of 1 million miles around the globe in my lifetime. I've never counted the hours spent in planes, but the hours spent in airports these days almost equate to those numbers. A veritable number of my life, no doubt.

Now why do I raise this matter you may well ask, dear Reader? Some recent newspaper articles have revealed some of the plans that some Airlines have for you and I. All Nippon Airways (ANA) in Japan have announced that travelers must use the 'facilities' before boarding the flight. The reason? It will reduce CO2 emissions by 5 million tons a year. I find this amazing. I thought that human waste was ejected after being frozen, at several thousand feet. This also begs the question, what does 5 million tons of CO2 look like? Not wishing to challenge our experts on 'climate change', but this excuse has been extensively used by the UK Government to charge mere mortals exhorbitant charges for the CO2 emissions of vehicles. It's resulted in diesels being the vehicle of choice in the UK as they emit lesas CO2 than conventional petrol engines. So short sighted in my view, as diesels belch out black smoke (eventually, despite particulate filters) and are very noisy.

Back to the plot. Ignoring CO2 emissions for a moment, what other ideas do Airlines have for us. Ryanair seems to lead the way. They now charge for checking-in with a person - it's free if done on-line. They're also looking at charging £1 ($1.60) for using the bathroom. This bathroom is about the the size of a yoghurt pot. If you ever dare to remove your pants to use the facility, you will hit the Emergency Button. This will either bring a female attendant to your 'unwanted' help, or a male attendant, and I'm not going down that route.

Ryanair are now also looking at short-hop flights whereby the customer will not actually get a seat. The passenger will have to stand. There will be straps to hold one in, but for up to one hour, there will be nowhere to sit.

I saw a photo of the troop transporters to the war-zones. Inside the plane, seats are lined up along the fuselage, next to each other. The middle of the plane is empty, and people can get up and walk. To me, this is a fantastic idea. None of the problems of the idiots who want to tilt their seat into one's already cramped space, or the others who insist on using your seat back as a prop to get up/move along the narrow aisle.

I wonder what other ideas the Airlines have in mind. Smaller seats? Narrower aisles? Smaller toilets? Seats that don't recline? YES please! Only one bag per person, and no overhead lockers? YES please!

Here endeth today's lesson.