1999 October 3

Four legs good, two legs bad

Taxis are bad; Southwest Airlines is good. Simple morals make the world a nicer place.

. . .

How many times was I lied to this morning? Hm. The cab company twice told me the taxi I booked last night was on its way, before half an hour later admitting they were making that up and had in fact punted the call to some other company (in fact, the one that stiffed me two weeks ago, when I was headed to Vancouver). The other company apparently told company A they were sending someone, then told me when I called to check, that they'd never heard of me -- both statements probably being fiction.

Company A finally got their act together and got me a cab. Curiously, the one that turned up had the phone number of company B on its side, though. Go figure.

You may note I'm not naming either one of these packs of liars. If it really is true there's no such thing as bad publicity, I'm not risking giving them any more benefit out of me than they've already got. My original plan had been to get the train down to San Jose, but after waiting 55 minutes for the cab to finally show up, my only option was to take the cab all the way to the airport. That is, and this is the truly galling part, their dishonest inefficiency meant I also had to pay them $30 more than I ought to have.

Taxis suck.

. . .

Southwest Airlines, on the other hand, was something of a revelation. They don't reserve seats -- it's first check-in, first boarding and sit whereever's free. They don't have first or business class -- all the seats are the same, except for the very first row which is set up facing backwards, making a 3-facing-3 arrangement like is common on trains. They did a remarkably good job of explaining what we were waiting for whenever there was a delay. And get this: on their web site, they lay out a simple table of prices for tickets. No ``revenue-managing'' extortion games, and the price was 20% less than anybody else was charging.

It's practically communist.

. . .

Having a laptop on a plane is cool. The only downer is that I'm so depressingly old that I'm not even going to spend the flight blowing up Protoss.

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