I took a cross-country flight this week that had me in and out of San Francisco in 24 hours. The kind of trip that can make any consumer cranky.
While some busy professionals might love the idea of the dedicated “me time” that can come along almost uniquely in the form of a long flight, I hate it. The close quarters, the horrible food, the stale air – and the boredom. Unless I’m deep into a good book, long flights bore me to tears. Thus, I’m the perfect candidate for all those new add-ons that the US airline industry has been adding in recent years to bolster their bottom lines: $6 in-flight movie? Sure, I’ll take two. $7 glass of acrid Chardonnay? Bring it on. And so my credit card goes swipe, swipe, swipe all the way from Hudson News’ magazine stand until I deplane on the other side.
This week I was met by a new diversion: in-flight Internet. Oh boy, this had to be jackpot for me. I can waste endless hours online or even, gasp, work! So I took out my laptop, readied my Visa and tried to log on. Instantly I was met with a drop-down form to create a profile. This seemed strange. Do I really need a “profile?” Can’t I just swipe and log on? Or at least, just hand over an e-mail address? I spent at least five minutes filling out this profile only to be told that my “user name” was taken – twice. This caused me to shut my computer and reconsider the $12.95 I was handing over. Then the profile form told me my passwords didn’t match. I was starting to get angry at this point. Finally I made it to the second form where I was to enter payment information. I had another three false starts at this page, all the while the minutes ticking by, my blood boiling. I kept thinking about all those lectures I’ve heard about shopping cart abandonment since joining DMNews. Only through sheer stubbornness did I finally make it to the beautiful blinking Google search page, most would have turned back long ago.
On my return flight, I considered the in-flight Internet option, but only for a minute. Instead, I opened one of the five magazines I had purchased to keep myself occupied for the next several hours.