David J. Danto
Business travel thoughts in my own, personal opinion
Halfway Point Thoughts – July 2022
As the calendar flipped into July we passed the halfway point of 2022. This gives me the chance to do a mid-year review and post some random thoughts about travel and the year in general.
· I’ve been upgraded on a bunch of flights this year. As I’ve said many times, I’m just a ‘lowly’ million-miler on United, which affords me the now nearly worthless level of lifetime gold status. If I’m getting upgraded that tells you that there are far fewer United Global Services, 1K and Platinum members flying…and THAT has to tell you a lot.
· Because of those upgrades I’ve had access to domestic first-class meals again. Boy, do they suck now. My choice last week was an “impossible” meatballs offering or a chopped chicken stew – both dishes spicy enough to replace the jet-fuel on the plane. They’re offering these very sharp dishes to cover-up how not-fresh they are. One can always add spices and sauces to simple, fresh choices, but you can’t remove them for people that don’t want their mouth burned-off. Other than free liquor, a slightly larger seat and a closer bathroom, I’m not really missing anything by typically being in coach.
· United was very loud about finally opening a new club in the C3 wing of EWR after a delay of many years. They however weren’t as loud about closing the very tired C1 wing club at C74 for “renovations.” If history is any guide we won’t see that club reopened for many years – if at all. I’m very glad I jumped-off the club bandwagon.
· When I boarded a flight home recently I saw a very young girl passenger come-on-board with her mask on. She asked the FA if she could take it off on the plane. The FA responded “yes” it was now safe to remove her mask on the plane. No, no it’s not…not by a lot. Legal and safe are two completely different things. Flight attendants shouldn’t be giving-out false assurances.
· The next time you have some free time, try pricing a flight for the 2022 holiday season (anything in the middle of December to the first week of January 2023.) Be sure you’re sitting down. Literally empty planes have seats going for triple or more of the usual cost for absolutely no reason other than they feel they can get away with it.
· As I’ve said multiple times before, we really lost a tremendous opportunity to change or bankrupt and get rid of the current greedy management of the US airlines when we bailed them out (again) in the early days of the pandemic. They didn’t use the money as we asked them to, and they now have staff shortages well into a crisis-filled summer then fall of poor service and gouged prices.
· I stayed at a “5 Star Resort” last week where there was no door to the bathroom, there were ants on the sink, and the sink itself had a very slow drain. Who gives-out these stars anyway?
· I realize gasoline prices are up, and that’s being reflected in just about everything, but the supermarkets around my home in New Jersey are jacking-up everything in dollar increments. I find it odd that we completely jumped over dimes and quarters. Is it possible that they are raising their profits in the shadow of gas prices? Also, have you shopped for a new car lately? The dealerships around here are charging a premium of between 3k-7K OVER sticker/MSRP. While that is likely a supply-chain issue I know the dealerships are very happy about selling cars they don’t have yet, keeping a waiting list, and then closing deals as the few cars arrive. They prefer that to having to finance a lot full of new cars to sell. We may not go back to the old ways of buying things for a long time.
· Whatever your politics you should be sure to gather your news from multiple sources. I had a very distressing conversation with a contractor doing some emergency service in my house this past week who was convinced that proof of something didn’t exist because the single place he gets his news didn’t cover the story. Please choose to educate yourself from more than one echo-chamber.
This article was written by David Danto and contains solely his own, personal opinions.
All image and links provided above as reference under prevailing fair use statutes.
Copyright 2022 David Danto
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