Airliners are designed with some limited space underneath each seat. It ain't much...but backpacks, handbags, manbags and purses fit pretty perfectly.
So why do I see so many self-absorbed passengers stuff their small carry-on in the overhead bins...blocking passengers who are not allowed to board until Zone 6 from having any place to stow their larger carry-ons? Especially when they have been asked by ground personnel to place smaller items under the seat in front of them?
AIR LAW 20: Passengers shall place small carry-on items under the seat in front of them and not in the overhead bins. With the exception of those seated at the bulkhead (where such space does not exist), anyone found in violation of this Air Law shall have their carry-on item confiscated by Air Marshals and the contents split among the crew by using a rock-paper-scissors format. Empty backpacks will be forwarded to area social services agencies to be distributed to underprivileged school kids.
Hey...no whining. You selfish goofs brought this on yourself.
From time to time, we are asked to offer our opinion regarding the efficacy of government run Destination Marketing Organizations versus those that are managed as private, non-profit agencies. When we do, government officials often become miffed and attempt to prove to us that they are different when we say that governmental policies, restrictions and norms often (but not always) stand in the way of streamlined and cost-effective marketing.
It's likely the years I spent in Ohio hipped me to the amazing Michael Stanley. Well before the Michael Stanley Band had national hits like "He Can't Love You" and "My Town," my college roomie turned me on to "Rosewood Bitters." And, I've loved and followed Michael's work ever since.
As I noted on an earlier post, it's his lyricism that hooks me every time. The turn of a phrase that so captures my heart.
Those of us in the Destination Marketing field do what we do because encouraging visitation to our locales provides jobs, generates non-resident taxes, breaks down barriers between cultures, offers a test drive for potential future residents and increases corporate investment in our towns.
There, of course, can be a downside...of which we must be vigilantly aware. And, two recent stories caught our eye last week.
The one that many likely saw was the backlash from Barcelona residents that are pushing back hard against tourists that think they can flaunt local sensibilities and run around nekid and drunk. The three Italians that recently did just that for several hours has mobilized the community in a way that the local DMO clealy never wanted.
I haven't purchased a bar of soap...in well over a decade.
Every day of my life, I lather up with a bar of soap from a hotel from somewhere in this land. Even when I'm home, it's hotel soap...everyday.
It's not always easy. I have to remember to pack a baggie on each trip in order to bring my used soap home. But, I do it because imagining the utter waste of all that soap from every hotel room every day makes me crazy. The estimate is 2.6 million bars of soap are discarded by hotels every single day.
2.6 million bars. Think about that.
I'd start buying soap, however, if I knew that the hotels in which I stay were part of the Global Soap Project...an organization that collects partially-used and discarded soap from hotels, recycles it into millions of new bars and distributes the new soap through global health programs to people who lack access to it around the world.
Spread the word. Let's get every hotel in North America to join the Global Soap Network...and save lives around the world.
Like Crash, I am a sucker for the small of a woman's back, the hanging curve ball, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.
And, sad songs and the minor chord.
We don't do a lot of sad songs on Music Fridays because, well...it's Friday. But, a minor chord? Hell yeah.
Terri giggled uncontrollably when she found Chase Holfelder online last month. She knows my affinity for the minor chord and this guy takes great up-tempo hits and transforms them.
My friend Miriam was trapped in a middle seat last week...which in the greater world order isn't all that much of a discomfort, as she is a petite li'l thang.
But, it placed her in the unenviable position of being subjected to, in her words, "a guy who has yet to discover deodorant and a girl eating jalapeno chips."
I'm not sure how Air Laws can mandate personal hygiene (though we're taking that one under advisement). However, we can deal with the passengers that insist on stinking up the plane with gyros, tuna salad or any fast food...because, for the most part, we can see them bringing it onto the plane.
AIR LAW 19: Passengers bringing any food onto the plane that emits an odor discernible to fellow passengers will immediately be reseated next to the rear lavatory for the duration of the flight.
Hey, you don't care about your fellow passengers' feelings about the stank you are perpetrating? You get to sit in the shitty seats...and they get your seat next to the cool kids who aren't as self-absorbed as you. It's only fair.
Two sides to every story, potato-potatoe...everyone views the world a little differently. But, as with partisan politics, it's rarely gray. It's black. Or, it's white. Blue or Red.
Take for instance the writer of a story on traditional school start entitled "How the Tourism Industry Dictates when Kids in 14 States Go Back to School" that paints a dismal picture of those States that have returned to a post-Labor Day (or close) school start. That is, until the very last sentence where the writer concedes that Virginia, which mandates a traditional school start, has the third highest student test scores in the nation.
Had I been the headline writer, it would have read "36 States that Use the Fear of Low Test Scores as a Rationale to Start School in August are Clueless."
If you missed the story, a passenger wanted to recline her seat during a Newark to Denver flight. The guy behind her wanted to use his laptop. Those two concepts are, of course, mutually exclusive in steerage.
He employed a nifty little gadget called the "Knee Defender" that prevented her from reclining. She got up and threw a glass of soda on him (and his laptop). After a heated shouting match between the combatants and flight attendants, the pilots diverted to ORD where the two were escorted off the plane.
The writer of the AP story is either unaware of Air Law 1 and/or believes humans have a God-given right to recline. Because the writer clearly took her side, saying she had been denied her "bit of personal space."
Huh? How is that possible?
We all start with X amount of personal space with our seats and tray tables in their upright and locked position. The minute one person reclines, they take personal space away from the person behind them. There is simply no way this can be viewed as having any other outcome.
Unless you, like the writer and the hurler of soda, are sensationally self-absorbed.
Our friend Amir Eylon (Brand USA) witnessed an act of self-absorbtion on his recent flight to ESTO that was so utterly depraved that it screamed out for action (see here).
In a world in which this type of behavior has become all too commonplace, we are compelled to issue the following Air Law:
AIR LAW 18: No air traveler shall elevate their bare feet onto the bulkhead or above seat level for any reason during flight. Those found in violation of this Air Law shall be assigned seats next to the rear lavatory on their next ten flights.
Women travelers are exempt from Air Law 18 on a case by case basis because their feet generally don't stink...except when they do. Air Law Marshalls are instructed to utilize "thoughtful enforcement."
Beyond naming snowstorms like hurricanes, in their quest to be uber-cool, they've introduced a feature on their website that suggests when precipitation will arrive at your house. Wrong every friggin' time. So, why do they insist on proving to their fans that they're clueless?
But, more cringe-worthy is their foray into the world of "news." Click on the Weather Channel home page and you'll get stories about mass graves in Texas and kids falling off a canyon precipice. And, beyond that, they Cantore-ize it with headlines like "Horrific" to suck people in to a story that is, in reality, just sad.
WTF does that have to do with the weather?
I get what the quasi-braniacs behind the site are shooting for...but, honestly? It don't hunt.
We go to the Weather Channel for...wait for it...the WEATHER!
And their core audience? We're likely searching for another option...because they have so lost sight of who and what they are. And what we want.
I was honored to facilitate a summit of a DMO and their 6 marketing partners last week. By the end of the two-day retreat, my head was swirling with the collective consciousness of these exceptionally smart marketers.
There were a lot of great one-offs during the two days of ideation (and laughter).
My favorite: "When will the new website be finished?"
40% of us don't take vacations because of the mountain of work that will await us upon our return. Roughly 3 in 10 don't take time off in order to show their boss complete dedication to their job. And 22% fear that taking a vacation will prove they are replacable.
What has happened to a country that used to revel in our time off? Work hard and play harder?
We recently did some reearch for a DMO on like-organization compensation that indicated that, among its peer set, the average CEO was accorded 4 weeks vacation.
And, in its effort to curb tarmac imprisonments, the federal government has made it worse. If there's even a chance that a flight could be delayed more than an hour or two, it's safer for the airline to cancel said flight than risk the fines that come from not being on time.
Thus, two of my last three flights home have resulted in an extra overnight to wait for my rebooked reservation. Hey, it's summer (wait...shouldn't I be saying that in winter?).
So, I shake it off, keep my blood pressure contained...and look for a culinary reward for my pain of not getting home tonight.
And, damned if I haven't found some of the most interesting restaurants on those "free" nights off. In Myrtle Beach, it was the amazing "Mrs. Fish." And, earlier this week, it was Nakato in Springfield MO.
A quick check of Yelp showed that this Japanese steak house and sushi palace was the highest rated independent restaurant within 3 miles of my hotel. The reviews were stunning. The recommendations of the "Hope" sushi made my mouth water. And, sitting at the sushi bar, watching the three itamaes work their magic, I had to chuckle at my good fortune that United was so scared of its own shadow that I got to enjoy such an unexpected experience.
I only wish I had discovered this find years ago. One of the itamaes told me the wooden toy boats that circled the sushi station (see picture above) used to carry samples. For a price, it was an all-you-can-eat sushi smorgasbord as diners would pay the fare and pick off delicacies as they came around the bend.
"Unsustainable," my itamae informed me. "Too much waste...we had to toss everything that hadn't been eaten every hour."
True dat...but what a bitchin' idea.
Hey, could we design mini-cooling units in those boats?
Just a thought...
In or near Springfield (or Charlotte)? Go. And...yeah, get the Hope.