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Jul 24

Sometimes, You’re Just Better Off Leaving Things Well Enough Alone…

One of the things that I like most about writing a travel blog is that I’m constantly coming across stories that make me want to do this:

This.

So let’s see what’s new in the world of “Weird News Olympics.”

The Bronze Medal: The Airport Of The Future

The airport of the PRESENT. The Enchanted Gardens, at Singapore’s Changi Airport

Every so often, I see one of these “Airport of the Future” articles. They’re always a fun read, mostly because they make fantastical predictions about what the world of airports will look like in the future. We’ll all be shipped to the airport on autonomous vehicles, breeze through security because they’ll already know everything about us (Creepy, much?) and get our free massages from robots while we shop duty free.

Sadly, those are all just fantasies, for two reasons. First, space. All of these hopes and dreams require a ton of land, and nobody wants to be the one to pay for it. It would either have to be done by a central government or a private enterprise, and the internal conflicts would be enormous. Second, however, is security. We’ve all become so indoctrinated in the idea of physically invasive security that I’m not entirely sure that people would travel without it. But don’t worry, there are enough lobbyists to ensure sufficient metal detectors for all. Until the security wizards cease their unhealthy, singular obsession with airports, the best we can hope for is clean, friendly and efficient. Oh, speaking of security…

The Silver Medal: The War on Paper

The newest airport issue has become the war on paper. And the TSA at San Diego decided to charge full speed ahead this week by (possibly) prohibiting books, including comic books, from checked luggage. Now, that might be a problem on most weekends, but it was particularly bad on this one, given that Comic-Con was taking place. Guess what they have a lot of at Comic-Con? Yup. Apparently, United Airlines told people that books were banned in luggage, courtesy of the TSA.

The TSA has issued a press release denying that it ever put out such an order, so we’re kind of in limbo as to who is to blame. But I do get nervous when I read that too much paper triggers an alarm. Sadly, yes, this is where we are going.

So here’s my question: We may not be able to pack books. And we have instances of books shutting down the security lines. So be prepared to take a Kindle.

First seen: VFTW

The Gold Medal: Air France

You know that if something is able to defeat the TSA in the craziness olympics, it has to be good. And our friends at Air France managed to pull it off.

Airlines have a long and glorious history of destroying economic value. The old joke, “How do you make a million dollars in the airline industry? Start with a billion.” has always been a favorite and, generally, has held true. And the best way to destroy value is to create an “airline within an airline,” in an attempt to bring your costs down or appeal to the cool crowd. Does anyone remember Song? How about Ted? Didn’t think so. There’s a reason for that.

And yet, airlines keep trying, with this iteration from Air France. The airline is launching Joon, which sounds like the French word “jeune,” meaning young. It’s targeting millennials, who are notoriously fickle and brand-phobic. Air France described the division as “a lifestyle brand and a state of mind,” and called it Joon because the name means “short, punchy and international.” Apparently, it is cool because it is blue.

Do you know what millennials hate more than brands? It’s brands that pretend not to be brands to appeal to millennials. Fortunately, I’m guessing that they’re not going to have to deal with Joon for long.

 

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