I flew out to the West coast a couple days ago for a meeting. I couldn’t believe it when the guy at United told me it was going to be $175 for a bicycle. I had some old bike vouchers. A couple were expired. I had a couple that had no expiration dates. He told me they were “expired” too. I said I didn’t think so. He say that “they” should of stamped an expiration date on the voucher. I said who he was referring to when he was saying they. I told him that they was United, who was the voucher issuer. I showed him the expired vouchers. They had stamped expiration dates. And the other one didn’t. If it was an error, then it was their error. Long story, I paid the “grandfathered” rate of $100 and he gave me a $100 voucher good on United. Fine.
But, that doesn’t negate the fact that I’ll never, ever fly on United again with a bicycle. It is like they were so much behind the sport and they go 180 degrees in the opposite direction. I don’t know who makes these decisions for the company, but that amount of money, $350 roundtrip, is enough that anyone that is familiar with their charge not ever going to use their airline. The charge needs to be an amount that will not “scare” off their customers. That isn’t the case.
I’m a big Southwest Airline fan right now. It is kind of weird how over the years you have favorite airlines. Originally I had a ton of Continental miles. Then with Specialized I started flying American. Then United. Through all those years, I frowned down upon Southwest. I felt badly for the people that “had” to fly it. Now, I am so depressed when the city I am flying to isn’t served by Southwest. The two main reasons to fly Southwest. 1) You can miss the flight and you have full credit still for any other Southwest flight in the next calender year. You don’t even have to cancel your flight. Whenever I think I might fly somewhere, I just go ahead and buy a ticket on Southwest. I know if I don’t go, I will use the $ later. 2) That the bike charge is $50. That still is a lot. But, cheaper than all other airlines. And half the time they don’t charge anyway.
OK. This all just reconfirms my driving lifestyle. It used to be anything under 600 miles. Now it is creeping up to nearly a 1000. The longer times, costs and humiliating hoops you have to go through to fly to races is making it a no brainer to drive.