Sundae Bloody Sundae

According to this thread on Flyertalk, Continental is eliminating its beloved sundaes in business class on transcon flights.

Now, I enjoyed the Continental sundaes as much as anyone (frankly, if Osama Bin Laden gave me a sundae I’d probably enjoy it).  I think we can all agree that sundaes, as a rule, are a good thing.

By definition, then, eliminating said sundaes would be a bad thing.  And, if you read the thread, you’ll see that everyone there considers this a bad thing.

But read that thread again:  have you ever seen more whining by grown adults over having a sundae that (for the most part) they didn’t pay for taken away from them?  I know that you (or your company) paid for the $1500 ticket to LA, but does that really entitle you to a sundae?  And couldn’t you go crazy and head on over to Baskin Robbins when you get there and spring the $6 for a sundae? (I mean go nuts — expense it!)

I’ve been saying for a little while that the airlines should be extremely up front about everything they’re eliminating and the reasons why they’re being eliminated.  What most of the people in the thread above (and what I’ve heard elsewhere) is that they hate the nickel and diming aspect of the stuff being taken away.  I don’t argue with that.  Which is all the more reason every major carrier should be sending out a letter outlining the changes they’re making, the amount of savings each entails, and an overview of how bad the fuel situation has gotten.

I think that most business travelers feel that they’re generally taken advantage of by the airlines, that airlines spend their time trying to figure out ways to take advantage of them.  And I guess that feels true much of the time.

But it may be better to think of it this way:  high fares and no frills IS normal.  What we’ve had for the past whatever number of years has been abnormal.  The sundaes, the $800 transcons in business class, the upgrades, the multicourse meals, the blankets, the pillows, the cheap frequent flyer tickets, the free booking over the phone, the free checked baggage, the free movies and TV, the alcohol.  All of it – that was gravy that we should’ve been paying for in the first place.  But we didn’t, and we all had about 20-30 years (depending on when you start from) of ridiculous perks at (mostly) low fares.  Adieu to that.

Now we’re just stuck with the still-unreal-when-you-sit-and-think-about-it $400 roundtrips across the country and now we have to spring $8 for a sandwich at Subway before we get on board.  Boo hoo to us.

We have to change our mindset – the sundae was always just the cherry on top.


  1. Yeah, the mindset will have to change, at least for awhile.

    I still believe that the root cause of this is the parabolic rise in oil prices, which is caused by speculators piling into oil futures (for several reasons, notably the cheap money policy of the Fed, the lack of other investment alternatives, and the way the investment houses have been able to control the commodities markets). Hardly anyone actually in the oil business believes there is a shortage of oil. The shortage is all on Wall St.

    Which means that someday the price of jet fuel should go down. Will any airlines be left at that time. I think so — at least I hope so. Of course, even if every does go back “to normal” it seems hard to believe that passengers will get all their perks back. After all, the airline business was a lousy business BEFORE oil went parabolic.

  2. nicely written