Comatose: “It’s The Only Way to Fly!”

Comatose: “It’s The Only Way to Fly!”

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Fifty years ago air travel was a far cry from what it is today: Enjoyable.

20th Century Airliner Cabin
(X-Ray Delta One Flickr Photo)

To underscore that point, Western Airlines ran TV ads declaring that travel aboard its planes was “the only way to fly!”


Western, which took off in 1926, disappeared from the skies when it merged with Delta in 1987.

Today, the only way to fly in the U.S. is on Comatose Airlines.

“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome aboard Comatose Airlines Flight 1 with service from San Francisco to Los Angeles, Phoenix, St. Louis, Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., New York, Boston, and so many places in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and South America before we land back here in San Francisco in three weeks, that I couldn’t even begin to name them all!

“I’m Candy, your head flight attendant. In fact, I’m the only flight attendant on-board!

“Please promptly stow your carry-on luggage in the overhead bins or below the seat in front of you, then sit down and fasten your seatbelt so we can pull back from the gate on time.

“In preparation for take-off, you’ll find that your seats are fixed in a fully-upright and locked position. You will be asleep during the entire flight, figuratively dead to the world, and won’t have a clue whether you’re sitting upright or flat on your back. So by installing cheaper, non-reclining seats we were able to lower airfares for all passengers on all of our flights.

“Take that, JetBlue and Southwest!

“While taxiing to the runway, ether masks will automatically drop down from the overhead. Please place the mask firmly across your face, then assist any passengers traveling with you, such as small, whining little children, with their masks.

“Ether, that quaint anesthetic that our older passengers will remember being given when they had their tonsils removed, with quickly turn your brain out like a light. Ether will be continuously administered to you during flight until after landing, when you’ll be given a intravenous injection of double-shot espresso to revive you.

“Laughing gas is available as an alternative to ether, complimentary to our First Class passengers, and for $50 to those in the Economy Cabin.

“Passengers with colds, the flu, sinus congestion, asthma, or other respiratory problems should choose our complimentary non-alcoholic Mickey Finn “cocktail,” suitable for those of all ages. For an additional $10, persons 21 years of age or older can order “the real thing.”

“In conformance with recent FAA rule changes, your portable electronic devices may remain turned on during all phases of flight. However, since you’ll be a virtual zombie and unable to use them, we haven’t bothered to provide AC power to the seats on our planes. So you might as well shut down those devices to prevent their batteries from being sucked dry en route to your final destination.

“Because you’ll be conked out, you won’t even notice the lack of food and beverage service, or on-board entertainment. Eliminating those unnecessary frills has saved as a ton of money, and we’ve passed one-percent of those savings on to you in the form of lower fares and the other 99-percent to “The Ninety-Nine Percent” you manage and own this airline.

“Many of our passengers traveling on business opt for our Comatose Cab-to-Airport add-on package.

“Being completely unconscious from the time they leave the office means they won’t be stressed out fighting their way through traffic to reach the airport, won’t be embarrassed when given a “personal, total-body screening” from TSA, and will avoid the whole stand-in-a-Conga-line check-in process.

“Since they wouldn’t be able to get any work done while asleep inside of the plane, they save their companies money by flying stacked like cordwood in the baggage hold where, on arrival, they can immediately grab their luggage and sprint across the tarmac to the terminal.

“So relax, sit back and go to sleep. If we encounter turbulence during the flight, I promise you won’t feel a thing.

“We’re sure you’ll agree that flying fully sedated makes air travel even more enjoyable that it was way back in the mid-20th century when most of us, except for the geezers on this flight, weren’t even born yet!

“We know that when you fly you have many airlines to choose from, so we appreciate you opting to travel with us today.

“Comatose Airlines. It’s the only way to fly!”

“Sweet dreams!”


Those Tales Told From The Road readers who flew back in those halcyon days of air travel way back in the last century can relieve them, while younger folk can gape in awe, watching this Pan Am (a long-gone airline, “revived” briefly by a recent TV series) TV commercial.


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