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Published: July 31st 2012
Views in Central Park.
As it was our last day and we needed to check out of the room, we spent the day relaxing rather than feeling the need to cram-in any last minute activities. We had planned to do a Scavenger Hunt, which was one of the activities on the New York City Pass, but decided against it. Instead we used the time for the swimming pool and a walk around Central Park.
We went down to Hell’s Kitchen again for lunch.
Once we got back to the hotel, we picked-up our luggage and set-about getting a taxi for the airport. Things then got complicated. The hotel asked us if we wanted to use the hotel bus, at a fixed cost of $60 including the tip. That sounded like a good idea as it would at least save the stress of a rolling meter even if $60 may not be the cheapest option. The bus turned-up, which was effectively a car, and the driver got in a right strop and sulked the whole way to the airport. “They not agree my tip. I agree my tip. I not get paid. My boss take all the money” in a strong Ukrainian accent. He was not happy, we were not happy, but presumably the hotel concierge got some sort of commission.
I’m sure I moan about it every time we visit the States, but the whole tipping situation gets to just bleed you dry after a while. We’re used to tipping for meals and taxis (although not quite as much), but then there’s when you have a drink, when you so much as move in the proximity of a hotel lobby and every tour (along with the not-so-subtle advice on exactly how much they expect you to tip them). Furthermore some restaurants seem to also add on a service charge and you’re still expected to pay a tip. Then the taxes are never included in the prices, so that gets added on as well.
Another thing that I just don’t get is online check-in. We did not check-in at the hotel as there was no printer, so I used the check-in booth in the airport, which involved scanning our passports. You then have to queue for the baggage drop, where they go through what seems like a normal check-in complete with another scan of the passports. Hence what is the point? Cheeking-in in advance just seems like a glorified way of covering the cost of printing your boarding pass.
Our security check was manned by a guy who had to be the coolest airport security guard in America. He checked our passports and asked me if I really wanted to be seated with my wife, he asked for “Princess Freya” when he got to my daughter’s and shouted “in the air” for a high-five when he got to my son’s.
As the traffic was nowhere near as bad as it had been when we arrived from the airport, we arrived at the terminal excessively early, meaning that there was loads of time to kill. It was the first place we had been to in New York that didn’t have any kind of wifi Internet access, which came as a shock as we had got so used to having it in the hotel, every restaurant, every museum and even, more often than not, walking down the street.
I’ll have to upload this blog when we get home, but at least we can relax here now, knowing that there is no further need to tip anyone anymore – I hope.
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