Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Holland Herald

547 words on

While reading in-flight magazines has lost its attraction many years ago, I still ended up flipping through KLM’s Holland Herald while on my way to South Africa. And I was appalled in many places.

In the section on how to keep fit during long flights, they suggest a couple of exercises. Two of them look like this:

Drawings of two exercises you should do

Thankfully they have supplied drawings to demonstrate this rather than photographs. At least in our plane I didn’t have quite such a comfortable distance between my knees and the seat in front of me. I also couldn’t bend down in the way the woman does in that photo. (Admittedly her head does stick into the seat in front of her even with the generous legroom she has in the drawing. So I’m not quite sure how they think that exercise works.)

A bit further on, they offer information about their aircraft, for example the Boeing 777 I was in:

Drawing of a Boeing 777 with sort-of helpful data

While the drawing is all nice, and the tidbit about rose names is reasonably ridiculous, I thought the icons they used for the numbers were quite bad. Most of them just so don’t give a good representation of what they’re supposed to mean. And even those that do aren’t too good. How many did you get right (without looking at the numbers and using your knowedge about flying)? Thankfully, they also supplied us with a legend for the symbols.

If you read the note about the food on the plane, you wonder a bit though… if they have the equivalent of five juicy steaks per person on the plane, why are you served dried shit then? And if they really carry ten kilos of supplies for each passenger, why don’t they serve it?

My last helping of mockery goes to the maps they have in the back of magazine. Well, in the old days I really loved those. You could see where all the different places are and where you are going. These days they’re probably quite superfluous as they have those nice map and current location displays on the TV system. But the maps are still there and they’re covered by gazillions of those little route lines because of the massive networks of ‘partner’ airlines that exist.

There used to be something really instructive about those maps in the old days: The lines indicating the routes weren’t straight. Going from London to San Francisco would look like you’re making quite detour just to go via the North Pole. But as anybody who had done a couple of flights (or was a mathematician) would tell you, those weren’t actual detours but rather the effect of the earth’s round surface being drawn on a paper. The line you fly is the shortest route and would be straight if it were drawn on a globe rather than a flat piece of paper.

Looking at the maps today gives a different impression, though. It looks like they’ve been changed to display all routes – as in connections of two cities – rather than the actual flight paths. But somehow they preserved the curvy lines, rather than going back to straight ones for this exercise. So while this looks like they’re doing the right thing at a first glance, it looks blatantly absurd a bit later.

KLM Flight routes around India

March 20, 2005, 22:48

Tagged as magazine.


Comment by dokus: User icon

get a life

February 15, 2006, 11:20

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