David J. Danto
Principal Consultant, Collaboration/ AV / Multimedia / Video / UC
Director of Emerging Technology†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††
Interactive Multimedia & Collaborative Communications Alliance††
Perspective is an interesting thing.† As frequent travelers, I and many other road warriors see things that many others either donít see - or donít see in the same way.† As I was dragging my carry-on through Texas this past week it dawned on me that weíre putting-up with a lot of things that arenít right.† If your experience at airports or in hotels is a once-a-year vacation thing then you may not think twice about a slightly bad experience.† If however you spend a good part of your life on the road then all the little things can add-up to the level of intolerable very quickly.† Below are some of the worst offenders Ė things that either just donít make sense or grow after a few experiences to being downright offensive.
∑ Why does a bottle of water at any US airport cost just about the same as a case of water at any pharmacy or convenience store?† I understand that some mark-up might be in order, but one bottle for the price of 24?† It makes you wonder if the TSA prohibiting water bottles is really for security reasons or price protection Ė and if it really is for security shouldnít there be some law or policy outlawing price gouging?†
∑ Why do the majority of airport grab-and-go sandwiches come in oversized, plastic containers?† The concessioners must know weíre not allowed to carry-on any additional bags to hold our lunch or dinner so we have to pack it in our existing bags.† Why donít they come in paper or plastic wrap so we can easily pack them?† Even flying out of environmentally conscious California Ė where you canít get a plastic grocery bag if your life depended on it - these oversized hard plastic boxes are the norm.†
∑ If the airlines now charge exorbitant rates for the service of checking bags, why arenít they offering refunds when they fail to provide good service?† It is completely fair to assume that any bag I pay to have delivered to me in baggage should be waiting for me on the on the belt when I get there Ė or at least be there within 20 minutes of landing.† If it isnít there in 30 minutes I feel I deserve a 50% refund, and if it isnít there in 60 minutes I feel a 75% refund is in order.† Every frequent traveler knows that the scramble to get on to aircraft early is all about finding room for your carry-on.† Most times we just donít have the extra hour or more to wait for bags to be delivered.† (Personally, Iíd check bags more often if every flight were handled like the regional jets where I bring my bags to the (correct) plane and get them in the jetway after landing.† However, with the consistent delays delivering bags and many that get lost itís just not worth the risk.)† Why do we let service providers charge us for services whether or not they were provided satisfactorily? Also - before someone mentions it - this isnít about the fact that I and many others have found ways to get these services for free (via elite status, loyalty credit card, etc.)†† Itís about the airlines failing to provide adequate services that they feel they have a right to charge for.
∑ And as long as Iím addressing carry-ons, why do some gate agents challenge frequent travelers about carry-on bag sizes during boarding?† If the bag fits in the overhead bin why does it matter if it is a half inch bigger than the ridiculously tiny sizers the airlines use to prompt the infrequent travelers into paying those bag fees I mentioned above.† If it doesnít fit it will have to come out and be gate checked anyway.† Itís not like the process of tagging bags at the gate is a something that agents arenít doing on every flight anyway.† If itís about the delay that the process of bringing it back out might cause, then the delay in arguing with the frequent traveler that knows the bag fits (as it has fit a hundred times before) is surely more impactful.† This always reminds me of the old saying ďif all you have is a hammer then everything looks like a nail.Ē
∑ Moving on to the hotel experience, why do many hotels still use closet hangers that have hooks too small to fit in a standard closet?† Maybe thirty years ago people might steal hotel hangers to use at home, but no frequent traveler has the room in their carry-on bag to stash a hanger to save the huge buck or so that it would cost them on Amazon.† The reason this is a problem is that the tiny hooks donít fit over a standard curtain rod.† Every frequent traveler worth his or her platinum card knows the first thing you do after checking-in is hang your jacket in the bathroom and run the shower on full hot to steam the wrinkles out.† Figuring out where to stick those tiny hooks (maybe a towel rack, maybe pull off one of the shower-curtain hooks if they are used) is really an unnecessarily frustrating experience.† Hotels need to add a few pennies to the room cost to replace the occasional lost hanger and stop driving us crazy with finding places for the tiny hooks in the shower.†††
As with any annoyance, experience it once and you may not think about it again.† However, hitting the same issue again and again while fighting to get your work done on the road makes these experiences very frustrating.† If you have any others to add to the list feel free to email them to me and Iíll add them in here.
This article was written by David Danto and contains solely his own, personal opinions. David has over three decades of experience providing problem solving leadership and innovation in media and unified communications technologies for various firms in the corporate, broadcasting and academic worlds including AT&T, Bloomberg LP, FNN, Morgan Stanley, NYU, Lehman Brothers and JP Morgan Chase. He now works with Dimension Data as their Principal Consultant for the collaboration, multimedia, video and AV disciplines. He is also the IMCCAís Director of Emerging Technology. David can be reached at David.Danto@Dimensiondata.com or DDanto@imcca.org and his full bio and other blogs and articles can be seen at Danto.info.† Please reach-out to David if you would like to discuss how he can help your organization solve problems or develop a future-proof collaboration strategy.
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