I Love Absurdity and it Shows

Updated 2002-09-07
The Images shown here are original, unaltered photographs taken in generally public places. All comments are strictly the personal opinion of the photographer. No photographs or comments are misleading, or known to be false.

 - BY AIR -

Typical Ergonomically Incorrect Airline Seat - 2000-09-02


Ouch, ouch, ouch... OUCH!!!

Hey bozos! When will jet manufacturers start designing passenger seats that are shaped somewhat like the human body!? Every time I fly, I have to sit with my back hunched and my neck forced forward. Instead of lumbar support, there's a concave hollow in the seat back. And those little pillows don't provide much back support. You can't lay your head back either, unless you tilt the whole seat back, which isn't always what you want to do or can do.

So in these days of drop-of-a-hat litigation, how long will passengers have to endure this discomfort and potential health risk before some hotshot files a class action lawsuit?

No wonder one jet manufacturer calls their product the "Air Bus."

United Airlines Terminal, Chicago O'Hare Airport - 2000-06-13


Okay, "weather-related" flight delays aside, this experience was unacceptable! There were hundreds of us in line, just waiting to check in with bags, buy or exchange tickets, and find out just what planes were still taking off and when. We got to the airport at noon for a 12:45 flight to Boston and didn't land until after 8:00pm!

But this line! - There were no fewer than six agents processing passengers in the shorter line for first class, etc. But there were only two (or three) agents to process us coach passengers. It's not that they didn't have enough people to handle the load, its that United Airlines chose to distribute them poorly. There was nearly a riot right there in line by a bunch of us who were tired and frustrated... and forced to listen to this funeral-dirge pipe organ music for two hours! How annoying, depressing, irritating and infuriating!

What's their excuse for this poor quality service?

GTE AirFone [sic] - 2000-05-14

Wow! - Twelve pages of eMail in only one minute. What next?



Notice the difference between these photos of two typical airliner cabins? Both have three seats along the right side. The top photo shows a relatively centered light and air control panel above the center seat. However, the control panel in the bottom photo is located to the far right, making it difficult to reach by the middle occupant, and downright impossible to reach from the aisle seat.

I'll also mention the fact that in my experience, the lights are never capable of being directed or focused, and invariably illuminate the least convenient location.




Penn Station (AMTRAK), New York, NY - 2002-06-26

Even before they discovered cracks in the suspension system, Amtrak's Acela Express high speed train doesn't seem to be operating too well today.

Well, actually, I don't know Acela's actual statistics, so this is hopefully an unfair representation.

But while I'm on the subject of Acela...

On this business trip to Manhattan in June, I noticed that even though I had purchased a standard coach fare, my ticket indicated I was on an Acela. Strange, I thought. When I got to the station, the board confirmed that I was on an Acela.

What I soon found out was that Amtrak now calls ALL Northeast Corridor trains between Boston and Manhattan "Acela." Only the high speed trains are the "Acela Express."

What a lousy idea! Why? First, it causes confusion of this sort, as most people--and the media--refer to the high speed trains when they speak of "Acela." More importantly, it also causes loss of brand strength in the Acela name. Instead, Amtrak should keep the name "Acela" to mean express, while the regular trains retain the old designation.

Penn Station (AMTRAK), New York, NY - 2002-06-26

I don't even have to say anything here.

Penn Station, New York, NY - 2002-06-26

"Can you hear me... now?"

I said, "My train is running late..."

Atlanta, GA 'Subway' (MARTA), 2000-11-26

Atlanta's metropolitan transit rail system, MARTA, is considerably newer than Boston's, of course. This clean, high-speed train has two main lines, one of which branches. When you are traveling Northbound, it is often important to know which of two possible trains is the correct one to board. These trains are equipped with electronic signs in front and along the sides of the cars. Unfortunately, I found that these signs were frequently out of order, so it was impossible to tell which train had just arrived. Often I saw that instead of a destination, these signs just showed the word "MARTA," as shown above (just in case you thought this was the ferry landing). Compounding the problem, I found, was the lack of announcements over the public address system at the platform.


Atlanta Airport Shuttle, 2000-05-14

During a trip to Atlanta, I noticed that aboard the intra-airport shuttles electronic signs were not only in English, but also Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, etc. Wow! (Granted, since I don't read these languages, I couldn't vouch for their correctness -- They could just as easily be erroneously multi-lingual.).

Atlanta, GA 'Subway' (MARTA), 2000-11-08

Boston's MBTA (Before Fare Increase of Fall, 2000), 2000-09-17


Like Boston, Atlanta's subway stations often lack attendants in fare booths. Ordinarily, this isn't a problem for token purchases via automatic machines (if they are functioning).

However, I was visiting rider. And as luck would have it, having prepared for the trip by visiting the ATM for some cash, I found myself carrying only large bills; Fives, Tens and Twenties. What I really wanted to do was purchase enough tokens for my wife and me to travel downtown round-trip. In other words, four tokens.

But unlike Boston (at least prior to our fare increase), when using anything but two $1 bills, you are forced to purchase as many as 13 tokens. These machines really should be able to give change, if even in coins. Yes, these are clearly marked "Not a Change Machine," but receiving change for the balance of a purchase is not the function of a "Change Machine."


evian water bottle, Marriott Hotel, Atlanta, GA - 2002-06-10

Excuuuuuuse me!

You're not getting my $4 for this tiny bottle. No way!



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