The 4:40PM flight from Cleveland puts us into Denver at 6:15. A half hour to retrieve luggage, a half hour to get rental vehicles, and a two-hour drive to Breckenridge - and we'll be in bed at a decent time so we can be up bright and early for our first day of skiing.
Weather can interfere, but on this trip, weather was not the problem. It was the vehicle-rental process that wrecked our perfectly planned schedule. When I'd booked, the cost of car rentals shocked me. The daily rate looked more like a monthly car payment! For eight of us, I needed two vehicles. Double ouch!
Then I found an off-airport upstart at half the price. I was desperate, so I booked. It turned out to be everything I dreaded.
The company had no van at the airport, and we made numerous calls before one arrived. The wait at the counter was long. They they had us write our name and phone number on a blank piece of paper, and they entered our information into their computers at a tedious pace. When someone finally took a key and went out to the parking lot, he hit the unlock button to locate the behicle by the honking.
Our vehicle was four deep! So they gave us a free upgrade - the first vehicle in line. In attempts to contain costs, their inefficiency resulted in giving away free merchandise. The half hour we'd planned for vehicle rental turned into an hour and forty minutes. We did not get to bed on time, and no, we weren't on the slopes bright and early.
In reviewing this unsatisfactory customer experience, I thought, "Do we have a four-deep problem? What is it?"