Editor's Page

Dec. 21, 2004
Road woes

Like many of IW's executive readers, I travel almost constantly -- from airplane to rental car to hotel and back in a dizzying progress of meetings. Some of these meetings turn out to be useful, while others merely contribute to my growing collection of platinum frequent-flyer, -sleeper, and -renter cards. But all of these trips contribute to a growing annoyance with select but irritating groups of travelers and travel, ahem, professionals. Are you one? Take this simple test: Bin Busters -- Airline passengers, are you surprised and/or annoyed when you can't fit two briefcases, an overnight bag, and a double garment bag into the overhead bin? Do you complain -- even slightly -- when your five loaves of sourdough bread and two souvenir wine boxes have to be crushed beneath the seat in front of you? Take a tip from the grumbling passenger behind you and check your bags at the ticket counter. Or, if you're truly paranoid about making sure your bags arrive when you do, check them at the gate. You can watch them being loaded, and we won't have to watch your shirt (and composure) come undone as you wrestle 150 cubic feet of luggage into a space the size of a toaster. Blabby Cabbies -- Attention all cab drivers: Do you assume that your customers, after a long day of meetings and travel, are interested in discussing the Trilateral Commission and other conspiracy theories? Or that what they really need, at midnight after three connections and nine hours in coach, is a 5,000-watt jolt of heavy metal from your taxi's speakers? Here's a hint from the International League of Traveling Business People: Take us to the hotel. Quietly. Now. Thank you. Only the Lonely -- Fellow travelers, clients, and partners: Are you afraid that if you leave us, your guests, alone in a new city for even a few minutes -- long enough, say, to work out, or grab a nap, or call our spouses and children -- we will think you inhospitable? Or that we'll use your absence to find another vendor? Think about it: We're able to eat, walk, and find restaurants in other cities, even when you're not with us. We even like -- gasp -- to be alone on the road sometimes. So if we enjoy each other's company, by all means invite us out. But if there's no reason for another five-hour schmoozefest, and you'd rather be home with your family, just say so. Room service and a magazine would be just fine. Whine Sellers -- Do you regale your colleagues with long-winded tales about five-hour rain delays, overbooked flights, hellish cab rides, and paper-walled hotel rooms? Are you convinced that your annual-mileage dwarfs that of all but the most weary of road warriors? Sorry to break the news to you, but these are the '90s and we're all traveling way too much in peanuts-and-Diet-Coke discomfort. After a long week of our own travel snafus, the last thing we want to hear is your self-pitying monologue. If it's any consolation, nobody wants to listen to our complaining, either. Which means I'd better stop, too. Send e-mail messages to John Brandt at [email protected]

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