SkyMall Monday: Velvet Rasta Hat

A person’s choice of religion is a serious matter. For many, there is no choice in the matter. They are born into a faith and their spiritual path through life is already mapped out. For others, the search for answers is a quest that lasts a lifetime. Here at “SkyMall Monday” headquarters, we keep things pretty secular, pausing only occasionally to seek answers from the all-knowing one. For those who struggle to find salvation, the journey to inner peace can take them to many destinations. Trying out different religions can be a challenge when many religious practices are meant to take years. One cannot simply grow a beard in a matter of days or learn an entire book of scripture in an afternoon. For those looking for a shortcut, however, the only holy book needed is SkyMall and the only purchase necessary is the Velvet Rasta Hat.Dreadlocks are important to those who follow the Rastafari movement. Proper dreads are grown and maintained over years. If you’re simply dabbling in the faith, however, surely it must be OK to cheat a bit. There’s no such thing as a 5 o’clock dread-shadow, so another solution must be found.

Think that wearing a faux-Rastafari hat is insensitive? Believe that both the hat and the hairstyle have deeper symbolic meanings that should not be mocked? Well, while you don your Flair Hair Visor, we’ll be reading the product description:

Nearly a foot and a half of gorgeous dreads, with a jaunty hat perched on top.

All of the cool, none of the commitment. Perfect for parties or just keeping warm.

Ah, yes, the red, green and gold hat is simply jaunty (and also, you know, representative of the Ethiopian flag and the loyalty that Rastafarian’s feel towards King Selassie). Of course, everyone knows that dreadlocks are worn for warmth, as Jamaican nights can get pretty brisk. But who needs that commitment?

The path to enlightenment is meandering, littered with potholes and fraught with mixed metaphors. It’s an arduous journey that can be mitigated by spending $9.95 plus tax and shipping and handling. Please allow four-to-six weeks for velvet salvation to arrive.

Check out all of the previous “SkyMall Monday” posts HERE.

Hospitality Employees Waste 1.7 Million Hours Annually Creating Towel Origami

According to a new study published in Terry Cloth Scientific, employees in the hospitality industry waste nearly two million hours a year folding towels into the shapes of animals and other figures. Employees at hotels, aboard cruise ships and at spas spend entire shifts at their places of business folding, rolling and tucking towels to resemble local and exotic wildlife. The study suggests that employee time would be better spent servicing customer needs. However, industry leaders believe that the practice will continue.Thad Fredericks, general manager of Moist Adventures, a small cruise operator based in Wichita, Kansas, said that he’s had his employees folding towels into animals for nearly three decades. “Towels hanging from a rod might help them dry, but they bring no life to the room. Our guests expect their rooms to match their surroundings and cruises are surrounded by water.” It is his belief that a wet towel shaped like a dolphin is a better offer to his passengers than a dry towel that looks like a towel.

Most of his contemporaries agree. Fiona Rappaport, a hospitality consultant, advises her clients in all aspects of guest services. “Towel animals create a whimsical ambiance and a child-like innocence,” she suggests. “Towels are inherently boring. The entire vacation experience hinges on the towel,” Ms. Rappaport said.

The study estimates that time spent folding towels costs the industry $7.8 billion dollars annually. That is significantly higher than losses incurred when employees spend personal time using the Internet.

Reed Basin, author of the Terry Cloth Scientific study, seemed resigned to the results. “The hospitality industry is in love with towel origami. Towel swans, towel turtles, towel hearts, towel bears. All people want are towels.”

The study also surveyed guests to gauge their interest in origami towels. Forty-eight million vacationers were asked their opinions on the anthropomorphic towels. “We found six people who liked them,” Mr. Basin said. “There were eight last year,” he continued, “but two died since then.”

Airline Madness Championship: Obese people who take up two seats vs. Legroom

Airline Madness is Gadling’s tournament of airline annoyances. You can catch up on all of the previous tournament action here.

In a tournament full of upsets and unexpected outcomes, it’s fitting that the Airline Madness championship match-up does not feature the bracket’s top seed. Instead, it all comes down to #2 Legroom and #13 Obese people who take up two seats. In the Final Four, Obese people who take up two seats proved to be too big for all of those other annoying passengers combined. Legroom, meanwhile, kicked those change fees and standby charges off the plane. That’s how we got here, but what happens next is, once again, up to you. Only one of these truly annoying airline pet peeves will be declared the ultimate annoyance of the skies and your votes will decide it.

It’s almost unbelievable that a #13 seed could advance to the finals, but Obese people who take up two seats have proven to be bigger than any challengers. Legroom has proven itself deserving of its #2 seed by showing that it’s a pain in the neck as much as it’s a pain in the knees.

Which airline annoyance deserves to be named champion? Vote now and share your thoughts in the comments!
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Championship voting ends at 11:59PM EDT on Monday, April 2.

In case you need help deciding, let’s take a look at these two aviation irritations:

#2 Legroom
The average seat pitch in economy class is between 29 inches and 30 inches. That doesn’t allow for much legroom, no matter how much thinner they make the seat-backs. You don’t need to be freakishly tall to feel cramped once you fold yourself into your seat. Want more legroom? Well, now the airlines make you pay for exit row seats or “Premium Economy,” which is nothing more than an economy seat with the legroom that was offered to everyone a decade ago. These days, you might have more personal space in a dog crate in the luggage compartment.

#13 Obese people who take up two seats
Not all obese people are created equally. Some overeat, others have genetic disorders, while many suffer from crippling medical issues. Regardless of the reason, however, there is no excuse for taking up someone else’s space. I paid for my seat and only I get to use it. If you can’t fit in one seat, shouldn’t you have to pay for the space that you do need? It’s not a punishment; it’s just common sense. Once a child becomes too large to sit on his parent’s lap, he needs his own seat. Shouldn’t the same hold true once your waistline is too large to fit in a single seat?

More Airline Madness:
Final Four
Second round match-ups:
#1 Annoying Passengers vs. #9 People who get mad at people who recline their seats
#12 Inattentive parents of crying babies vs. #13 Obese people who take up two seats
#6 Change fees/no free standby vs. #3 Lack of free food/prices for food
#7 Rude airline staff vs. #2 Legroom
First round match-ups
#1 Annoying passengers vs. #16 Disgusting bathrooms
#2 Legroom vs. #15 Inefficient boarding procedures
#3 Lack of free food/prices for food vs. #14 Cold cabin/no blankets
#4 Baggage Fees vs. #13 Obese people who take up two seats
#5 Lack of overhead space vs. Inattentive parents of crying babies
#6 Change fees/no free standby vs. #11 Lack of personal entertainment/charging for entertainment
#7 Rude airline staff vs. #10 Having to turn off electronic devices during takeoff & landing
#8 People who recline their seats vs. #9 People who get mad at people who recline their seats
Hotel Madness: Gadling’s tournament of airline annoyances

Catch up on all the Airline Madness here.

Video of the Day: Time lapse of cruises in Europe, South America, the Caribbean and Alaska

No matter what you think of cruises – and they are a polarizing force in the travel world – this video is pretty captivating. From Alaska’s icy waters to the coasts of Croatia and the buffets in the bowels of the boats, we get a sense of just what you can see and experience while traveling in a mobile metropolis. And the best part of the video? No Dramamine is necessary to enjoy it!