I was recently on a business trip to China for 12 days; went through 12 manufacturing facilities in 4 major cities. I traveled with three great travel companions – one colleague and two customers. I blogged/journaled my adventures through this new app called Polar Steps. It’s pretty cool. Anyway, I kept the updates to a sentence or two. Day one gave me time for a longish pre-ramble. A fifteen hour plane ride gives rise to various forms of consuming time while unpleasantly inactive.
Click here to see the entire trip journal.
Ok. I haven’t been on a flight to Asia in a long time. Before 787’s or A380’s were produced; well after most of the 747’s were retired. While I have kept a routine of periodic domestic flights, it’s the long hauls that differentiated the Singapore Airlines from the People’s Express’s (who remembers that experiment?). My, how things have changed. I was a Globetrotting madman pre-9/11, so I had “status”. Lounges, personal service, upgrades, carved meat served on real china, the whole shabang. Now, there are no more customers, just fare paying passengers or schmucks, whichever noun you prefer.
Heightened security became the mantra cum SOP that helped destroy the service aspect of flying anywhere. It created an excuse to transform from “The Friendly Skies” to “The Legion of Douchebags”. I really don’t mind taking my shoes off to go through screening (although I did get my TSA pre check to avoid this minor inconvenience). I don’t mean that I miss goodbye at the gate in lieu of prior to going through security but, what does torque me off, is the empowerment of the less capable. Ticket agents to gate attendants have developed this ‘tude in the interest of security.
Sir, you can’t take that bottle of water through security!”
“Umm, but I’m not even in the security line.”
“DOESN’T MATTER! YOU CANT TAKE FLUIDS THROUGH SECURITY!”
“Oh, you didn’t say ‘FLUID’ before. I’ll be sure to finish the last two gulps of my fluid before I get to the TSA checkpoint located in another zip code from here. Thanks for the heads up, Adolf.”
Another paradigm shift is due to the internet creating a hyper competitive environment that made making money flying people, err schmucks, a razor thin profit situation. Because airfares are almost exclusively booked by passengers (schmucks) using the flavor of the month internet travel service (sorry, Mrs Travel Agent eating dog food to subsist), base airfare is what got one to the top of the search list. Hello, “unbundling”. Oh, you want a seat? That’s another 25 bucks. A good seat? $70. You want to board before the people (schmucks) in walkers carrying their pet goats? That’ll cost you $50. Checking a bag No problem. Happy to accommodate you for $40. Oh, they’re golf clubs? Those are special, so $75.
“But, I got a round trip fight for $299!”
Because, as humans beings, even the least spend thrifty, look for a bargain on airfare like finding a Valero station ten miles away that has gas for $2.439/gal instead of the Sunoco station on your way to work that’s $2.489/gal. Hey, it’s 5 cents a gallon less! You need twelve gallons of fuel, or fifty cents in savings, to go twenty miles out of your way! Not even your friggin’ Prius is going to make that economy work.
I digress, back to airfare. Thanks Penny Pinching morons, I’m no longer sitting in First Class sipping Kristal and nibbling on Beluga. I’m in the semi-steerage environment dubbed “Economy Plus” eating plastic chicken with baby plastic utensils because some dipshit at United figured out the company would save $0.004 per passenger (schmuck) by using Munchkin plastic forks. Eff you.
Anyway, the triple 7 I’m on is a really nice ride. Almost as good as the old Jumbo. I just miss sitting upstairs dinking 18 year-old Single Malt served with a smile.
This was my travel path over the twelve day trip created by the PolarSteps App. No wonder I’m tired. To see the entire journal, click here