I was at a work conference these past few days in Las Vegas. It was my first time flying into Vegas, if you can believe it. All these years (and let me tell you, it’s MANY years), I’ve always driven to Vegas! It was hosted at the Mirage, and I literally stayed in that property for the three days. I didn’t go out except to meet up for dinner with an old high school friend who lived there. I didn’t see the sun; I saw flourescent light. I got dinged by a resort fee by the Mirage each day – and I didn’t even know about it until after I got the bill. WTF. Gah. I dislike incompetent people, especially those who don’t tell you at check-in that you’ll be charged for something you won’t be using.
Whatever. Back to the topic at hand.
When I left, I hopped into a cab to get to the airport, I met a nice cab driver. He asked me which airline I was flying; then called Southwest “the Greyhound of the skies.” We kept our conversation going about cabs and I asked him about labor laws regarding cab drivers. Haven’t you ever thought of whether cabbies are in a union or wonder how many hours they have to work in a shift? Well, I found out. My cabbie belonged to one of the biggest cab companies (which owned a number of ‘brands’), and the drivers DO belong to a Teamsters union. He also told me that they worked 10-12 hour shifts, depending on seniority. See? The things you learn from a ride with a stranger.
Anyway, I hopped on the plane and we were off for home. As I settled in, I realized, he was right. Southwest democratized flying. For the first time (?), regular joes could afford to fly. Southwest’s fares were lower and that allowed for more people to take to the skies. This thought brought it back to my flight. Even though this was a work trip, I know it’s a privilege for me to be able to take a flight at anytime to another city. Not everyone is able to do that. Not everyone can afford the low airfare. While Southwest (and JetBlue) have been able to cut ticket prices, there is still a subsection of people who will never be able to afford to fly.
The fact that I can get from one place to another in a matter of hours is amazing. For that, I am very appreciative of what I have and what I can afford. In this case, flying and taking trips.