Thursday, 8 October 2009

Void of Good Ideas

The latest from the "what will Big Brother throw at us next" file comes directly from Japanese airline All Nippon. It was widely reported among the news jockeys yesterday, that this carrier has come up with a brand new way to make us all feel just a "wee" bit less human when we fly. All Nippon Airways is asking all of its passengers to visit the bathroom before boarding in an effort to...wait for it....reduce weight and thereby reducing fuel consumption. (You can't make this stuff up!) In other words they want you to take a leak before taking a seat. This "whiz-bang" of a theory is explained here in yesterday's Toronto Star.

Here's how it works: The average human bladder holds up to a litre of fluid, which weighs roughly one kilogram. All Nippon's most popular aircraft, a Boeing 777, holds 247 people. So, in theory, if 247 passengers all go to the washroom before boarding, they could lighten the plane by up to 247 kilograms – the weight of three average men.

Can you even believe this shit? (or should I say urine?) This from the very industry that starves you, freezes you or roasts you, charges you to carry your own luggage, makes you pay for water, crams this homunculus (look it up-or better yet, check out the Big Bang Theory!!) into a space that was truly designed for those of lesser (?) stature, shows no regard for schedules, shows no regard for personal plight, shows no regard for cancellations, keeps passengers crammed on planes for hours with no food, water, or bathroom privileges, has cut staff salaries to the bare bone so that customer service is a true oxymoron, and charges a fee for speaking with a live voice on the telephone all while increasing their fares. What's next? Are they planning on weighing us BP and HP to make certain that we have complied with the request to visit the loo? (before and after P!)

I tried to think of a more insulting policy or even a more ridiculous "waste" of resources, but honestly I believe that this one takes the urinal cake. I then tried to envision what could be next. While it is true that women and men have bladders that are the same size and carry approximately the same volume, it cannot be disputed that women tend to make more frequent visits to the lavatory than do men. This has something to do with the positioning of our female internal organs that tend to fold over the pubic bone, and thus apply more pressure to the cooker. If women plan to pee on a plane more often then men, can charging us more for the privilege be far behind? Don't laugh. Ryanair in Great Britain has recently floated the idea of onboard pay toilets, even though they have yet to implement.  Is it me, or do these policies seem slightly sexist in nature? Maybe women will be asked to pay more or maybe fly on different planes? It isn't difficult to extend the lunacy.

While I am certain that most of us already use the facilities in the airport before boarding simply out of self-preservation to keep us away from the germ infested closet that passes for a toilet on a plane, I find the invasion into my personal habits and the peeking over my shoulder while I go most unsettling. Yes, I believe that this is an idea de-"void" of real thought.

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