• increasing air travel revenue through fear.
    From: Larry [CENSORED], Marketing
    To: J.M. [CENSORED], CEO, [CENSORED] Airlines

    Per our conversation in the elevator this morning, here's that short note to let you know how things are progressing on our end.

    Now that we've gotten liquids banned from aircraft, it's time that we ramped up our revenue generation by charging for not just alcohol but all beverages onboard the aircraft.

    We can also now begin to sell those liquid products that travelers need but can no longer bring through carryon luggage. An airline-brand-specific line of hair-care products and toiletries is called for.

    This presents two unique problems: the availability of space for warehousing product onboard the aircraft, and those passengers who seek to subvert our revenue generation (and anti-terrorism measures) by placing their liquid-based necessities in their checked baggage.

    The former dovetails nicely with the next phase of our plan, the elimination of all carryon luggage. Overhead bins will now serve as our onboard stock storage. The latter, of course, leads us to our plan for eliminating baggage entirely. Instead, we will provide consumers with the means to ship their baggage to their destination in a timely fashion. (It has been suggested that we do this by placing each passenger's baggage onboard the same flight as the passenger in question. I think this bears looking into.)

    Surely, we can do more to maximize profits beyond these simple measures. I believe we can convince Homeland Security that all foreign material onboard an aircraft is suspect; therefore, all worn clothing is also a potential hazard.

    Each terminal gate shall be fitted with a clothing boutique that will sell a complete line of airline-branded apparel (or "clothing solutions" wink , which passengers may purchase rather than board the aircraft nude (which, if not already, will be prohibited) after the confiscation of clothing. By "complete line," I mean nothing more than one-size-fits-all socks, slippers, sweatpants, and shirts. Fashion is hardly a concern in matters of security. This approach will serve to keep our R&D and production costs to a minimum.

    Upon further consideration, I suggest we also add a $20 handcuff fee to the price of each ticket, so we may recoup the cost of restraining passengers. (See my report on the program rollout scheduled for Thanksgiving.) First-class restraints, such as padded handcuffs, and the option to forgo three-point restraint are, of course, upsells.

    Also, the department has still not resolved the issue of how to ban the passengers from the planes while still providing an incentive to purchase tickets. We might want to backburner this one for a while.

    Lastly, I will be out of the office beginning this Friday, as I'm traveling to Oregon to see family. I've taken an extra few days to allow for travel by Amtrak.

    - - - -

    Your Flight,
    Three Years From Now.

    - - - -

    As you drive past the security checkpoint that marks the three-mile perimeter around your local airport, and where you've just had your personal identification card scanned and cataloged, your hubcaps are grabbed by the hydraulic clamps that lead you onto the Auto-Check conveyor belt. For the next half-mile, your car, its occupants, and all of their assorted baggage and belongings are X-rayed, scanned, and probed using state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment that can detect trace amounts of explosives, weapons, inappropriate electrical current, and malice.

    Released from the clamps, you are directed by a heavily armed SWAT-team member to pull over to the side for random manual inspection and interrogation. After having the seats of your car torn out and incinerated to check for the presence of crystallized nitroglycerin, and after having successfully answered the officer's three-question quiz (answers: Montpelier, Benjamin Franklin, and Montpelier—the last one is a trick question), you are allowed to collect a ticket that, once redeemed, will allow you to claim the rest of your car in six to eight weeks.

    You are then pointed to a Plexiglas-enclosed moving sidewalk that takes you to the front door of your terminal, where a series of cubicles has been set up. You will be ushered into one of these cubicles and given a full cavity search by a licensed Transportation Security Administration cavity searcher while the contents of your bags are dumped out onto a sorting table. Cavity search over, you will then need to give the history of each object taken from your bags. This history will include, but may not be limited to, where you purchased said item, when it was purchased, whom it was purchased from, the clothes you were wearing that day, the clothes you wore the next day, what you had for dinner that night, your views regarding an independent judiciary, the name of your first-grade teacher, and whether or not you were planning on using said item to explode, implode, incinerate, or otherwise interfere with the operation of an aircraft that day, sir.

    Your hair gel will then be confiscated.

    Now at the ticket counter, you will be forced to answer a series of questions proving your allegiance to democracy. The 50-question test will be in Scantron form, and all answers must be filled in completely, using a No. 2 pencil. A score of less than 80 percent will mark you a terrorist and you will be immediately placed under arrest as an enemy combatant, which leaves you with no right to a trial, speedy or otherwise. The airport tribunal (located in Terminal C, next to the Cinnabon) will eventually get around to hearing your case in five or six years. Should you pass the test, you will then be fingerprinted and subjected to a retinal scan to ensure that your name matches the one on your reservation form.

    Blood will be drawn for some reason.

    Your hand will then be stamped with ultraviolet ink. The same stamp will be applied to your boarding pass. You will then be pointed in the direction of your next security checkpoint.

    You will be followed.

    Five hours later, once you've made it to the front of the security line and satisfactorily answered the questions asked of you by an undercover TSA agent ("You're going to your kid's college graduation, huh? Tuition's expensive, isn't it? Ever thought about blowing up a plane?" wink , you will place the remainder of your carryon items on the conveyor belt for X-raying and explosives scanning. You will then be knocked unconscious, hooked to electrodes, and fooled into thinking not only that you are awake but also that you are on your flight. During this dream state, your actions will be monitored. Should you attempt to blow up the plane during this state of false consciousness, you will be placed under arrest. Should you sit quietly for the duration of the flight, you will be allowed to pass to the next layer of security. Should you request a pillow and blanket during your dream, you will owe your airline $10 when you wake up.

    Having satisfactorily completed the dream trip, you will be slapped hard across the face until you wake up and waved through a metal detector. Your carryon items will be confiscated and thrown into a pit of wild dogs for further inspection and violent thrashing.

    You will then be escorted into a small room where you will have to watch a tape of everything that has happened to you since you arrived at the original three-mile checkpoint while a guard laughs and taunts you, asking, "Where's your Allah now?"

    Video over, you will be allowed to proceed to your gate without your shoes, which will have been confiscated, along with your belt and underwear. At the gate, the stamp on your hand will be matched to the stamp on your ticket, and you will be forced into a shower where you will be doused with partially diluted chlorine, for no good reason at all. Sufficiently blinded by the chlorine, you will then be shoved onto the plane and into the first available seat, where your flight attendants/military commandos will strap you in for the duration of the trip and stand guard nearby with voice-activated automatic rifles at the ready.

    By the time your flight lands, your eyesight should have returned. Once the plane has come to a complete stop, you will be lifted, chair and all, onto a small forklift, carried to the three-mile perimeter around your destination airport, and dropped in a field with a penknife and a cryptic map that, once deciphered, should lead you to a nearby cabstand.

    You will earn no frequent-flier miles for this trip.

    Enjoy your flight.