Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Plane Sailing

Larrikin International Airport (LAX) by Pants

We are blessed in Larrikin's End to have a fine international carrier. I speak of none other than Larrikin Airlines. LA International has a fine accident record. I believe it averages about two serious incidents per flight. You won't find too many other airlines able to boast that level of excitement. There's Aeroflot of course but it relies quite heavily on blizzards.

Plenty of people travel on LA International purely for the fine in-flight service. As you can see, a high priority is placed on ensuring there is enough rough red to go round. Some of the finest red you'll ever get in a cardboard box comes from this region. We are truly blessed. Once the casks are empty - usually about a half-hour into the flight, someone blows up the bladders and we take turns in trying to kick them between the pilot and the copilot, whose heads make very good goalposts.

The cuisine is, of course, superb. You won't get it fresher on any airline in the world. While passengers are clearing customs, the aircrew chuck a line into Lake Larrikin and pull up a couple of gummy sharks to barbecue on the trip.

Customs can take a while. It's not that Snr. Sgt. Bullox from Larrikin's End Police is a particularly thorough customs agent. He's just a little lacking in the numeracy department so counting up the bribe money can be a lengthy business.

Just before takeoff, someone rushes over to McDunny's and picks up a pot of steaming super-spicy 'neeps. Regular readers will recall that shark'n'neeps is our world famous local dish.

I read today that Thai International has branched out into the takeaway food business. I expect they'll be starting record companies and flogging condoms soon too.

Thai Airways will start selling seven ready-made curry sauces later this month at its Puff & Pie Bakery shops in Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai, marketing director Kasem Sriprapakara said.

It's aiming for the business traveler (sic) who had a good in-flight culinary experience but has no time to whip up tasty Thai food at home, said Kasem.

'The business traveller who had a good in-flight culinary experience'? Mmm. That would be a niche market.

It's also a way to help the airline recover from losses due to recent political unrest in Bangkok.

I see. I guess selling sauces could be seen as a form of liquidation.

The airline is also trying to standardise its Thai curries after passengers on inbound flights from Europe complained the food lacked the Thai touch for balancing sweet, spicy and salty.

Now that does make good economic sense. You get passengers to do free market research for you.

The new line includes favourites like Massaman, Penang and green curry sauces which - like airline food - are designed to last.

"It has a one-year shelf life," Kasem said, thanks to an innovative pouch that eliminates the need for preservatives and enables the curry to taste almost as fresh as in a restaurant.

Ah. Now this is becoming clearer. All those delayed flights. All that unused food. 'Almost as fresh as in a restaurant'. Isn't that, like, the best USP you ever heard?

"It definitely tastes almost the same. I'm sure you cannot recognise the difference,"

No, no, Kasem. Stop, now. Victor Kiam is dead, man.

McDunny tried using an 'innovative pouch' once. We had to tell him to stop as it was quite disconcerting having to upend a wallaby to get at the sauce. Quite put you off your 'neeps. We're much more comfortable with liquids dispensed in cardboard. We're a cardboard culture.

I think there could be a business opportunity here for McDunny though. He has certainly solved the sweet/salty/sour balance problem. I'm sure he won't mind if I let you in on the secret. Truckloads of sugar, mountains of salt and handful of BP shares.

I can see McDunny's stalls being set up in airports all over the world, hawking our fine shark'n'neeps, putting Larrikin's End on the map. Now that would be a feat, as it's never been on a map before...

All quotes from The Australian.