My wife booked the family on a Christmas cruise through the Caribbean. Brilliant suggestion. It’s tougher to get the aging kids to agree on a destination but there was no argument about this one. I was just a tad wary. The carrier, Carnival had a series of mishaps in the last couple of years. No problems on ours – in fact, everything was superb.
Except for the wi-fi. After the eighth session with download speeds under 1mb, I finally complained. At 75c a minute they should be doing much better especially as satellite connectivity (via Ka-band and other innovations) has improved each year. I offered the lady Speedtest.net images I had run during my mobile sessions. She said she needed to check their own monitor. Except after a few minutes she said it would not load: “the connectivity is very poor”. Duh! I told her to get back to me later. She forgot to. The next morning another agent helped and told me I “should not expect speeds you get at home”. Hello, I got better speeds on DSL a decade ago. She had a supervisor call who offered me 25 extra minutes. I told him I did not need more of the crappy service and we worked out a credit.
It made me contrast to the other experiences on the cruise. Don’t like an entrée? Want another appetizer? Want to swap “non-refundable” excursions? Want late check-out? No problem. But when it came to the telecom, over-priced poor service, and then excuses and bureaucracy.
Marriott has been my home away from home. They tell me I have stayed nearly 4 years with them! In the last few months, however, I have complained to several properties. Either the service is too slow or it requires repeated log ins. They treat it like gold – ok, their beach towels they used to inventory after every stay. One of their properties even settled a claim they illegally jammed customer hot spots. Seriously?
I have qualified for a Companion Pass on Southwest for 8 years running. It is their honor for very frequent fliers. Last year I sent the CEO a letter saying because of poor wifi (and couple of other reasons) I was moving 25% of my travel budget away from them. That allowed me to discover the much faster speeds on Jetblue, and much more reliable (albeit not as fast) GoGo service on Delta. In the meantime, the Row 44 service on Southwest has gotten even worse this year, so next year I plan to reduce my travel with Southwest even more.
Why are these respected brands offering such crappy connectivity? Do they have no leverage with their providers? Why do they feel the need to price what is a utility so obnoxiously?
Oh wait, these are cousins of our telcos and cable companies who consistently compete with tobacco companies for the worst brand reputations. It’s an unfortunate race to the bottom which nullifies so much else good these companies do in other facets of their products and services.