I’ve just completed a wonderful Airbnb stay with a gracious host — along with an incredible Airbnb outdoor experience. But once these transactions were done, Airbnb committed a heinous blunder that soured me on the whole concept.
My hosts in San Diego promised a four-bedroom house with a well-equipped kitchen — and delivered exactly what they promised. And Dave and Antonella, the two people who described a truly special interaction with hawks and falcons, fulfilled all the promises in their online description.
I love writing online reviews, especially the online reviews at the end of Airbnb experiences. They’re like the little chocolate at the end of a night of fine dining. I value the comments left by other travelers; they’re crucial in my ability to trust a stranger to enhance, not ruin, my travel experiences. And when I complete my own trips, I savor the chance to pay it forward and tell the next person, with complete honesty, what to expect.
So when Airbnb prompted me to review my San Diego falconry experience, my frame of mind was positive, especially since I’d have to chance to thank Dave and Antonella for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Imagine my chagrin when instead I encountered this horrifying choice:
Watching hawks perch on my family’s gloved forearms and falcons swoop at breakneck speeds after a lure? Definitely unique.
But only a philistine would put a comparative in front of unique.
“Unique” means “the only one of its kind.” And the falconry experience, with the wind blowing in off the ocean cliffs as a huge bird whizzed by us, intent on its prey, was definitely unique.
But how can something be “mostly unique?” If it’s one-of-a-kind, it’s unique. If it isn’t, it isn’t. You can’t be mostly dead, mostly pregnant, or mostly unique.
As I sat in my comfortable armchair in my beautiful Airbnb home, surrounded by family, peering at this incomprehensible abomination, a howl of outrage escaped me. Airbnb had ruined my vacation in an instant with its ill-considered and impossible survey.
I will not tell you what I clicked on; the shame is too great. Only my gratitude for Dave and Antonella and their raptors allowed me to go on at all.
Airbnb, you have created access to an incredible set of experiences, underpinned by the honesty of reviewers and the generosity of hosts worldwide. You’ve made it possible for me to sleep on a houseboat in Amsterdam, blend into the cosmopolitan bustle of Copenhagen, and make my own breakfast before a meeting in San Jose. You brought me falcons, for crying out loud.
Fix this repugnant atrocity now.