No, no I’m not talking about the healthcare thing.
No, I’m not talking about the politicians.
…though, come to think of it, I guess the title of this post would work for that too.
No, I’m talking about Alaskan Airlines.
Oh, I don’t think so.
Now don’t get me wrong here, I’m all about connectivity. I’m all about WiFi while travelling. And I’m nine kinds of enthusiastic about being able to post updates to Things That Chap My Ass About Air Travel from in the actual air (or while marooned on the runway in Chicago for ten hours in a blizzard with the ripe stench of overflowing lavatories and strapped in next to a guy that reeks of aromatic ass and burning hemp and some fervent eyed crazed Palinista who wants to introduce me to Jesus personally).
I think the big WiFi in the Sky is a great idea and if it keeps the flying masses occupied so they annoy me less, I’m all for it.
I think it’ll come in very handy in a variety of situations. It’ll be terrific for business people and bloggers and writers and the average Joe. Or in a terrorist takeover, it could damned useful then. Say you’re a suicide bomber, WiFi and Twitter could be a godsend, “40SweetVirgins Allah Ack… Oh DAMNIT! Hello my Jihadist Tweeps, any of U on flt483 right now? My lighter is out of fluid. Can U help a martyr out?” See?
As an Alaskan who frequently flies Alaskan Airlines, I think it’s great idea to offer WiFi for a modest fee.
So what’s my problem?
I’ll tell you what my problem is – it’s the goddamned wireless part of WiFi.
Wireless, that means radio waves.
Seriously, What. The. Hell?
We’ve been told for years, decades in fact, that we can’t use wireless devices on airplanes. No phones, no GPS units, no portable TVs, no radios, no nothing that makes radio waves in any way – because, and I quote every pre-flight safety brief ever, the electromagnetic interference could jam the plane’s flight control and FUCKING KILL US ALL! Make a phone call at the wrong moment and we end up as tomato paste surprise spread all over a corn field in Iowa, right? Isn’t that what they’ve been telling us? Send out a tweet as the plane makes a critical maneuver and suddenly we’re plunging from 30,000 feet in a flaming death spiral! Check your Blackberry mail while on final approach to O’Hare International and you get to experience a “water landing” in the middle of Lake Michigan and maybe find out if that seat cushion full of beer farts really does turn into a flotation device. Use your Android to update your Facebook Wall as you leave the terminal at JFK and the plane suddenly veers off the taxiway and accelerates out of control like a Toyota Camry in a grocery store parking lot (what? Too soon?). Sync up your Bluetooth headset and the engines will explode into giant balls of flame and shredded turbine blades, the fuselage will suffer explosive decompression, and the seven foot tall basketball player seated in front of you will suddenly recline his seat in defiance of FAA regulations and jam your spleen into your spine, and every baby on the plane will burst into red faced hysterical screaming and bubbling snot filled crying at the same exact moment! It’ll be terror at 20,000 feet! Death! Chaos! Aaaaaaah!
Well, that’s how they make it sound.
But now suddenly, Alaskan and other airlines are offering WiFi?
Suddenly it’s just OK for three hundred passengers to fire up their laptops and surf the internet while in flight? Suddenly it’s perfectly fine to literally bath the interior of the aircraft in RF energy? The skies will be full of connected passengers downloading airline maintenance records and playing video poker. HULU videos will replace that insipid in-flight magazine. And I don’t even want to speculate about the weird guy who took his laptop into the lavatory ten minutes ago.
It’s just OK now? What the hell happened?
I see two possibilities: either a) The airlines spent hundreds of billions converting all of their flight controls and fly-by-wire systems to EM hardened, RF shielded, surge impervious C2 like something from a cold war nuclear bomber, or b) the bastards were lying to us right from the very first time Orville and Wilbur soared off that sand dune at Kitty Hawk.
Frankly, the odds are that it’s probably the second option. Just saying.
Which begs the question, what else are these sons of bitches lying to us about?
I’ll tell you, once you’re on to them, it’s easy to spot the discrepancies:
“Northwest Airlines regrets to inform passengers on Flight 1542 that there will be a slight delay while we fix a minor maintenance issue…” Riiiight. The maintenance crew dropped a wrench into the engine and they can’t find it, didn’t they?
“…we’re should have you on your way shortly…” We’re number 53 for take-off.
“Here’s your snack box, Sir…” Listen, bitch, yogurt and a handful of raisins isn’t a snack. I bet those pricks up in 1st class are getting microwave pizza rolls, corn dogs, and a deli tray. And while we’re on it, two tiny pretzels and a little plastic cup of warm ginger ale isn’t cutting it. I paid $1400 for this flight, the least you can do is pick me up a turkey hoagie and some fucking Doritos on your way into work.
“Would you like a blanket?” Blanket? Blanket? Blanket for who? Keebler Elves? That ain’t no blanket, I’ve got hankies bigger than that.
“Delta Airlines regrets that Flight 425 with service to Miami will be delayed due to weather…” Uh huh. The pilots showed up smelling of Tequila and cheap prostitutes again, didn’t they? From the other side of that locked door you can hear, “C’mon Capt’n Bob, drink the coffee, you’ve got a 9:02 and you’re late.” “No, don’t wanna!” Do not be concerned, everything is under control.
“We guarantee that only highly trained and professional security personnel will be examining your person in the full body scanner. Pictures cannot be stored or downloaded…” to internet porn sites. Trust us.
“Whoa, sorry there folks! We’re experiencing a little ‘clear air’ turbulence…” Turbulence, another word for “Holy fucking Shit! Where’d that 747 come from! Turn! Turn!”
“I’m sorry, Sir, there are no Emergency Exit Row seats left…” You lying whore!
“Gooood Morning, Folks, this is Capt’n Pudknocker from the cockpit. Blah blah blah yabber yabber babble babble and thanks for flying with us today. We know you have a choice when it comes to air travel and we sure appreciate you choosing Continental today!” Choice? What choice? We didn’t spend $700 so we could end up shoehorned into this sardine can because we had a fucking choice, you dolt.
“…you should have plenty of time to make your connecting flight at LAX…” if you’re an Olympic sprinter.
“…and again we’re sorry for the inconvenience and you may redeem this $400 voucher on any future US Airways flight or that of our Blue Star Brown Ring of Quality partners…” Some restrictions apply.
“…oxygen will be flowing, even though the bag does not inflate…” Sure and it’ll smell just like vacuum.
“…the National Transportation Safety Board’s crash investigation has determined that this issue is not a problem with other aircraft, however it is recommending a voluntary upgrade to the non-explosive flux-capacitors…” Take the train.
Frankly, I don’t trust anything these people say.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to put my tray table in the upright and locked position and secure my electronics for takeoff…