Anyone who has memorized the 800 telephone numbers on the back of the frequent flyer membership card will know what I am talking about. Anyone who is sitting in a middle seat between two people who paid one third the price for the same ticket will understand. Anyone who knows the shortest lines at the Starbucks at every airport in the world will chuckle with a knowing laugh. I am talking about phrases that business travelers hear that are akin to fingernails on a blackboard.
If the following phrases make you nod with sympathy, you may be traveling too much. But here they are nonetheless, some of the most dreaded phrases for the business traveler and their true meaning, sorry to remind you:
- Good news, bad news – This is a trick to lower expectations immediately. As in, “the good news is we are alive and will enjoy the miracle of flight; the bad news is we are delayed for three hours.” Listen closely for the bad news because the good news is never that good.
- Shuttle bus – Often means you will miss your connection.
- Talking to maintenance – But is maintenance listening? “Talking to maintenance” and “we are experiencing a one hour delay” are redundant phrases.
- Reservation was not guaranteed – Start calling other hotels, no amount of arguing will get you into the hotel that cancelled the reservation.
- We’re trying a new menu – The new menu might be better but why do they have to try it on me?
- The President is in town – Gridlock on the streets and in the air will prevail as Air Force One lands and motorcades roam the city. Move all reservations back a few hours. POTUS prevails.
- We’ve been notified by Air Traffic Control – ATC only calls to discuss turbulence or delays. Nothing good follows this phrase.
- That bag has to be checked – Nothing further comment required.
All of you Road Warriors will have many phrases to add to this list. Although the airlines have changed over time with additional charges and less service, the list has only grown.
Road Warriors, I hope you can enjoy a week or two without hearing these phrases.