THE AIRLINES are trying to make it up to people who have to pay more for flying in coach than those who fly on special thrift rates.
A barrage of newspaper, magazine and TV commercials are now informing us that the airlines really "revere" their "full-fare" passengers, and are making sure they get treated better than those on discount fares.
For one thing, the people who pay full coach fare will be seated in the middle of the plane, just behind those in first class. The discount passengers will be placed in the rear of the craft, where no one can see them.
Coach passengers will have their own check-in lines, and presumable first crack at the plane's free magazines.
The reason for the sudden decision to advertise the advantages of full fare, as opposed to discount, is that the airlines have had a backlash from businessmen who travel all the time and feel they're being taken for a ride. No one likes to sit next to a person who has paid 30 to 40 percent less to go to the same place and arrive at the same time.
I believe tha airlines will have to do more to placate the people who pay full fare than just seat the discount people on the back of the plane. Stronger measures must be taken.
I foresee in the not-too-distant future that after the coach passenger has been seated in the middle of the plane, the discount passengers will be loaded on board in leg irons. They will be driven to the back of the aircraft by a giant black-bearded man cracking a long whip who is stripped to the waist.
Once in the back, they will be shoved down on wooden slats and chained to the bulkhead. The man with the beard will be their steward. He will walk up and down the thrift section aisle shouting, "All right, you scurvy. There will be absolute silence in this section of the plane. Anyone who opens his mouth will get a taste of the whip on his worthless tourist back.
"Now this is the drill. Because we are flying over water part of the time, pay attention to these safety precautions. In case of the unlikely event of an emergency, a saw will be lowered from above you so that you can file off your leg irons and the chains on your wrists. There are emergency exits in the front of the plane. They may not be used until you pay a surcharge of $40.
"Once we are in the air we will be serving a delicious meal to the passengers up front, consisting of vichyssoise, roast duckling with orange sauce, wild rice with raisins, and a Chateau Mouton Rochschild, 1969. As for you riffraff back here, will pass around this wooden bucket of watery gruel, which the trusty will put in your slop bowls.
"Each passenger will be offered a choice of coffee, tea or milk. If he doesn't guess the right one, he will be hung by his thumbs from the luggage rack. One more thing, if any of you are planning to escape into coach class - forget it.
"This 747 has a snake-filled moat separating the cabins.
"All right you miserable wretches, we're ready for take-off. Are there any questions?"
"Sir, what is the movie playing today?"
"Crackkkkkk!!!!! Take that, you penny-pinching cur. No one is entitled to a movie in discount class. Where the hell do you think you are - on some kind of vacation?"