Scary Warnings To Travel By

Posted on February 6, 2015 by - Also by this author

I recently downloaded to my iPad the app from my favorite airline, one that gives me and my wife bonus miles through a credit card. We finally clued in to the practice of sticking with one airline to enjoy the benefits of early boarding, free miles, and occasional upgrades.

Needless to say, I was shocked when I opened up the app, purchased a ticket, and received one of those legaleezy-skeezy-breezy warning prompts: “You understand that by using this airline and taking its flights, you may be exposed to air transportation that is potentially dangerous, offensive, harmful to minors, unsafe or otherwise objectionable, and that you use this airline and its services at your own risk.”

Say whaaaaaat? I couldn’t believe this. “Otherwise objectionable?”  Were they referring to rude flight attendants? I had been reading about how air travel had become less pleasant and reliable, but are the skies really this unfriendly?

With the shock still fresh in my mind a day later, my wife and I drove down to San Diego for the day. On the way there, we decided to make a weekend of it and book a hotel room ahead of time from the hotel group where we accumulate frequent stay points.

Since I now travel with my iPad, I downloaded the hotel chain’s app and booked a room. Upon getting our confirmation, I received the prompt: “You understand that by staying at this hotel and using its services, you may be exposed to hospitality that is potentially dangerous, offensive, harmful to minors, unsafe or otherwise objectionable, and that you use this hotel and its facilities at your own risk.”

Now, I was even more disturbed. “Harmful to minors?” Did this hotel have a problem with child-snatchings?!

If you can’t trust your flight and your hotel, how can you reasonably travel. . . . WAIT, STOP. I made all of that up. Those app experiences really didn’t happen.

But why shouldn’t they have, when you consider that Uber actually transmits the following disclaimer to its paying riders? “You understand that by using the application and the service, you may be exposed to transportation that is potentially dangerous, offensive, harmful to minors, unsafe or otherwise objectionable, and that you use the application and the service at your own risk.”

Yikes, thanks for the warning, Surgeon General.

My point is: If you wouldn’t fly on an airline or stay in a hotel with such a bald-faced suspicious and shady disclaimer, why would you entrust a ground transportation provider that has one? Statistically, you are at greater risk of being hurt or killed in an auto accident than in a plane crash or hotel fire. So safety is vital.

Now, there’s what you call a glowing, flaming, smoking gun in your face: Transportation Network Companies are unsafe, unreliable, mostly un-regulated scams that put the public at risk. If they were so confident in safety and quality, they wouldn’t need such disclaimers.

This looks like a great selling point — and hardball tactic — for legitimate chauffeured transportation services. Now go scare the traveling public straight, or at least until TNCs take the straight path and ditch their friendly lies.

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