Well, as mentioned previously I’ve begun my sojourn to the Old World. This morning my awesome girlfriend took me to SFO at 0430. We got to the airport fairly quickly and check-in was uneventful. The only real bummer was that I realized that I had left my excellent Christmas present from Elle, a great coat, in the backseat of the car and that it was too late to do anything about getting it back. So, I’m a bit worried about the weather and my attire but I’ve heard rumors about a fashion industry being centered in Rome, so I’m sure I’ll find some way to go.
I have a long history of buying leather goods in Europe.
To the meat of this post, I’m flying with Delta’s codeshare partner “Song” airlines which is a product of the battle for low-cost carriers. This is a real hoot. Much as Southwest changed the standard of service, design, and, uh, ambiance in the 70’s and 80’s by putting the T&A in sTewArdass, Song seems to be putting the “Way Westerners like to think about Asians” into the air. To prove my point, the lavatories have wooden laminant floors in them - to keep beneficial feng shui
First things first, the airplane’s color scheme would not be far off from being acceptable at a dot-com: magenta, green, orange, and blue on the leather seats. I wouldn’t say that the seats had any extra legroom or rump-room (surely to be a problem in the future if current social trends continue). Nevertheless I found the furnishings to be nice, complete, and adequate.
The opening safety spiel was done by a peaceful monotone voice that was very similar to a guided meditation, or a yoga teacher’s narration. It asked us to visualize a relaxed takeoff and to raise our hand “gently, ever so gently” if you are unable to complete the funkyfoo associated with being in the meergency exit row.
Each seat also has its own in-headset screen that can be used to order up on-demand programming. There are movies (“The Constant Gardner” or “Historp of Violence”, “40 Year-Old Virgin” being on the movie channel), on-demand playlists that can be selected from a cache of mp3s, etc. On the whole, there are many multimedia opportunities that can be enjoyed while being seated.
Only thing they’re missing in cattle class is laptop A/C power.
I’d also like to add that the staff seems to be a bit younger and hipper. There’s not so much the “First-Class New York to Paris” high class thing (yes that was taken from the abysmal Gwyneth Paltrow vehicle (tee-hee), “View From the Top” which I saw, uh, on an airplane).
I think an interesting development of the airlines effectively getting out of the hospitality business is that more and more people are taking all of the hospitality elements into their own hands. I sit here with my portable music, portable DVD. I don’t count on getting anything decent to eat on the plane, so i take care of that before I leave. I have my own superior head-rest and warmth materials. I suppose, at that point, the airline is nothing more than a glorified people-shipper.
I was also wandering about the cabin on the way to the bathroom and I saw my favorite old-school window manager ‘twm’ running the ‘ash’ shell. I take it that this is the system that’s used to upload all the movies and music when the plane comes back home. I was pretty interested to find out more about this OS, what it runs on, and what it’s been optimized for. Here’s a pic:
The OS is called BusyBox and is a stripped down Linux variant.
I’ve never taken Jet Blue, but I think that the experience must be similar. I’ve really enjoyed my trip on this airline and would definitely recommend it as a better way for moving about domestically, if you’re so inclined.
Oooh, I’m over Michigan now, home to fine Michiganders of all ilk and size.