So far, I am surprised by the swiftness of Midwestern Funky Town’s tight rental market. Granted, it’s not the out-and-out blood sport that the Boston rental market is, but things don’t seem to last much longer than a few days on Craigslist.
I didn’t help myself much by leaving my checkbook sitting in Boston, either. Alas, I might need to return again. I am not really that picky. I simply want to live indoors.
Regardless, time in Midwestern Funky Town also gives me an opportunity to get a better sense of my soon-to-be locale. I get the feeling that it’s a bit like Cambridge, MA (which is good), only without the rest of Boston surrounding it.
It’s amazing how rapidly I reoriented my sense of distance in this new environment. In Boston, riding the T for fifteen minutes would be construed as a fairly good commute. Even in my short time in Midwestern Funky Town, though, I am now considering a ten minute drive (alas, no rapid transit in Midwestern Funky Town) to my new job as “just too far.”
Something else caught my attention this trip as well. Traveling so closely behind my jaunt to New York reminds me again about the major airlines’ corruption and greed. No, I am not going to go on and on about the stupidity of the liquid limits and one-quart zipper top bag (Which I still think is dumb and doesn't help with safety even a little bit). Instead, I am going to go on and on about airline corruption.
Traveling to New York, I took JetBlue. It was my virgin experience with JetBlue. As we departed Logan, they whispered softly in my ear, “Years from now when you talk about this - and you will - be kind.”
Kind, I am! JetBlue reveals the emptiness of other airlines’ claims that they have to cut basic comfort in order to be profitable. JetBlue also contrasts sharply from other “bargain” airlines like Southwest, which clearly conceive of their passengers as cattle. For the short forty minute flight between Boston and New York, JetBlue managed to serve sodas and a bag of chips (Yes, JetBlue is literally all that and a bag of chips).
Meanwhile, for my trip here, Northwest Airlines showed that the allegedly full-service airlines are anything but full-service. Maybe I was just more sensitive because I didn’t have my usual pre-flight cocktails, knowing that I was going to be driving in Midwestern Funky Town. Still, the seats were so tightly squeezed together that my snack-table almost literally touched my chest when the person in front of me reclined her seat.
Of course, there was little reason to even lower the snack table given that Northwest has the audacity (AUDACITY, I say) to charge five bucks for a bag of M&M’s on board. I haven’t seen that type of price gouging for candy since I was
At this rate, it’s only a matter of time before the emergency oxygen masks become coin-operated. “Damn,” I will say as the plane hurdles towards the ground, “I knew I shouldn’t have spent all those quarters on laundry.”
Things aren’t going much better in Business/First Class, either. Before this year, I flew often enough that I earned “elite” status in a frequent flyer program. As part of that status, I was periodically upgraded to Business/First class. Over time, the only advantage to being in the first class cabin became the extra space and a semi-private lavatory. Yet, JetBlue’s all-economy seats were almost as comfortable as many of the first-class seats.
Instead of charging outrageous prices for snack items, I think that the major airlines should be more creative in collecting revenue. For instance, I would be willing to pay $10-$20 more per ticket if the airline could guarantee that nobody under the age of 18 was on-board. I have always been confused about why children don’t ride in the cargo hold anyway. Hey, don’t get bent out shape. I am not a monster – I am talking about the pressurized section of the cargo hold.
Or they could institute a “dumbass” fee. Are you trying to claim a chandelier as a “carry-on” item (Yes, I have actually seen somebody try this)? Well, that will cost $20 just for asking.
Are you knowingly traveling with a drug-resistant strain of TB? Well, you will be paying for free flights for everybody onboard for the next ten years.
I grant that comparing the relative merits of different airlines is not the most scintillating of blog topics. This is probably especially true given my recent pledge to increase the discussion of gay porn on CoG. Still, I am annoyed by how much the federal government subsidizes airlines like Northwest while we are getting less and less in service (but the CEO’s are getting bigger and bigger paychecks). The number of people traveling by airplane today is higher than it was before September 11. Yet, they claim they can’t figure out how to make it work. JetBlue seems to be doing just fine.