Connect with me on...

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Air Nintendo

On the Finnair (yes, Finnair) flight I was on recently, the little screens - You know, the ones that flip down from the ceiling once you're airborne and dazzle you with a two year old Harry Potter film with all the magic taken out so it's suitable for all audiences - well they stayed flipped down during takeoff and landing (or, as we frequent flyers know them, the crashzones), and they show you a live feed from a camera apparently bolted to the underside of the aircraft and pointing straight down. A simple feat technologically, but I've never seen any other airline do this. As you take off, you see the white stripes down the middle of the runway get faster and faster and then blur and then suddenly is all pulls away and you're looking at patchwork fields and roads.

The thing is, it's identical to the footage the air force show you on the news when they've bombed something that they want to show off about. Granted their footage is in black and white (They obviously don't have the multimedia budget of Finnair) but otherwise it's identical. Farmland and towns scrolling slowly past from a long way up, the only thing missing is the crosshairs fixing on a weapons depot and then obliterating it in a cathode white-out inducing silent boom, then followed by someone explaining that no, it almost certainly was a weapons depot and not a school.

Everyone on the plane watched the little screens as we took off and landed, but I'm not sure any of us felt very comfortable about it. It was just a little un-nerving, seeing the earth so far below us. Some people like to be able to forget about the whole tin-can-full-of-fuel-and-people-going-very-fast-and-very-high deal.

Here's what I propose. Most in flight entertainment has a little controller you can pop out of your arm rest and play Tetris with. All you have to do is wire that up to the live camera feed, so we can all move little crosshairs around the screen and drop virtual bombs on the outskirts of London. Maybe the person next to you could be in charge of trying to intercept your bombs before they landed. It'd be great. Half the plane against the other half. Maybe everyone who's passports said they were UK citizens would automatically be made to defend their homeland, while everyone else would be on the attacking side. That would rule. By the end of the flight, they'd be an overall score which would then influence the number of staff on the various different immigration desks at the airport. Your team lost the game? Looks like a half hour queue for you.

No comments: