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Monday, January 21, 2013

I am leaving on a jet plane, don't know when I'll be back again

 Here's the thing about traveling on a plane, you get a lot of time to think about how you would run the world if you were the absolute and supreme ruler.

I flew return from St. John's to Florida on West Jet over Christmas. So I had lots of time to design the perfect passenger experience.

West Jet, here's some suggestions from the passenger in the back of the plane.

First off, replace the "No smoking" sign with a "No Internet" sign.

Everyone knows you can't smoke on a plane but few people obey the "No internet" rule. Now I've never heard of a plane crashing because some kid was updating his Facebook status, but you constantly make the announcement to turn off receiving and sending devices, so it must be important. I haven't smoked in 17 years but every time you tell me the sign is on I get this uncontrollable desire to light one up. It's not 1980. Drop the "No smoking" sign. We're not idiots.

Put a "West Jet" channel on the TVs imbedded in the seats. Record the safety message in French & English then post it on your channel. That way passengers can decide if they want to hear it or not. Make passengers responsible for their own safety. So if the plane crashes, those that watched the video will die screaming with life jackets around their necks and those of us who will never watch the video will just die screaming. Chances are if the plane is crashing no one is going to remember what to do anyway.

Instead of making constant announcements during the flight that cut off my movie, you can send out a "Notice" similar to a Facebook status update that shows up on all channels for a few seconds. The notice will tell passengers to go to the West Jet channel for an in-flight announcement. Passengers can decide whether to read it or not. That way you don't interrupt my movie. There's nothing more annoying than being in the middle of a movie and being interrupted because the flight crew is selling headsets or passing out drinks. Then telling me again in French. By the time the plane lands, I always have five minutes left to my movie because of all the interruptions. I never get to see how the movie ends.

Which brings me to my next point. Stop charging me for movies. I bought five return tickets to Florida for St. John's. I think you can afford to pay for a movie. Then get better movies!

Here's a big one. Sell Tim Horton's coffee, sandwiches and donuts. Your coffee sucks. End of story.

Your in-flight menu is weird. You offer Twizzlers, Pringles, beef jerky & popcorn. Who's your target passenger? Red necks on drugs?

I have yet to be on a West Jet plane and get the sandwiches offered in the brochure. Who eats beef jerky on planes anyway? Seriously. Get some good food.

Stop with the whole security door questions? Yes I am sitting next to the security door. No, I am not going to open it if there's an emergency because I will faint as soon as you tell me there is one. No, I am not going to tell you that because you'll kick me off the plane. If we crash and I survive I'll do my best, but no promises. I also don't think the elderly lady sitting in the seat on the last plane would be able to do it either. She lied too because she didn't want to get kicked off the plane.

Stop allowing animals on planes. On our flight from St. John's to Toronto, my husband sat next to a guy with a cat in a carrier. The cat crapped shortly after the plane left the tarmac. So for almost three wonderful hours we had to endure the smell of cat shit on top the stifling heat on the plane. That's probably what turned me off from the beef jerky.

Bathrooms. Make them bigger. Look at the size of the arses getting on your plane and look at the size of the door to the bathroom. You almost have to lather up with Vaseline over your hips to get through the door.

Finally, this is for all airlines. I paid hundreds of dollars for my ticket to fly on your plane. I am not giving you another $50 to guarantee I get a seat. I am assuming that is what I paid $800 for. It's not a bus. I buy a ticket . . .  I get a seat. It's called making sale.

Another thing. Put some springs in your seats. It feels like I am sitting on a lawn chair!

West Jet has a reputation of being a great company to work for and to deal with. I do prefer you to Air Canada. You are a leader in your field. So here's some advice, a single leader, visibly doing the right thing can influence a whole community's behavior.

If West Jet makes these changes, Air Canada will follow.