Posted April 1, 2008 by Carl Unger
If I had a dollar for every time I've said "You couldn't pay me to (insert something unpleasant here)," I'd have quite a 401(k) going. Alas, we rarely have a chance to test these claims, mainly because Richard Branson hogs all the opportunities:
(That's Sir Richard Branson, apparently topless and standing on a giant cell phone—suspended over Times Square).
European carrier Flybe, however, has recently thrown down the challenge to us ordinary Joes. The airline hired temps to fly from Dublin, Ireland, to Norwich, England, in order to meet a passenger quota and qualify for a half-million-dollar rebate from the Norwich airport.
Passengers disembarking in Norwich found the flight to be a positive experience, and moving on a profoundly emotional level. Most of them had previously boasted that they couldn't be paid to fly ever again. Here is what a few passengers would probably have said if a reporter had quoted them:
Gerald Simmons, from London: "After years of shoddy service, tardy planes, and absolute rubbish for food, I vowed never to fly a commercial jet again, even if they paid me. This just goes to show what a few quid can do to a man's convictions."
Justine Wilmington, of Brighton: "It sure beat swimming."
Harold Potter, of Hogwarts: "Normally I take me broom, but I always end up spilling me Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans."
Whatever the case may be, these brave folks proved that people can be persuaded to renege on their promises, at least when it comes to commercial air travel. Much thanks to Flybe for spearheading this essential sociological experiment. Due next is a similar test of 50 people who claimed they couldn't be paid to attend a Celine Dion concert.