Thursday, December 07, 2006

I Found A Cheap Flight, And I Mean Really Cheap

The China Southern airline has come up with some pretty clever ways of reducing their operating costs, according to Reuters. The airline has determined that every flush of its planes’ toilets could save enough fuel to allow a car to drive ten kilometers. I wish I knew how far that was since I only know distance in terms of miles, but China Southern obviously thinks it’s significant enough to ask its passengers to use the bathrooms at the airport instead of in flight. The company has also discovered that blankets and pillows on every flight uses 60 tons of fuel each day and if that’s not enough, they are now flying with their water tanks just over half full. I’m certainly interested in seeing the fiscal fruits that these frugal flights will foster. Sorry, the letter of the day was ‘F’ on Sesame Street.

You really have to commend China Southern for coming up with such innovative ways of cutting costs. They could have gone with the traditional ways like raising ticket prices, layoffs, stopping certain flights or cutting their flight attendants pay and asking them to dumpster dive. You know, the normal methods of saving money. Oh yeah, I forgot to list bankruptcy. After all, you aren’t a real or legitimate airline until you file for Chapter 11.

There are some additional budget boosters that I think China Southern may have overlooked. They could cut down on in flight meal costs by serving only Jell-O and tofu, possibly two of the lightest foods in the world. That would certainly reduce flying weight and therefore help save fuel. The cheesy in-flight magazines could be scrapped since no one reads them and they cost too much to produce. Headphones could be eliminated and in-flight drinks could be stopped. What better way to get passengers from needing to use the bathroom than taking away the one thing that ensures that sooner or later they will need to use it. It would also negate the need for the heavy beverage cart, which must use a whole chunk of fuel.

Come to think of it, just remove the seats altogether and let everyone sit in a circle on the floor like those old-fashioned sit-ins and demonstrations from the 1960s. It would remove all that bulky cloth and upholstery filling, not to mention those heavy seat belt buckles. It would also allow everyone to get along and let them play fun games to pass the time like 'duck, duck, goose.' Yeah the aisle and window seats would be gone, but think about how much more room there would be. To compliment the novel idea of not filling the aircraft’s water reservoir all the way, why not only inflate the plane’s tires half way and hope you never have to make an unplanned landing on a poorly maintained and bumpy runway. Surely there’s a lighter material to construct the plane out of too. Spruce seemed to work pretty well on Howard Hughes’ monstrous airplane prototype.

It seems that the current financial model on which the entire airline industry is based doesn’t work too well anymore in today’s fiscal climate. You have to wonder if it’s time to find a cheaper way to fly altogether. Obviously the Star Trek transporter hasn’t been invented yet, rail traveling isn’t very popular, buses aren’t too dependable (at least the ones going to Vegas because I see more of them on the side of the road than I do on the road) and cars take too long and don’t come with pretty attendants to serve you food and beverages or bring you blankets and pillows.


With today’s advancements in materials and alternative fuels, maybe it’s time to bring back the blimp. They’re big, they fly, you can post billboards on them and charge advertising space to offset costs, they don’t require long runways or expensive fuel and ‘blimp’ is a lot more fun to say than ‘airplane’ is. Go ahead and try it, but make sure when you say ‘blimp’ that you put the emphasis on the ‘p.’ See? Whoever thought air travel would come to this? Oh the humanity…

13 comments:

Josie said...

Michael, you just me onto something. Check out this website:

http://aeroscraft.com/

I don't know how to do a link, so you'll have to do a cut and paste thingy. Anyway, it just may put all those flying toothpaste tubes that call themselves airplanes out of business... hah.

Josie

Josie said...

The type gods are at work. I meant "may be onto something". That's what happens when I type and think at the same time.

J.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

frankly freddie (since the letter of the day is "f" i changed your name, sorry) fast food (fritos, fresca, fahitas, fruitcake ) further flies falcons frantically forward. (i think i may have ruptured something, call me when the letter of the day is "q", i have a good one!) bee

mist1 said...

I don't need magazines, bathrooms, vomit bags or any other amenties. Just keep the in-flight drinks. Of course, we'll have to make several unscheduled stops for bathroom breaks.

Michael C said...

Josie: Wow, that's perfect. Maybe they'll read my blog and offer me a job...provided they don't sue me first ;-)

Embress Bee: When it is Q, you'll be the first person I email ;-)

Michael C said...

Mist1: Fortunately, every airport I know has bathrooms, so I think you'll be ok ;-)

Of course everytime the plane levels off they'll have to land again. I can see planes needing to install a bathroom button.

Le Nightowl said...

"the fiscal fruits that these frugal flights will foster."
Frankly, fine "metafor" :)
I was thinking that blimps could be reserved for PGP (Passing Gas Passengers) as FFF (free fuel furnishers) for the the flight :)Marie

Odat said...

Sounds like my company making budget cuts....
Peace

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ShadowFalcon said...

I've been told to never fly inernally in China, now I know why

Natalie said...

I think some of it makes sense. I prefer the airport bathrooms (that are constantly being cleaned) to the scary in flight ones. I didn't use it all the way to Heathrow. Maybe they should just have pay toilets so if you need to go you can but it will bemuch less frequent. Those mags can certianly go. Beveage carts, however, must stay.

Violet said...

The last time I was in China I suffered terribly from food poisoning, so the last thing I'd want to hear is that my flight is going to be toilet-free.

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You really have to commend China Southern for coming up with such innovative ways of cutting costs.
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