I want My Free Food

Well, I got my culture shock today. While flying to Barcelona with Iberia, sitting groggy in economy class (it was early), I was waiting for my free water, coffee and lousy airline breakfast. After some blabbling in spanish over the intercom, I understood from the announcement in broken english that I could order my breakfast from the menu. Hallelujah, a new level of convenience I thought. I can choose my own breakfast. Visions of sausages, bacon and toast flooded my hungry brain… until I looked at the menu, and saw prices next to everything on the list.Interesting… prices… And then the cold hard truth hit me: Iberia changed policies. No more free food, coffee or breakfast on your overpriced flight. Nooohhh… it was paytime. Even still water had to be paid.

Should I care? Not really. It was a flight for my business, paid for by the company and whatever I eat or drink, I can expense. But it’s the principle. If I want to pay for my food and drinks, I’ll go fly Virgin Express or Ryanair, the low cost airlines. From the usual suspects I expect not to have to worry about having my money or creditcard handy to pay for water or food. The flight is expensive enough as it is, without the airlines trying to get more mone from their customers (and wat really ticks me off is that they tell me on the plane… there is nothing about this change on their site).

Now, let’s do some math here. Iberia gets from me about 300 euros for the flight (ok, plus one euro for some water). I get pissed off about this, and decide to avoid flying with them again. So next time, not Iberia but some other airline will get my money (ok, my company’s money), and I will get the free lousy airline food and free drinks. I still don’t see how Iberia thinks this was a good move. Maybe they’ll start charging for using the bathroom in the plane next. Bad move Iberia … bringing your brand down to the level of a low-cost airline.

Big big big…

It strikes me how everyting is so big in the US. Big burgers, big cars, and of course big people. 😉 And then there’s the styrofoam. I would have imagined that over here in California, with its strict laws on smoking and driving, they would be on the forefront of environmentally friendly packaging. Think again… everywhere I looked it’s been styrofoam galore.

Oh, and I had my first car accident. Most Americans can ‘t drive either: one tried to park his car in my trunk (boot?) when I had to stop for the car in front of me. Strange, they put signs everywhere: “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear”, “Caution, contents hot” (after the infamous McDonals coffee spilling trial), yet they have failed to put one on the front windshield of American cars: “Caution, car in front of you is closer than it appears” or “Your braking reflexes are worse than you think”.

Another culture shock today. Even the traffic announcements get sponsored here in the US now. “…Traffic is still heavy on Cupertino avendue and third, and by the way, go buy someting at Sears. Because Sears is the place to go for holiday shopping (blahblahblah)”. I wonder when it’s going to catch on in Belgium. 😉

Leaving Las Vegas… or at least leaving Belgium for a couple of months to work in the US. Thank god for wireless, allowing blogging at the Brussels Airport. 🙂

Off now to check in . Follow the progress here or on my PhotoBlog.

Conference call fun! Have you ever been in a conference call, and doing all sorts of things except paying attention? Well, good news: you’re not alone.

Some company (RoperASW/Tandberg) has actally done a survey about when people do durig conference calls… well, there’s one thing half of them are NOT doing: paying attention. What they are doing varies from doodling over surfing to … putting on make-up. Time for videoconferencing. 😉

They surveyed people the US of A, the UK, Germany, Norway and Hong Kong. Good thing they didn’t survey Belgians. More results can be found here.