What Cruise Lines Can Teach Airlines About Unruly Passengers

US airlines are still in reactive mode when dealing with noncompliant, deviant, and violent passengers. The cruise lines solved the disruptive passenger problem long ago, and their solutions can apply—with creative adaptations—to air travel compliance as well. Let’s consider the possible lessons the airlines can learn from the cruise lines, and how they might make those adaptations.


It’s Time for “Big Water”

The day will come when water will be more precious than oil.

It has already come in some places and cases, but as a society we haven’t begun thinking of it in that way.

Picture the “Great Hydro-Paradox”: on one hand we have severe water shortages in places like California and various other agricultural regions; parched land; crops failing; animals dying; farmers and small business operators in financial crisis; the national food supply becoming precarious. (Typically, 11 US states experience episodic or chronic drought: Arizona; California; Colorado; Montana; Nevada; New Mexico; North Dakota; Oregon; Utah; Washington; and Wyoming.)

At the very same time, people in vulnerable coastal areas like Florida and Louisiana are swamped by torrential rains; wading hip-deep in churning water; their flooded houses damaged beyond repair; automobiles swept away to destruction; drownings and other consequential loss of life; public services knocked out; and many businesses utterly destroyed. 

All in the same country on the same day.

Suppose we decided to give water the same commercial, technological, and logistical priority that we’ve always given to oil? What’s to stop us from moving water around on the same scale as we move oil?


Two and a-Half Americas

Two Americas

To make a broad distinction: I see two “Americas” here.
  1. One, mired in pre-scientific patterns of ignorance, superstition, rejection of modernity, and clan consciousness, struggles to hold on to an increasingly obsolescent “lone pioneer” self-definition.
  2. The other, struggling to understand and cope with an immensely more complex world than we’ve ever experienced, is trying to form or evolve a modern, inclusive national consciousness that can cope with that world.
One looks forward. The other looks backward. One embraces newness, ambiguity, and complexity. The other avoids it.