Most people in the film and TV business would gladly do away with the "glamour" of traveling. Just imagining a stopover at Heathrow or Dallas-Fort Worth airport is enough to make an executive shiver. It seems that today's airports are set up to slow you down and will do anything possible to make the visit unbearable. But the unfriendliness of airports is not the only problem. Travelers are also confronted by high airline fares and hotel rates, combined with lower-quality services and a less accommodating attitudes.
On top of this, there is a general tendency for all involved in the travel industry to nickel and dime consumers to the point of exasperation. There are reports that, in addition to the infamous $4 cup of coffee, some hotels now charge "cleaning fees." In one reported case in the Miami Herald a hotel guest paid $95 per night for a room, plus a $166 cleaning fee. This fee is usually indicated in fine print, and goes mostly unseen by travelers, but is rarely refunded by the reservation agency or credit card company.
Not to be outdone, airlines now charge for extra luggage, food, drinks, earphones, movies, blankets and, if available, on-board Internet service. Plus, to punish passengers even more, airlines have made trips longer by slowing down to a speed comparable to that of a German driver on the Autobahn. Airlines such as Jet Blue stand to save $6.8 million a year by lengthening their flights by just one minute.
This sad state of affairs in the traveling sector forces entertainment professionals to travel less and rely instead on conventions and trade shows, where executives can meet a number of clients in one setting. For this reason conventions continue to grow in number. Recently, Rome TV Market and Florida Media Market joined the convention circuit and, in 2009, DISCOP Africa and possibly an organized market for the Toronto Film Festival, will both debut.
The inhospitability of airports is out of this world. Passengers face long lines at check-in counters and even longer lines at security points, where people wait to disrobe before slow-moving security guards.
Once finally inside the boarding area, few electrical outlets leave execs unable to plug in laptops, and the cost of Wi-Fi service is often an outright scam. Most airports offer Internet service in increments of 24 hours, disregarding the fact that no one remains at the airport for more than a few hours. And it's not unusual to find, like at the Budapest Airport, that...