I have repeatedly taken to this blog to complain about wi-fi charges and other added fees placed on travelers today by hotels, airlines, and other companies (here and here and here). Now the New York Times has run an excellent Sunday article written by Stephanie Rosenbloom. Rosenbloom, who has a wry sense of humor, interviewed me for the article and details how passengers are fleeced while traveling today.
I just returned from speeches in Florida and Utah and faced the same gauntlet of charges, including what I call the “misery index” on Delta and United where you are given not only charges for leg room in coach (coach plus) but different charges for different seats in coach. You decide the level of discomfort or misery along a pricing menu.
What was equally annoying is that most airports not only charge for wi-fi but actually allow their private contractors to capture your wi-fi. If you try to use wi-fi, the company seizes your computer so you are locked into their page. You have to go into the preferences on your computer and turn off wi-fi to break free from the company. Yet, airports like Orlando and Salt Lake City offer wi-fi for free. Thus, some airports to their credit offer this basic amenity to travelers while others like the airports in our nation’s capital — Reagan National and Dulles — fleece travelers with a charge for the service. One would think that Congress, which exercises a fair degree of influence over Reagan National, would insist that our nation’s capital would at least offer this free service when airports like Orlando and Salt Lake do so.
Yet, there continues to be absolutely no effort to accommodate travelers. This includes security lines at both National and Dulles that are absurd. Even the premier lines now stretch for a block at National. On a flight last week, numerous travelers missed or almost missed their flights because of these lines. Those lines are the result of a failure of TSA to support sufficient machines and personnel. It is also due to airlines charging for bags, which has resulted in the majority of people taking their luggage through security (with the inevitable delays). The complete disregard for the interests of passengers has made air travel a punishing and degrading experience. I work hard to avoid air flights today and either drive or take trains to retain my sanity. Rosenbloom’s article is worth reading to see just how far we have come in just a few years in terms of expected services and care in travel.
Source: New York Times