Thursday, April 19, 2007

Yesterday I was on an America West flight from Las Vegas (wonderful playland fantasy city - totally bizarre and horrible but kind of endearing at the same time) to Seattle. Those little flip-down screens that are built into the ceiling consoles of many planes were flipped down when we boarded, playing a montage of placid music and scenes of mountains and fish and whatnot to soothe raging, panicked us. After we taxied, they retracted, then when we were at cruising altitude they extended back down and started showing advertisements for the airline and Cranium trivia. There were also ads for some stupid Cranium offshoot toys and photos of all the wonderful places America West - and only America West - can take you.

When the stewardess asked me for my drink order, I leaned over and asked, "Is this business going to be going on the entire flight?"


"Can it not be going on the entire flight?"

"No. The advertisers require that we show it."

I groan and shake my head.

"Well it's not like you have to look at it. ("You fucking caveman idiot.") Does it really bother you that much?"

"Yeah, well, it's so obnoxious and intrusive."

She looks at me incredulously. "You're the first person to ever complain about that." Another stewardess approaches with drinks. The stewardess already berating me turns to her friend, motioning at me: "The first one."

"That's ridiculous."

I order water, and when I put my tray down I laugh, put the tray back up and take a full thirty seconds to process what I had just seen. The whole top of the tray was plastered with an ad for some obscure laptop. I put down the tray for the seat next to me and saw a different ad for the same laptop.

It may seem like I'm being affectedly shocked at all of this, but I was genuinely surprised. It was like some overdone movie parody of American marketing materialized before my eyes.

At the end of the flight, the Alpha-stewardess made this announcement to the cabin: "As we make our final descent, flight attendants will be coming through the cabin to collect any remaining service items."

WHAT! "Service items?" Who is so offended by the word "trash" that they require a euphemism for it? Do the America West managers really believe people could ever possibly be offended by that word if it wasn't suggested that they should be?

Craziness. George Carlin rolls over in the grave he has yet to fill.