Time now for the XYZ of it...a new dawn for airline passengers as rules go into place that will fine airlines up to $27,000 PER PASSENGER if a plane stays on the tarmac for more than THREE hours.
Seems that no one's going to be pleased if a plane's on the ground for that long – airlines don't want to pay the fines, and passengers don't want to be on the plane. So I've come up with 10 ideas that'll cost a LOT less than TWENTY SEVEN GRAND per passenger to help airlines make the time spent waiting a little more enjoyable. Here they are:
NUMBER ONE: Once everyone is on board and it looks like a delay in taking off is inevitable, have passengers write down their guesses as to how long the flight will be delayed. Winner gets cash prizes, although you have to cancel the contest if the plane gets clearance to take off BEFORE everyone has written down their guesses.
NUMBER TWO: Give every passenger a card: lets say GREEN for those who guess that the plane WILL eventually take off, and RED for those who think, in order to avoid the fine, the plane will eventually turn back to the gate and the flight will get cancelled. Give everyone who guesses right a prize.
NUMBER THREE: After the flight has been delayed on the tarmac for 2 hours, give everyone a voucher to go to a movie at a theater. I mean, have the stranded passengers associate being stuck on YOUR plane with something they actually ENJOY spending two hours doing.
NUMBER FOUR: Conduct a scavenger hunt, allowing passengers to REALLY get to know the plane they are stuck on.
NUMBER FIVE: Provide stationery and envelopes and invite frustrated passengers to write letters of complaint to the Department of Transportation. Then read the letters out loud, and publish the best letters in next month's edition of the in-flight magazine.
NUMBER SIX: Have passengers pry their enormous carry-ons out of the bins; the ones they're forced to carry because of checked baggage fees, and bring them up front for a little show-and-tell.
NUMBER SEVEN: Buy a roll of those cheap raffle tickets you get at parties and conduct a draw with a fun prize for every 15 minutes the plane is delayed from taking off.
NUMBER EIGHT: This is my personal favorite: Always keep one seat in first class open. Invite passengers in coach to come up front and deliver an impromptu, unscripted 2-minute speech entitled "Why I Should Sit Up Here With You Fat Cats.". After the speeches, passengers already SITTING in first get to vote on which one gets the upgrade.
NUMBER NINE: Explain to us all again why I have to shut ALL of my electronics of when the doors close, because I'm still unclear as to how my little blackberry is somehow going to interfere with a multi-billion dollar navigational system. But I really DO like hearing the speech.
NUMBER TEN: And if all else fails, start a round of Jeopardy using the flight-attendant call button in place of the buzzer