Captain’s Online Log, Stardate July 22, 2002. Planet Earth:
I must admit to being a little bemused about this latest episode in the history of air travel. I think Southwest Airlines is to be commended on the stance it has taken over the issue of airborne fat people. I hope I can still say the word, “Fat,” without fear of being sat on by some lard-crazed activist of bovine dimensions.
Maybe, “Circumferentially challenged,” would be the politically correct way to put it these days, but if you find yourself playing elbow hockey in the middle of three seats against a couple of salad-swerving dirigibles, and the only position left is center-forward, I think you have a right to be a little miffed. They’re fat, you’re thin, and you’re probably getting thinner.
Now don’t get me wrong, I like people in general, even the gigantic ones, as long as they have a good attitude. But it’s not my fault if some people choose to freebase cheesecakes by the dozen, and I think it unarguable that I am entitled to sit by my personal self, in the space for which I have paid with my own money. I understand perfectly that an unfortunate few are extremely overweight, due to glandular problems or for other medical reasons. But hey, I’m claustrophobic, so we’re even.
Another thing, where the hell are these massive new malls-with-wings I’ve been reading about for a while now? Not that I’m overeager to get on a plane that holds a thousand people. There’s even talk of having a chapel in the back of some of them. I can’t think of a single damn thing that would be more out of place on an airplane. Most people are skittish enough when they fly these days, and it’s a rock-solid certainty that the first time a pilot announces over the PA, that the plane is experiencing technical difficulties, the faithful will stampede to the nearest place of worship for a bit of last-minute shameless begging, upending the damn thing in the process. (Actually it would work for me, as long as the chapel was outside.)
But it’s not like none of us ever thinks of death in an aircraft. I always do, especially during the pointless safety lecture at the beginning where we’re all told about the vital seat-cushion flotation device which to the best of my knowledge has never, ever, in the history of commercial air travel, saved anyone’s life after a jet airliner of any size has crash-landed over water. A large aircraft doesn’t land on water, period. It crashes, period again. And you my friend, just like me, are done in, pure and simple.
I have already taken the precaution of informing my wife and children that in the event of my untimely demise in an aviation accident, it will be unnecessary for any of them to imagine what I might have been doing in the final seconds. They can rest assured that I will be in the galley, smoking, drinking, and having sex with myself, (no, wait a minute, I don’t smoke) and if anyone listens to the cockpit voice recorder, in the background they might hear me yelling at the pilots that they’re idiots.
Of course, there might actually be an unlikely upside to being embedded in the cheesy folds of an enormous person. In the event of a crash, maybe they would act as some kind of an airbag, but I doubt it. No, I think the answer to the whole thing is to charge people by the pound, including their luggage, and be done with it. There would be a lot less luggage, and a lot less people flying too, which is a win-win for the seriously selfish, and cynical, traveler like me.
No doubt, fat people would try to get around it by giving themselves a helium enema, and having a friend take them on a string to check in, but I can’t think of a better solution, outside of a really, really big CEO starting his own airline for fat people only.
How about, “CELLUFLITE,” with the slogan, “If we can’t get your ass off the ground, we’ll taxi you there!”
I probably shouldn’t admit it, but I couldn’t have written this without the diet pills.