Monday, July 6, 2009

Standing on the Air Bus

I always wondered about air buses. If you can stand on a city bus, why can't you stand on an air bus? Apparently, Ryan Air executives are getting the same idea, instituting flights on which passengers willing to stand during short flights and to sit on bar stools during longer flights. Sky News reports as follows.

Ryanair passengers could soon fly for free - if they want to stand for their journey.

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary told Sky News the low-cost airline was considering ripping out the back few rows of seats on some flights.

Passengers would be able to sit on bar stools, similar to the buffet carriage on trains, or stand up for flights lasting less than an hour and a half.

"We might take out the last five or six rows and say to passengers 'Do you want to stand up? If you do you can travel for free'," Mr O'Leary said.

The company has asked Boeing to look at the possibility of converting its planes or delivering a new fleet with "vertical seating".

This is creative capitalism. We are in a major recession. Instead of watching passively as luxury items fly out of the budget of cash strapped consumers, why not strip them down to bare bones? It's happening to computers. You can get a notebook for under three hundred dollars. It's stripped town to bare bones. If you want to play a DVD on one, you have to plug it in. Does anyone remember the movie Titanic? Remember the poor folks in steerage, who traveled on the lower decks, crowded together and sleeping in crowded rooms? A lot of people wouldn'tmind putting steerage on airplanes. How did people in the Army Air Corps travel during World War Two? There are a lot of places I would consider visiting if I could pack a few lunches and barf bags and take a seat on a long bench.

Ditto with cars. I want something really stripped down. East Germany had the Trabant. West Germany had the Volkswagen Bug. Italy had the Fiat 500. The Trabi weighs 1350 pounds. Get me a car that goes about 75 miles an hour, has no air conditioning and a cigarette lighter to plug in a boom box . Keep it down to the cost of a modestly decent motor cycle. Put together a passable finance package to widen the market for a no frills budget car.

The fast food places are wising up and creating budget fast food. I found a kosher Subway Sandwich shop in Flatbush, Brooklyn. They have a Five dollar foot long sandwich that they sell with a fountain drink. All their profit is on the fountain drink. I'm OK with that.

The big problem is housing. In places like New York and Boston, it is still sky high. How do we bring the price of buying a house so a mortgage takes 25% of the earnings of one wage earner? When a husband and wife are slaves to the mortgage, children suffer. There is a social cost to high rents and parents who are stretched thin to pay them.

America does a great job of clothing and feeding its people. We make clothing for working people. We should be able to build affordable housing as well. If we can take care of housing just as well, it will be a major achievement.

When business sets out to identify and fill a need, they do not tax anyone to do it. They do not print money either. They make money and put people to work. Reading stories about creative capitalism makes my day. I hope the Ryan Air approach spreads. We will all be winners if it does. Sphere: Related Content

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