Are you flying those empty skies?
“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. On behalf of myself and the rest of the crew, I want to welcome you on board today. If you’ll kindly check your boarding passes one more time: This is OnlyAir flight No. 1212, with nonstop service to Los Angeles. If there’s anybody on board who isn’t planning to go to Los Angeles this morning, now’s the time to make your move.
“Just let one of our flight attendants—Chrissie, Missy, Nigel or Ned—know what’s up, and we’ll have you deplaned in plenty of time to catch the OnlyAir flight you’re supposed to be on. We know you’re flying OnlyAir—who else is there?
“We’ll be pushing away from the gate in just a minute here, so please take a moment to make sure that your seat belts are securely fastened around you and that your seat backs and tray tables are in their full upright and locked positions. The use of portable computers, cellular phones or other electronic equipment is prohibited until we’ve reached our initial cruising altitude, and, of course, the use of any competing airline is prohibited because there aren’t any.
“Not to worry, though: OnlyAir is happy to provide the very best in post-merger, post-consolidation air travel, so those of you who are used to flying United or Delta or American or Northwest or any of those other former carriers, you can rest assured. We’re America’s No. 1 airline for on-time arrival, for passenger comfort, even for in-flight beverages!
“Of course, we’re also America’s only airline, so it’s not that hard to be No. 1, but we’re proud of our record anyway.
“We’re expecting a smooth ride to Los Angeles this morning. Our estimated flying time is however long we feel like taking, and we’ll be cruising at an attitude of total self-assurance. If we get around to serving a meal during the flight, fine. If not—what are you going to do, eat somewhere else?
“As I said, we’re expecting a smooth ride today, but in the unlikely event of a sudden increase in regulatory pressure, postcards pre-addressed to members of Congress and various federal agencies will drop down from those panels right above you. Simply sign your card and hand it to one of our flight attendants, who’ll be coming up the aisle to collect them.
“If you’re traveling with small children, sign your own card first, and then your child’s card. Continue to breathe normally—the ‘free-market’ message on the card has been tested for maximum effectiveness, so you won’t be required to do any heavy breathing yourself.
“Now, we realize that some of you actually preferred having several different carriers out there, all trying to win your business on a particular route. You had more flights to choose from, at more convenient times, and maybe one of them would even offer you a bargain on the airfare.
“Ladies and gentlemen, those days are over—but it’s no big deal. Besides, competition is highly overrated. OnlyAir might be the only game in town, but think of all the frequent-flier miles you’ll be able to use! And all the airport clubs you’ll be able to kill time in when your flights are delayed!
“Speaking of delays, we don’t have any today. In fact, we’re No. 1 for takeoff, so sit back and relax and enjoy the trip—we’re sure you will.
“It’s like we say in our ads: ‘If you’re not flying OnlyAir, you’re not flying.’”
Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.