I’m out on the road again. This time it’s a 5-day trip but I’m not doing a whole lot of flying. We’ll get to that in a minute. I normally plan to arrive at my base (the place where all my trips start and finish) the night before my trip is to begin. This time, however, I was forced into a two-flight commute to a location close to my base, a night there and then a third flight to finish the commute the next morning. Well, I guess that’s not entirely true. If I had been willing to pay triple the usual amount for my overnight room I would have been able to use my normal commuting routine. You see, I am based in the same city that was hosting the NCAA basketball Final Four tournament and, having flunked bidding for the month, I had a trip that began on the weekend of the final three games. The hotels in the area raised their room rates to as high as they thought the traffic would allow. The sports fanatics didn’t seem to notice or care because the hotels were filling their rooms. Some hotels I called said that, in addition to the grossly inflated price, I would have to pay for at least three nights. It made no difference if you were a loyal customer who had been spending 2-3 nights a month with them for the past year. I know that this type of pricing isn’t restricted to this year’s tournament location or even to this event. When I was flying from another of our airline’s hubs I had the same experience with a major sporting event in that city. I believe that time I just dropped the trip and picked up a different one later in the month. I didn’t have that flexibility this time.