Monday, September 27, 2010

Business pays

Mondays are no good. They are, in fact, so bad, that they ruin other days. Sunday, being before Monday, is also no good, although, slightly better than Monday. You never really can relax fully on Sunday, like you can on Saturday, because you know that Monday is around the corner. And Tuesday is almost worse than Monday, because it makes Monday night the worst night of your life knowing that the next day is a repeat of the same garbage that you went through on Monday.

The reason why these days are so stressful is because they are business days. Business isn't actually a word, its an acronym, did you know that? B.U.S.I.N.E.S.S. which stands for Butter Under Situated Instances of Networked Everything Sausage Sandwiches. Which really really really doesn't make any sense.... to the untrained idiot. Its actually a code for WORK HARD TO MAKE SOMEONE ELSE A LOT OF MONEY AND YOU WILL BE HAPPY... I SWEAR... SCIENTISTS PROVED IT USING MICROSCOPES AND DISTILLED WATER.

Well I finally got it when I read this article about the airlines.

Fliers say airline fees make prices tough to compareFrequent flier Ken Morgan says airlines' ticket-change fees "boggle" the mind. A $150 charge, plus the higher ticket price, "is robbery at best," says the health care consultant from Bridgeport, W.Va. "I go online to make the change, and I do all the work. Morgan and many other passengers say that not only are airline fees too expensive, they make it tough to compare the cost of flying.

The flying public deserves to know before they purchase tickets exactly what the entire cost of travel will be, so they can make apples-to-apples comparisons among airlines," says Kate Hanni, executive director of the consumer advocacy group

Some fliers, such as Richard Taylor of Jacksonville, are so fed up, they're choosing to fly on carriers with the fewest fees.

He says that's why he flies Southwest (LUV), which, unlike most carriers, has no fee for the first two checked bags and no ticket-change fee. "If the airlines need more profits, then they should find ways to cut costs before attacking their customers," says Taylor, who works in construction.

Increased fees "eliminate customer loyalty," says customer-service guru John Tschohl, whose Service Quality Institute provides customer-service training for companies. "The airlines have millions of very unhappy customers."

I would like to compare that to what I experience, and analyze why there are differences. I don't pay for my own flights, my company does. If they didn't, I would never fly because I wouldn't need to. Because I need to fly for my job, my job reimburses me. I am an employee in a company, if I ran my own business and had to fly for it, I'd probably pay a little bit more attention to the benefit to cost ratio of my flights. But I don't.

With United, because of my loyalty, I no longer am charged baggage handling fees. If I were charged to check my bags, I wouldn't pay them, my company would. So it is no skin off of my back, just off of your back. Which is gross. I am not interesting in hearing about your back skin, especially if it is removed from your corpus.

Ticket change fees are really expensive with United. They want $150 to change your ticket, PLUS the difference in prices on the flights. This is incredibly stupid. It will always be cheaper to simply book another flight, and to not get the airline involved at all. You do not get penalized for not showing up for a flight that you've booked. I have found that a lot of people don't know this, or are afraid that the airline will try and fine you. They don't, they can't, its illegal. You certainly can't look for a refund on your ticket, but you also don't have to worry about paying an extra $150 just so you can spend your money on another flight. If you are ever needing to change your ticket with United, simply buy a new ticket. Its cheaper.

According to the article, Southwest doesn't charge you to change your ticket. This is excellent. This would affect my job and my travel in a slightly more than minor way. Because when I travel, it is so expensive to change flights, I often have to alter the way I do my job in order to accommodate the airline's fees. But if my return dates were always mutable, then I'd be able to spend more time at a customer's site if it was needed, rather than try and rush to get things done so I can catch my flight.

But, if I really needed too change my flight, my company would pay for it. So it is still not a real major issue for me personally. No matter how much money my company spends on flying, my paycheck will always be the same, because my job requires that I fly. If flying becomes too expensive, than my company would go into bankruptcy. Since my company isn't the only company that requires the airline industry to be the way it is, I imagine that the airlines aren't going to suddenly make tremendous changes to the price we pay to fly from one place to another... for businesses. The airlines know that their business customers are usually in the same situation I am in. Their travel expenses are covered by the company, not the individual who is actually flying.

So they hurt the consumers who are either trying to start their own small business and need to travel, or are traveling for other non-work related reasons by raising fees. According to the US DOT, business travel makes up 16% of all travel in the United States.

Since I am a business traveler, I don't really care about the fees the airlines are charging because they don't affect me. And if the airlines really do need those fees to stay profitable, then that would directly benefit me since I know that I will always been flying as long as I have this job. You don't need me to tell you, in a very manly and sexy voice, that it is preferable to be traveling on an airline that is making money. Trust me, you can tell the difference.

So, I am tempted to be in favor of the airline fees since they don't hurt me, they only benefit me. So what if they hurt other people who are not me? What I have just described is called the right-wing.

It starts to make sense, doesn't it? If the airlines are forced to reduce their fees and start to lose money every quarter, than I suffer as a business traveler, and eventually my business suffers.

So I have to decide if I can sacrifice my travel luxuries so that others may have better access to traveling, and generally more money in the bank. WHAT WILL I CHOSE?

Tune in next time to not find out


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