Sunday musings: Tipping Culture, Standing airplane seats, Best Airport WiFi

Photo by Airbus

The Gratuitous Injustice of American Tipping Culture

We, here in the United States take tipping for granted. In Europe, though servers are pleased with a small tip, they are uncomfortable with and don’t understand tipping. Some Americans feel they are pleasing those who serve them, while they are only making them fees subservient and disrespecting their work. It’s a fine line and varies by culture. The tipping culture is hard to explain and understand. How did we get here? And, why won’t we change?

No matter where you go and who you talk to, it seems like everyone hates America’s tipping culture. Finding someone who thinks our current system is just fine and dandy is more difficult than keeping track of which Kardashian is which. The fact that the above quote is now nearly 100 years old proves that opposition to America’s tipping culture isn’t something new, but no matter how much people claim to hate it, no one seems to want to do anything about it.

Less than 100 years ago, people genuinely believed that there was no such thing as “menial service” to an American, that waiters could be gentlemen, and that service didn’t mean servitude. They believed the idea of tipping was a fundamentally demeaning and classist notion of which they wanted no part. Since then, we appear to have come a long way down a road paved with good intentions.

What the hell went wrong?

Airbus wants to patent the most uncomfortable plane seats ever

About a half-a-decade ago, a friend of mine got wind of these seats and wrote about it in the New York Times. Airbus objected so strenuously that the Times actually printed a retraction. Now, it seems that the scoop that my friend uncovered was very true and that the corporate heavy handedness was a lie.

A few years ago, an Italian company announced that they were selling seats that were described in that New York Times article and, recently, Airbus announced that they are attempting to patent a similar seat.

Its cushions are shaped liked bicycle saddles, and when the seats aren’t being used, they fold vertically to save space. Cutting down all that “bulk,” as the patent application puts it, lets you do a lot more with the limited real estate on board.

This could potentially make air travel even more economical than it already is. If you’re willing to put up with it — and most people would be, Airbus predicts, so long as the flights are short — it’d be far more efficient than the way we currently fly, loading huge metal-and-plastic contraptions onto planes just so they can cradle our fleshy rear ends.

But if you squint, the thing looks more like a medieval torture device than lounging equipment.

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The 12 U.S. Airports With the Fastest Wi-Fi Connections

Airports Fastes WiFi

The winner is Detroit. At least that city has a winning streak somewhere. Click through here for the story.

Some of the country’s busiest airports, such as JFK in New York and Chicago O’Hare, didn’t even make the top 12 ranking.

While all of the airports in the top 12 have relatively large passenger volumes, some of the busiest airports face considerable challenges in increasing network capacity.

Free Wi-Fi at these airports are more the exception than the rule.

“In our opinion busy airports likely experience more travelers connecting to Wi-Fi, causing slower connection speeds, but we have not verified this as part of this particular research study,” says David Fishman, Wefi’s CMO.

  • Ton

    the tipping part is based on the way personel are paid and what is included, the fact is (often unknown) that in europe usually a price is incl 15% service fee, so when you tip you tip purely on the basis of “above and beyond” while in the us you pay for service

    must say that service tends to be good in the usa, in holland we tend to have a lot of students working in restaurants which tends not to be stellar