Friday, August 11, 2006

One for the Terrorists

Yesterday’s news that a group of deranged individuals were plotting to blow themselves and a few hundred people to Kingdom come aboard airliners, on the face of it, cannot have been good news for the aviation industry. What would motivate someone to behave in this way is incomprehensible to most of us.

Apart from any other factors, it would seem that, if successful, the blower-upper and his victims would all be arriving at the pearly gates around the same time and, as the check-in staff at any airline will tell you, upset passengers are no easy matter to deal with.

This sort of thing is definitely to be discouraged.

However, every terrorist cloud has its silver lining and here I refer to the prospect that the ban upon carry-on luggage may become permanent.

I deplore the fact that books and reading material are presently disallowed, but I think that may change. After all, not many books are truly inflammatory and although many romance novels are drippy, it seems the problem here is with liquids. In case of doubt, a passenger could be asked to consume a page or two before being allowed on board.

But the real benefit to mankind is that, whereas in the past you would be hovering over that rather disconcerting gap between jetway and aircraft, waiting to reach your assigned seat 135C, while passengers in rows 1 through 134 tried to stow oversize bags in undersized overhead bins, now you will be able to walk down the aisle to your seat and sit down. Magic!

Some of you may be old enough to recall that the early Viscounts and BAC 111’s had no overhead lockers – they had hat racks! This was, of course, in the days when the advertising slogan of the hatting industry was: “If you want to get ahead – get a hat.” However this is now passé, since it has been proved that a hat does nothing to improve your chances of getting social security benefits and housing allowances from the authorities.

I feel sorry for those travelling with small children but here I have the solution. As you know, they are currently allowed to board ahead of the other passengers – it makes no difference, they will still be blocking the gangway when you get there. My idea is that they should be allowed to board first - but onto a different airplane.

I’m looking forward to a new era in air travel.


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