U.S. airlines made 36 percent more in ancillary fees during the third quarter of this year than they made in the same period of 2008. According to the Department of Transportation, U.S. carriers made $1.95 billion from baggage fees, change fees, and other add-ons from July through October. That total does not include fees garnered for specified seat assignments and meals. Even so, the ancillary revenue the DOT does count accounted for 6.9 percent of total airline revenue during the third quarter (versus 4.1 percent last year). Given holiday traffic, it will be interesting to see how much those numbers go up for the fourth quarter of 2009. Stay tuned.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
I know I wrote to you last week, but I’m snowed in today and thus am using the time to pen you another missive. Normally, I would appeal to other holiday present presences, but Hanukah Harry has already put away his menorah (not that he can compare to you, anyway, in terms of holiday excess), and frankly, I am not familiar with your Kwanzaa equivalent. But lest you think I am being greedy, please note that I write on behalf of nice travelers everywhere.
1. Please have your elves make hotel hangers with hooks. I know hotels once had your worker bees mass-produce hangers with necks resembling Captain Hook’s peg leg in order to reduce theft. But really, now that we are all reduced to traveling in a carry-on, we are no longer in the business of hotel thievery (with the exception of those three ounces-or-less bottles of shampoo and lotion that are just begging to be taken).
2. Please convince hoteliers to discard those pesky resort fees. Yes, I know they are a way to bring in revenue while keeping room rates down, but come on, we aren’t stupid. Ten extra dollars a night is ten extra dollars a night, whether it’s in the form of a “resort fee” or simply added to the room rate.
3. Please ask luxury hotels to furnish us with free in-room Wi-Fi. Why is it that when we pay $59.95 a night at Four Points by Sheraton, we get free Internet, but when we pay $595.95 at some five-star hotel, we have the pleasure of paying another $10.95 a day for Internet access? If your elves are too busy with the hangers, Dancer or Prancer or Donner or Blitzen are welcome to horn in on this one.
4. Okay, Santa, I realize that at this point, I am getting a bit avaricious. But I do have one more appeal to make on behalf of fellow travelers everywhere. Given that we are paying a per-day rate, let us have our hotel room for a 24-hour cycle. Let us check in at 11:00 AM and leave at 11:00 AM the next day. Or let us check in at 7:00 PM and stay until 7:00 PM the next night. We international travelers would be especially grateful for this gift, as we often arrive in a city in the wee hours of the morning. I know that’s when you do your best work, but most of us like to stumble straight into bed after a night flight that arrives at 4 AM.
Thank you, Santa, for considering my requests. Travel safe.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Dear Hotel Santa:
When stocking hotel rooms for 2010, please have your elves keep the following in mind:
1. Just because we are tea-drinkers, we still need our morning jolt. Therefore, please leave bags of caffeinated tea next to the in-room coffeemaker, instead of just the herbal dreck (which isn't really tea, anyway). One more note: As you are gifting coffee drinkers with upscale brands like Wolfgang Puck and Starbucks, you should provide the teatotalers (sic) something better than Lipton bags, which are a mere step up from generic.
2. However, if your elves would like to get rid of those cheap plastic coffeemakers altogether, that would be a good thing. They always seems to leave the fresh taste of melted plastic in one’s morning beverage. It’s more obvious in tea, since the flavor of said beverage isn’t as brisk, but it can be discerned in a cup of joe as well. Instead, please deliver those nice electric water kettles. Stock with Starbucks Via or another gourmet instant coffee (not a total oxymoron) and Twinings teabags and you’re brewing.
3. The wise philosopher Confucius said, “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” Said statement is best encapsulated by hotel alarm clocks, most of which are as mind-baffling as a Rubik’s Cube. In reality, all we want for Christmas and beyond is an alarm clock that is easy to set, dependable, and quiet. Leonardo da Vinci, Renaissance man extraordinaire, noted that “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Kudos to the Fairmont Battery Wharf in Boston for listening to Leonardo. The five-star property resorts to old-fashioned, non-electric, wind-up alarms. Perhaps these might befuddle the 20-something set, but for the rest of us, they are a godsend.
4. Elves, please add outlets. And please add them in spaces not located behind the bed or other heavy furniture. Plug them into logical places--by the bathroom sink (for hair dryers and electric razors); by the desk (for computers and cell phone chargers); and by the closet (for the iron).
That's all for now, Santa. But I'll be back with my airplane wish list soon. Thank you.