9 Things Airlines Need More Than "Happiness Blankets"
Here’s something that’ll make you question everything you ever knew about life: British Airways recently announced that they’d be incorporating “happiness blankets” into their flights for first class passengers. What’s a happiness blanket? I’m glad you asked. The “happiness blanket” analyzes the “meditative state” of its passengers, by using tiny fiber-optic LEDs that change color based on brainwaves transmitted via Bluetooth from a band worn on a passenger’s head. Blue signifies calm, peace and relaxation, and the blanket will turn crimson when the passenger feels stressed or anxious. Sound confusing? Think of it this way: It’s a goofy looking, gigantic mood ring.
You might think this is an SNL digital short, but – it’s real.
How this actually makes a difference, I don’t even know. I like to think that as humans, we’re fully aware of our moods and don’t need a dorky blanket contraption to validate whether or not we’re stressed out. If British Airways actually wanted to improve things for their passengers, here are a few suggestions they should have taken.
1. Bigger Seats.
I fear middle seats, unless I know who’ll be on either side of me. If you’re claustrophobic, or fear flying, a bigger seat might make you a little more comfortable about the travels ahead. Even if you travel by plane all the time, it’s still nice to be able to stretch out without the fear of awkwardly brushing up on a stranger. Especially if that stranger happens to be wearing a “happiness” blanket that’s crimson throughout the entire flight.
2. Child-Free Flights
Listen, I don’t hate kids. But on one of my last flights, I was seated in front of 4 children who screamed on the plane throughout the entire trip, and jumped in their seats. Not only were they crammed in (I’m pretty sure there weren’t enough seats for all of them), but they made the ride absolutely unbearable. Even headphones couldn’t drown them out. I won’t lie – I cried. I cried hardcore, and felt super embarrassed for not being able to keep my cool.
Sometimes parents also just want some peace and quiet. Offering child-free flights will help make sure that passengers aren’t distressed. Let’s reverse this, as well. On child-friendly flights, the plane could be equipped with crayons, coloring books, and enough activities to keep restless children occupied.
Airline food can be hit or miss. But know what’s typically a hit? Pizza. I’ve had my fair share of pizza in my years, from the very best (straight from Italy!) to the best of the worst (No offense, Mama Celeste. You have a dear place in my heart, but your definition of “Pizza For One” is my definition of “Not enough pizza”). I’ve never experienced it on an airplane, but I’m sure they’d have a unique take on it. It’s rare to find someone who isn’t down for some pizza.
4. Better Pillows
I purchased one of those weird neck pillows at the airport prior to a flight, and it was one of the most uncomfortable purchases I’ve ever made. I guess it was better than nothing at all, but it didn’t bring me to the relaxed state I was hoping to achieve. I’m a firm believer that a quality pillow could someday change the world.
5. A Less-Awkward Bathroom Situation
Nobody ever looks forward to using the bathroom on an airplane, but when nature calls, you have no other option. I’ve unfortunately been in the way of flight attendants, carts, and other passengers. I’ve also felt touches of nausea while standing still on a moving plane, anxious for the door to switch from “occupied” to “vacant.” One time, I even accidentally walked in on another passenger who forgot to lock the door. We were both mortified. (I’m sure my happiness blanket would have turned green, to truly express my feelings.)
If planes carved out a small “lobby” area for bathroom patrons, I think the situation would be a lot more comfortable. Maybe have a row of seats? Maybe some light jazz music in the background, to help make you forget that you’re in line on an airplane? Something!
6. Jumbo TV Screens On Every Flight
I got to witness the first Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone Spiderman movie on a screen that was the size of my fist, three rows ahead of me. Needless to say, I don’t know how it ended. My eyes were strained about fifteen minutes in. I’m guessing Spiderman saved good people from bad people?
Some planes have televisions on the back of every seat, which I greatly appreciate. Not only does it give passengers a sense of independence, but it helps you tune out turbulence just a bit better. If they could be bigger, I’d be in heaven.
7. A Soda Machine
It’s tough trying to flag down a flight attendant if you’re thirsty. I’d be willing to pay an additional dollar or two for a soda on my time. Plus, you’ll be able to see the selections right in front of you, instead of having to ask “Wait, did you say you had tomato juice? I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear you, since I have a child screaming in the seats behind me.”
8. Goodie Bags
Back in high school, I got the chance to go to England to visit my sister, who was taking a semester abroad. Prior to this trip, my airplane experience was severely limited. Imagine my surprise, when my airline gave every passenger a fun bag of goodies upon arrival. My bag ‘o swag had tissues, earplugs, headphones, a sleep mask, and some mints for my incredible journey. I haven’t been on a flight since that has showered me with gifts before I’ve even sat down. I think I can state this as a fact: People like getting free stuff. Especially if it’s stuff that helps make them more comfortable.
9. On-Flight Kittens
Okay, fine. This one will actually cause more problems than it’ll cure, especially if every passenger gets their own kitten. But just visualize it for a second, and smile.
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