Saturday, 20 August 2016

KLM Launch World's First On-Tap Draught Beer - Comment

Special circumstances require special measures, and although flying at 36,000 feet doesnt seem particularly different or special, the truth is, it is a rather unique environment. It is not the kind of environment to encourage the consumption of the worlds first on tap draught beer at altitude. If this kind of first continues it will end up doing more harm to the flying public than good, heres why.

Of late we have seen a continued trend aimed at easing the plight of the traveler throughout the aviation industry. It has come in the guise of technological advancement of the planes. The airport and baggage infrastructure that runs in the background, designed to make travel seamless and even the quality of sustenance served on-board (draught beer is NOT sustenance!)  This trend has gradually changed focus from infrastructure enhancements to people-centered enhancements. Recent surveys point to a growing trend of wellness centered initiatives to make flying healthier, it is hard to square this circle of health inspired solutions for travelers by introducing draught beer.

When you travel as much as some productive frequent flyers traipsing the globe, the watch word becomes efficiency, how can I get from A to B and do a good job with the least expenditure of energy on my part. Efficiency these days includes health amongst other factors. Flyers would do well to note that draught beer in no way enhances their efficiency as travelers. On the contrary, it will probably encourage the conditions that lead to jet lag.

Apart from the brutal reality of what airline travel does to the body we also have to consider the messages we are sending out when we embrace an innovation like this as progress.

1.    We are saying drinking at altitude is a good thing even though the barometric pressure is different than sea-level and causes intoxication more rapidly.
2.    We are encouraging anti-social behavior at altitude when people indulge in too much of a good thing.(Not to mention the problems of policing alcohol in the lounge before boarding).
3.    We are shifting the burden of responsibility to airline crew to police drinkers in a confined space with possible dangerous implications for everyone on the flight, air rage for whatever reason is still with us, we do not need to put more tools within reach of misbehaving or disgruntled travelers.

Draught beer belongs in your pub not at 36,000 feet.