Now, this is not particularly related to business, but it is something that I have been pondering for a while, and since it probably affects us business travelers more than others, I want to ask this question: am I the only person that is suffering from an affliction brought about by the hideousness of air travel today?
My nearest and dearest think that I have turned into a bit of a nutcase, as right now, the minute that I have to start contemplating a flight, I get into a mild state of panic that can really only be described as ‘air rage’, and that definitely starts to build the minute I set foot inside an airport.
It is not so long ago that I made the decision that if I have to work this hard and need to travel quite a lot in order to keep all of our lovely clients happy, then I am going to do it in some style. In fact, those of us who were regular flyers with Czech Airlines in the days before they started to turn into Aeroflot, didn’t have to try very hard, as our loyalty to good old CSA earned us all sorts of privileges, including the ability to be upgraded on most flights and be able, in some cases, to eat and drink ourselves into a state of such euphoria that we didn’t need much persuasion to get back onto another one of their flights more or less straight after departing from the previous one. My own partner, in fact, was often heard to ask for seconds and thirds of their rather splendid dinners, a wish that was always granted and was often met with an offer of half a bottle of cognac to wash down the fifteen bottles of wine that he had already consumed… Well. Those were the days.
Now, of course, the airlines think that we all want to fly as cheaply as possible – when I recently complained about Easyjet (don’t even ask), I was asked ‘what do you expect if you are only paying peanuts’… the thing is, I don’t want to pay peanuts! I just don’t have any option as the only way I can get to where I want to go is on the low cost airlines!
Recently we have been experimenting with a number of different airlines in order to get across Europe, but for some reason, the minute they see me, it all seems to go horribly wrong. I have had the Spanish inquisition in Madrid, where I was nearly refused entry to the boarding gate as I didn’t have a visa for the Czech Republic (eh?).. narrowly avoided being put in an Athens jail because, when checking in for a Czech Airlines flight (one of the few that still exists), the Greek Gestapo officer on the check in, whilst acknowledging that I did, indeed, have a Czech Airlines gold card (sigh) decided that it wasn’t actually a real one (do what?) - a comment which I deemed worthy of a slap - and have been thrown off the plane for having a boarding pass dated the day before (yes, off the plane… went through passport control, the boarding gate and boarding before anyone noticed!) – and this, after being charged to put a bag that is supposedly ‘Easyjet friendly’ into the hold… and then it never even travelled.
Am I alone in thinking that flying by private jet is getting more and more appealing? Anyone fancy sharing a flight to Malaga now and again?