Consumer Reports is making an official list of top travel gripes in its June issue, and I'm wondering how it matches up with those of the road warriors of the meetings and hospitality industry. Consumer Reports says the top three overall are:
Luggage charges (8.4 overall on a 10-point scale, where 1=eh, so what and 10=makes you crazy)
Added airline ticket fees (8.1)
Rude or unhelpful staff at rental-car companies (7.9), hotels (7.8), and airlines (7.7)
Isn't it interesting that "poor communication about airline delays (7.1) annoyed people slightly more than the delays themselves (6.8)"? Not surprising, though, because I'm a firm believer that people are much more understanding when they know what's going on than if they're kept in the dark. I know I am, especially when the delay is due to mechanical issues -- please, take your time and make sure the darn thing is safe to fly!
I guess I'm still more nostalgic for the good old days of bad airplane food than most, since puny or no on-board snacks only rated a 5.1 on the annoyance scale, where I'd put it at at least an 8. Ditto for the kid kicking the back of my seat for five hours, which only came in at 4.9 on the CR survey (though those of us 50 and older -- go, AARPers! -- found the bad kid behavior more annoying than those under 50 who are more likely to have spawned said badly behaved darlings. No big surprise there.). Seat hogs were a little more irritating at 7, which is about where I'd put them (except for that woman on the flight back from Anchorage to Chicago ... well, I won't go there, but she was an 11). Maybe it's because I'm female, since it found that we of the womanly persuasion were more annoyed than the guys, particularly when it comes to minibar outrages and cheap bed linens.
May have to buy the issue to find out more. I wonder if some of my pet peeves were covered. You know, things like people who have no idea what to do in the security line going in the black diamond lane; no humans to be found behind the airport desk when all the kiosks go down and you're already running late for the flight; running out of $8 dollar sandwiches in the first three rows on a flight from LA to Boston (the one time I didn't bring something with me on the plane -- never again!); the guy in the middle seat who has to get something out of the overhead 20 times in a two-hour flight; taxi drivers who have no idea where the major hotels in their city are; light switches in hotel rooms that are so well-hidden you bark both shins and make up new swear words before being able to find them; outlets that you have to crawl under furniture to reach to plug in your laptop; lack of in-room coffee pots; that thing I found under the bed the one time I looked under the bed after seeing that CSI episode where the couple found a body there (don't know what it was, but it definitely wasn't good); and getting walked to a hotel 20 miles away at 2 a.m...
Ain't travel grand? Despite all my griping, I still marvel at being able to get to all these incredible places and meet with all those incredible people in just hours. (I recently saw a YouTube of a comedian making fun of travel whiners, but now I can't find it. He put it perfectly -- if I can find it again, I'll post it.)
Update: Thanks to Dave Lutz, here's the video I mentioned (the airplane part starts about 2 minutes in).