Posted April 16, 2008 by Zak Patten
JetBlue is now being branded, at least by Runner's World Chief Running Officer Bart Yasso (I know, his name sounds like a spammer's pseudonym, but he's real), as "the airline for runners." Why? JetBlue has the most legroom in coach (runner no like cattle-car crunch), as well as unlimited snacks and water. The site has interactive running maps on one side and a JetBlue booking tool on the other. I'm guessing this is a bigger deal to runners than to JetBlue, but I'm sure the airline is happy to take athletes on its flights, as long as they are well-showered prior to boarding.
But this new niche branding, which caters to the relatively small number of Americans who are truly fit, misses a golden opportunity to target the "silent majority": couch potatoes. Yes, the average U.S. passenger's derriere ain't squeezing into the average airplane seat, even on JetBlue. We don't need an airline for bony little runners in diminutive shorts who can slip easily into economy seats—we need one for us chubsters who require double-wide parking spots for our full figures.
What I'm proposing isn't a few tweaks to make domestic air travel more comfortable for regular folks—I want an Extreme Makeover: Airline Edition. Your next flight might be on a 737, but it'd be a lot more hospitable than what we're used to. There'd be the welcome mat outside and the slipper-bearing pooch wagging his tail when you stepped onboard, obviously. The main cabin wouldn't be divided into seating classes, but would just be one long living room, complete with comfy sofas and La-Z-Boy recliners.
And forget about JetBlue's water and protein bars, the real American's airline would feature bottomless fountain sodas and all all-you-can-eat buffets. We'd fill up on Fanta Grape and buffalo wings before sacking out in front of the plasma TV.
The only problem is deciding who gets to hold the remote.
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