The following is a work of fiction. Any persons or situations that resemble real life are absolutely intentional, but no offense is intended (well, not too much anyway). I buy low-cost flights because of the low cost (big surprise there) but that doesn’t mean we don’t all wish for more mileage for our money! Perhaps if everyone copied this letter and sent it to their preferred low-cost airline (best oxymoron ever), things might change – or at least someone might get a laugh in the complaints-burning office!
Dear low cost airline,
I recently had the fortunate misfortune to be affluent enough to travel by air, yet not so rich that I could shell out the king’s ransom required to do so in any kind of comfort. As such, I was headed towards your carrier like so many innocent lambs to the slaughter.
I found little comfort in the dark satire of taking a form of transport that was once based around comfort and customer service, and perverting it into the exact opposite. On the other hand, I thank you for assisting my yoga training by arranging the seats in the exact fashion that twists and strains every muscle (even the ones I did not know I had). To the point of injury – and we’ll past the point of my own salty tears.
Your care for my health – it seems – extends beyond calisthenics, because you were kind enough to provide ventilation that swung violently from near scalding bikram humidity, to a setting that I can only imagine is labelled ‘ice bath after a sauna in a blizzard somewhere in the arctic circle’!
I applaud your bold design choices and physics-defying cabin layout, wherein it is possible to bang my head on the overhead lockers but also be unable to reach when stowing my luggage. Speaking of luggage, I was sitting next to a magician and his only carry on was a top hat – he must be quite the conjuror, as his hat appeared to be of normal size, but he was unable to fit it into the overhead space supplied. I think I’ll sign up as his assistant because when I tried to fit my feet under the chair in front, I was able to successfully perform the same trick!
I was pleased that you provided the more timid, and first-time fliers plenty of time to become comfortable with their surroundings during the 45-minute taxi from our boarding gate (which was considerately placed away from more experienced passengers on frivolously expensive carriers at gate 4599. I personally enjoyed the 15km hike to reach the gate and cannot understand why the portly gentleman with whom I shared my middle-row seat was so flustered and out of breath. On that note, I am proud that he was able to pay the same fare as I did, while receiving almost two seats to my 1/4. The age of non-discrimination is truly a wonderful age in which to live.
I was a little worried for my lumpy lap-mate, however when the food service began. As the cart came by (I could tell because – despite being in the middle row – it shattered my elbow) and he eyed off the options, he realised that every item on the menu was made of plastic and was not fit for human consumption. I guess this was just your way of helping to create a slimmer, healthier future. I laughed out loud at your light-hearted banter too when I perused the menu and saw that despite being inedible, you had priced a 20 cent cup of instant noodles at $5! This piece of subtle anti-capitalist rhetoric was both hilarious, and timely in this money grabbing world!
Money-saving is a wise thing to do these days after all, and our carrier is clearly adept at making the most of the resources at hand. A few hours into the flight, the constant vibrations of the aircraft’s hull had pulled me off to sleep, but I awoke with a headache for some reason. When I asked for a cup of water to help was down my paracetamol, I found that a tax had been placed on this precious resource – quite rightly too, it would be a tragedy if someone was unable to have a drink of water…
Perhaps I was being a bit critical earlier when I suggested that you were making a bold statement by moving away from the heady days of early aviation, because I noticed as my phone ran out of charge that you are trying to keep the golden age of flying alive after all! I went to plug my device in and realised – just like in the 1950s – there was no charging option. Not only was this authentic, but I appreciated the opportunity to unplug. It was just as well that there was no power too, as the lack of Wi-Fi in the air meant that I wouldn’t have been able to close the urgent deals I had negotiated while on my trip. It’s okay though, because I believe in fair trade and if I’d secured those contracts, my competitors may have gone out of business!
Towards the end of the flight I became slightly bored, despite your encouragement to shy away from the poisons of mainstream media by not providing any in-flight entertainment. Having failed to find my Nirvana through the sensory deprivation tank that is your cabin, I thought I’d occupy myself with some reading. Your in-flight magazine was a wonder of modern literature and challenged my thirst for travel and adventure. Only three of the pages had the boring travel stories you get in most magazines (who wants to read travel stories, we’re already travelling, right?!) and these were made all the more exciting by seldom used, cutting-edge terms like ‘wanderlust’! The rest of the magazine was decidedly more high-brow – consisting of think pieces including the dangers of hair loss, a reflective double-page look at modern jewellery trends and their associated effects on the middle class, and a satirical expose of high fashion brands. All of these looked a lot like paid advertisements, but I saw the Banksy-inspired sub-text and recognised them for what they truly were.
Overall, it was a lovely 14-hour flight from Singapore back to Perth (a new record! My previous best was a paltry 5 hours!) and I was glad to spend longer in the air after the 26-hour unscheduled layover where you so kindly provided me accommodation right outside my gate… on a bench… with 300 other people.
I look forward to flying with you again in the future; unless there is a bus… or a taxi… or I can hitch-hike…
The passenger in the last row!