Can you remember the Concorde? It gripes me that aviation has actually gone backwards. 1970’s technology was more advanced than we have 30 years later? That can’t be right, can it? People would gladly pay the extra cost of flying supersonic because in a couple of hours you could go from Paris or London to New York. People would fly for a meeting and get back to their family as if it was a normal business day, or even to go shopping! It was the ultimate time vs money equation, and also the ultimate in luxury travel (next to having your own private jet I guess).
During my gruelling trip to Las Vegas* I thought about it a lot.
* I know, boo-hoo, I have to fly to fun locations and hang out with cool people, woe is me, right? I am reminded of the word Robert Llewellyn introduced; Moasting: “to moan and boast simultaniously”.
The last couple of times I took flights I swore the next trip would be business class. Of course by the time I sat down to book, I still tried to book the cheapest I could find.
Like many people I am willing to spend money on cool or necessary stuff but dislike (understatement) paying too much. Whatever that means.
Unfortunately in many cases the old chestnut “You get what you pay for” holds true, and unfortunately my last trip kind of proved that to be the case.
In actual fact I really didn’t save any money trying to find a cheaper flight. Let’s count the ways:
- Opportunity cost – All the time my wife and I were scouring the cost comparison sites I could have actually been earning money. Looking for a cheaper flight was time out of my business.
- Productive time on land – Rather than sitting in airports, taking the long way round the planet, and making connections, I could have either been in my office or at my destination making full use of my time. Again, time is money. Seeing the herd of weary travellers made me think of zombie movies … plaaaaaaaaanes!
- Productive time in the air – While in the air I did not have power sockets, wifi, heck, I didn’t even have my own entertainment system. I didn’t even have a comfortable seat (what should have been leg room was taken up by a big metal box). (I did get some time to do some productivity mindmaps, but could have done much more).
- Logistical nightmares – The time from start to finish was stressful because of the logistical “issues” that arose by using four different companies to arrange one trip (Opodo, British Airways, US Airways and American) and none of them being too keen on claiming me as a customer. I couldn’t check in online because each claimed another company was responsible for me. Nice. This meant sitting at my gate hoping I would get a seat, then getting one of the last seats on the plane and having to ram my luggage wherever it would fit. Win!
- Comfort – It’s not just an upgraded experience on the actual plane that economy miss out on, but in the airport too. I found out from fellow passengers I could even have had a shower during my layover, in addition to the free comfy lounge, and curtesy coffee and cookies.
I am not saying I am always going to book first class or even business, but I am from now on going to look carefully at what the difference in ticket price really means.
It’s the difference between price and value. A lower price is sometimes not worth the price you have to pay.
I’m off on another trip, this time to the other side of the globe, in the next few days. My hope is we booked well this time!