Allow me to
pour myself a beverage for a moment, climb into my La-Z-boy chair, light a
pipe, don my fedora, and tell you punk kids how it “used to be in the old days!” Business travelers under 30 will be sad to
learn just how great it was! Gather ‘round
children; you won’t hear me tell you that I used to walk a mile, uphill, in the
snow, to board my airplane, no sir. The
fact is, airlines used to enjoy having you on board! If you bought a ticket, they didn’t much care
if you used it or not, or where you might have got on, or gotten off the plane,
no sir. They were just happy to collect
your money! Seems the older I get, the
harder they make it to fly. Yes sir,
they even served meals, and free coffee and snacks, and your bags were free
probably enough of that. I do want to
carry one point a little bit further, however.
“Back in the day,” it was simple for travelers to make some creative
connections. For example, say you want
to fly from Orlando, Florida to Minneapolis, MN. You look and you find a fare for $480. If you dig a little more, you might find a
ticket from Orlando to Duluth, MN for $400 that has a layover in Minneapolis. It sure seems like a good idea to buy the
cheaper ticket and then to simply get off the plane in Minneapolis, doesn’t it? That might not be a good idea…
another example. Suppose you’re flying
from Boston to San Francisco and your itinerary leaves you with a three hour
layover in Phoenix. It wouldn’t take
much digging to find two separate round trip tickets (perhaps even on two
different airlines), that allow you to minimize that layover time. Heck, the combined cost of the round trips
might even be cheaper than the original flight!
Doesn’t it seem like a better deal to match your round trip from Boston
to Phoenix with another round trip ticket from Phoenix to San Francisco? It might, but…
these examples offers some attractive benefits and the truth is, it used to be
easy to do each of them. You didn’t even
feel like you were “getting away with something!” The airlines offered the option, you bought
it, and everybody won. Well, not
anymore. There are several truths
working against these options today.
Consider the following:
have significantly cut back the number of flights they offer and as a result,
their timetables have become much tighter.
That flight from Boston to San Francisco probably only has a scheduled
layover of 45 minutes today.
have invested in much smarter computerized scheduling systems and most of the “cheaper
ways around the country” have been discovered and eliminated. There are still a few out there, but you (or
your travel agent) would have to spend a significant amount of time finding
them. Is it worth it? I say no.
9/11/01, FAA security measures have forced airlines to be much more conscious of
their passenger manifest. If you exited
the plane in Minneapolis before it were to continue on to Duluth, your name
would be flagged and you’d have a devil of a time boarding the plane when it
came back around to head back to Des Moines.
Planes aren’t allowed to leave the ground unless their passenger
manifest (those who actually boarded) matches the list of bags they are
carrying. International flights are even
more persnickety, they will cancel your entire reservation if you fail to
board, in some cases. So, it’s best to
appear and board when you originally told them you would.
children, there was even a time when the upstairs cabin in a Boeing 747 had a
piano bar with a small dance floor. I’m
not making that up! It’s unfortunate
that the more technologically advanced we get, the more cumbersome and
difficult the airlines make it for us.
EXTRA: If you have questions for Ken regarding business travel,
hotels, airplanes, etc, please call 1-877-49-EXPERT. Your questions will
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