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|| News Item: Posted 2003-06-30

The Road Warrior: Upgrade This!
By Mongo Johnson

Jeez, have you tried to get an upgrade lately?

You've got the airlines cutting back on the number of flights, which in turn makes the flights they have left, resemble a dense pack flying sardine can. Then you've got a bunch of corporate flying gerbils trying to redeem miles, before their airline of choice goes bankrupt. When they can't book those, they try to use up miles with upgrades!

If you fly American, it's no mystery why everybody wants an upgrade. The airline WAS touting MORE ROOM THROUGHOUT COACH (poking fun at UA's economy plus seating offered in only the first 1/3 of the cabin)
Now I say WAS, because some dip-wad at AA corporate figured out if they added more seats to the plane, they'd increase their revenue on each flight. Never mind the fact that AA's load factor is averages around 69%.

Why add seats to planes you can't fill anyway?

Sports Shooters are last minute flyers and generally pay premium prices for tickets. (2 to 4 times the price of an advance purchase fare) We represent a significant profit margin for the airlines. The good folks at United have recognized this and assign a HIGHER priority on the upgrade list to those passengers with FULL fare tickets.

Bravo, United!

Just so you don't think I'm picking on the Travel industry, let me tell you about Software upgrade hell.

Photo by
ACT 2003 is a contact manager (think rolodex on steroids) it's pretty much the standard in the biz world. I get this letter offering me an upgrade to ACT 2004 ver. 6 for a SAVINGS of $130.00. WOW I think what a deal, I'll just call and do the upgrade instead of ordering it by mail.

I dial the toll free number and a live person answers on the 2nd ring WOW that's amazing.

As I recite my shipping address, the fine print resolves and I see that the upgrade is actually going to cost me $119.00, so I say to my self, gee that's a lot of money for an upgrade.

So I tell the operator that I'll call back later.

Scrounging amongst the pile of catalogs under my desk, is one from Global computer supplies (an outfit I've never ordered from) and they have ACT ver.6 for $69.95 after a manufactures rebate of $100.00.


Why is this ver.6 only 69.95 and the one direct from ACT is $119.00?

So I call the ACT toll free number again, and somebody answers on the 1st ring.

Moi - "Hi, why is your buy it direct, upgrade $50.00 more than what I would pay walking into a store?"

Eux - "It's not the same software sir"

Moi - "unhhhh… the mailing piece I got from your company says ACT ver.6 and the catalog from Global says ACT ver.6, how can it be different software?"

Eux - "Well sir, we're offering ACT 2004 ver. 6 and the software you see in the catalogs or online is ACT ver. 6"

Moi - "ummm… so you're telling me that even though it's still 2003, that you have a 2004 version and it's been revised 6 times already?"

Eux - "no sir, version 6 is version 6"

Moi - "I thought you said it was different software?"
Eux - "it is different software sir"

Moi - "but you just said ver.6 is ver.6"

Eux - "yes sir, but it's ACT 2004 ver.6"

Moi - "Ok, well, what's different?"

Eux - "ACT 2004 ver.6 has support for Palm"

Moi - "What if I don't own a Palm?"

Eux - "(long pause … well sir, you get all the benefits of ACT 2004 ver.6"

Moi - "You don't really know, do you? You're just reading from an on screen script aren't you?"

Eux - (Longer pause) … "Try it for 30 days and if you're not satisfied you … "

I hung up on her.

(Mongo Johnson, a former hunter, trapper, fly fisherman and survivalist now works as a travel consultant and security troubleshooter.

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