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What I Won't Care About on the Road This Year
January 5, 2017 -- You know why new years suck? Because travel talking heads seem constrained to make ludicrous predictions about the year ahead, compile lists of the coming "big stories" or make believe every airline or hotel CEO has something relevant to predict for the next 12 months. Worse, they all seem to do it in slideshow format, forcing you to click through one inanity after another.
You won't get that from me. Instead, I'm going to tell you what I don't care about this year. As you read through this--no additional clicks required--I hope you'll find my lack of interest in these things matches your own indifference. And, along the way, maybe we can burst some pompous bubbles and egos, too.
In 2017, I won't care about any airline executive who tells me he'll improve the "passenger experience" in coach by adding better in-flight WiFi or new entertainment systems or food. If he really wants to improve the "passenger experience," he'll stop reducing the width of coach seats and cutting the amount of legroom at each chair.
In 2017, I won't care about any TSA excuse that starts with "out of an abundance of caution." That's bureaucratic code for "one of our security screeners did something really dumb and we are not going to admit they got it wrong."
In 2017, I won't care about Top Ten lists of best airport lounges, best airport restaurants or best airport anythings. I don't fly somewhere to use some lavish lounge or to eat something nifty. I fly to an airport because I have to be there. Knowing that the best lounge is in Hong Kong or the best food is in Atlanta doesn't help if I'm flying to Philadelphia or Perth this week.
In 2017, I won't care about anyone's predictions of what's going to be news in travel in 2017. Nothing we can see coming is news. And the stuff we never see coming and can't predict is the news.
In 2017, I won't care about stories that quote an airline public relations person telling me what happened when something went wrong between a passenger and a member of a cabin crew. The flack wasn't there, so he or she has no idea of what the truth really is. And that goes double for any story that quotes an airline PR person saying the cabin crew acted "out of an abundance of caution."
In 2017, I won't care about anything Oscar Munoz or anyone at United Airlines says. Passengers still hate United and every customer survey says so. Shut up and fix the airline fast or shut up and don't fix the airline. But stop making believe United is better because more employees smile now compared to last year.
In 2017, I won't care about anything Doug Parker says about American Airlines, which is literally coming apart at the seams. Yes, the merger with US Airways went okay, but mostly because he'd already made all the obvious mistakes once before. He has zero history of running a good airline. So learn how to improve the airline fast or be prepared to be this year's Jeff Smisek.
In 2017, I won't care about anything the Delta News Hub says about Delta. It's the equivalent of a Trump Tweet. It starts as a lie and then gets more absurd from there. It's fake news.
In 2017, I won't care about any airline, hotel chain or frequent travel plan that raises prices, reduces perks or devalues a program "to remain competitive." If you want to jack up fares or slash benefits, fine. But don't tell me it's a "competitive response" because it proves that you think we're too stupid to understand what the word competition really means.
In 2017, I won't care about any news story or television report that is shocked--shocked!--to learn that Spirit or Frontier hid a fee or treated its customers badly or did something nasty. We know what Spirit and Frontier are. If you fly them, you get what you deserve.
In 2017, I won't care about any hotel executive who tells me millennials want smaller rooms. They don't. You've just convinced yourself they do so you have something to say that sounds clever on CNBC. Oh, by the way, they don't want closets without doors or rooms with no desks, either.
In 2017, I won't care about people who say the United States should adopt "Israeli-style" airline security. Don't babble about Israeli security without mentioning that it would require perhaps two million additional agents and dozens of billions of dollars more spent every year.
In 2017, I won't care about anything Michael O'Leary of Ryanair or Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic say they are going to do. When was the last time either one of them did anything they promised to do?
In 2017, I won't care about any hotel chain that claims it's opening a property in 2018 or 2019 or 2020. Tell me when the hotel is open with your flag on it. Until then, it's vaporware.
In 2017, I won't care about any traveler who whines about a bad experience with Hertz. It's a crap car rental company now. Caveat rentor or something genuinely Latin.
In 2017, I won't care about any international airline executive who tells me his carrier doesn't need premium economy because his coach cabin is so good. That's bullshit. Thirty-one inches of seat pitch is 31 inches of legroom and an extra entree choice or three more movies on the IFE is not a substitute for comfort.
In 2017, I won't care about the dumb names Hyatt is giving to the elites in its new frequency plan. I'm not a "Globalist," just a guy who travels on business. I don't have the time or inclination to make believe.
In 2017, I won't care about people who call me cranky. Of course I'm cranky. I'm a business traveler. Cranky is what we do. It's how we put up with all the stuff we don't care about.
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