The following article by Jonathan Parker was originally published in the Con City Times.
Tourist discussion groups all over the internet are on fire in wake of the recent announcement by Con City Airlines about their comprehensive ban on taking carry on items on board their planes. The controversial restriction, announced yesterday, comes into force this coming weekend.
`We realize that the new rules are being implemented on a short notice,' said Con City Airlines spokesman Dick Butler, `but we believe it is in the best interest of our passengers not to wait any longer. We have been preparing this move for a very long time.'
The words of Mister Butler bring no solace to distressed travelers who had purchased tickets for Con City Airlines flights in advance without having any clue how these restrictions would affect their upcoming journey. Given the policy of Con City Airlines to charge their passengers extra for checked baggage, a great many of their travelers choose to take only cabin baggage with them. These passengers are now forced to either leave all their belongings at home, or purchase checked baggage allowance.
`We will of course offer all affected passengers a discount of twenty percent on hold baggage costs,' Mister Butler said. `It is the least we can do for our customers. We hope they understand that the new rules are for their own benefit.'
As for why the airline chose to implement the harsh restrictions on carry on items, the spokesman offered a quite detailed explanation.
`At first we just wanted to ban laptops,' he stated. `Those things are heavy and made of metal. A drunk passenger in a fit of rage could rip one out of any of their fellow passengers' hands and use them to inflict serious injury, broken bones, concussions, that sort of thing. We cannot subject our customers to such dangers, so we chose to ban all laptops from being brought on board as carry on luggage. But then we realized, that laptops are not the only dangerous items people usually take on board.'
Mister Butler proceeded to explain that tablets are being banned because of their glass surfaces which, the airline fears, may break if passengers were to drop such devices, and upon picking them up the broken glass may cut their hands. Cellphones join the list of banned items due to the adverse effects of stress caused by the batteries being depleted over the duration of the flights.
`Of course, we couldn't stop there,' Mister Butler continued. `We realized that lots of people come on board wearing glasses. If they knock their heads into the seat in front of them when the plane encounters turbulence, the lenses might break and severely injure their eyes, might even blind them. Clearly, if we ban tablets, we have to ban glasses, too. We thought we could allow contact lenses, but then we realized that people might accidentally swallow them and choke on them. That is a severe health hazard, so we are banning both glasses and contacts. And then we thought about belts and shoelaces.'
Following reasoning borrowed from prison facilities, Con City Airlines has decided to ban belts and shoelaces from being taken on board their planes for fear that mentally unstable passengers may harm themselves with them due to the distress caused by frequent delays of the airline's flights. It is perhaps not altogether surprising that this decision led to a further set of items being added to the banned list, including stilettos which the airline fears may injure people's eyes should they trip and fall on the heels of such shoes the wrong way, and scarves which they believe to be a severe choking hazard.
`We also decided to ban all forms of medication, so as to prevent people from accidentally overdosing on things like insulin; and we're banning paper tissues which, like many other items, are a serious choking hazard. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. The more we thought about what puts the lives of our passengers in danger, the more items we had to add to the list. And when the list of banned items grew to ten pages, we realized that it made more sense to just simply ban everything.'
The upcoming ban on carry on items thus extends to literally everything, which means that passengers will no longer be allowed to take any items with them into the cabin. No hand luggage of any size, no purses, no shoes, and, most alarmingly, no clothes, either in hand or on their person. It is for this reason that many believe the airline is taking their new cabin baggage rule a little too far.
`Am I really supposed to sit on the plane naked?' asked Judy Shaw, a member of the Con County Tourist Club. `This is complete nonsense! What if I get hypothermia in the cold?'
The health concerns of Miss Shaw are shared by Doctor Donna Williams, senior surgeon at Con City General Hospital. `Temperatures aboard airplanes can fluctuate considerably, especially when the air conditioner is not working properly, which is a constant problem on these flights,' she stated. `Also, the risk of infection is quite high when multiple people with exposed buttocks use the same seat.'
`We will of course use disinfectants to wipe the seats clean after each flight,' Dick Butler assured. `We will also make sure that all our air conditioners are in top notch condition, and that the temperature is set to a convenient level. In the unlikely event of a malfunction, we will distribute complementary hot beverages to keep the passengers warm.'
When asked whether the airline will put measures in place to ensure the privacy and dignity of their passengers during boarding and on board the flights, Dick Butler offered a guarantee that there will be no cameras recording the passengers at any time and that everyone will be given a towel which they can wear wrapped around themselves while they go from the check-in desk to the door of the aircraft, where blindfolded staff will collect the towels and allow passengers to board the aircraft single file.
`We assure you that no incidents such as harassment or public sexual intercourse will occur on our flights,' the spokesman added. `At Con City Airlines, the safety and comfort of our passengers always comes first.'