Seven Tech Travel Hassles
By Samuel Greengard
It was once a joy to travel. Nowadays, it's just a big fat hassle. It certainly doesn't help that so many airports, airlines and hotels are awful at making life easier for their customers. Here are some of the biggest annoyances:
No Charges. The lack of outlets at most airports and hotels (and many airlines) is nothing short of flabbergasting. How difficult is it to place a power strip on a hotel floor--at least until a room is remodeled? Also, why are power outlets constantly hidden behind nightstands and desks? And what about adding USB slots to outlets?
Connection Disconnect. It's nothing short of astonishing that you pay $250 a night or more for a hotel room, then wind up forking over another $12.95 per day for flakey Internet service. Meanwhile, the $70 a night budget motel offers free WiFi.
Bad Connections. Remarkably, some airports still lack free WiFi. So, I guess I'm supposed to pay $10 to use the service for 45 minutes? Airlines are even worse. Many domestic flights still don't have WiFi, and it's a real hassle finding out which ones do offer it.
Security Fail. TSA checkpoints are already one click short of total insanity. Trying to undress and dress in seconds is difficult enough, but yanking laptops and other devices out of cases adds to the anxiety, the lines and the frustration level. There must be a better way.
Just Plane Wrong. It's ironic that pilots can use iPads during takeoff and landing to control mission-critical activities, but passengers can't use them to write an e-mail or play "Words With Friends." The FAA is reportedly taking a "fresh look" at this issue, but don't expect any action until perhaps 2030 because every device has to be tested on ever type of aircraft without passengers before anything can be approved.
Ticket to Frustration. Electronic boarding passes and e-vouchers are a great idea, but it's incredible how often they don't work or there's a breakdown somewhere in the system. Memo to airline and tour company execs: Make sure your systems work before you roll them out!
Kiosk Kraziness. I don't have a problem with kiosks and mobile check-ins, per se. I have a problem with poorly designed systems and the companies that use them only to slash costs. So, when you have a problem, there's nobody there to help you. Thanks, I'll take my business elsewhere!