I Deserve It; More on Travel

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My Business Traveler’s Bill of Rights caught some attention and the interview on NPR really caused a stir. I am waiting for the call from the airline coalition or the U.S. Congress to bring my perspectives there. I will remain on stand by for that call.

When it comes to my descriptions of lines at the airplane lavatories or sitting next to someone who snores, everyone can identify and many had comments to add. A sampling is listed below:

What about installing circuitry to allow electrostatic shock treatment to the kids that kick the back of my seat?

The airlines should:1) Separate lines at security for people with loafers. 2) Separate section for people with kids under 10. Now that I’m on that side of the ledger, I know how upsetting we are to everybody. But our section should be in the middle of the plane, not the back, because all the business people are wearing Bose headphones and we don’t have that luxury, so they should be where it’s noisiest.

How about a red light and a siren that go on above the seat of the guy who passes silent but deadly gas for five hours? Thanks for passing this on (as I get ready to board a flight to NY).

And these were the gentle ones. There was much said about airline personnel that is unprintable. The airline business is tough and I know how hard those hospitality jobs are so I don’t fault them.

There is a danger in business travel that needs to be pointed out and it has to do with carry-on liquids. On a flight not long ago, I watched (from economy) as a guy wearing a tie struggled down the aisle carrying a coat, a computer bag, a carry-on bag, and a large steaming hot cup of coffee. He made it to his row and tried to figure out what to do with his gear since his was the window seat and the aisle and middle seat was already occupied with two other business travelers. Since his hot coffee needed to find a home before any thing else, he propped it on the edge of the overhead compartment while he hunted for a spot for his large carry on. No help from any flight attendants.

Sure enough, the very hot, very full, very large cup of coffee fell out of the overhead and spilled onto the head of the unsuspecting guy in the aisle seat. The commotion that ensued was like a Bruce Willis movie. There was yelling and screaming and thrashing and threats. The guy in the aisle would have killed the guy with the coffee if he could get to him. The captain came back to try to calm things down. This was not a time when a few napkins and club soda would help.

The guy with the burnt head and bruised ego was moved to first class and, I hope, plied with alcohol to soothe the monster in him.

Now I understand why TSA worries about liquids on planes.

Many of the comments about the Bill of Rights focused on “I deserve it…” That is, “I work like a dog; I leave my family for my company; I pay top rate and travel thousands of miles every year; I deserve something better than an un-fun, unproductive experience. And, my expectations are so low already, it wouldn’t take much to make me an adoring customer. I am not asking for much but it is an impossible situation.”

Airlines and hotels take heed. It wouldn’t take much to make the business traveler happy.

On the other side of “I deserve it” is the mentality that the travel is so miserable, “I deserve this big rare steak and the extra drink.” I agree, you deserve it.

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