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American Airlines, which recently has begun to charge passengers for transporting their luggage, plans on using the revenue boost to do something extremely sensible and not at all idiotic: installing laser defense systems on their planes to thwart the almost entirely nonexistent threat of terrorists shooting down their aircraft with hand-held rocket launchers. The cost to equip their entire fleet with this technology, which, if it were available twenty years ago, could have saved the lives of the zero people who have died from such rocket attacks, is one million dollars per plane, or a total of $683,000,000 to cover AA's entire fleet. That money will all go to BAE Systems, one of many defense contractors who have been barely surviving in the dark days since 9/11. The proceeds from installing the vital space lasers will help BAE nudge its pitiful 2007 sales of $14.9 billion into the realm of decent profitability.

American, a recipient of taxpayer-funded federal bailout money following the 2001 terror attacks, has helped itself save the money it will need to protect its passengers from Stinger-wielding Islamofascists by relentlessly fighting the unions that attempt to secure higher wages for its employees. Some left-wing rabble-rousers suggest that the recent replacement of FAA-certified union mechanics with low-wage, non-union equivalents with no certification might be responsible for the safety inspection failures which left thousands of passengers stranded earlier this year, but some people will say anything. Surely it's better to ground a flight that was endangered by your own greed than it is to endanger a flight by not spending a million bucks on a hull-mounted anti-terrorist laser!

In the wake of 9/11, when American began losing money completely due to the terrorists and not at all due to their own incompetent, overzealous and poorly thought out takeover of TWA, the airline has shown an admirable dedication to its three goals of saving money, serving its customers, and ensuring safe flights. One way to save money is to cheat your pilots and cabin crews out of their seniority and put thousands of them on permanent "furlough", while simultaneously awarding an unprecedentedly huge compensation package to your executives, as former CEO Donald Carty did before being forced to resign in 2003. And a good method for serving your customer is to "furlough" nearly a thousand more stewards, mechanics and pilots, against your own union agreement, while putting extra seats on aircraft to make them more crowded, and contracting flights out of one of your major hubs, while charging your passengers money for checked bags. You might also want to collude with another airline to fight a local law that limits the number of gates at airports; then you can crowd the whole place with flights, and that's money well spent, unless by some freakish occurrence it turns out nobody needs all those extra flights. (Public relations hint: try doing all these things just after you turn a $58-million profit!) And if you're really serious about ensuring safe flights, forget all that jazz about well-qualified mechanics and rigorous inspections; go straight for the space lasers.

Yes, American Airlines, you are surely one of America's FREE MARKET HEROES!


Jul. 17th, 2008 01:26 pm (UTC)
But American Airlines had to cut those unions and increase their fees! For efficiency!
Jul. 17th, 2008 01:31 pm (UTC)
That's true. And it was certainly those wicked unions who caused all the delays, and not at all the airline's policy of overbooking flights, or crowding airports with flights nobody needs!
Jul. 17th, 2008 01:28 pm (UTC)
Hey, maybe my company will sell BAE some space-laser parts. AWESOME.
Jul. 17th, 2008 01:32 pm (UTC)
You're helping protect America! From a threat that kills almost as many people as unicorns!
Jul. 17th, 2008 01:34 pm (UTC)
Shit, you've found us out. Unicorns were next on the list.
Jul. 17th, 2008 02:01 pm (UTC)
You know what? Take those fuckin' space lasers and give 'em to soldiers in Iraq, how about that? They seem to be slightly more at risk than people going to the 36th Annual Accountant's Hootenanny in Sioux Falls.
Jul. 17th, 2008 02:30 pm (UTC)
Awesome post is awesome.
Jul. 17th, 2008 02:49 pm (UTC)
I won't be satisfied until an anti-missile force-field is developed, like those freakin' aliens had in Independence Day.
Jul. 17th, 2008 03:04 pm (UTC)
I won't be satisfied until missile-deployable tactical anti-force-field laser-guided drone-mounted missile repellant field emitters are standard on all airplanes, hueys*, and SUVs. Prius owners can deflect missiles with rocks and baseball bats for all I care, because their values differ from mine and they are bad americans.

*I call helicopters "Hueys" because I saw it in a movie in the 80s, and am therefore an expert.
Jul. 17th, 2008 05:43 pm (UTC)
Missle repelant? I think Batman had a canister of that on his belt. AND THAT WAS IN THE SIXTIES!!! God, the airlines are so technologically backwards.
Jul. 17th, 2008 04:21 pm (UTC)
You act like airlines owe us something after a massive federal bailout after 9/11. Only a terrorist says "quid pro quo" - patriotism dollars are exempt from the concept of returned value.

I for one am delighted my city is going ahead with costly graveyard desecration for a runway construction project for a rapidly shrinking industry. That extra space will make an awesome skateboard and kite park. The mayor does love his kites.
Jul. 17th, 2008 05:41 pm (UTC)
This is just serious WTF-ery. Yeesh...
Jul. 17th, 2008 06:49 pm (UTC)
You hit all the high points, except ONE.

If they HAD installed those lasers pre-9/11 and someone had tried to shoot on of the hijacked planes out of the air...
Jul. 17th, 2008 08:08 pm (UTC)
That is the bestest most awesomest reply ever and i think i love you for it.
Jul. 17th, 2008 07:30 pm (UTC)
So some day I may be on my way to a wedding or a funeral when the airliner detours TO ENGAGE IN A DOGFIGHT WITH ANOTHER FULL SIZE PASSENGER PLANE

-Because the lasers would have to be used for something.
Jul. 18th, 2008 01:38 pm (UTC)
Meanwhile your ever-helpful TSA is contemplating mandatory taser-bracelets for airplane passengers.

Really. (http://www.washingtontimes.com/weblogs/aviation-security/2008/Jul/01/want-some-torture-with-your-peanuts/)


flavored with age
Gun-totin', Chronic-smokin' Hearse Initiator
Ludic Log


Leonard Pierce is a freelance writer wandering around Texas with no sleep or sense of direction. If you give him money he will write something for you. If you are nice to him he may come to your house and get drunk.

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