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Be Funny Or You're Fired

By skyknight in Op-Ed
Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 07:00:05 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)

I was traveling on Southwest Airlines a couple of days ago. It was kind of weird. Seemingly, they have implemented a new corporate policy.

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Settling back into my seat, I grimaced as the loud speaker went into feedback mode and began to screech, boring a hole into my skull as I received my hundredth lesson on how to properly fasten a seat belt. This was merciful treatment compared to the things to which I would later be subjected: a squirely little girl in the seat next to me who could not sit still, and an extremely inquisitive young lad behind me who had learned how to talk but had not yet mastered the finer points of volume control...


Baby, please sit still.


* I proceed to get head-butted and elbowed *


Don't kick the nice man's seat, honey.


Because it's not nice.


Do you want me to read you a book and ask you questions about every single page so you can shout answers at the top of your lungs?



In any case, something unusual proceeded to happen, and the flight attendant's voice bubbled up from my unconscious mind to the conscious.

If you are traveling with a young child, or someone acting like one, please put on your own oxygen mask before assisting them. Should you be traveling with multiple young children, now is the time to choose your favorite.

I looked around the cabin, wondering if I had hallucinated this, but in fact other people were chuckling. It was an amusing break from the typical mundane drone of pre-flight "education", though I wondered if it violated the regulations of the humorless folk at the FAA. "Well, that's cool," I thought, "I have a flight attendant with a sense of humor, so maybe this will be a semi-tolerable experience."

Sitting in the terminal, waiting for my connecting flight, I noted a particularly perky Southwest employee managing boarding for an aircraft. He reached to unfasten the gate, as if with giddy anticipation, and then said to the passengers: "on your mark, get set... GO!" I figured that the poor fellow had had a little too much coffee, and was just trying to work it out of his system. Shortly thereafter I boarded my flight, thinking little of it.

In the event that our flight should become a cruise, you will find that your seat cushion may be used as a flotation device, and as you kick and paddle your way to the nearest beach you can rest assured that your flight crew will be following you close behind, bringing the peanuts and alcohol.

At this point, the part of my brain that can do statistical calculations went into gear. I began to wonder what fraction of the population of Southwest flight attendants were both outgoing and in possession of a developed sense of humor, and what the odds were that I would get two such people as attendants on consecutive flights.

Did I mention that my trip had not one but two connecting flights? On the third leg of the journey, I had yet another flight crew armed with their own battery of jokes.

For those of you have haven't ridden in a car, this is how you fasten a seat belt.

By now I felt I could safely stow my Chi-Square tables in the overhead bin and outright assume that something larger was at work here.

In the case that you are not completely satisfied with today's service, please note the locations of the emergency exit rows.

I did.

Now mind you I'm no stranger to the phony cordiality demanded of employees by image conscious corporations. It's really not a big deal, though I do get irked by the girl at Taco Bell who utters "HellohowareyoumayItakeyourorder?" with such rapidity as to make it approximate a single sentence that can't so much as be troubled with a comma-splice. However, Southwest's campaign of humor exhibits a level of conscious planning that goes far beyond making employees smile as they ask if the customer would like fries, put on a tie even though they are selling mediocre hamburgers, and refer to clients as "guests" despite the fact that they are being made to stand in a line for something better described as a "food unit" than a "meal".

Given the consistent quality of the jokes to which I was subjected, it stands to reason that these remarks, seemingly off the cuff in individual cases, were researched and focus group tested en masse. The ones that passed muster were then practiced diligently by flight attendants whose job it now is not just to serve the in-flight beverages, but also to be amateur comedians. I was beginning to think that maybe Southwest had written a database driven graph algorithm to guarantee that no passenger would ever be subjected to the same joke twice, but then one of the third-leg flight attendants (who may later have been fired for all I know) repeated a joke that I'd heard on the first leg of my trip.

Certainly there is value to having the employees of a business act in a professional and somewhat consistent manner, as it makes for an experience that is comfortable on the part of clients, but the level of rehearsal exhibited by Southwest employees is indicative of a degree of control that disturbs me. Personally, I dislike targeted advertising when surfing the web, deeming it an unwelcome attempt by content providers to get inside of my head. Similarly, I find scripted humor, developed and tested in a corporate think tank for every employee/client interaction, to be nauseating and appalling. The first set of jokes was highly entertaining, novel as it was, the second one demeaning, evoking a sense of being patronized in an obsequious way, and by the time the third one rolled around I was well on my way to annoyance.

Southwest isn't going to lose my business because of this idiocy. They have it because of low fares, and force-marching their employees through comic routines will do little to affect my choice of carrier. They are, however, wasting their "research" dollars and undoubtedly humiliating their employees. I suggest they stop.

While the phrases themselves were well-crafted specimens of humor, delivered with carefully practiced inflection of the voice, the eyes of the pressganged comedians were cold and dead.


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Airline Humor
o Funny Haha 59%
o Funny Queer 40%

Votes: 42
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Also by skyknight

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Be Funny Or You're Fired | 125 comments (108 topical, 17 editorial, 0 hidden)
I've noticed this with Southwest too (2.80 / 5) (#1)
by TheGreenLantern on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 11:16:38 AM EST

Flights on Southwest I've been on have had flight attendants who sing a little "We're glad you've flown with us" song as the plane's landing, and others have made similar corny jokes doing the pre-takeoff stuff.

Eh, whatever the marketing wonks at Southwest thinks works I suppose. Personally I'd prefer having assigned seats so I wouldn't have to get caught in a race to the front of the line at boarding call, jostling with other passengers for position like so much human cattle, but that's just me.

It hurts when I pee.
I just wait... (2.71 / 7) (#9)
by skyknight on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 11:46:53 AM EST

until everyone else has pushed and shoved their way onto the plane, then casually stroll onto it myself and take the first seat I can find next to a beautiful woman. It's a much more suave thing to do than to sit next to such a person when there are still entirely empty rows in which I could sit.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Oh brother (2.00 / 2) (#86)
by McChubb on Fri Aug 27, 2004 at 10:44:46 PM EST

You, sir, not only have a corncob up your ass, but are a grade "Z" fuckwad to boot.

[ Parent ]
Westjet has been doing this for years. (none / 0) (#78)
by Dr Caleb on Fri Aug 27, 2004 at 04:05:21 PM EST

Pretty much since they started.

My favorite joke so far is "...in the event of depressurization, the overhead compartment will open and out will pop the stewardesses phone number ...

They don't have to do it, but it keeps me coming back.

Vive Le Canada - For Canadians who give a shit about their country.

There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

Could be worse? (2.80 / 5) (#2)
by Chancellor Martok on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 11:20:51 AM EST

I've at times felt the same way flying Virgin Blue... yes it can certainly get annoying when it's overdone. I can never really decide if I prefer the scripted humour to scripted monotony or not.

Chancellor Martok  in Sydney, Australia
"Castrate instead. That can surely rehabilitate. I did it volunatrily, and my grades went up!"  -- Sen

At least with scripted monotony... (2.66 / 3) (#7)
by skyknight on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 11:43:08 AM EST

it blends well with the hum of the turbines.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Its possible (3.00 / 11) (#3)
by Altus on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 11:27:22 AM EST

that the jokes are distributing themselves.

I know that southwest has a set of policies that not only allows this joking but encourages it.  they have had this policy for at least 6 years (at that time I heard the departure speach sung to the tune of heartbreak hotel).  southwest hires people that will do funny bits and encourages the behaviour.

now its possible that they are distributing these jokes, tested and sealed for your protection.  It is also possible that they spread as a result of these policies naturaly amongst the flight crews.  For instance, have you ever repeated a joke someone else told you?  If I heard that joke from a friend of mine and then you repeated it to me am I to assume that you both got it from some higher power?  If an airline encourages humor to put its passengers at ease then it is likely that jokes which work for one flight crew would be passed on to others, if for no other reason than the fact that the people in these crews roatate on occation.

Im not saying that southwest isnt hiring people to write jokes, but I am saying that its possible that something else is going on.  After all, if you think of each plane as  a focus group for jokes it would not take long before the best would rise to the top.


"In America, first you get the sugar, then you get the power, then you get the women..." -H. Simpson

That's definitely possible... (3.00 / 2) (#6)
by skyknight on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 11:38:43 AM EST

Though pontificating on a corporate conspiracy, albeit a benign one, is more fun. :-)

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
I'd be surprised (none / 1) (#30)
by levesque on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 02:25:06 PM EST

if they have any latitude outside of "approved jokes". It seems to me that permitting any improvisation is a recipe for disaster.

[ Parent ]
I think you're right... (3.00 / 2) (#31)
by skyknight on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 02:50:14 PM EST

It'd only be a matter of time before someone made an untoward joke about some minority group/religion/philosophy and got the airline nailed with an insensitivity lawsuit.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
My flight with the CEO (3.00 / 7) (#33)
by pdrap on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 03:09:04 PM EST

I was once on a SWA flight, and we were a little late getting started. There was a group of some obviously drunk passengers who were trying to get all their crap stowed away at the same time they were laughing and carrying on like a pack of chimpanzees.

The flight attentant got on the PA and announced "we are all ready to go, and we can push back from the gate just as soon as the gentleman in the green pants and shirt sits their fat bottom into a seat."

Well that got my attention. I wanted to see the fatass who was holding us up. I looked, and was amazed to see this dude waving back to the flight attendant. It was non-other than Herb Kelleher, the CEO of Southwest airlines. I recognized him because I had seen the 60 minutes piece that profiled him and his wacky airline.

I doubt that the flight attendants say that to him on every flight, so it appears to me that they have quite a lot of leeway in the kinds of things they can say on the PA.

[ Parent ]

totally wrong (3.00 / 4) (#45)
by Wah on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 05:15:38 PM EST

if they have any latitude outside of "approved jokes". It seems to me that permitting any improvisation is a recipe for disaster.

Huh?  I would think that harshly controlling attempts at humor would be the best and most efficient way to kill it.  If you want it, you have to give people their own head to create it. If you also, as Southwest did, move to make your employees 'owners' of the company, then their loyalty generally ensures that the humor stays on point.

It could, however, be a system that collapses when it gets too large.  Southwest has already changed their policy on switching flights.  It used to be a matter of just showing up at the counter and asking, now they'll screw you just like the other airlines (try and change the second leg of a roundtrip and you pay for change fees on both sides).
umm, holding, holding...
[ Parent ]

Humorless Passengers (3.00 / 13) (#8)
by Hiro Antagonist on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 11:45:17 AM EST

Well, I have a few friends who work with/for SW from control down to the ramp rats.  The humor bit is encouraged by corp but not mandatory.  One thing to think about though is that if you have a few connecting flights, those attendents have far more.  Most likely they will be sleeping in a hotel after going to relax with some co-workers a someplace close to the airport.  The next day they will do it again.  And the next day.

I can understand the air traveler attitude of "Shut up, bring me peanuts and a Diet Coke and stow your humor in the overhead compartments" but if they are doing that it is because they want to.  It is a way to break up a long day of super dry recycled air, bitching passengers and screaming babies.

There's no huge conspiracy to make you laugh.  Either tune it out or laugh along but try to relax.

Mandatory volunteerism... (3.00 / 3) (#10)
by skyknight on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 11:53:45 AM EST

Companies often "encourage" employees to do things, and while they are not strictly mandatory, they may as well be if an employee values his/her job. These encouragements can range from pressure to support a political cause, to subtle guidelines about how to conduct oneself. There's a thin line between what is required and optional, and I would imagine that SW employees feel pressure to perform in one way or another.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
SW is notorious for peer pressure (3.00 / 4) (#27)
by nlscb on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 02:04:24 PM EST

A large part of compensation at SW is through stock/stock options (I don't remember which). Either way, if you started with them from the beginning, you are VERY well off now. This has lead to a culture of definite peer pressure on other employees, such as calling people on frivolous sick days.

At the same time, since the airline has succeeded, there is a lot of loyalty. Also, I'm not sure people would force you to tell a joke, since the last thing anyone wants to hear is you flop. So, I'm nor sure where I come down on the evil vs. non-evil.

I also apologize for no links. Most of this I learned through the WSJ, which is unlinkable w/o a paid subscription

Comment Search has returned - Like a beaten wife, I am pathetically grateful. - mr strange
[ Parent ]

Somethings are too lame to tune out. (none / 0) (#93)
by SoupIsGoodFood on Sat Aug 28, 2004 at 06:58:45 AM EST

Perhaps it helps the flight attendents. But it makes everyone else cringe. And chances are everyone else has been breathing recycled air and dealing with bitching humans of some form or another all day aswell, but they don't feel the need to annoy everyone with bad humor.

When I read the artical I couldn't help but think of Hitchhikers Guide and computers with "personalities".

Perhaps if they could offerer a range of humor to choose from it might be different, like Bill Hicks or something. Even then...

[ Parent ]

Personally . . . (3.00 / 5) (#11)
by ZorbaTHut on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 11:56:36 AM EST

. . . I don't mind at all. I've taken four or five flights on Southwest so far, all round-trip, spaced over a few years, and don't remember hearing a repeat.

They're funny jokes, and I don't get the sense the employees are sick of them. If they're doing something they don't want to, they're damn good actors.

If you don't like it, put headphones on before they start talking. :)

"ladies and gentlemen ... (3.00 / 11) (#12)
by pyramid termite on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 12:00:22 PM EST

... we've been informed by our new pilot we're going to hit a skyscraper ... but at least we've called ahead and had them open up the windows"

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.

"this plane is equipped... (3.00 / 6) (#13)
by hatshepsut on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 12:21:39 PM EST

to make a water landing...once..."

(Actually heard on a flight from Buffalo to Tampa..it wasn't a Southwest flight though.)

[ Parent ]

"we've got a very special person ... (3.00 / 5) (#60)
by curunir on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 10:18:33 PM EST

... travelling with us today. It's his 94th birthday and this is his very first flight! So everyone give him a round of applause."

[everyone claps]

[3-4 more disembarking jokes]

"Once again we'd like to thank you for flying SouthWest and everyone remember to wish the captain a happy birthday on your way out."

[ Parent ]
"Ladies and gentlemen.... (none / 0) (#103)
by Maserati on Mon Aug 30, 2004 at 10:05:07 AM EST

Please have your cups, napkins, trays, watches and wallets ready for collection." PSA c.1989 It's been going on for a while.


For the wise a hint, for the fool a stick.
[ Parent ]

They're catering to Gen-X (2.85 / 7) (#16)
by LilDebbie on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 12:46:49 PM EST

You know how hip it is to be cynical? Why do you think so many people read The Onion or watch The Daily Show as their sole news source? I don't know if you've been paying attention, but Jon Stewart has had the pleasure of interviewing both Bill Clinton and John Kerry. On a comedy show. Do you really think it's because they just felt like doing the talk show circuit (well, maybe in Bill's case)?

Nothing new. Hipsters are the new market. They're the ones with the money so they're the ones who get their asses kissed. Corporations don't care if their marketing has a disturbing irony behind it, they just care if it works.

Oh yeah, and you're buying what they're selling.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

So let me get this straight... (2.00 / 2) (#42)
by Wah on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 05:07:57 PM EST

...they are catering to a generation that wasn't even born when they established a relaxed, personable corporate culture?
More than 32 years ago, Rollin King and Herb Kelleher got together and decided to start a different kind of airline. They began with one simple notion: If you get your passengers to their destinations when they want to get there, on time, at the lowest possible fares, and make darn sure they have a good time doing it, people will fly your airline. And you know what? They were right.
Anyway, cynicism can be useful, don't waste it.
umm, holding, holding...
[ Parent ]
Gen X is older than you think... (none / 0) (#117)
by r3v on Wed Sep 01, 2004 at 04:30:22 PM EST

"wasn't even born" ...

Not to get too pedantic, but Gen X is often defined as people born in the 60s and 70s. (Though there is some debate.)  I just thought I'd toss that in as an aside.

You point still stands, though... it's unlikely that they were catering to me when I was an infant. :)

[ Parent ]

can't possibly be catering to Gen X (none / 0) (#58)
by massivefubar on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 09:53:47 PM EST

Southwest was doing this in the 70s and 80s. OK, not every flight, but humor was always part of their business plan. In my other post, I tell of the practical joke I experienced at Halloween 1982. How old was Gen X then? Were they even born yet?

[ Parent ]
Oh, I see (3.00 / 4) (#63)
by Antiorganic on Fri Aug 27, 2004 at 01:43:36 AM EST

You know how hip it is to be cynical?
That's a pretty cynical thing to say.

[ Parent ]
Southwest (3.00 / 4) (#18)
by boelder on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 12:56:10 PM EST

I fly them whenever I can.  Yes, the jokes are campy and you get the repeat performance on the return leg, but the employees seem to enjoy their jobs, the passengers enjoy the levity and everyone gets to their "final destination" a bit cheaper.

What's your big deal...  Maybe the passengers on your flight were still pissed at having to stupidly remove their shoes and be otherwise inconvenienced at the security gate.  What a joy flying has become...

Earplugs are cheap: buy some.  Flights are rarely full these days and Southwest has an open seating policy, so get off your bum and move if the kids are screaming and kicking.  (BTW, I feel your pain on the screaming thing - on one of my last flights, I wanted to hand a mother a pillow, and it wasn't for her head...  Because it was one of those high dollar carriers, and a full flight, I was unable to move.  And no earplugs ta boot, ta boot...)


The thing is (2.87 / 8) (#22)
by Rot 26 on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 01:28:08 PM EST

You don't definitely know that that is what they're doing. All the things you find most disgusting about this situation are things you have guessed are going on. I think it's possible that Southwest has institutionalized humor to the degree you suggest, but really I bet it's much less than that. For instance, they might suggest a few jokes for their flight attendants to tell, but I'm sure some of the jokes the attendants tell are little remarks they've made up themselves. Jokes could then pass between flight attendants quite easily.

While it's possible, I sincerely doubt that Southwest has done anything like focus group testing or requiring their employees to tell jokes. I think it's far more likely that their employees like to make their passengers laugh. If Southwest has made a policy out of any of this, I would bet that it's not past collecting a list of jokes attendants use and distributing it to new attendants.
2: A website affiliate program that doesn't suck!
I tend to agree (none / 1) (#38)
by GeneticFreek on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 04:21:37 PM EST

The Canadian airline WestJet also allows/encourages such humour on its flights, and I am pretty sure it is not focus group researched. The flight attendants make fun of the attendant whose birthday it is. And the Pilot will make humourous remarks about the fresh Co-Pilot.

I think this makes the flight more personal and your day less stressful.

[ Parent ]

RE: Poll (1.00 / 5) (#23)
by killmepleez on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 01:33:19 PM EST

Having "known" several SW Flight Attendants, I can tell you that these jokes are most definitely Funny Queer.

"I instantly realized that everything in my life that I thought was unfixable was totally fixable - except for having just jumped."
--from "J
Hmmm.... (none / 0) (#94)
by killmepleez on Sat Aug 28, 2004 at 08:29:47 PM EST

Apparently several K5ers are in denial about the rampant homosexuality in the air travel industry. I post an honest email about my carnal knowledge of several Southwest employees, and there's a big down-mod hatefest. Wake up and smell the "coffee? tea? or me?", sirs.

"I instantly realized that everything in my life that I thought was unfixable was totally fixable - except for having just jumped."
--from "J
[ Parent ]
Legal implications? (2.00 / 3) (#24)
by GenerationY on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 01:37:12 PM EST

Assuming this is true (I don't really see the trolling possibilities here, but perhaps thats whY I'm posting...)

This really surprises me. I've never come across this travelling in Europe or internationally (I've never taken an internal flight in the US though).

Surely in the Most Litigious Nation On Earth (TM) there are legal implications to be concerned about? I'm not meaning to be a spoilsport, but how long will it be until theres some accident and the lawyer humiliates the cabin crew by reading out their "joke" in a dry monotone.

I dunno, I just had the idea there was some sort of common standard for safety announcements that had to be met.

It's true (2.60 / 5) (#26)
by nlscb on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 01:54:29 PM EST

I've flown and heard some of the same jokes. A rival airline Song even paid for it employees to get humor training with humor consultants (sorry, no link), to rival SW. I guess Jerry Seinfeld has gotten into the outsourcing business.

I definitely agree with your legal concerns. SW, however, has a rather defiant attitude. They started out as nothing 30 yrs ago and are on the verge of becoming the biggest airline in the US. Yes, they are not number 2, but they have the resources and cash now to move into airports that previously were "locked" by flailing hub-spoke carriers, such as Philadelphia. Legend has it their CEO won a critical contract (or something like that - big money involved anyway) by drinking the other guy under the table with bourbon. They now, in addition, charge overweight Americans the price of two tickets if they cannot fit in one seat. Given this history, I don't think there going to let tort lawyers get in their way over sarcastic comments. Plus, legally speaking, they are always getting the safety message across, they're just not being very nice about it (and good for them).

I'm just waiting for the day when SW or one of its rivals outright bans children and senior citizens from its flights. I'd pay at least $10 extra to fly with them.

Comment Search has returned - Like a beaten wife, I am pathetically grateful. - mr strange
[ Parent ]

The problem with jokes (2.66 / 3) (#28)
by GenerationY on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 02:07:06 PM EST

is that it makes it hard for people for whom English is not their first lanaguage or have difficulty hearing (predictability of the message helps; humour is always the opposite of that). Still, I guess they will get away with until it is a problem.

From a personal perspective though it sounds fine to me, I totally get where they are coming from.

[ Parent ]

Hmm (none / 1) (#59)
by Torka on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 10:05:49 PM EST

I understand children, but why senior citizens? I'm curious.

[ Parent ]
Old person smell. [n/t] (3.00 / 3) (#61)
by skim123 on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 10:28:07 PM EST

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum

[ Parent ]
They're annoying (2.50 / 2) (#68)
by nlscb on Fri Aug 27, 2004 at 09:21:21 AM EST

They can't get comfortable in the small seats due to arthritis. They wriggle and complain constantly. They are always going to the bathroom (pray for a window seat). They are notorious for holding up flights by being forgetful and putting their heart medication in their checked baggage.

Plus, I hate them for rigging the US tax law so that 15% of my income goes to pay for benefits they never earned in Social Security and Medicare(the amount they paid in compared to what they get out of it is trivial). Money I will never see again. I try to be tolerant, but at that point a little discrimination is in order.

Comment Search has returned - Like a beaten wife, I am pathetically grateful. - mr strange
[ Parent ]

Two seats... (none / 0) (#65)
by egeland on Fri Aug 27, 2004 at 02:38:08 AM EST

They now, in addition, charge overweight Americans the price of two tickets if they cannot fit in one seat.

I think that if you're so big as to not fit in one seat, then it's fair that they charge you for the space you occupy...

I could be pedantic and ask if the policy is specific to Americans, since that's the way you phrased it, but that'd be pointless...

Some interesting quotes
[ Parent ]

I applauded them for the move (none / 0) (#69)
by nlscb on Fri Aug 27, 2004 at 09:26:02 AM EST

Fat people on flights are annoying beyond belief, especially when the overflow from their seat into your seat, causing you to be smooshed the entire flight. Flying out of Detroit and Minneapolis can be especially unpleasant for this reason. As for them being Americans, SW is a stricly domestic carrier, and given the number of EUnik and CANian K5ers, I figured a quick swipe in that direction would score me some points. Fat foreigners flying in the US would face the same problem - SW doesn't descriminate.

Comment Search has returned - Like a beaten wife, I am pathetically grateful. - mr strange
[ Parent ]

Never had the pleasure (none / 0) (#122)
by egeland on Wed Sep 08, 2004 at 08:49:43 PM EST

.. of being stuck next to an overweigth/obese person on a flight, thankfully.
If I was, I'd be thankful if the airline had a policy like this one.

On a related note, I muse (as one does) how big an impact on the average American waistline a good BSE scare in the US would have? My theory is, no burgers = slimmer USians.. but would they substitute other fatty animal products? Hmmm...

Oh, and while I've got some, if you want a Gmail invite, let me know.. :)

Some interesting quotes
[ Parent ]

Googling about.... (3.00 / 4) (#29)
by GenerationY on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 02:13:20 PM EST

Turns out there are legally agreed standards, although I can't find out what they are. Presumably they are complying with the letter of the law (if not the spirit) or else they wouldn't have an operating certificate.

(This is from Boeing's website)

Operating certificates
An airline must have an operating certificate to provide air service of any kind. In the United States, operators of large commercial airplanes such as the ones produced by Boeing must have a Part 121 certificate - a reference to Part 121 of the FARs that states the FAA's requirements for such operations. Airlines must have an FAA-approved training program for flight crews. They must have an approved maintenance program that specifies the intervals at which aircraft components will be inspected and replaced. Other requirements address the safety equipment an airline must have on board each of its aircraft, the number of flight attendants that must be on each flight (this varies by aircraft type), rest requirements for flight crews, the content of pre-flight safety announcements, and de-icing and security procedures, to name just a few.

Random note: "Airplane". I don't think there is  anything more illiterate sounding than that little  Americanism. It really sets my teeth on edge. Its an Aeroplane dammit....

[ Parent ]

God I'm being dull (3.00 / 3) (#32)
by GenerationY on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 02:55:39 PM EST

but here is the actual specification for anyone approach the level of anality to which I appear to have sunk.

[ Parent ]
re: airplane (2.75 / 4) (#40)
by reklaw on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 04:54:01 PM EST

I also hate the word "airplane". I've stopped bitching about it, though, just because someone I know recently started trying to persuade everyone that they should always be saying "railway station" instead of "train station". I found this astoundingly annoying.
[ Parent ]
There is a line of course (2.66 / 3) (#43)
by GenerationY on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 05:12:48 PM EST

"Airplane" just really gets under my skin, I think because it seems so lazy.

[ Parent ]
Bah! (3.00 / 2) (#62)
by kraant on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 11:43:41 PM EST

If they're going to be that picky they should be insisting on railroad station.
"kraant, open source guru" -- tumeric
Never In Our Names...
[ Parent ]
does that make southwest an aeroline? n/t (none / 1) (#81)
by tin on Fri Aug 27, 2004 at 04:46:58 PM EST

[ Parent ]
Er no (none / 0) (#85)
by GenerationY on Fri Aug 27, 2004 at 08:30:36 PM EST

"Aeroplane" describes the wings and the effect that gives lift.

Thats why "Airplane" is wrong because its sort of reiterative (is that the word? I mean like in the case of Gnu's Not Unix). A plane (short for aeroplane) that flies in the air = airplane. Maybe thats not quite right but its how it reads to me.

Airline is fine however. I think it comes not from "airplane" but rather comes from the same place as "shipping line".

[Heh, I'm sure you were just kidding but I quite enjoyed thinking about that :) ]

[ Parent ]

Huh? (none / 0) (#88)
by fairthought on Sat Aug 28, 2004 at 12:18:52 AM EST

Thats why "Airplane" is wrong because its sort of reiterative (is that the word? I mean like in the case of Gnu's Not Unix). A plane (short for aeroplane) that flies in the air = airplane.

Is this your sole reason for disliking airplane? The prefix aero means air so the meanings of the two are identical.

Why would you think plane is short for aeroplane? Could it not as easily be short for airplane? It makes more sense to me that both words were formed using plane in its original meaning of "to soar or glide" or maybe "a flat or level surface". I see nothing redundant about either one.

I'm frankly baffled that you have a problem with this word. Are you similarly disturbed by other words with regional usages?

[ Parent ]

Yes I am (none / 0) (#90)
by GenerationY on Sat Aug 28, 2004 at 12:29:59 AM EST

Well Aeroplane/Aquaplane is at least consistent.
And certainly I do have a problem with it and no it isn't particularly rational. Its a lazy way of both spelling and saying the word.

Perhaps it helps if I mention that growing up in the UK its very easy to lapse into Americanisms on the basis of exposure to the media. One spends about a decade being constantly corrected by adults. I think it sticks. I don't really care, its just a weird aesthetic thing I suppose. I find language interesting, I was really just thinking aloud.

Also, with my accent, the word airplane sounds plain (<---haha, a pun) daft.

[ Parent ]

So as a benighted American (none / 0) (#106)
by davidduncanscott on Mon Aug 30, 2004 at 04:16:53 PM EST

I have to ask: is Heathrow an aerodrome? And how do you stand on "aviatrix"?

[ Parent ]
Aviatrix (none / 0) (#107)
by GenerationY on Mon Aug 30, 2004 at 05:56:12 PM EST

is an absolutely superb word. Alas, almost impossible to slip into conversation.

As for aerodrome, doesn't that mean something significantly smaller than an airport? (...'airdrome' exists for you USAians I understand).

[ Parent ]

Well, (none / 1) (#112)
by davidduncanscott on Tue Aug 31, 2004 at 01:03:21 PM EST

Heathrow's in England -- how big can it be? :)

I dunno. I never really thought of a size connotation to "aerodrome", just a certain period charm. The Lafayette Escadrille, one feels, flew from an "aerodrome".

Webster.com indicates that it's equivalent to "airfield", and certainly that term suggests something small (although it's not like they have to clear the sheep from Love Field before somebody can land.)

[ Parent ]

Familiar (2.57 / 7) (#36)
by antizeus on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 03:57:02 PM EST

I haven't flown much in the past few years, so I haven't seen this, but several years ago I was on a Southwest flight in which the flight attendent on the mike told jokes similar to these. The only one I remember is about cell phones -- something along the lines of "if you have a cell phone, then we're very impressed, but please keep it turned off". This was back when cell phones weren't as ubiquitous as they are now, and hadn't quite shed the status symbol factor.

I think this may have been an early version. None of the other flights had anything like this.

By the way, I stopped reading shortly after you started bitching. Hopefully this fact can help you improve your next submission.

I heard the identical joke on my flight. /nt (none / 0) (#37)
by skyknight on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 04:04:03 PM EST

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
I haven't flown Southwest in years... (none / 1) (#114)
by Entendre Entendre on Wed Sep 01, 2004 at 01:32:22 AM EST

...probably ten years. But I do remember the "if are with children, or someone acting like one" and "now is the time to choose your favite." Focus-group-tested or not, applaud whoever decided that being entertaining might be a good idea. It seemed to me that the people doing the joking - even if they were reading from as script - enjoyed their jobs. That, in itself, is cool. I cannot for the life of me find a reason to frown on that. It beats the hell out of the blank gaze you typically see from the attendant who robotically operates the seat belt buckle prop on most flights. That's kind of sad.

Reduce firearm violence: aim carefully.
[ Parent ]

I flew on Air Tran once to Las Vegas... (3.00 / 4) (#39)
by TheMealwormFarm on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 04:32:14 PM EST

...and the only bit of humor I got was when the plane landed, the flight attendant announced: "Ladies and Gentleman, we've just been informed that whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas."

"Grandpa, didn't you wonder why you were getting paid for doing absolutely nothing?"
"Well, I figured the Demmycrats were in office again."
Wow, the most tight ass person in the world (3.00 / 11) (#41)
by Wah on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 05:03:54 PM EST

...contributes stories to K5.  Wild.

If you want to see something fun, fly on Southwest on Halloween.  Or fly into Memphis, and get the pre-flight instructions sung to you by an Elvis impersonator.

You do need to realize, Southwest was started as an idea in a bar.  The original plan was written on a bar napkin.  No shit.  Herb Kelleher drew a trianage with Dallas, Houston, and Austin (maybe S.A.) and said, 'We can do cheap flights between these cites and be profitable.'  He was drinking Wild Turkey, IIRC.  At Houston Hobby airport, there is a full size painted cow with the napkin reproduced on its forehead.

Anyway, I've flown Southwest over 100 times (I have their friends-fly-free card) and like it, if only because it's cheap and easy.  At Love Field in Dallas, I could get to the airport 15 minutes before my flight left the ground and make it on easy.  Their planes are not the most modern or comfortable, but the stews do tend to help ease the pain.

There isn't a corporate cultural pressure to be funny, there is, however, one to be relaxed and yourself.  It tends to put the cattle (yes, I've been called this by a SW employees) at ease when they are in uncomfortable situations.
umm, holding, holding...

oh yeah Halloween (3.00 / 4) (#57)
by massivefubar on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 09:50:27 PM EST

Halloween 1982...one of the flight attendants put on a Nixon mask and announced that our flight was being diverted to Havana, Cuba. The joke fell rather flat since everyone just ignored him and continued with their own conversations. Later a friend told me that pranks and jokes were just a part of Southwest culture. Somehow I don't think this particular joke would "fly" today, though!

[ Parent ]
The chute (2.50 / 2) (#49)
by b1t r0t on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 06:17:12 PM EST

Sitting in the terminal, waiting for my connecting flight, I noted a particularly perky Southwest employee managing boarding for an aircraft. He reached to unfasten the gate, as if with giddy anticipation, and then said to the passengers: "on your mark, get set... GO!"

Was this accompanied by sounds of bovine mooing?

-- Indymedia: the fanfiction.net of journalism.

Yes, and don't forget the branding iron... (none / 1) (#74)
by skyknight on Fri Aug 27, 2004 at 09:42:13 AM EST

Oh, the humiliation.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Jesus Christ (2.50 / 16) (#51)
by Reiko the Hello Kitty Fetishist on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 06:21:02 PM EST

I bet you could squeeze coal into diamonds with your asshole.

But what do I know? I just buy worthless plastic crap because it's cute.
Don't pretend like that's not a useful ability... (2.80 / 5) (#72)
by skyknight on Fri Aug 27, 2004 at 09:38:27 AM EST

Whereas I can do that, you have to hold down a regular day job.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Bravo (none / 0) (#53)
by Gnateoj on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 08:49:49 PM EST

Doesn't ANYONE watch Airplane on Bravo? for the love.

* * * * *

for the love

er (none / 0) (#54)
by Gnateoj on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 08:52:01 PM EST

Airline rather...

* * * * *

for the love

[ Parent ]
Counterpoint (2.75 / 4) (#55)
by expostfacto on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 09:11:35 PM EST

My wife was on a SouthWest flight a week ago. When I read this article I asked her if the crew had tried to be funny. "No, they were strictly business," she said.

So much for your conspiracy theory, I guess.
Carnage Blender: over 50 million battles served

Well, I had three separate flight crews... (none / 0) (#73)
by skyknight on Fri Aug 27, 2004 at 09:40:26 AM EST

and they all put on a routine of their own. So... what conclusions would you draw?

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Market Testing (none / 1) (#75)
by dcheesi on Fri Aug 27, 2004 at 11:04:31 AM EST

Maybe they were just testing out the program that day. Maybe they got enough negative comments to scrap the idea for now.

As a matter of fact, you probably were the focus group! :)

[ Parent ]

Independence Air (3.00 / 4) (#56)
by Benabik on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 09:39:11 PM EST

Independence Air has their "this is how you ride an airplane" message recorded by comedians and other actors. They're kinda amusing. And the service before.

dude (2.66 / 6) (#64)
by the77x42 on Fri Aug 27, 2004 at 01:59:07 AM EST

maybe if they put on turbans and screamed this is a hijacking and then went into a song and dance about the seatbelts you'd have a legitmate complaint. as it stands now, you just come off like some tight ass who doesn't even wear jeans on friday.

"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

You're right... (none / 1) (#71)
by skyknight on Fri Aug 27, 2004 at 09:35:31 AM EST

It's Friday, and I'm wearing shorts.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
You, Sir... (2.81 / 11) (#66)
by CheeseburgerBrown on Fri Aug 27, 2004 at 07:36:52 AM EST

...Would obviously complain if pretty girls gave free sexual samples on sidewalks. You'd look 'em in the mouth and declare, "Naw, too many filling to suck my sword."

My. God. Man! You have actually experienced the status quo of customer service in this world and you're put off by the somewhat informal and quirky culture of a small company in the airline industry? Do you lack all perspective, or do you have some inkling of what a diamond in the rough that is?

I curse thee to fly nothing but Air Canada for the rest of your forsaken days.

Spamming the Scooposphere since 1998.
Mostly... (3.00 / 3) (#70)
by skyknight on Fri Aug 27, 2004 at 09:34:05 AM EST

I just hadn't written anything apart from non-technical documents in a while, and I thought this would make for a good story. I wouldn't say that it was a troll, but it helps you to think that it was, then go ahead. Personally, I wasn't myself pained by the performance, so much as I wondered how the flight crew felt about going through such contortions. If it lightens the load of their monotonous job, then more power to them, but personally I feel like I'd burn out on having to act like that on an ongoing basis.

I hope my troubles made you chuckle at least once.

And yes, I would turn down such favors. A guy has to keep maintenance considerations in mind. How do I know where they have been?

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
eh.. (none / 0) (#84)
by eudas on Fri Aug 27, 2004 at 08:30:11 PM EST

oral herpes. 'nuff said...

"We're placing this wood in your ass for the good of the world" -- mrgoat
[ Parent ]

Big Meanie (3.00 / 2) (#79)
by Dr Caleb on Fri Aug 27, 2004 at 04:14:32 PM EST

I curse thee to fly nothing but Air Canada for the rest of your forsaken days.

Home of the ugliest stewardesses since Aeroflot. That was the best part of Canadian; they seemed to hire stewardesses based on breast size.

Vive Le Canada - For Canadians who give a shit about their country.

There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

Heh (none / 0) (#116)
by Yer Mom on Wed Sep 01, 2004 at 10:34:15 AM EST

"In the event of an emergency, my chest can be used as a flotation device."
Smoke crack. Worship Satan. Admin Unix.
[ Parent ]
They took it too far on a recent flight (2.83 / 6) (#67)
by lazloToth on Fri Aug 27, 2004 at 08:19:45 AM EST

They jumped around in Arab garb waving boxcutters, screaming, 'Allah Akhbar, Allah uh Akhbar!'.

Then an Ashton Kutcher look-alike came out and said 'you've been Punk'd'.

What's wrong w a bit of personality? (2.00 / 2) (#76)
by El Volio on Fri Aug 27, 2004 at 03:10:24 PM EST

I'm trying to figure out if this is a troll, sarcasm, or if someone is really so molded to bland corporate culture that a little bit of personality, humor, an just being human is really that irritating to him.

I think you've missed the point entirely here... (none / 0) (#123)
by Hikaru79 on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 03:06:06 AM EST

What he's saying is that scripted, pre-determined jokes that the employees are forced to memorize is exactly part of that "bland corporate culture" that you mentioned. Personally, I agree with him. What is there that involves "personality", "humor", or "being human", in being forced to use the same punchline every day to people you've never met?

[ Parent ]
i'm sort of with you on this one.... (3.00 / 5) (#77)
by mounsterr on Fri Aug 27, 2004 at 03:44:30 PM EST

About a year ago, the flight attendant on a southwest flight that i was on, announced over the loud speaker that her and the entire crew had gotten sloppy drunk and all had an orgy together the prior night. I don't think that's formulaic organizational testing.

Compare with any other airline (none / 1) (#80)
by cburke on Fri Aug 27, 2004 at 04:25:55 PM EST

where there's a pre-scripted speech that the attendant has to recite word for word, always in a lifeless monotone.  Or on larger planes, where a pre-recorded message is played and the attendant just gesticulates.  Nobody ever pays attention because doing so will destroy your brain, and the attendant knows they're being ignored but has to spout the bullshit anyway, or gesture to the recording because the execs figured the attendants wouldn't be able to keep the "I hope the plane explodes right here on the runway and ends this pain" out of their voice.

I'll take Southwest over that any day.  Even if you do hear the same jokes from time to time.  They may not be funny, but at least the attendants have permission to try to lighten things up.

I'm channeling the scene from Fight Club... (none / 0) (#102)
by skyknight on Sun Aug 29, 2004 at 10:35:19 PM EST

where Cornelius is praying for a mid-air collision.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
So, (none / 0) (#82)
by trhurler on Fri Aug 27, 2004 at 05:54:33 PM EST

Frasier isn't just a TV show. Hehe...

Did you get my mail?

'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

I received an e-mail from you... (none / 0) (#99)
by skyknight on Sun Aug 29, 2004 at 10:29:52 PM EST

on the evening of Monday the 23rd, and sent a reply on the following morning, but haven't seen anything from you since then. Maybe I accidentally deleted it as spam? You might try sending again, unless you mean that you haven't seen a reply to your e-mail from the 23rd, in which case you deleted my e-mail as spam... Why do we suck at using technology?

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Well (none / 0) (#105)
by trhurler on Mon Aug 30, 2004 at 03:28:10 PM EST

I have not received a message from you at my real account. I sent you my real address. Did you get it?

'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
United Airlines (none / 0) (#83)
by alip on Fri Aug 27, 2004 at 06:57:32 PM EST

Flying on United, I noticed that one of the attendants cracked a joke too, along the lines of:

Please remember to turn off any cell phones, pagers, blackberry's, blueberries, boisenberries, and huckleberries. Thank you.

I think I was the only one who got it, :P.


I don't get it. What's it mean? (nt) (none / 0) (#87)
by Reisender on Fri Aug 27, 2004 at 11:49:31 PM EST

[ Parent ]
a blackberry is... (none / 0) (#92)
by alip on Sat Aug 28, 2004 at 02:25:55 AM EST

A pda-type device with a phone and built-in keyboard. Usually used by corporate execs or the like that always have to stay connected.

See: http://www.blackberry.com/products/blackberry7700/blackberry7780.shtml

[ Parent ]

Scripted humor? (none / 0) (#89)
by fairthought on Sat Aug 28, 2004 at 12:27:57 AM EST

So you dislike scripted humor? Like what they have in television shows, movies, and standup comedy acts? Would you find it preferable for the flight attendants to make up jokes on the spot? Chances are that would be a lot less funny.

Actually... (none / 1) (#91)
by hansai on Sat Aug 28, 2004 at 02:25:49 AM EST

I suspect that all he wanted was for them to do their jobs and not try to be funny at all. So, the answer to your question would be - no.

[ Parent ]
In actuality... (none / 1) (#101)
by skyknight on Sun Aug 29, 2004 at 10:33:26 PM EST

I thought the jokes were funny. I just wondered how they felt about making the jokes. i.e. whether they felt obliged to be funny, or if it was just something they enjoyed doing.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
WestJet in Canada: yee-haw! (3.00 / 4) (#95)
by brevity on Sat Aug 28, 2004 at 11:18:35 PM EST

I've never flown Southwestern, but I hear that WestJet is the Canadian equivalent.

On my last flight, the Calgary Stampede was on. To highlight their Western roots, the attendants wore jeans. And a few of them tried "yee-haws" even though they were from places like Toronto and Vancouver.

When the plane landed, one of the attendants came on the intercom to read us an original poem about providing WestJet service. She said that it got her the job.

Tray tables down! Customer service time is here!
Peanuts and snacks are flying through the air!
This went on for three whole minutes while we were taxiing, with everyone still strapped into our Poetry Appreciation Chairs.

Ouch! (none / 1) (#96)
by nusuth on Sun Aug 29, 2004 at 04:46:49 PM EST

I can just picture WestJet planes as yellow chunky slablike somethings, huge as office buildings, silent as birds. And they hang in the air in much the same way that bricks don't.

[ Parent ]
Actually, (none / 0) (#121)
by metalfan on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 08:54:30 PM EST

I've flown once on Westjet and once on Air Canada.  I didn't experience any horror stories with Air Canada, though that may have been because I flew when they were desperately trying to survive and/or improve their image.

I got free juice and cookies from Air Canada just like I got from WestJet.

WestJet's 737's are a lot nicer than a Dash 8, but legroom was pretty much equal.  Being about 6'4",  both flights probably would've been much less pleasant if I didn't get the front row (which has tons of legroom) each time.

Aside from that, the only real difference I noticed was that WestJet asked me which seat I wanted when I checked in.  WestJet is also generally more pleasant to deal with.

[ Parent ]

I believe the term is... (none / 1) (#100)
by skyknight on Sun Aug 29, 2004 at 10:31:47 PM EST

"captive audience". :-)

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
My favourite was: (none / 0) (#97)
by hershmire on Sun Aug 29, 2004 at 07:12:47 PM EST

If the oxygen masks deploy, please stop screaming hysterically and place the mask over ...

I like the humour, personally; but, I like the cheap flights better. I think you just need to lighten up. These are meant to break up the monotony.
FIXME: Insert quote about procrastination
do the stewardesses (none / 0) (#98)
by my fake account on Sun Aug 29, 2004 at 10:23:57 PM EST

still wear hot pants?

I didn't notice that they were... (none / 0) (#111)
by skyknight on Tue Aug 31, 2004 at 10:13:26 AM EST

which would mean that the answer is "no".

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Same thing on united express (none / 1) (#104)
by sparhawk on Mon Aug 30, 2004 at 03:02:44 PM EST

They made alot of the same style of humorous comments. I find it refreshing that the crew is allowed to take the most boring lecture about seat backs, exit rows, and tray tables and insert a little dark humor about crashing, oxygen masks, and people acting like children.

What annoyed the crap out of me was the NBC In flight(Now on United, not United Express). The stewardess said we would be able to watch "special programming via NBC In Flight" directly after the movie. After a few minutes of watching this programming I got the sneaking suspicion that I was being advertised into oblivion. A quick check of the watch showed that for every 3 minutes of psuedo entertainment, mostly plugs or snippits from upcoming shows, they would then proceed with 3 minutes of advertising, in perfect 6 minute cycles for nearly an hour.

It's funny that you would complain thusly... (none / 0) (#110)
by skyknight on Tue Aug 31, 2004 at 10:12:40 AM EST

Are you still bitter that you weren't able to retire off of your AllAdvantage income?

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Interesting... (none / 0) (#113)
by Master on Tue Aug 31, 2004 at 04:57:15 PM EST

If all the airlines are doing this I doubt the airlines are choosing to force their employees to tell corny jokes. I'm sure government is behind this. The reason is obvious. They are trying to calm the flyers. After all the terrorist crap people are all scared to fly, so they want to ease their tension. Or is it, now that you mention this comedy routine of the flight attendants I remembered they do this at jails to. I went threw the same experience as you with this. I go in to visit someone in jail and before they took us back they made lame jokes like, if you have any guns knifes or weapons of mass destruction please don't take them threw the metal detector. After my third time visiting, it was like, holy shit these guys have this shit scripted. And about the flight attendants having cold dead eyes. It's a possibility they are mechanical robots just like most fox news reporters. I don't consider any government workers human so I don't pay much attention to stuff like that. I just look at them and think, fuck I wish I could kill him right now.
~Obey Your Master
[ Parent ]
Just don't try to share in the fun (none / 0) (#108)
by QuantumG on Tue Aug 31, 2004 at 01:32:04 AM EST

Make a joke that even happens to suggest that you may have or may in the future violate one of the many laws you are only subjected to when flying on a plane and you'll find yourself taking the bus. Speaking of buses, why can't flying be as anonymous and trouble free as taking a bus? Why do you need a steward for a 40 minute flight but you can sit on a bus for 12 hours with 2 rest room stops with no-one to chaperone but the driver? I mean it's a lot easier to hijack a bus, most anybody can figure out how to drive one.

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
Excuse me, stewardess... (none / 0) (#109)
by skyknight on Tue Aug 31, 2004 at 10:09:54 AM EST

This plastic cutlery just isn't cutting it. Could you please hand me my Bowie knife from the overhead bin? Oh, and pass me my cigarettes and wire cutters while you're at it. I've a lavatory smoke detector that needs tampering.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
A little hard... (none / 0) (#119)
by mcgrew on Thu Sep 02, 2004 at 05:41:02 PM EST

bringing a skyscraper down with a bus.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Not so hard at all (none / 0) (#120)
by Safety Cap on Fri Sep 03, 2004 at 10:42:31 AM EST

To bring down a 9 story building with a truck, though.

And until 9/11 scared the pants permanently off 99.9% of Americans, no one thought planes were threats---but still flight attendants were required.

[ Parent ]

My problem with this behaviour (none / 0) (#115)
by A Bore on Wed Sep 01, 2004 at 10:17:31 AM EST

My problem is the falsity. Do they really believe that the joke they are telling is still funny the 100th time? The true purpose of social joking is to make people laugh as well as yourself. There's something too robotic and unpleasant in a company having a set line of patter, it devalues actual comments made by bantering employees, like telling someone to "have a nice day" has been devalued by restaurants to mean nothing more than goodbye.

I wonder how the employees feel about this. It is they, after all, who have to go through the same routine and smile at the same responses from the people around them. It's just false.

As a parallel... (3.00 / 3) (#118)
by skyknight on Thu Sep 02, 2004 at 12:52:17 PM EST

I am irked by people who think that "I love you" is a good way to sign off a telephone conversation with a loved one. By repeating the phrase "I love you" over and over again, not in moments of emotional upwelling, but repetitively in the course of the daily grind, you crush the meaning out of the phrase. If I say "I love you" to someone, I want them to think "he loves me", not "this conversation is now ending". By always saying "I love you" at the end of a phone conversation, the phrase goes from being charged to meaningless, having little more import than the FIN packet of a TCP connection.

I think that professing one's love should be done as judiciously as a wise person employs profanity. If you have a potty mouth all the time, then swearing is mundane. If, however, you hardly ever use foul language, and then one day you shout "WHAT THE FLYING FUCK YOU GOD DAMN ASS CLOWN?!" then people will be sit up and take notice. Likewise, if you reserve telling someone that you love them for uncommon and special moments, it will hold a great deal more meaning. Careless useless of language can rob you of the ability to employ it to great effect.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
not to whine but (none / 0) (#124)
by neozeed on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 08:19:45 PM EST

they've been telling those jokes since the mid 90's.... :\

Talk about stale!

Unless you're alive you can't play. And if you don't play, you don't get to be alive.

Stale? (none / 0) (#125)
by skyknight on Fri Dec 10, 2004 at 06:46:05 PM EST

You're the one posting comments in a story that I wrote four months ago.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
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Be Funny Or You're Fired | 125 comments (108 topical, 17 editorial, 0 hidden)
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