The Great Airline Scam

British Airways are pleased to announce that, as from January 1st, 2007, in order to provide ever better service to its customers, and to contain rising costs, all World Traveller seating on long-haul flights will be removed, and passengers will have the opportunity to keep fit and make new friends by moving freely around the cabin. The ending of sedentary postures will also help to prevent blood clots.

They got the idea from the people who transport the sheep.
The seats on an aircraft these days are expensive to keep.
They intend to remove them, requiring their punters to stand,
And to hang on to straps in the ceiling whenever they land.

They say:

The previous rows meant you barely could fit in your seat.
We feel it’s more comfy to stand through the flight on your feet.
This works perfectly well for a tram or a peak-traffic train,
So what is the problem? It’s only eight hours on a plane.?

So it’s farewell to blazers, the stewards, the cabin attendants!
It’s farewell to mothers breast-feeding their baby dependents!
It’s farewell to films and second class bottles of wine!
It’s hello to the cow truck, farewell to the former airline.

It’s hello to the garlicky smells, the colds, and the splutters,
To the girl chewing gum and the crazy who constantly mutters;
To the man who steps back and who stands, unaware, on your toes,
Or insists on a long dialogue when you’re trying to doze.

Thus the World Traveller strap-hangers, nervously holding their breath,
Will wish they’d prepared for what looks like an imminent death.
They’ll be packed like sardines; it will look like a Tokyo train.
They can’t visit the toilet, move left or move right, or complain.

As the jumbo takes off they will close both their eyes and they’ll pray.
Is it safer to leap from the emergency exit or stay?
During turbulent bits they will cling to each other or weep,
And likely will end in a pile if the glide path’s too steep.

Investors? They’ll love it! The boss will be given a peerage!
At last he can triple the unwitting people in steerage!
The Economist, bless it, will dub it a great innovation.
“A productivity bonus,” they’ll smugly announce to the nation.

“It’s a brilliant idea,” they’ll declare, “if most travellers stood,
It would mean fewer staff and no need for that warmed-over food.
One must cram them all in to recoup the full cost of a jet;
The odd bump and bruise will be handled, we’re sure, with regret.”

Thus the media pundit. Complete with his glass of champagne,
He relaxes in Business Class, free from all guilt and all pain.
“What you have to accept is the need to forever streamline.
A business must constantly grow, or be bound to decline.”

Are we there to serve them, or they us, I would modestly beg?
What first institution appeared here, the hen or the egg?
Give us leg-room and comfort, some edible food and some sleep;
We don’t need to be carried in airplanes like so many sheep.

June 2006