Introducing the future of good service -- the coffeecheck.
Nothing spoils a meal like being held hostage to an uppity or lackadaisical waiter's notion of when you'll be allowed to leave the restaurant.
Checks should be delivered with the final course, at least for businesses lunches.
4. Abolish institutionalized taxi extortion
One of the enduring mysteries of travel is the shocking percentage of municipalities that allow the first impression of their cities to be an extortionate US$65 cab ride from the airport to downtown.
Does the Mafia run every taxi company in the world?
Is it too much to ask that visitors to major cities be spared from getting fleeced as if they've concluded a losing transaction with a neighborhood bookie as soon as they get to town?
Affordable rides into the city would eliminate a significant amount of the stress and hassle endured by visitors coming to a place for the first time.
If private enterprise can't responsibly accommodate tourists, local legislation should be employed to force them into it.
5. Offer upgrades whenever possible
Airline upgrades are the Bigfoot of the travel world.
People talk of them in hushed tones, with shrugged shoulders, their faces darkened in some corner of a rural tavern as they exchange secrets on how and where you might be able to score one.
Surely this is ridiculous.
We understand the consumer psychology behind premium-level status -- you start giving away your exclusive product and suddenly it's no longer exclusive.
But while most consumer-facing industries like to improve customer experiences whenever possible, the airline industry seems to go out of its way to keep its passengers grumpy and miserable.
The hotel industry is a little better. Taj Hotels has a policy of upgrading to the next level of room or suite if available when you check in.
But for the most part hotels avoid upgrading, too, and we suggest at some cost.
Wouldn't the word-of-mouth and social media praise be worth it from customers grateful for surprise upgrades if they occurred more often?
6. Retire the beverage cart on short flights
Responsible for more mashed toes and dislocated elbows than the UFC, these 300-pound chariots of doom present passengers in aisle seats with a constant danger, cost airlines millions and keep us from hitting the head at precisely the moment we most need to.
To shave expenses, airlines have already done away with most food. The next logical step is ending the tiresome drink service that creates more trouble than it's worth.
For flights of two hours or less, hand out bottles of water and sell beer, wine and drinks in the departure lounge. This will save the airlines money and labor and, for customers, eliminate the risk of being sideswiped every five minutes by the polyestered haunch of an exhausted flight attendant horsing a Sisyphun weight up and down the aisle taking drink requests and barking orders -- "Keep your feet in!" "Watch your knees!" -- with all the élan of the guy who sits in the booth and weighs you in at the dump.
7. Just stop talking, please
The first port of call for most vacations -- the airport -- is invariably an unending and un-ignorable procession of barely decipherable Tannoy announcements, most of which are entirely superfluous.
Noise equals stress, so airports should be minimizing it wherever possible, not adding to it.