Thursday, April 30, 2009

cushion of safety

I know these are tough times for the Indian Airline Industry, but some cost cutting measures can border on the outright ludicrous. I recently had the pleasure of travelling by Jet Lite from Mumbai and their latest in cheap really chilled my spine!

Being really tired I was just about to doze off during the pre-flight briefing when I heard the announcer say it.

" Between Rows xxx and yyy we have removed all life jackets! Instead we give you the amazing floating seat cushion!! It makes a water landing a fun filled experience for the whole family!" With two plastic strips that are too wide to be of any use, you'll just have to hug the cushion for dear life till help get here!

In fact, for that added thrill, we make it a little more challenging for rescue teams to save you. We did away with the lights on the vest to make it virtually impossible to see you in the dark.

Have a nice flight!"

Looking at the air hostess running through the drill, I wondered how she could keep a straight face while asking people to use that piece of junk.

I mean just think what would happen if there were kids on board. Obviously they can't hug a seat cushion. And only if your dad was an olympic gymnast could he hold u and your kid brother while hugging a seat that just may float. But that picture makes it look all too easy.
I mean how hard can it be?! In fact I can run you through it right now:

Step I: The plane's just crashed onto water. Fires have started in the electricals and smoke is filling the cabin. Don't mind the disorientation of dropping oh say, 20,000 feet~! and crashing onto something that would have the consistency of concrete under those conditions...Just remain calm and start tugging your seat while people around you calmly do the same.

Step II: If you manage to rip off the seat from its place, put your arms around the seat and hug it with all your strength because standard issue seat cushions aren't going to be a snug fit.

Step III: In this fashion exit the aircraft from the aircraft and dive into the sea.

Step IV: Enjoy your swim! This is aptly illustrated by the fully dressed man looking comfortable in the picturesque blue sea, lying on the cushion just as if he were on his living room sofa.

It was enough to make the strongest atheist start praying. But when I looked around people were still as relaxed and nonchalant as ever. It wasn't like we could have immediately done anything about it but even showing the slightest concern to match the frozen expression on my face would have been nice. I guess fatalism is still in vogue.

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