After spending half of the last post moaning about air travel, I realized that if this blog is gonna have any cred, I'd better minimize the rants and maximize the dance. So, to follow-up on what sort of Surprise I'd love to see from airlines, here's what's on top of my head...
- LotoAir: Every flight, something of value would be given away to some lucky seat-holder. Airlines could get this stuff free for promotional purposes, or trade off an ad in the in-flight mags. Just imagine: "Ms. Gilda Donahue in 17B, you may be stuck in the middle, but now you can listen to Steelers Wheel's 'Stuck in the Middle With You' on your brand new iPod Shuffle!"...or something like that. If I were Sony, I'd be doing this RIGHT NOW with their Portable Readers.
- Give It All Away: A captive audience of a couple of hundred people exclusively yours for one-to-15-hours. What an ideal audience to seed with new snack foods, new magazines, new books! If I ever turn this stuff into a book, that's the FIRST thing I'm gonna do. (Air Canada used to do with with magazine racks at the gates of selected flights, but I haven't seen it in over a year. A nice effort, but the presentation was boring and lacked "pop." There's a big difference being given a gift and being told: "There's a bunch of stuff over there. Grab some.")
- Movin' On Up: They do this at concerts all the time--give some poor schlep stuck in the cheap seats a chance to move up to the front row. Play "Pomp and Circumstance" or "Hail to the Chief" as they make their way down the aisle. Give 'em a t-shirt to commemorate the occasion.
- Fill The Front: Never mind moving one person, move as many as you can. I don't care what the excuse is ("We don't have enough meals" or other Standard Operational Bullshit), if you got empty seats up front, fill 'em. Yes, frequent fliers should get upgraded, but those who scrimp and save for an annual journey deserve a shot as well. Make it into a game.
I'm heading back to New York in about a week. I'll keep my eyes and brain open for more ideas and report back to you.