Flights of fancy

I can count on one hand the number of trips I’ve taken by plane. It helps that I have six fingers, but that’s not the point.

The point is that, because I’m relatively unjaded, I still approach air travel with a mixture of awe, trepidation and mistrust. There’s the awe of flying through the air, the trepidation of suddenly and unexpectedly not flying through the air, and the general mistrust of airlines that I also feel for phone and cable companies, mechanics and “extra” insurance on anything. Essentially, I’m your cranky grandfather sitting in a rocking chair yelling at the TV.

Everything I know about the airline industry, of course, could easily fit in an overhead storage compartment. On the other hand, I have to pay extra to check my second bag of ignorance.

Next month I’m flying to Nova Scotia for my parents’ sixtieth anniversary, and I’ve been putting off booking my flight because fares keep bouncing like white-knuckle turbulence. For a while, this particular airline – let’s call it Porker Airlines – offered a flight for $320 return from Montreal to Halifax. When the sale ended, it jumped to $440. About a week later, the price went down again to $320. “Will not be extended!” Porker announced on its website. Foolishly, I did not heed their warning, and when this sale ended, the return flight to Halifax soared all the way to $515.

I felt like such an idiot. But then, quicker than you could say “What happened to $440?” Porker was offering a 50-percent-off sale and we were back at $320.

“It’s nothing but a racket!” says my inner old man on the Barcalounger, shaking his fist, even though I’m sure there’s a simple business reason for these fluctuations in prices. But the beauty of ignorance is that you get to make up your own reasons.

For example, the original seat sale was probably due to the fact that there was some weird smell on Porker’s entire fleet of planes. No one could quite explain it. No one could quite describe it, for that matter. Kind of a wet dog smell with a hint of no-name-brand fabric softener and cardamom, but not quite. More like a combination of morning breath and cherry Chapstick in a room where someone recently ate mulligatawny soup. No, that’s not it either…

It was driving the Porker people bonkers! One plane, sure, but the entire fleet? It was baffling (which is an airline term meaning “this close to plummeting to the earth”). Naturally, Porker couldn’t sell such stinky seats at full price. Thus, the discount.

In the end, it turned out that those pranksters in air traffic control had smeared kitchen-scrap compost on all the landing gear, which is another reason to fret about air safety.

Once they got all that figured out and fumigated, Porker could then bump the price back up to $440.

That went well for awhile until some idiot in marketing launched that ad campaign entitled “Porker? Barely Flew Her!” This was very possibly the worst airline slogan since Ostensible Airlines’ “Arrive Alive or Your Money Back!” Sales took a nosedive in reverse proportion to the outrage on Twitter (#ClearThePunway #HarePlanedIdea #PorkerPigs). Consequently, back to the seat sale.

After they recovered the black box on this disaster and somehow managed to pin the blame on a guy named Kenny in Baggage (his whereabouts are currently unknown), Porker execs decided that the best way to counter their shoddy image was to go posh. They pressurized the cabins of all their flights with high-ozone Himalayan air (“guaranteed compost-free!”) and equipped each seat with its own personal panini press. (“Ask your attendant about her prosciutto!”)

But the piece-de-resistance (an airline term meaning “costs more”) was booking Hawaiian music icon Don Ho to perform live on select flights through the month of May. “We have to jack up the price to $515,” the executives declared, “because he ain’t no cheap Ho.”

Unfortunately, they failed to recognize that Don Ho unfortunately died in 2007. That’s why, in embarrassment, Porker had to once again reduce fares, drop their “Go With the Ho” campaign and quickly cover up with their “No Mo’ Ho” seat sale.

None of this makes much sense, of course, but I take a certain comfort in the presumed incompetence because, unlike the bizarre workings of the airline industry, at least it’s something I understand only too well.


About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
This entry was posted in It Could Happen... and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Flights of fancy

  1. List of X says:

    What will happen now is that Porker will slap a proud “Featured on Drinking Tips For Teens” banner on their website and will jack up the price again.

  2. This was hilarious! The inner middle school boy in me couldn’t quick giggling every time I read Porker. By the time I read “Porker? Barely flew her” I was a muddling mess. I fly 2-3 days every week…I’ll keep my eyes open for a Barcalounger seat in the back.

  3. Ned's Blog says:

    I hate flying. Especially on a plane. I won’t fly again until pets fly free and my dog gets his own Bark-o-lounger. And why are the restrooms so small that you have to do stretches before you use them? Where’s my stewardess with that prune juice I ordered?!?

    See how much fun flying with me would be?

    (I gotta say though, you you got me rolling with the ‘Ho’)

  4. I nearly vowed to stop flying after a trip to Moscow on Aeroflot. As we were about to land, the pilot, sounding like Yakov Smirnoff, asked everyone to lean to the right…

  5. Paul says:

    Ha! I love it Ross -Porker Airlines. Their mascot is so cute. To see that litte creature dressed in his blue tweed sweater, regailing the public about the great seats and low prices and specials: to receive this discount please quote the “I love my Mom” offer when ordering your tickets – expires yesterday. How can you not love such a cute mascot asking you to say to some unknown stranger in purchasing “I love my Mom”? And they have these short planes (needed to land on their short island in Toronto) where you have to know everyone is going to get to know everyone by the end of the flight – especially with such a cute mascot to facilitate the conversation. And they are so in the face of Air Canada (our sort-of, used-to-be, couldn’t-give-a-damn, “national” airline in its 5th reincarnation from almost, should-have-been- bankruptcy) a trait that automatically endears me to the little guy. I mean A/C bashing is a proud Canadian sport and I’m a happy participant. Porker could likely have a “Bash Air Canada” special offer where a group leader on each flight would encourage customers to tell their best “worst of A/C” stories in a sort of therapy environment. Hell, they could charge more for that and everyone would pay just for the entertainment value.

    And don’t laugh at X’s comment , Porker using a “Featured on ‘Drinking Tips For Teens'” banner to help sell tickets – they would so do that if they found your blog. I can see it now, they could empty out Ontario and Quebec by promoting an “Easterners Visit Home with Ross ” promotion. Please quote the “I love ‘Drinking Tips for Teens’ ” offer when asking for the special price. Ha!

    • rossmurray1 says:

      File under “It’s So Crazy It Just Might Work.”
      I’ve flown WestJet the last few times and it’s been relatively complaint free. First time on this wee carrier. I anticipate adorable-ness.

  6. Nic says:

    THIS is a tweetable moment: “…the beauty of ignorance is that you get to make up your own reasons.”

    Great timing as I’ve been looking at flights all day! I’m thinking about either going to St. Thomas or Portland Oregon on a mini-Eat Pray Love journey, and yes, I’m aware of how bizarre that combination of choices is.

  7. markbialczak says:

    It’s like steering into the skid, which is what you hope your pilot never has to do upon touchdown on the runway. Nobody’s buying tickets so the prices go down. Everybody’s buying tickets so the prices go up. Or is it the reverse of that? I can’t remember. Plus, I only get the five-finger discount.

  8. ksbeth says:

    i say just jump into the airline ticket roulette wheel, book it and hop on for a spin. hopefully you will win.

  9. I’m glad you said you’re awed by flying. I am, too. I’m also blow away by the fact that I have a powerful computer in my pocket. These damn kids don’t know how good they have it. May I pull up a rocking chair next to yours?

    Congrats to your parents. People are getting married later and later in life. Sixtieth anniversaries are going to go the way of the Dumont Television Network, pet rock and virgin bride.

    I’m not afraid to fly but, I have to admit, I’m awfully glad when the flight is over.

    What’s with the ‘humor’ tag?


  10. Letizia says:

    60th anniversary- that’s wonderful! Worth the flight fight, right? 🙂

Go ahead, don't be shy.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s