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April 11th, 2006

In-Flight Gambling

So here’s the deal. Northwest Airlines now charges for everything on its flights except for soft drinks. That’s right – even the teeny tiny bag of snacks (trail mix, in this case) costs $1.

I’m not a big fan of this idea. I mean, I know the airlines are broke and losing money and all that, but charging for trail mix? I’ve got a better idea: in-flight gambling.

Think about it. It’s about 25 minutes into your flight (which means you’re still sitting on the runway waiting to take off.) As on a Frontier Airlines flight, you’ve got a TV in front of you. So you press the “Gamble Now!” button and swipe your credit card. Suddenly, you’re pulling the handle of a virtual slot machine. Darn it – lost. But you can play again and again, or during the whole flight if you wish.

Or how about we make competitive gaming with other passengers on the flight? I can play poker about as well as a fish, so I’ll try it against the guy in 13A, the women in 22B and 22C, and the pilot. (Just kidding! The pilot prefers to play blackjack while he’s flying.) And you know what? Northwest is the real winner here. They’ll get to make a ton of cash on every flight, and people can work towards a really big prize.

A bag of trail mix.

Posted in Consumer Commentary

DATE: Tuesday April 11, 2006 -- 9:29:52 am
I believe the laws of the state where the flight originated apply on a domestic flight - so this works only for flights that depart from a state that allows gambling.

FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday April 11, 2006 -- 12:52:40 pm
I think on Song airlines, you can play poker via handheld devices against other passengers in the plane. A co-worker tried it out recently, and lost track of her time on a flight from JFK to LAX.

FROM: dave
DATE: Tuesday April 11, 2006 -- 4:56:58 pm
I heard once that Singapore Airlines has trivia contests for prizes on some long-haul flights.

FROM: Dan D. Milkman
DATE: Friday June 2, 2006 -- 4:39:03 pm
Better than gambling is trading stock via the inernet. The odds are more in your favor with the stock market. Hundred years ago the luxury steamships had just begun having radio operators. The radio guys had nothing do most of the time so the ships had trading rooms. If you were s sharp trader like Gann you could cross the Atlantic and make money. I have an internet account and one way I could trade would be by communications satelite. Imagine a stew handing you a Palm V when the seatbelt sign goes off. Buying 10,000 shares of Krispy Kreme at 9.50 and dumping the shares 3 hours later for 9.70 and getting off with the two thousand bucks you just made. I aint James Bond Ican't win at cards but I can make a penny or two day trading stocks.

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