Saturday, 4 September 2010

Does anybody know how to fly a plane?

If you work in the kind of business that relies on brainstorms, you're probably familiar with the old adage - 'there's no such thing as a bad idea'. Problem is, that's complete and utter bullshit. There are plenty of bad ideas, you just need to be able to sift through them to find them occasional gem.

The other issue is that when it's your boss who's throwing out the ridiculously unworkable ideas, no-one dares speak out in the name of sanity. So he leaves thinking that he's solved everyone's problems, and everyone else is left scratching their heads and turning the flipchart pages upside down to see if the scribbles make more sense when they're inverted.

I imagine that this is how business planning sessions run at Ryanair, which is headed by CEO Michael O'Leary - who's never short of a ridiculous idea to pitch to the press. Perhaps someone needs to take him to one side before he stands in front of a microphone. Innovative cost-saving ideas are one thing, but O'Leary seems to be taking his remit a little far in terms of shaving off every conceivable extra, on his quest for the ultimate 'no frills' travel experience.

First it was charging people to check in their luggage, then he announced that passengers would be expected to pay to use the toilets on-board. I'm not sure what the alternative would be if you were short of change - I just hope that those seat covers can be wiped clean.

But things got really weird when O'Leary seemed to take people's description of his airline as 'cattle class' literally. "Let's rip out the seats and have standing room only!" he announced, as people contemplated the hideous reality of being stuck in an airborne version of the tube, pressed into the armpit of someone flying home from a stag weekend in Riga.

Comfort factor aside, there's are serious safety concerns about a standing-only flight. But based on O'Leary's latest brainwave, safety is something else that should be considered an 'optional extra'. He wants to do away with the co-pilot.

Has he never seen one of the Airport disaster movies from the 1970s? Pilots get dispatched all the time - heart attacks, food poisoning, hit in the face with a microlite aircraft. It's the most dangerous career in the world, after being Naomi Campbell's PA.

Actually, thinking about it, maybe he has been watching Airport 1975. Where else would he have got the idea that the stewardess could safely land the plane?

If Karen Black can do it, anyone can. They might not have Charlton Heston in the control tower to talk them down, but there are other ways around the problem. Just throw in a couple of hours' extra training after they've learned to microwave an all-day-breakfast panini.

1 comment:

  1. Well, I just find it amazing that man has found a way to fly as birds do. Airplanes are proven to be one of the safest means of traveling. It's safer to ride a plane than ride a car. I guess we should all buy airplanes then. LOL!