Let's Get Rid Of Airline Service & Car Audio.

carplaneTwo things I've experienced this week are airline food/service and car audio. You know what? They have to change. Let me tackle Airline Food/Service first. I just flew to Reno, Nevada to run a series of workshops for a very famous retail company. I flew first class both ways — so I was quite comfortable. In retrospect, here's my opinion — many things need to change on most continental (within the US) flights:

  1. Get rid of the food & drink service. This is a hold-back from the 1940's - being 'served' in your seat. Get your own food and drink in the terminal and bring it on-board or eat before you get on the flight. Why? The food is usually bad and the service is clumsy in close quarters. I don't need a drink either - no liquor. If you can't hold out drinking liquor for a few hours, you have a problem.
  2. Get rid of flight attendants. Not all of them — keep one for each flight to handle emergencies and do garbage clean-up service. Think of other forms of public transportation - buses, trains, etc. — they usually only have one driver or conductor. Why do planes need a retinue of players to make the experience that much more memorable?
  3. Give me room to work/read. Even in first class, when someone reclines their seat in front of me, I can't use my laptop effectively. I almost never use the recline feature - so I would eliminate it. I can sleep and relax just fine in my seat. Also, current legroom on planes is adequate (I'm 5'11") - don't know why so many people complain.
  4. Give me an outlet to plug in my stuff. I don't want to buy an adapter that might not work on all flights or short out my laptop/iPhone. I want a PLUG until laptop/iPhone batteries last for days while watching movies/doing work.
  5. Give me wireless connectivity for free & let me make phone calls. I understand the security issues — but I want to make phone calls from my phone and not pay college tuition to make one using the plane's phone service.
  6. Ban all carry-ons. Except for briefcases that hold laptops (it should fit under the seat in front of you). Many of you might disagree — but I am getting sick and tired of the amount and size of luggage that people bring on. In addition, if you can't lift it over your head to stow it — it's should be checked. We would cut de-planing time in half if we banned all carry-ons. We can then eliminate the overhead compartments (that I hit my head on EVERY time I stand!).
  7. Give me a second armrest between seats. Be honest, you don't like touching strangers (unless you're one of those types of people) - so why do they force us to share armrests? Give us a little more space and two armrests. Thank you.

My Car Audio rant is more concise. I spend a lot of time in my car (2003 Honda Accord EX) traveling to the office, speaking engagements, and client pitches. I have an iPhone and listen to music and podcasts (Adam Carolla & This American Life) exclusively. Also I use the phone too - but I try not to - so I can focus on my driving. Get rid of the sound system. Really.

  1. I don't need a radio. AM/FM is not dying — it's dead. All the info I get from my radio I can get on my iPhone. Weather, traffic, school closings, etc. - all on my iPhone. I know - it's audio and I should concentrate on driving. So check it before you leave or pull over. It's that simple. But getting back to AM/FM — it sucks. The announcers/personalities are awful — they are from another generation. And even if they are good — there are 45 minutes of commercials for every hour of talk. Put radio out of its misery.
  2. I don't need a CD Player/Changer. With my iPhone, I have my entire music collection (for the moment) in my hand. Not only do they break down frequently (and are expensive to repair), every CD that ever hit my car becomes unplayable because of scratches and sun damage (I have kids).
  3. Just give me an basic amplifier with speakers (and a microphone). And a connector with a small display on the dash for info. I can then plug my iPhone in and get EXACTLY what I want to hear — for a lot less money. Don't get into the PalmPre/Android/Zune argument - until they hold a 30-70% share of the market (like the iPhone/iPod) — go away.

I know that new cars have this ability - but they are still installing radios with CD players. I also know that I can have my current car set up with a connection — but it will cost a hundreds of dollars to install.

Again, this is MY opinion. But if you disagree, think about it a bit — some of the things I say should have happened years ago. But let me know in the comments section.