And I’m Going to Paint Solar Systems on the Backs of Her Hands

On Thursday, I got to leave my life here in Ambassador-dom and fly out to North Carolina for my brother’s high school graduation. It was a last minute decision as far as vacations go, but I am certainly glad I went. I was really proud watching him walk across the stage.

But something cool that I felt I should share (besides my congratulations and visit home) was my flight back to Arizona. On the way there, I was unfortunately located in the middle seat and the people on either side of me decided to fall asleep. A minor irritation I have is when people sit in the window seat and fail to use the window. With the man in the aisle asleep, I couldn’t get up and grab some of my entertainment items that were located in the overhead compartments. It was a rather uninteresting flight, and I dreaded the return flight.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the flight back had touch screens located on the backs of the seats. This meant that I had my own personal entertainment, regardless of whether the people between me were asleep. Before take-off, the screens just flashed ads. I figured you would have to pay for absolutely everything on them. After we were in the air and started to explore, I was amazed by the selection they had. Of course, there were games and movies available for $1-$5, but they also had “Complimentary selections”. Normally, things that are offered complimentary are not things you would purchase if you got the chance. Complimentary breakfasts, for instance, are not nearly as delicious as steak and eggs and biscuits. However, the first “Complimentary” things I found were a series of TED Talks.

For those of you who haven’t seen or heard of them, TED stands for Technology, Entertainment & Design. People come together and give all sorts of presentations that fall into those categories. The fact that an airline decided not only to let their customers choose what they wanted to watch, but offered stimulating choices like TED made the flight phenomenally better than expected. This is the talk I watched, if case you were curious. I am excited to see what other improvements airlines make, but also just to see what other kinds of things people can come up with that make our everyday annoyances or mundanes disappear.