Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Goldfish Check-In

Air Canada is an airline at the cutting edge. Its latest innovation is the goldfish check-in. The brains of its staff are specially programmed to forget everything as soon as they have checked somebody in. So, when a new customer appears before them, something like this goes through their minds:
'An entity in my visual field is occupying space and reflecting light. It moves. It is shaped like me. But what am I? This entity is pushing something towards me. What does it want me to do?'
And so on until they succeed in identifying themselves as people who check in passengers, usually by calling somebody on what they have finally worked out is a phone and then hanging on for half an hour. This, of course, takes a long time. But Air Canada passengers don't mind. In fact, airline passengers in general don't seem to care how badly they are treated. Is there any industry that has so ruthlessly and systematically lowered its standards and got away with it? Well, maybe television.


  1. after the best part of a century I'm surprised people still expect it to be a great experience. it's always been the worst way to travel - unless you're in a hurry. the problem is we're always in a hurry.

  2. I've even written a book on the subject with my pal Chris Tiffney. The fundamental problem with air travel is two fold. They've allowed everyone to do it and everyone who does it believes there really can be champagne at beer prices.

    To put into perspective just how cheap it's become in 1952 PanAm introduced a tourist class fare of £173 return, which today equates to over £3,000.

    For more about the book and the bizarre world of airlines & flying.....


  3. Can't you charter your own learjet? What's the point of being famous and having a blog if you can't have your own transport?

  4. Has TV really lowered its standards? As near as I can see, it has always sucked.

  5. It had its moments, Tom. Probably before you were born.