Fly the Unfriendly Skies

Last week, JetBlue Airlines announced they will no longer offer free checked baggage for their passengers. To add insult to injury, the frugal airline has also decided to add fifteen additional seats to their Airbus A320 planes resulting in less legroom. (See Forbes.)

Following suit, other airlines have decided to make cutbacks to get out of the red. In order to save costs on fuel, EconoJet Airlines is now using a large sling-shot to send their planes soaring.

“Take off can feel a bit … treacherous,” said Humphrey Garret, CEO of EconoJet. “But I assure passengers the sling-shot is mighty strong, and will get you in the general area of your destination.”

McAir Airways has decided to do away with landing costs – those pesky fees required by airports to use their runways. Instead of landing their planes, McAir passengers will need to parachute out.

“But please remember it’s B.Y.O.P (Bring Your Own Parachute),” Linda McFadden, President and CEO of McAir Airlines stated, “McAir is not responsible for providing passengers with parachutes. When we needed to make some cutbacks, landing fees and parachutes were included. These were difficult, but necessary cuts.”

McAir recommends all passengers pack lightly as heavy suitcases can be quite burdensome when parachuting. (And yes, there are still baggage fees.)

Another cost cutting method used by some airlines is reducing unnecessary safety equipment. Payless Planes has removed all seat bealts from their aircrafts.

“When you’re plunging thirty thousand feet from the sky in a fiery ball, what’s a seat belt really going to do? Upon the realization that seat belts do nothing in the case of an airline crash, we decided to include them in our cost cutting,” said Michael DeAngelo, Chief Financial Officer of Payless Planes.

But after much deliberation, Payless Planes has decided to not only do away with seat belts, but seats entirely. Passengers now sit on benches, hanging onto handles, subway style.

“I have certainly been on more comfortable flights,” Timothy Blummert of Irvine, California said, “but at least with this airline, I know we’re actually landing on a runway … if we land.”

Other airlines have decided to keep fuel, seats and the usage of airports, but have simply done away with flight crew. Fly-Mart recently announced they have laid off all flight attendants. Vending machines and self-serve coffee makers have replaced the smiling flight attendants of the past.

“It was a bit strange at first,” Macy Wallace of Des Moine, Iowa said when interviewed, “There was a line all the way down the aisle for the vending machine. When one guy’s Snickers bar got stuck, he got real mad and started shaking the machine and rocking it. I thought we were gonna crash! But other than that, it worked out alright.”

**The Underground Writer Reporting**

I’m Sorry … And I Mean It!

Last week my husband was on a flight to Boston when the stewardess spilled a can of V8 all over the man sitting next to him. The man was drenched – V8 juice soaked into his lap, suit jacket, and white shirt. Some even got in his hair.

“I’d like to apologize,” the stewardess said, “But it wasn’t my fault. The can exploded. I can’t apologize for something that wasn’t my fault.”

Outrageously, the V8 can never apologized to the passenger. Perhaps because it was lacking lips and a brain.

A similar incident occurred several years ago. A teenage driver was speeding on our street while texting and lost control of her car. She deftly landed in our yard, though she had to crash through our picket fence to get there. When the girl’s mother arrived at the scene, she studied her daughter’s car and our fence before saying, “This isn’t so bad.” She then proceeded to ask us to not report it to our homeowners insurance.

Of course we were going to. This resulted in an exchange of some heated words.

Woman: My daughter is a good kid. She was in church all day.

My husband: I was in church today too, but you don’t see me crashing through people’s fences. What if my daughter had been in the yard when this happened?!

Woman (looking around): I don’t see any kids.

A simple “I’m sorry” would have made all the difference. Had the woman apologized, perhaps we would have calmed down and not contacted our insurance. We may have taken the woman’s offer to give us money to repair the fence and left insurance out of the equation. But nothing in her attitude gave us the impression she would follow through with that offer. Responsibility was not taken. A much needed apology never given.

If the stewardess on my husband’s flight had apologized for dumping a can of tomato juice on a passenger, other passengers might have felt bad for her. They may have left the flight talking about how well the stewardess handled the situation. Instead they spoke of how rude she was, and encouraged the V8 drenched man to file a complaint with the airline. When she shifted the blame to the self-imploding can, it made her look callous and immature.

Research has shown that patients are less likely to sue a doctor over a medical error if the physician simply says, “I’m sorry” in a kind way.* Whether it is pride or fear of a lawsuit, many doctors don’t take the time to apologize, which only makes the patient more angry and wanting retaliation – usually in the form of suing the doctor who made the mistake. But if the doctor apologizes, anger is quelled and a lawsuit is less likely to happen.

In most circumstances, it seems that two little words can change the course of events in a very big way.

* sources: Apologies and Medical Errors and Physician Apologies