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Airline to Shut Down Engines to Save Money
Jun 10 2005 by Greg Kuhl
Northwest, which recently decided to eliminate pretzels and magazines from its planes in another money-saving attempt, said shutting the engines would save the company about $300 million in fuel costs.
"Sure, it's a risk. But it's a risk that Northwest - as well as its passengers - need to be willing to take," said Rick Jackson, Northwest spokesman. "The only reason we're doing this is so we can continue in business and give the public the highest-quality service it deserves."
Jackson said the decision to take away pretzels and magazines was "a no-brainer. Who cares if some overweight passengers get hungry on a flight from Minneapolis to Detroit? They can either gorge themselves before the flight or wait till they arrive at their destination.
"As for magazines, it was just a waste of $565,000 a year for subscriptions. Most Americans don't care about reading anyway. If it saves some money, Northwest figures people can give up their fixations with Tom and Katie or Brad and Angelina for a few hours."
Northwest should know by the end of 2005 whether the engine-shutting program will work. "If it doesn't, the airline may have to take other measures in order to survive," Jackson said. Among them:
* A program where random passengers are chosen to fly the plane, rather than paying a pilot and crew. "It might work better in summer weather than, say, the middle of winter in Minnesota," Jackson said.
* Allowing passengers to become airplane mechanics for a day, making repairs and pre-flight maintenance checks. "We're thinking about starting a lottery for it, just like Powerball. It could really bring in some major revenues," Jackson said.
* Adding even more rows in the same amount of space. "We know it's a tight squeeze as it is, but it may work. Or we could make large people buy three tiny seats. Hey, whatever works," Jackson said. "Anything not to become the next Eastern, Braniff or ValuJet."
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