@Michelle LeBlanc@twitter VX isn't always the cheapest, but it's service is superior, and some of us will pay for a more humane experience. The loyalty program actually isn't that great (it's newish), but one upside is that means that they treat general passengers better. Whereas on United or American, if you don't have status, you are dirt, especially when there are problems. Or, Jet Blue has better legroom for everyone; on United or American, you have to pay the upcharge to the economy plus section to get a similar amount of space. @Mike Dang I also don't book based on the absolute cheapest fare. (I might be a cheapskate, but at least in this area I'm not contributing to the race to the bottom when it comes to deteriorating service.) I'm looking for a flight to London this summer and I'm willing to pay a little more to be on an airline that doesn't suck. I'll take a Virgin Atlantic flight-- with free AVOD, with drinks, and generally friendlier employees-- than a comparably or even lower priced flight on United or American. I also pay for extra legroom seats. Of course, I'm also a weirdo in that I also rule out flights based on the aircraft (I don't want to fly a single-aisle 757 on a transatlantic flight). It does require some vigilance in booking, though, with some of the code shares. Flights to London on BA and AA in economy usually run the same price (they are both OneWorld alliance members). On BA: free drinks and seat-back entertainment. And BA makes a damn fine Bloody Mary, even in Y. On AA: booze is $7 or thereabouts and not all of the planes have in-seat video. I'll take the BA-operated flight every time.
The whole thing about flights being cheaper today isn't true across the board. A lot of markets-- especially if you are flying to smaller airports (random example: DSM)-- are more expensive today than they were before deregulation, comparing base fares adjusted for inflation. Plus, before deregulation, a lot of things were included in the ticket price that no longer are (meals; luggage). This is especially true for last-minute fares. (I am basing this off of random threads on Flyertalk and insomniac browsings of historical fare and route calculators.) Prices for major markets (NYC-LAX) have gone down, but again, only on restricted tickets. What was fascinating to me when I looked at a bunch of comparisons of flight prices was that there wasn't a huge difference between first class and economy tickets then, but there is now (although on a domestic airline, many people are getting upgrades comped based on elite status). The one area where airfare is absolutely more affordable today than in the past was in the realm of transatlantic or transpacific flights. Basically, we've given up a significant amount of comfort and even reliability (because load levels are so high, you can't expect an empty seat on the next flight out, which leads to some of the incredible cascades of multi-day delays and horror stories when major weather events or snafus hit) for this myth of low fares. Sorry, I am an obsessive reader of Flyertalk, although my travel has tapered off a lot (i.e., I no longer earn elite status on any airline, which makes flying much more miserable).
@Jake Reinhardt Oh, a thousand times yes! The madness has to stop. Just add 20% to the prices and be done with it.
@katerrific This, yes. And the fancy eggs. (For the record, I don't define that as wealthy. I'd say that is comfortable, secure, what I always thought middle-class would be. When I was in that financial situation-- note the past tense-- I made $45,000/year and lived in a small-town in the midwest. I live in the NYC now, making less money than that, and I buy the cheap eggs and milk.)
@deepomega How I wish I had known that golden rule when I started. :(
@deepomega The problem is, I'm NOT being highly paid (unlike @ATF@twitter, who stated s/he was). And, yes, in the future I will do the "pay yourself first" thing when negotiating hourly rate, but that doesn't help now. I was very new to the fabulous new world of long-term contractual/ freelance employment, and didn't know what I should be asking for.
@ATF@twitter Thank you for this. I am in the same boat-- a contractor, well, aside from being "highly paid"-- and I recently was complaining to friends how exhausted I am and how much I miss having paid time off, any paid time off. I have two main sources of income; I work, usually, 3 days a week at one of these (the other is more random hours). Minor holidays, like Memorial Day or President's Day, mean nothing to me now, because it means that if I don't switch my hours around and go to work on Tuesday, I don't get paid for the week. Or, more often, I'll just work on holidays. Fun! My biggest fear is upcoming: I have been called for jury duty, and NYC will not exempt you as a freelancer for loss of income. So I will be screwed, in essence, if I have to serve more than 2 days.
@cuminafterall That is a fantastic point. And, riding on stuffisthings's point, the temp agency that specializes in non-profits in NYC is called Professionals for Non-Profits-- I'm not shilling for them, they're just on my radar because I got an email about a job from them a few days ago, even though I haven't worked for them since maybe 2005? I probably should unsubscribe from their list. I temped in a variety of fields, from the ACLU (a gig I got through a regular temp agency, not non-profit specialized) to white shoe law firms, sometimes using my spreadsheet skills for good, sometimes for evil, but always paid. I actually quit an internship at a museum when I found out all I would be doing was administrative (in an administrative department, not even curatorial or education), because there was no way I was going to do for free what I otherwise got paid $15-$25/hour for. (Having the institution's name on my resume without anything else of substance to show for it wasn't worth it at that point in my career.) Also, I received several permanent job offers via the temp gigs, as did other friends I knew. This was a while back, so I don't know if these avenues have dried up, but my anecdata seems like my circle of acquaintances had better luck going temp-to-perm than what I hear of intern-to-perm.
@dj pomegranate Yes, I totally agree with you. (And also Phoebe, who is fantastic. Whenever I do have money, I find myself not craving anything. But when I'm poor, all I want to do is to buy the things.) As someone who has dwelled-- I'm not sure "lived" is really the right verb for some of these past apartments-- in a variety of small, less than ideal spaces, I always laugh at the decorating magazines telling me how fabulously efficient and minimalist my life could be. Yes, I would freaking love Joe Colombo's Mini Kitchen, but I don't have €10,000 for a kitchen. If I did, I probably wouldn't be living in this shit ass €250/month apartment in an outer district. And good-luck customizing a rental. And it's not like I could just buy a tiny little studio to renovate and live simply. I'm not sure how I'll ever come up with a 20% downpayment on my salary, so I'm pretty much stuck renting. Sorry for the venting!
It's like the world of academic hiring is seeping into the corporate world! How fun!