Wednesday, 14 July 2010
Tight Fist Tip #41: Airport Express Trains are for Suckers
It's been a long plane ride. And to make matters worse, you picked the slowest line at immigration and your baggage was the last to come off the belt. All you want to do is get to your place of residence (that is certainly not a hotel). Like a recovering alcoholic in the liquor aisle, you gaze longingly at the taxi queue, but you know it would just make you feel bad about yourself in the morning.
Then suddenly you see a shining beacon of light: "Airport Express: Fastest Way to Downtown!" That has to be perfect- A train must be cheap, right? WRONG! Here, let me translate for you: "Airport Express: The Train for Business Travelers Who Don't Give A Crap Because They're Traveling On The Expense Account."
It is seriously amoral the way airports advertise their stupid express trains or buses or whatever. You can't get out of Heathrow without seeing a thousand signs begging you to take the stupid Heathrow Express, advertising how it is '15 Minutes to Central London'. What the stupid signs don't tell you is that this train costs 18 freaking pounds, and you could instead take the normal train for a third of a price and it only takes 10 extra minutes. Or you could just take the subway for a fifth of the price and as a bonus you don't end up in crappy Paddington. Note that the same applies for the stupid Gatwick Express as well. THESE TRAINS ARE ONLY FOR SUITS AND SUCKERS!!!
It's not just London and it's not even just buses. I was just in Prague, where they try to convince you to take the 'Express' bus even though the normal bus follows the same route, has only three stops, and costs half as much! In Copenhagen, you can take a normal bus instead of the stupid 'Express' train for again, a third of the price.
Remember, no matter where you are, locals and employees also have to get to the airport so there has be been some type of affordable option for them. Unless, of course, you are in a city where everyone drives. In this case you are probably screwed.
This is one example of an extremely important tenant of Tight Fist thought. There are whole product categories are priced exorbitantly due to the free-spending of mindless suits with expense accounts. Normal people should never buy these things, which will be the topic of the next post.