Passengers enjoy a dramatic view of the runway.
Airline executives have taken a special interest in the recent news of a stow-away passenger who survived a seven-and-a-half hour flight from Tahiti to Los Angeles inside the wheel well of an Air France 747 jet.
"With competition heating up, we're doing everything we can to provide the lowest fares," explained airline marketing V.P. James Kelley. "As of this week, we offer First Class, Business Class, Coach, and now our new, Special Economy Wheel Well Class."
The new seating leaves lots of legroom.
"We treat you like a big wheel!"
Marketing staffs are already at work developing ad campaigns for the new airline service. One slogan exclaims: "We treat you like a big wheel!"
The airline executive is confident the new service will be popular. "Especially with those busy travelers who always scramble to be first off the plane," said Kelley. "When they fly our new Wheel Well Service, we guarantee they'll be on the tarmac before any other passenger... and in some cases, even before we touch down."
Not surprisingly, the FAA has already received a number of calls from those concerned about passenger safety. Kelley thinks such concerns are unwarranted.
"We'll treat the new seating much like we do our emergency exit rows--with a printed passenger advisory. It will recommend that passengers decline a wheel well seat if they're prone to catch colds or if they'll experience discomfort when smashed between the belly of a jumbo jet and its five-ton landing gear."
"Ever since airlines were deregulated, there have been a bunch of nervous nellies who worry we'll put them at risk just to make a buck," explains the executive. "That's simply not so. There would have to be at least three or four hundred dollars at stake before we'd take a chance of killing a passenger."
We asked if he's worried about carrying passengers at 38,000 feet without pressurization and, in many cases, without enough oxygen to sustain life. "Of course," he replied. "The public underestimates our concern. Remember, when an airline has a mishap, we not only lose the passenger--half the time we also lose a return ticket."