Monday, June 20, 2011

It's Capitalism 101 Smike!

A couple of older but quite gorgeous ducks in Stadtpark 

We worked out recently that Cate has about 7 more trips this year. Most of them are fairly short – so this is pretty good. 7 Trips over 6 months is not many trips at all – considering what she has done this year.  

Of course there will be goat things or even cluster things that happen in far flung places that necessitate her throwing things in a bag and shooting off but this always happens.

And we have a number of trips together but these don’t count – as they are supposed to be holiday type things – even though Cate will always do some (or a lot of) work. It’s just getting there and back that is the problem these days.

Whenever I tell Mrs. Moneypenny where Cate is she says ‘Miss Cate is so lucky!’

I could try and tell her how so not lucky Miss Cate is but there would be no point – it would be like telling her how so not believing in God I am - and would make her brain go funny.

There are people at Cate’s office – who do not travel – who also think she is lucky.  They think it is fun and glamorous and exciting to travel.  And it is fun to travel if at the end of it you are having a holiday.

It is no longer ever glamorous and exciting. The realities of air travel in the modern era – and terrorism – have taken care of that.

And it is no fun if all you ever see of the place you are visiting – as Cate does – is what you glimpse out of the window between the airport and the hotel. But then – when you go to Algiers……..

She does her usual routine wherever she goes by working from 8:00 AM until 1:00 AM and then after some days of this she comes home exhausted but with an excruciatingly bad back from strange hotel beds and the Olive presses they use for ‘beds’ in the airplanes.

In the process she eats lots of average food or awful food. If she gets really unlucky someone will hide a crustacean in her dinner and she will yodel into the big white telephone for hours - instead of sleeping.

She will drink a lot of bad coffee and get to wait for hours in airline lounges – waiting to get onto airplanes where she can eat more bad food and drink more bad coffee and sleep looking like Quasimodo.

And why is it that airlines don’t know whether or not you flew with them?

You buy a ticket and then you go on board the aircraft and your boarding pass goes through a little machine that goes beep.  This is connected by wires to something that tells them that everyone is on board and they don’t take off until everyone is on board.

This information must go somewhere. I mean they don’t take this machine and open it up and empty it into the trash can.

I was checking to see that we got the credit for our excruciatingly awful flights to the Maldives and they have only credited us only for one leg. We are collecting these points because if we get to 100 million we can get an off-peak flight to Salzburg.

So to get the credit for the points I have to print out my original invoice from the airline and then mail it, together with the actual boarding passes - yes – the actual boarding passes – to Rapid City, South Dakota – then allow two months – yes - two months - for processing.

When I booked the ticket it took them about 18 hours to debit the cost to my credit card – and that was 8 months before we were flying!

For this I got to fly Air Poxy  - road kill class - have my seat allocation totally stuffed up - eat their shitty food - drink their shitty coffee - have no in flight entertainment on the way home – and now to get my fly-fly points I have to mail off the original boarding passes to South Dakota.

And why not. I am after all the passenger.

It’s time we had a short lesson on airlines. You - Smike – in the second row – you seem keen to answer a question – what is the purpose of airline companies?

Please sir – to swiftly and safely convey passengers between two points as cheaply as possible.

Really Smike you are not going to pass Capitalism 101 with answers like that.

Now true - that may be an occasional and accidental by-product of the activities of airlines but they are actually there as a vehicle to make a handsome return on investment for their shareholders.

There are to parties to the transaction in the airline business Smike. These are the:

Airline. (Fuckor) They collect the money, make the customer’s life miserable and make a profit for the shareholders. When they do not make enough money they increase prices or reduce services until they do make enough money.

Customer (Fuckee) The customer pays the money, has his/her life made a misery, has no rights and dies when the plane crashes. If this unfortunate event takes place it usually does not do so on a runway so there is minimal disruption to service. The plane is fully insured so there is no loss to the shareholders. The fuckees breed like rabbits so are readily replaceable.

Simple really. Who could not understand that? 


  1. I loved it that the last verb of the eXplanation was "breed", it tied everything together beautifully. I was born just a few miles down the road from Rapid City. Its really a lovely place at the edge of the Black Hills. They have an airport AND an air base.

  2. It never fails to amaze me how quickly they can take money - but how long it takes to process a refund

  3. @Glen: Sounds like all insurance companies and the IRS :)

  4. Why fly to Salzburg when you can walk instead?
    Or take the train, 2h53".

  5. Ha! I so get this, dude. My most recent trip:
    2 12-hour flights to get from Auckland, New Zealand to Rome. Added bonus: 7-hour stopover in Singapore.

    Then back: 2 12-hour flights to get from Milan to Auckland, NZ. Only 3 hours in Singapore. Whoopee!

    Well, I guess that if I MUST live on this side of the world, as opposed to that.....

  6. Last December the Purser gave me 10,000 miles for defective equipment, the entertainment center did not work. Four months and many phone calls later I had to Fax, ya you read it right, a copy of the receipt to BFE America from China to get the credit. The 3 times I scanned and emailed were not good enough.

  7. esbboston: and so close to Deadwood!

    Glen: Well - they make m,ore money that way.

    SK Waller: ditto

    Merisi: I can't use my fly-fly points on the train

    Alexia: Oh Nice - but you get to live in a really lobvely country.

    fmcgmcclic: I am surprised you did not have to deliver it in person - together with your attorney.