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Jan 10th 2011 5:44AM We know the TSA wants all travelers to use the scanners, and use the intrusive "enhanced" pat-downs as a deterrent to people opting out. You can bet that they're going to retaliate against the metal-ink products by giving people using them them an enhanced pat-down also, claiming that the message interferes with their ability to properly use the image. I still think t's worth doing, but would anticipate the extra hassle.
Jun 14th 2010 5:20PM Spinfirst, can you elaborate on what you mean about TV services expense being very high? I was a regional manager with a major hotel chain for a little over five years and the major cost associated with television was the cost of the units themselves, which is a capital expenditure that is depreciated over time. In our system, television service was actually a profit center; revenue from items such as movies and video games far exceeded the costs associated with providing them.
Did you get any information on what the major operating cost is?
Feb 3rd 2010 5:46PM Joe,
I can't believe I forgot JRS!!! I was so hung up on the goofy name changes that I overlooked it's "true" name. Thanks for setting that straight.
Mr. Robbie is a legend and it's a shame that his heirs got shafted by IRS inheritance rules then in effect.
Feb 2nd 2010 2:35PM Technically the Sun Life Stadium (nee Pro Player Park, Pro Player Stadium, Dolphins Stadium, Dolphin Stadium and Land Shark Stadium) is located in Miami Gardens, less than a mile south of the Miami-Dade and Broward County line. Opa Locka is a few miles to the south.
The list of places mentioned in the pdf is pretty good -- I was a regular at many of them when growing up there and after returning after college. One placed I'd add is Ernie's BBQ near downtown Ft. Lauderdale.
Jul 8th 2009 1:47AM I'm no longer working in the airline industry (I worked for a few years in finance for FedEx, which is considered an airline despite it not carrying paying passengers). However, I grew up as an “airline brat” child of an airline executive during and after deregulation, and have an opinion as to why air travel sucks so badly. I see some validity on both sides of the issues that have been raised both by the original post and by the comments. In the end, both passengers and flight attendants have been put in a bad situation by the way airlines have been managed.
First, believe it or not, the primary job function of flight attendants is the safety of the passengers and enforcing FAA regulations. However, the job of accommodating passengers is by no means a “bonus”; it is a traditionally offered service that passengers pay for (more on what we pay for these days below). The practice of offering food, drinks, etc goes back to the days before deregulation when flying was more of a prestige form of travel for the wealthy and business people. However, as deregulation has created price competition and flying has become more egalitarian, service has steadily eroded.
The culprit is the need (especially by the old, large dinosaur airlines) to cut costs in the face of price competition and fluctuations in the price of fuel. Prior to deregulation airlines used to fly inefficient routes on inefficient airplanes. The hub and spoke concept really took off after deregulation and brought a lot of logistical efficiency to the industry, but there was a lot of oversupply of airlines and aircraft which incredibly continued until recently; load factors were routinely in the 65-75% range.
The new low barriers to entry meant that a lot of budget airlines could start up, intensifying the price war. The dinosaurs had to price match, but were flying inefficient planes and had higher operating costs, causing them to lose money and in some cases forcing them into bankruptcy. There was a catch-22 that airlines that then invested heavily in new plans had high debt loads or lease costs that they had to recoup, but which pricing pressure made difficult to achieve.
One item of revenue generation contributing to a crappy flying experience is the continual shrinking of seat and cabin space. That allowed greater revenue on those routes with traditionally high load factors and during peak travel periods. (An argument can also be made that less space is a tradeoff for energy efficiency.) However, even with the shrinking seat space planes were for the most part running at mediocre load factors until recently, when supply has been curtailed. I personally believe that included in a passenger bill of rights should be a regulation for minimum seat space and leg room.
When airlines couldn't get revenue on the pricing side they had to turn to cutting costs, which meant cutting services. In some cases it is a good thing that makes the airline more efficient. For example, in the old days they used to give out free decks of playing cards and other amenities. Getting rid of these items such as these that were used by few people was a good thing. They were eventually cutting services that pretty much everyone wanted, though, which is another cause of the great air travel suckage.
Even with cutting services near to the bone they were losing money, so that's where the nickel-and-diming began, which creates another factor of air travel suckage. The baggage charge encourages more carry-on luggage in smaller cabins, creating yet another factor of air travel suckage. Oversupply has been curtailed, leading to high load factors and more full flights in these cramped aircraft configurations, creating yet another factor of air travel suckage.
Airlines hire PhD's and literal rocket scientists to manage their sophisticated pricing systems, which among other things use algorithms to raise prices as flights book up. In playing chicken with each other, though, they've lowered prices so that they pretty much just cover the bare minimum of a seat, a can of soda, and part of an overhead bin. Everything else is a nickel-and-dime, but the impressive revenues generated indicate that most people want those services. So why not just raise the price of a ticket and included the services most people want? I'm sure analysis has been done to answer that question.
Therefore, by the time I sit down in my seat I have the following items that I know are going to happen or have a good probability of happening that piss me off:
1. I will be nickel-and dimed with ridiculous charges.
2. I have to bring my own food onto the plane or pay extra for what used to be free.
3. I will have to shuffle shoeless through the security line and deal with TSA agents who may or may not be dicks to me..
4. There's a good chance the flight will be delayed.
5. There's a decent chance I'll be sitting on the tarmac for a while past the original ETD and that the flight will be late arriving.
6. There's a good chance the entrance to the gate will be a zoo, and with my priority 2 boarding pass I'll have to run the gauntlet of priority 3 and 4 people blocking the entrance because gate agents are too clueless to take charge of the chaos.
7. I will have to stand for a long time in the aisle waiting to get to my seat because of some clueless cheap dick that is trying to roll a too-large suitcase down the aisle, or the person who can't lift what they brought and needs someone to rescue them, or the person who dicks around with their coat/jacket instead of just sitting their ass down and dealing with it later when carry-on bags have been stowed. To the previous commenter that complained about being rushed to get seated, I mean you, you inconsiderate asshole.
8. There's a chance I will be seated next to a large or fat person that will spill over into my seat.
9. There's a chance that the person in front of me will be an inconsiderate asshole that will actually recline their seat.
10, I will be uncomfortable in a space not large enough for my average adult male frame (5' 9”, 165 lbs.).
11. A lot of people will be yakking on cell phones before takeoff and after landing, some of which will be speaking too loud.
12. If I'm in the aisle there's a chance that the flight attendant or a passenger will lean over to talk to someone across the aisle and their ass will come inches from my face. Only once in a blue moon is this a good thing.
13. I will be annoyed by the smug looks by people in first class, most of which are only there because they are high-mileage frequent fliers and not because they actually paid for it. I pity anyone whose job makes them travel enough to earn that distinction.
14. I will look around at the cramped plane, the good number of people that dress like crap, smell the funky food smells, and I will feel like I'm a piece of cattle in a flying Greyhound bus.
Therefore, by the time I get on the plane I am already pissed off and anxious. I'm put in this state by the way the airlines are run, and a extra-leg space seat or emergency exit does little to assuage my condition.
This is the mindset of most passengers, which flight attendants have to deal with off the bat. Airline management has placed them, the front line employee that is the face of the company, in a difficult situation off the bat. Unfortunately, things aren't likely to get any better. There's still incredible demand for cheap air travel, especially in a recession. Passengers have grudgingly accepted the nickel-and-dime pricing methodology. Airlines that are public companies have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders to maximize profits, which is interpreted as continuing the current pricing methodology and cramped cabin configurations.
As in all things, there are good and bad passengers and flight attendants. I try to cut them some slack because they have a tough job in an industry that has always been volatile. If one has the impression that their service duties are some sort of privilege for us paying passengers or that they are someone deserving of perks like chocolate from passengers, then I think they're deluded and in the wrong business.
Apr 15th 2009 12:19PM It would be great if you could list one or two of the "certain travel agencies" that offer package vacation deals. I realize that one could always just use google to find them, but if someone with experience or knowledge of good agencies could share some names / links, that would be great.
Nov 23rd 2008 8:23PM I remember that Dana and Jenny were about to do it when it got weird, but I don't recall Jenny & Shane.
I don't find the poster as bad as it's being made out to be. (I don't think it's particularly good, either -- just boring.)
Nov 13th 2008 11:33AM Since you only watched a couple of early episodes are you really in a position to make comments about this show that can be taken very seriously?
Like SNL, it had its ups and downs. Some years it was better than SNL and was a welcome alternative. Some years it was worse and I didn't watch as much. There was some good talent to come out the show and some great characters.
Too bad that it went down hill in the last couple of years -- it will be missed.
Nov 13th 2008 11:22AM I set up season passes but have let Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Heroes pile up. TTSCC was great for the first season but just isn't grabbing me this season. The first couple of episodes of Heroes were incredibly boring and had really stupid plot developments. It felt like a chore to watch and I stopped watching after the bank robbery episode.
May 6th 2008 2:45PM The reason that the number of respondents is 1,016 has to do with statistics. It is probably the sample size needed to achieve a targeted margin of error given the population that they're using. An introductory college statistics class covers this sort of issue.