With all the long haul flights I’ve taken lately I’ve had a lot of time to spy on my fellow travellers, observe staff, inspect aircraft and ruminate wildly on the ways flying economy could be made a whole lot better for all us. Here are 12 things I’d add/change on airplanes if I happen to have my own airline one day.
*If any existing airlines decide to take me up on my frankly genius suggestions I’ll expect due credit and a lot of cold, hard cash. Naturally.*
1. A function on the IFE that says please wake/ don’t wake me for food service
How annoying is it when you’re trying to get some much-needed shut-eye and the staff are sweetly waking you to offer breakfast at approximately 3 am local time? I reckon it shouldn’t take much to add a little button on the IFE that you can tap before nodding off which leaves a message on the screen about whether you want to be woken for food or not. Failing that a little card you can stick out the top of the screen saying green for ‘food please’ and red for ‘leave me sleep’ should do the trick. (I’m pretty proud of this idea. You’re probably going to tell me some airline does it already but if so can they let BA know? Thank you/please!)
2. Ambient scents pumped through the air conditioning
You know that smell you get on a plane where you’re not sure if they’ve started cooking dinner or someone’s just done a big dump? Or the passenger whose idea of personal hygiene is ‘I washed last week’? Well, why don’t planes combat some of the whiffier issues by pumping some essentials oils through the air system or popping a few diffusers near the bathroom? We could make it all democratic and have passengers vote for the scent of the day as they board the plane. It would be like choosing the scent of your oil before a massage but a hundred times more disappointing
3. Netflix streaming on all flights
As more and more airlines are getting in on the whole wifi in the sky thing it shouldn’t be too hard to do away with all their old movie libraries and just hook us up to Netflix instead. A good binge on 13 Reasons Why/ Designated Survivor/ OINTB (choose your poison) will see the flight pass in no time.
4. Female only sections
I’ve heard of a few airlines floating the idea of female only sections for religious purposes but as a solo female traveller I’m a huge fan of the idea. No offence to the opposite sex but too often I’ve experienced men taking up more than their fair share of the foot well and/or armrest. Sometimes it’s not their fault (they just have very long limbs) but more often than not it’s just someone taking the mick coz I’m too shy to complain. Women seem to be better about observing each other’s personal space so if I’m travelling alone I’d much rather be paired with another lady.
5. A no bare feet rule
I don’t want to see your dirty feet anywhere near me but especially not resting on my knee.
6. A shoe rack and slippers to change into
How about we all pop our shoes in a basket before boarding (like you do on a boat) and change into slippers instead? That way I never have to fold myself in quarters to redeem the shoe that falls into a black hole underneath the seat in front of me.
7. A pic n mix shop and dedicated barista in the galley
8. A dressing room
I’m thinking maybe one of the loos could be converted to a changing room so that those of us who need a wee don’t end up wetting ourselves while someone else takes aaages to change and brush their teeth. It also means we’d hopefully see less pants/knickers in the cabin from people who decide to get changed in the row. (This actually happened to poor Vicky last week!)
9. A naughty section
A section, preferably far from the female only one, where seat kickers, loud sniffers/snorers and people who break the no bare feet rule are banished to. (There may be riots over enforcing this one but in an ideal world…)
10. Face wipes and mini deodorants distributed instead of hot towels
Anyone else just hold the hot towel limply wondering what to do it? A nice little bottle of Dove deodorant and single face wipe would be much more useful personally.
11. A big bottle of water left in each row
So we can refill our flasks and swig when we’re gasping instead of waiting for someone to come round with a minute cup of water.
12. A steadfast rule that no one can recline their seat until after the meal service
Because no one can eat comfortably with a tray resting on their tits and some airlines are lax at getting the passenger in front to straighten up their seat for the meal service. (*Coughs* BA.)
What improvements would you make to airplanes if you were, say, Richard Branson?