"Ladies and gentlemen, the captain has just turned on the fasten seat belt sign."
But, really, there's no need to buckle up, because if the plane goes down, nothing's going to save your sorry ass -- or so infers Ryanair's colorful and ever-outspoken CEO, Michael O'Leary.
Here's what O'Leary recently told the London Daily Telegraph: "If there ever was a crash on an aircraft," God forbid, a seat belt won't save you. Seat belts don't matter." And he goes on to pontificate...
"You don't need a seat belt on the London Underground. You don't need a seat belt on trains traveling at 120 mph, and if they crash you're all dead..." (This from a guy who made headlines a few years back when he said he was mulling over the possibility of charging passengers a buck or more to use the bathroom.)
Still, it's not often the biggest mucky-muck of an airline company is so morbidly candid, not to mention as blunt, like the quaint old expression used to go, as a schoolmaster's paddle to the bare buttocks.
We thought we'd run O'Leary's fatalistic theory up the proverbial flagpole and see if it might get a salute from our local fly boys.
"I think he's crazy. What a ridiculous comment," huffs Kenmore Air's marketing manager Craig O'Neill. "Flying is already like taking a bus. I don't think people need something else to remind them."
Alaska Airlines' communications people did not return repeated phone calls asking for their thoughts on the matter.
O'Leary, meanwhile, has some pretty strong ulterior motives for pooh-pooing airplane seat belts.
As the helmsman for the low-cost Irish carrier, O'Leary and his cost-slicing servants has came up with an ingenious array of budget-cutting strategies, including seats that can't incline, advertisements on overhead bins, and most recently, the plan -- O'Leary's own idea -- to create a "standing room only " cabin by removing 10 rows of seats in the back of Ryanair's fleet.
Standing passengers, would pay fares as low as one British pound, or $1.59, and would, says O'Leary, "hang on the handle" during landing. It's no wonder O'Leary thinks seat belts are useless.
"I can't imagine in a million years," says Kenmore's O'Neill, "that any agency would allow this to happen."
Nor can we.