Rant Alert - Rant Alert - Rant Alert
First, let me say that one of my true pleasures in life is travel. I enjoy seeing new places and I also enjoy getting to know places intimately once I've discovered them.
But the hoops you have to go through now, especially with air travel, but also with booking hotels and "events" takes much of the pleasure out of travel.
Simply shopping for airline tickets drives me to distraction. In the old days, I used a travel agent. I'm learning to use the net, but it means I have to do all the work. In either method, even though I'm very flexible on time/dates, etc. it is difficult to find the (or even a) low price to a destination.
I am sufficiently libertarian, I suppose, that I think airlines and the travel industry in general have every right to structure their pricing any way they want. But they might as well save any advertising they do - especially any advertising directed at garnering brand loyalty. There was a time that I could say "Basket Airways, now THAT'S the airline I always fly!" Now, if I fly the same airline twice in a row, it's a coincidence. There are still maybe one or two airlines which enjoy (maybe justified) a reputation as being "good" airlines (think Southwest). Other than that, I consider them all the same - adequate at best.
Adding all the fees lately has added to my frustration. I actually prefer to pay for what I use in most cases, but it adds to the "shopping" part of planning travel. The fees may be the make-or-break when it comes to total cost of travel.
And don't get me started on "miles". What a total PITA. It's bad enough shopping with real money. When you use "points" or "miles", the shopping experience gets even more frustrating. I don't like shopping, haggling, or surfing (for deals).
I realize that all this "stuff" is just the way it is now in the travel industry. But if anyone thinks their airline has some sort of leg-up on anyone else, they are mistaken IMO. They're like the banks, starting about 10 years ago. Banks thought they could start nickel-and-diming their customers with new and strange fees and everyone would still "love" their old bank. Again, hey, it's their business, but don't expect any loyalty from me.
I could go on, but I'm sure it won't make any difference. I think "loyalty" - to or from a business is becoming an anachronism. It's a shame, but I see it getting worse, starting at the "big" companies and working its way down. The only places I feel any loyalty to are the small specialty type businesses (think restaurants and mom-and-pop service companies.) The big guys, OK, I'll play your silly game, but don't kid yourself that I like you! Don't think I won't sell you out for 10 cents either.
End of Rant - End of Rant - End of Rant
We return you now to our regularly scheduled programming.