Welcome to the Age of Nickel and DimedPosted by Cap on June 22, 2010 |
A trip from San Diego to Indianapolis.
As you’re about to book your flight, you stare at the computer screen, wondering what’s the best choice.
You quickly searched Southwest, but the time table and seats available just didn’t match up to the meeting’s schedule.
You could fly American, as you actually managed to store up some mileage through the years. Despite the fact that you prefer other airlines, you’ve stuck with American, because loyalty’s gotta mean something, right?
With a quick check, those mileage are currently meaningless as there are no reward seats available to claim.
The problem is that you’re now running on a much tighter budget. Ever since the recession, business hasn’t been going so well, and you can barely afford this trip out to the mid-west. But you have to get to Indianapolis, as sealing this deal ensures your business’ survival, and the 6 life-long employees that your business employs.
So despite your better judgement, you booked the American Airline flight.
Accompanying your power point presentation slide on your laptop is your rather large luggage full of equipment and samples. You usually prefer to travel light, but in this situation you have little choice. Not a very compelling way to wow the clients when you’re only relying on PowerPoint.
You’ve managed to somehow fit everything in two luggage. A check-in and a carry-on. You thought about American Airline’s first checked bag fee of $25 and decided that there’s no other choice but to eat the fee. At the very least you don’t have to pay for the second checked bag fee of $35.
But wait, all those samples can be quite heavy… is the luggage overweight? If the luggage is between 51-70 lbs, you’ll have to pay an additional $50 for the checked-bag, if it’s over 100 lbs, it’ll be $100. On international route, the fees can be even higher. Thank goodness the clients are in the states.
After distributing the samples between your clothes and carry-on, you were able to keep the checked bag underweight.
Hmm. Better make sure I now have room for my carry-on, you thought to yourself. Being a frequent flyer, you know that certain seats will be able to board the flight before the other seating groups, thereby ensuring a better chance for you to have room for your carry-on luggage on a full flight.
As you select your seat, you’re slightly thankful that you don’t have to pay the extra $10-$25 other airlines may charge for ‘premium’ economy seats.
But then you saw the early boarding fee option. You can pay an additional $10 if you want to board early. Hmm, this could be the solution I need, you thought again to yourself. So you paid for the extra $10 on the outbound flight to Indianapolis.
While at the gate, you quickly realized that your early boarding fee was slightly pointless, as your particular flight had many American Airline’s elite status members, and they have priority boarding before you. Following them are those that may need extra time and special needs, and your flight was surprisingly filled with many parents and children, so you soon board after them too.
Luckily, you were able to secure a bin for your carry-on luggage, albeit it was eight rows behind your seat.
The flight to Indianapolis was uneventful, but you were glad that the flight was only delayed for about an hour. Any later and you’ll miss your connecting flight in Dallas, or you’ll check into your hotel too late, which would have made flying out the day before the meeting pointless.
Your hotel room is like any other mid-level hotels scattered through the country. The fridge/mini bar is stuffed with candy, snacks, and drinks that are marked up 300%. At this particular hotel chain, a bottle of water will cost a cool $4.00.
Slightly thanking the divine that there’s no additional charge on a flight for your carry-on laptop bag, you prop the bag open and decided to do some last minute, pre-meeting work.
“High speed internet access is conveniently available for a price of $9.95 per day” — says the friendly placard on the table.
You scratch your head and often wonder why low-cost motels can offer free WiFi, while many middle-to-high-end hotels still charges for wired internet access.
The notice placard was brushed aside as you make room on the desk. Not an issue. You were prepared. Situations like this is why you’ve purchased a smartphone.
Ah. Your smartphone.
The trusty latest device that lets you text, surf, record videos, take photos, battle aliens, and much more. It also supposedly makes phone calls.
The phone sets you back $200 even though it was subsidized by a 2-year contract locked with the cell phone carrier. Your monthly plan sets you back another $60, and the data plan for your smartphone cost an additional $30 a month.
Though you were initially happy with your phone when you first got it, you quickly felt duped that you had to pay an additional $25 a month to tether your phone to your laptop in order to use your phone’s data service on your laptop.
My clients in Europe can use the same exact phone to tether their device with no extra cost and no additional needs to download some “special” software, you exclaimed to the cell phone company representative.
“But with our mobile broadband smartphone connect package,” explained the rep, “you will have additional support and peace of mind when you need access to data.”
You sat there in the hotel room, wondering why you’re paying for the same data service, from the same provider, three times. One for your home. One for your cell phone. And one for your laptop.
Brushing all these negative thoughts out of your head, you get to work on your laptop.
But the wireless data network from your cell phone company is down.
“We apologize for the inconvenience as we’re currently experiencing heavy usage in your current region,” says the telephone support representative. “Service is expected to resume to normal within 1-2 business days.”
So you pay for the hotel’s $9.95 internet service.
And you sit there. Waiting.
Because the “high-speed” internet is no faster than your non-working smartphone.
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