Thursday, October 04, 2007


Although I average 80 flights a year, I am still a nervous traveler. It is not the flying, per se, that gives me butterflies in my stomach. It is the process that precedes and follows it. The mad drive to the airport, the terrifying traffic, the serpentine queues for the baggage screening and check-in, the chronically constipated security guards frisking you in the midst of their nose-picking - all these are calculated to make you an agitated wreck by the time you board the aircraft and fasten your seat belts..

And then the announcements that accost your ear drums from all sides and with such relentlessness! There’s no escape from this Dante’s Inferno. Abandon hope all ye who enter here.

The other day, I got past security a full 45 minutes before departure and thought I couldl steal a wink while waiting for the boarding call. Within a minute I was bombarded by this announcement in bold, capital letters, “ LAST AND FINAL CALL FOR AIR DECCAN FLIGHT XXX TO BANGALORE. REPEAT THIS IS THE LAST AND FINAL CALL. REPEAT LAST AND FINAL CALL. REPEAT LAST AND FINAL CALL FOR AIR DECCAN FLIGHT XXX TO BANGALORE”.

I jumped out of my chair, doing a neat imitation of Mr.Bean. For the rest of the journey, my heart kept pounding LUB DUB LUB DUB instead of the normal lub dub lub dub that doctors recommend.

As Seth Godin mentioned in his blog once :

In a crowded terminal, when the folks making gate announcements start yelling or talking fast or acting panicked about a full flight, it makes everybody uptight. Even the little computerized voice that tells you which gate agent to talk to sounds a little annoyed.

What if the airlines realized that the product that they sell isn’t the plane, it’s the idea of a safe and comfortable (maybe even fun) trip. What if every announcement was pre-recorded by Clint Eastwood or J. Lo? Or if all the flight announcements were as funny as the one I heard today (your snacks are being handed out by Tom, who’s single and looking for love. Hey, if you marry him, you can fly free!)

Even simpler, what if every announcement was calm, slow and easy to understand? That’s free, but it’s worth noticing.

Now, unlike Seth Godin, I am a simple soul and will not expect pre-recorded announcements of J.Lo. All I want are announcements of V.Lo or Volume Low. Maybe, they ought to distribute the cotton buds at the check-in counter, instead of inside the aircraft.


Usha said...

oh god 80 flights per year - what do you do? deplane, go home, blog, pick up suitcase, board flight,depart...arrive, deplane...?
I think you should have a volume controller implanted in your ear considering the number of announcements you have to subject your ear to.
I hope your last flight was good.
Bon voyage for the next.

Shruthi said...

Sometimes, you have nothing of value to add to a post, yet you want to comment just to show how much you laughed... and I usually seem to do that in all your posts. But that will not make me stop - so here goes..... ROFL!

Kiran said...

I guess there is no respite with respect to the announcement part in the foreseeable future - however, have always utilised the Internet check-in facility to avoid the long queues - atleast one hassle out of the million hassles you mentioned!

dipali said...

Airport announcements- bad enough. Profound sympathies- really, you mustn't take things to heart(LUB DUB)!
People in department stores announcing a sale of trousher(sic) on the ground floor. I practically ran out of the store in sheer horror:)

Raj said...

Usha, luckily one can blog from anywhere. Not only from home. A volume-controller implant is a terrific idea. Thanks.

shruthi, thanks. glad I made you ROFL.

kiran, will try it out.

dipali, yes, noise, noise everywhere! Relentless.