Friday, March 18, 2005
A roundup of stuff in the news that pissed me off this week
What the hell is the point of having four weeks vacation if I can’t afford to go anywhere? Yeah, baby. I’m talking about the Jetsgo (“Jetsgone”) debacle.
I had two trips planned. One to Toronto and one to Newfoundland. I hadn’t booked anything because I was waiting for a seat sale. Then Jetsgo crashed and burned, driving prices skyward. Not just in the short-term, but indefinitely.
This economic fallout thing is screwing up my plans. Air Canada, West Jet and HMY have all increased their prices now that Jetsgo is gone. You’d think this would be good for them. One less competitor means more customers at their counters, right? So why would they need to raise the prices when they’re going to get more people on their planes anyway?
I know, I know. Jetsgo’s ridiculously cheap flights forced everyone to artificially lower their prices. Now that Jetsgo’s gone, the other carriers can raise their prices to reflect the true cost of flying and offset soaring fuel costs, etc. But as a customer on a budget, it sucks.
The cheapest one-way ticket to Toronto on West Jet before Jetsgo went bankrupt was $179. The cheapest one-way ticket to Toronto on West Jet after Jetsgo went bankrupt was $279. This isn’t for a flight tomorrow. This is for a flight two months down the road.
Yesterday, the one-way fare to Toronto in May was down to $229. Do I jump on that or do I wait to see if they go even lower in a few weeks? If anyone has any insider information on this a la Martha Stewart, let me know.
Protecting the American way of life
Another story that’s in the news this week (although not making as many headlines as Jetsgo) is further proof that George W. Bush is a moron. As if starting a pointless war in Iraq wasn’t bad enough, now he’s going to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Bloody hell!
Bush’s rationale goes something like this: prices at the gas pumps are really high and we need to decrease our dependence on foreign supplies of oil. There’s lots of oil in Alaska and who really cares about a bunch of stupid polar bears, caribou and birds anyway?
My rationale goes something like this: bad idea! Drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge won’t end America’s dependence on imported oil. What it will do is destroy one of the most fragile and environmentally sensitive areas in the world for about six months worth of oil that won’t even hit the market for another 10 years.
Here’s a better idea: Improve the fuel efficiency of cars. Doing that alone would save more oil than could be extracted from the Arctic Refuge.
Admittedly, that’s not as clear-cut a solution as increasing supply to meet demand. But then why not just reduce the demand in the first place? If our cars burned less fuel, we wouldn’t need as much oil. It seems like Bush would rather protect polluting SUVs than North America’s last remaining true wilderness.
[* Disclaimer: I am fully aware it is hypocritical of me to slam U.S. energy policy, and at the same time want to spend my vacation flying across the country on cheap flights that burn a hell of a lot more fuel than cars. But that’s part of the problem. Most people don’t want to radically change their lifestyles. Including me, I guess.]
We need oil, I get it. But there’s no reason we can’t stop wasting so much of it. Besides, there’s a lot of oil drilling in Alaska already. Why can’t we just protect this one area?
Canada: A safe haven for terrorists
As for the disappointing Air India trial, I’ve only got four words to say about that -- not guilty my ass!