We hardly have to detail all of the ways commercial air travel has degraded since its golden age, when people dressed up to fly and ate fancy food amid a convivial party-like atmosphere in the sky. These days, the whole thing can feel like a crazy cattle call, where passengers have zero manners, flight attendants have had it with the nonsense, and your neighbor is quite literally on top of you.
These days, it's all about a race to the bottom — price wise. While that can be great for a certain kind of budget-minded passenger (hello, $69 flights from Los Angeles to Europe!) it can also mean airlines are taking the whole no-frills game to ever plunging depths.
In November, United Airlines released details of its basic economy fare, which includes — well, not a damn thing.
Ever the good-natured truth teller — and a celebrity with a history of calling airlines to task — Ellen DeGeneres created a parody of that experience.
The Ellen Show spot begins with passengers boarding, among the typical humiliations — such as no assigned seats. But then it quickly descends into a Lord of the Flies-like environment where passengers must hold a conch shell to have permission to speak, and then break into primitive rival factions forced to fight each other for survival. Coach passengers, driven to desperation by their circumstances, create a false idol out of styrofoam cups and pretzels, and then battle mercilessly for a few measly peanuts. Meanwhile, the fortunate business-class passengers place wagers on the outcome. It's so good — and perhaps all too relatable these days. Watch and enjoy (slash weep).
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