Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Ah, nothing like an eight hour flight from Amsterdam to Minneapolis to give you time to reflect on things. I returned home this weekend folllowing the conclusion of the Reason Foundation's conference in Amsterdam. As an experienced traveler I always work to counter the effects of jet lag -- number one tip if you need advice is "EXERCISE when you land. " Go for a run or use the hotel's gym. Exercise combined with consuming a lot of water is really essential for a quick recovery.
Water, that wondrous liquid. As former US Senator Paul Simon said in his book Tapped Out "today's wars are over oil but tomorrow's wars will be over water............" which we might see one day since the oil rich areas of planet Earth are DESERTS thus lacking in water. Stay tuned. My usual routine is to buy the largest bottle of water available in the airport then drink it on my flight since no airline I have seen provides enough liquids for jet lag warriors. However, given the new airport security measures I had to stand in the security line at my gate drinking my bottle of water before I could proceed --- good thing I am a college graduate so I know how to chug :-)
Let me offer a more customer friendly world by offering some creative thinking for Northwest Airlines -- quit giving your passengers pretzels with salt on them, replace the pretzels with raisins perhaps AND start selling beverages like bottled water!! Couple this change with a change in mind set within the flight attendant community where they become "sales agents" selling things passengers actually want such as WATER. The flight attendants should be given commissions on such sales to incentivize them and to drive new revenue streams for the airlines.
The airlines probably don't evolve very quickly -- why are PRETZELS still distributed??? -- because there is not enough competition in the industry since the major airlines operate like medieval guilds protected by government regulations which control airport gates. Healthy competition is a positive force in our world not only for airlines but for our public school system. I was reminded of this fact on my flight since I watched an excellent film on the in-flight entertainment system, "Akeelah and the Bee", which is focused on a black/African American elementary school girl in the Crenshaw area of Los Angeles (watch for drive by shootings!!) who successfully qualifies for the national spelling bee. I loved the fact that ESPN televised the bee as a sporting event. The spirit shown by Akeelah's school mates as she successfully competes on TV is very moving since the spirit of competition and success were celebrated not attacked. This is a film well worth watching and "competition" is a tool we need to harness "for the children" :-) For more on school choice please visit -- www.spn.org or www.heartland.org