The Wall Street Journal recently reported that airlines have gotten into the smell business. Well to be honest, they have long been in the smell business – jet fuel, full planes filled with a potpourri of intentional and unintended human odors, and then there’s the food (both brought onboard by staff to be served to the passengers and carried from the food court by the passengers themselves) – it would be more accurate to report that airlines are getting into the fragrance business.
Delta has a scent, entertainingly enough called Calm. They’ve actually been using it for a few years now. United has one, too. It goes by the moniker Landing. One wonders if it would be better received if called Safe Landing. Singapore Airlines has been doing it with its Stefan Floridian Waters for almost two decades. The always highly rated airline adds the concoction to its towels, lounges, cabins, and even expects its flight attendants to wear it as a perfume.
British Airways has included scent manipulation as a part of its most recent marketing campaign. They believe it will make use of the human propensity to remember scent longer than other details. Moreover, studies have shown that scent can contribute to the transmission of “a feeling.”
As someone who regularly finds himself stuffed with other travelers into the sardine cans in the sky, I’m a fan of attempts to improve the smell that too often lands somewhere between low-rent food court and middle school locker room. Is the right solution to add another more powerful odor to overwhelm the cacophony of others? Maybe. But, any move to improve the overall smelegance of our ever diminishing decorum on public transportation must be a good thing! So for now, let’s be open minded – or at least keep an open nostril.