Airline executives were called before Congress this week to be questioned about their business practices because there have been a few recent incidents that put the airlines in a bad light . The friendly skies may not be as friendly as the airlines want us to believe .
Immediately after the pubic hearings before Congress , one air carrier announced plans to reduce passenger space in the economy section . They measure this space , not by leg room , but by the measured distance between seat backs . In this case , that seat- back -to-seat- back space will be reduced to 29 inches .
Thank God for Congress ! The previous company plan to replace the aircraft seats with stacked shelves was , thankfully , scrapped . The issuance of cattle prods to stewards/stewardesses for use in herding customers is also now under review . The Congressional panel emphasized , you see , the necessity of considering passenger safety and comfort as well as corporate profits .
I have a solution to solve the airline problem . I didn’t invent it . It’s universally recognized and would help to address several troubling national conundrums . This is it : There should be a rule that airline execs are required ( and their immediate family members too ) to fly economy whenever they fly . Simple ?
This rule might go a long way toward addressing the national debate over health care policy . Members of Congress would be limited to whatever health care plan they impose on the rest of us . After all , they set it all up .
The ancient Romans had already recognized the value of such a universal rule . Roman bridge architects , for example , were required to be the first ones over the new bridge , so that if their structure collapsed the designer got to immediately experience the consequences of their flawed plans .
I used to wish for such a rule when I worked for the school district . One example : There was a classroom underneath of which a skunk had decided to spray .
I couldn’t believe the stink day after day in that classroom . The teacher complained , of course , as did several of us at the school , but the principal was evidently unconcerned . I doubt whether he ever visited the room during the weeks that it stunk . Finally , the teacher union representative managed to coax the school district to address the faculty about the skunk issue .
The school district representative who spoke admitted that there was a problem , but that the district was hampered , he explained , from doing anything to solve the problem . They were forbidden from using poisons , for example , he said . He was , believe it or not , verbally throwing up his hands and saying , in effect , that nothing could be done .
Frustrated teachers told him to get someone under the classroom and have them remove the skunk . The district representative , at this point , said , ” I’ll give a thousand dollars to anyone who would go under that building and remove that skunk . ”
I raised my hand immediately and told him I’d do it . He didn’t honor his own offer . Apparently , his challenge was a rhetorical flourish that he wasn’t willing to back up with cash ! Imagine that !
This issue , I knew , would have been quickly resolved had the skunk sprayed under the principal’s office instead of under a classroom . The school district would have found a way to mitigate the issue that day at the principal’s urging .
Using the universal rule mentioned above , that principal should have been required to move his office into the stinky room . Simple ?
I’m sad to say that this rule is not being generally applied , though . There is a new facility , for example , at LAX for well-heeled airline passengers . For $7000 or so , customers can join a club that allows them to use a comfortable waiting room with good wine, etc. , and helpful attendants. The check -in process is made easy . Distances that ordinary customers are required to walk are minimized . There is a monthly fee, too , I think . Sounds like a good thing if money is no object . Evidently more than 2000 people have already joined up . Meanwhile , for the rest of us , the situation deteriorates .
Those airline executives in D.C. should have immediately been herded into an airport , forced to walk from one end of the place to the other , then put on an aircraft in economy seats and flown across the country and back . Then the hearings could resume : Now what do you think about the 29″ seat-back -to-seat-back idea ? they could be asked , given that this would be their required mode -of- flight from that point on . And don’t forget to tell your wife and kids that the same goes for them .
What’s good for the goose is good for the gander .