This just in: American Airlines and United plan to follow Delta’s lead and introduce a zero-frills, “basic economy” class on many of their airplanes. The creation of this so-called “last-class” fare—in which customers can’t choose their seat and are not given even water—will necessitate an updating of the standard pre-flight announcement:
Welcome aboard, some of you!
And a very special hello to our highly valued and physically attractive frequent flyers at the Super Elite, Super Duper Elite, Extra Elite, Elite, Elite! with an Exclamation Mark, Almost Elite, Elite(ish), Silver, Gold, Silvery-Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Plutonium and Anti-Matter levels.
Today’s flight offers three classes of service: business class, economy and basic economy.
As we continue to board the aircraft, please take a moment to place your carry-on baggage under the seat in front of you—or in an overhead bin not occupied by a basic economy passenger.
Please take a moment to get acquainted with your surroundings. For those in business and economy class, a recline button is located on your seat arm. Seats in basic economy will not recline or, in a few weeks, exist.
At this time, all portable electronic devices must be turned off or set to airplane mode—except in business class, where everyone has known for years that smartphones have no effect on airplane instruments and this policy is in fact a hilarious prank on the lower classes.
Ladies and gentlemen, the captain has illuminated the seatbelt sign. To fasten your seatbelt, slide the metal clip into the buckle until you hear a click. In basic economy, hook the frayed bungee cord into the rusty latch until you hear your spouse complain that you’d tongue-kiss Satan himself to save 12 bucks on Travelocity.
Once we reach our cruising altitude, we will activate the Wi-Fi service in our business class section—and the viewing screens in economy class. Passengers traveling in “basic” are directed to the seat pocket in front of them, which features a selection of the very latest gum wrappers and used Kleenex.
There are two lavatories on board this aircraft. The washroom in the front is reserved for the use of our business class passengers. The washroom is the rear is reserved for our economy class guests. Passengers travelling in basic economy are directed to the seat pocket in front of them.
Once we reach our cruising altitude, our in-flight service will begin. Business class passengers will receive a hot meal. Economy passengers will receive a snack. Passengers in basic economy will be serving the meals and snacks. Do you know how to mix a mimosa? Sure hope so!
As we further degrade the in-flight “economy” experience to the point that only the slimmest of formalities separates us from essentially mimicking a hog truck on the interstate, we want you to know that we value your loyalty and your pain tolerance.
If you have any questions or requests, please don’t hesitate to press the attendant call button—unless you’re in basic economy. Our flight attendants haven’t set foot in that section since organized crime seized control. The best advice we can give is to avoid rows 36-38 (aka Hobo Town) after sundown.
Oxygen levels and air pressure are being monitored through most of this aircraft. In the event of a decompression, oxygen masks will automatically appear in front of many of you.
In the unlikely event that the aircraft needs to be evacuated, floor-level lighting will guide you toward an exit. Doors can be opened by moving the handle in the direction of the arrow. “Basic” passengers will need to swipe a credit card to use the escape slide.
We now ask passengers in basic to cover their ears as the following safety information is not included in their fare. No cheating!
[Flight attendant pantomimes how to use basic economy passengers as flotation devices.]
Ladies and gentlemen, for takeoff we will be dimming the cabin lights—both as a safety measure and so that none of us has to make eye contact with the “basics” back there.
Now sit back, relax and enjoy—or, for those of you in basic, “enjoy”—the flight. No matter which fare class you selected, we want to thank you for flying with us. We know you have a choice, and we assume many of you are regretting yours right now.