The bear necessities

READING my esteemed colleague Thelma Etim’s informative round-up of the latest animals-by-air innovations in this issue (see pages 10 and 11 of Air Cargo News 17 June 2013  – Issue No 754) got me to wondering if whether, anytime soon, humans might be treated with as much respect and dignity as racehorses, cocker spaniels and gerbils.
Many passenger carriers these days seem to consider human customers as a right nuisance – walking freight, as we like to consider them from the cargo perspective.
Animals, on the other hand, have never had it so good: ambient air conditioning, hand-selected meals, comfortable travelling conditions, bespoke check-in and passport clearances, immediate and uncrowded toilet facilities, travelling companions, and no piped music or ear-splitting inflight announcements.
When I flew within Europe recently on a so-called low-cost passenger airline, the experience was animalistic, to say the least.
It started at the airport check-in line (just to drop bag-gage off), which reminded me of a crowded cattle market I once visited in Texas.
It was while I was waiting in line that I came to notice that some of my fellow passengers resembled farmyard animals.  I’m convinced that one out-sized, thick-skinned fellow traveller was, in fact, a rhinoceros on his way to a Las Vegas theme park.
Then came the security check. This was a bit like being in the middle of hordes of wildebeest queuing up to throw themselves into a lake of muddy water whilst holding up their trousers with one cloven hoof and clutching a copy of Ungulates Today in the other.
Once on board, the animal theme continued. I won’t mention the appalling ‘snack’. I was put off that anyway, by the bleating and crowing . .
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