Roman Holiday by
travel a lot. The older I get, the less fun it seems to be.
If you've never done it, then you will have a hard time relating to what I'm about
to say. Those of you who have… know that it starts to wear thin when you check
into motels at midnight and find that you can't locate your rental car at 7 in
the morning. In the old days, when we had travel agents you could get some indication
of what a motel or hotel looked like before you got there. These days with internet
bookings online, you pay your money and you takes your chances. |
booked places to spend the night that had great online pictures, but when you
arrived you found that these must have been taken forty years ago since the place
is now a dump…but it's midnight and you're worn out, so you end up staying there
Booking airline tickets is about as much fun as being pecked
to death by a duck. The seats you want always seem to be taken up even if you
try to book months in advance. Forget about getting a good seat if you are planning
on traveling in the next week or so. Business travelers don't always have the
luxury of knowing that they will need to fly to some place months in advance.
You can do this for vacations, but not for business.
Now, having said
all of this, what's my point?
When you are sitting back with the rest
of the cattle with your butt squeezed into a seat designed for an Olympic figure
skater you have plenty of time to reflect on just who it is up front in first
class, behind the curtain, where the bathroom is reserved strictly for the benefit
of "our first class customers."
Well, hang tight bunky because I'm about
to tell you.
week a report came out that said our illustrious congressmen and congresswomen
travel in the first class section. The report advised that one group of congressional
members recently traveled to Rome for the inauguration (is this the right word)
for the new Pope. What happened to the separation of church and state? Why is
it necessary for our country to send members of congress over to be present for
something that concerns them not in the least? I can see where members of the
State department would be required to attend, but some state representative? Not
And do these fine folks stay in your basic hotel or motel on these
trips? Why, not on your life. They stay in $1000 a night rooms. Here I am looking
for something in the $49.95 range to bunk out in and our elected officials are
staying in luxury suites. This in addition to traveling first class to these places
where they have no business going to in the first place. Are you listening?
questioned about the cost, several congressional members brushed off the question
by saying "We didn't know, the Air Force (I suppose the US Air Force) made the
travel arrangements for us.
Oh, I suppose they thought everyone stayed
in $1000 type suites each night. I can see how they would get confused, the rooms
I get for $49.95 a night look like something someone else might be willing to
pony up $1,000 for the same 12 hours. Yeah, right.
Several of the congress
members defended their positions by saying they didn't fly on commercial airlines,
but used military transports instead. Now, the article went on to explain that
the cost of flying these type of planes for these cost conscience representatives
of ours ran about $22,000 an hour. So, let's put our thinking caps on and take
a look at how this breaks down. I'd bet that a trip to Rome from Washington takes
at least 10 hours each way, so there you have $440,000 for the flight time. Of
course, once they arrive, the cost goes down and I suppose all you have to worry
about is how to feed and house the crew. I'd be willing to bet they stay in $49.95
rooms, not the $1,000 a night jobs reserved for the passengers. I don't know how
many crew members we're talking about, but lets just toss in $2500 for good measure,
which brings us to a total of $442,5000 to fly a contingent over to Rome for the
festivities. I have no idea of how many went, but let's say 25….that brings the
cost to $17,700 for each of these. Better yet, let's say 50 members went over,
now the cost comes down to only $8850 per member. A veritable bargain.
When questioned about this expense, they bristled and said that "The military
would be training their pilots anyway, so we just aided in their training."
to think about it, after you look at all of this, then first class tickets seem
to be the cheapest way to go, doesn't it? I wonder if they get frequent flyer
miles as well? I bet they do.
© Peary Perry
From North America
- March 1, 2006 column
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers
Comments go to