HIGHTOWER: Showers on Planes

Let's take another trip into the Far, Far, Far-Out Frontiers of Free Enterprise.

Today, lift off with Spaceship Hightower on a time journey taking you to the not-too-distant future when first-class air travel will have a new amenity that the industry says passengers literally are itching for: on-board showers! These are designed for those international flights that take eight to 14 hours, leaving you feeling weary and grungy when you arrive. What better pick-me-up than a nice hot shower?

The Wall Street Journal reports that aircraft maker Boeing has teamed up with AquaJet Appliance to solve the problem of showers needing so much water that the system would be too heavy for airplanes. Indeed, the AquaJet system uses only five gallons of water -- and uses it again and again and again. That's right ... recycled shower water. Ick! Who wants to use someone else's shower water? Not to worry, says AquaJet, for our system employs "a rapid-filtration technology using an ultraviolet filter to sterilize water."

OK, let's assume that they really can get the water clean, what about the fact that you're stepping into a shower stall that hordes of your grungy fellow travelers have used ahead of you? Have you ever been in an airplane's restroom? Even the cleanest one is not a place you'd want to go into barefooted ... much less buck naked. Not to worry again, says AquaJet, noting that automatic sprayers could spritz disinfectants after each person. Oh, nice -- instead of grungy, you come off the plane smelling like Ti-D-Bowl.

This is Jim Hightower saying ... AquaJet's president claims his high-flying shower is the "logical next step in competitions between airlines." Hey, airlines -- you want to compete to win customers? How about a fair price for a ticket, how about being on time, how about not losing the luggage, how about getting fresher air in the cabin, how about dealing with the basics?

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