space invaders

Flying again, on the way back to New York City from Dubai.  Emirates Airlines does a lot of things right.  But every org has a couple of quirks.  Everywhere Emirates flies, they have these beautiful baggage id tags available for checked luggage.  The inside slides out of the exterior so that you can write your name and address.  The only problem, the material doesn’t allow the name to be written with regular ballpoint pens or flare pens.  At a couple of their checkin points, I had asked the Emirate agent for a pen (to see if theirs worked because none of mine did).  Not one did.  Duh.  Someone actually designed a beautiful plastic tag, bought into them, distributed them throughout the world in their system and they don’t function?  Crazy how such as professional run organization can do something so amateur.

The other thing that is curious, and it isn’t limited to Emirates, is plastering the word “economy” over boarding passes and hand-luggage tags.

I’m sure this helps the airline, but no thought to the passenger.  There are other words to call the main cabin rather than economy (like main cabin).

hand carry tag by emirates

This isn’t about using soft words to dance around the real thing.  The main cabin is where most of the people sit.  Why not call it “not willing to waste three times the cost class.”  Or, “I don’t work for a rich company class.”  Sure, who wouldn’t prefer to travel in business or first class.  Who wouldn’t prefer to pampered by maids taking care of tedious life chores.  If business or first class was the main cabin and there was a space one could travel that was more economic, then calling that class “economy” would make sense.  But to brand the largest class economy, like they are a class of thrifty folks, doesn’t do the general public any favors.

But I’m way off topic.  The woman next to me has been crowding my seat space during most of the flight.  Either her elbow is well into my seat, or she crosses her legs into my area or her head is slumped into my area.  Yes, it’s tedious.  But maybe that is because she had a heated argument with the woman on the other side of her about personal space.  I thought something was going to happen.  The woman on the other side clearly wasn’t going to let my seat neighbor into her space.  So, she leans into mine.

We’ve all had people who invade our space — or take up more than they should.  On one packed flight, in coach class, I sat next to someone obese.  Her (or his I can’t remember), fatness came into at least 1/3 of my seat area.  There was nothing I could do except take the flight using slightly more than half of the seat.  Luckily the flight was only a couple of hours.

The trains and busses are other places where many people like to consume more space than they should.  It’s routine that people keep their bags on the seat next to them.  The vehicle fills up and many don’t move their bags, forcing people to say things like, “pardon me nimrod, did you pay for two seats or can I sit down here?”

Rain is another occasion that brings out space invaders.  I dislike using an umbrella normally because one arm can be used for nothing else and I’m usually carrying stuff.  And, it’s uncomfortable holding an umbrella stick in one hand.  Much easier is a rain coat and hat.  But on city streets like NYC, if you don’t have an umbrella when most others do, you give up space and the result is walking with a bob-and-weave motion just to avoid getting injured.  Especially annoying are the guys, and they are usually guys, who use umbrellas that could keep an entire family dry.  That’s like claiming an inordinate amount of personal space.  It’s obnoxious.

While I was talking to a professional musician a few years ago, we got on the subject of sports.  We touched on golf.  He hated the game of golf, not the playing of the game, but everything about the sport.  He thought anyone who played was obnoxious because of the amount of space the game consumed.

Some peoples are accustomed to less space, some to more.  Compare the grocery stores in Japan to those in Brazil.  In one, people live closer to one another.  They share more personal space.  In the other, the aisles can be so wide that workers wear roller-skates to get around the store.  Wide open vs space economy.

So maybe that is what the airlines mean when they call the main cabin class economy.  It’s not the thriftiness of the ticket cost, it’s the space economy.  (nice try Fred, for an airline they are one in the same.)

There are tons of other examples, like the open space in my mouth and throat which has been invaded by swelling stuff.  There is supposed to be a lot more space for the tongue to move around and food to go down.  But something, compounded on a cellular level, is being thoroughly obnoxious by sucking up precious space.  Just like on this plane, it would be nice not to (have to) escape economy class for a little space.

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