It looks like I am going to be in Australia for the month of August.
I love Australia, and when I was there in 2004, Sydney replaced San Francisco as my favorite city. But the 15 hour flight from LAX to SYD is murderous. Seriously, I can deal with long flights but 15 hours in coach is painful. On the way back I watched Return of the King three times in a row and the flight was barely half over.
So I thought, hey, this time I’ll fly in business class. Yeah, it is more expensive, but should be worth it.
I went and looked up the price on American: over US$19000.
What? That is the price of a car. For this post I decided to just price a flight in business from LAX to SYD (versus all the way from RDU). It came to US$18700 with taxes, round trip.
If we assume that the round trip is 30 hours or so, that comes to around $623/hour. That’s outrageous. You can get over three hours of top-notch OpenNMS consulting for that. Heck, Elliot Spitzer doesn’t spend that hourly rate (well, at least for 15 hours straight).
Who pays this? I really can’t imagine doing it. Well, I mean if I was Tiger Woods and made millions, US$19K might not seem that important (and I’d probably upgrade to First for just $5K more), but from a business standpoint?
I had a friend say “well, just charge it to the client”. I did think about it, and if it was under $10K I would have even suggested it, but it was almost twice that. For the difference I figured I could fly out in coach a couple of days early, stay in the most expensive hotel room in Sydney, dine on endangered species and still come out ahead.
Sheesh. $19K for a plane flight (well, two). So I’m in coach for a fraction of the price, heading out a couple of days early (staying at the Courtyard) and the most exotic thing I’ll eat is kangaroo, but at least the client will come out ahead, which means they can buy more OpenNMS stuff.
So, am I an idiot for not charging the client? What’s the most expensive plane ticket you’ve purchased?