Brandt On Leadership -- Business Travel Tips For Bozos

Feb. 17, 2006
Shoes off. Mouth shut. Bags checked. Hands to self. Compress gas pedal.

A few helpful notes for several of you who stood or sat near me at various airports or on one of several planes in the last week or so (you know who you are):

  1. Yes, you have to take your shoes off at the security checkpoint, and no, the TSA personnel really don't care if they've NEVER set off a metal detector ANYWHERE. There's a guy named Big Rocco in a dark room with a pair of latex gloves just praying that you'll make a big deal out of your Italian loafers. Do yourself (and us) a favor and don't.
  2. Thanks for inviting me to your meeting. I mean, I assume I was invited to your meeting, since you sat next to me and yammered away on your cell phone in a voice loud enough to call the kids home to dinner. I disagreed with your approach on the Smith deal, and I thought you were probably too harsh in your assessment of Jones' performance during the sales conference. But then, I didn't really know what the hell you were talking about. Or care.
  3. More From John Brandt

    See Brandt On Leadership: John Brandt's new blog about bad bosses, fictional employees, corporate misbehavior and the importance of never being 5 minutes late to work when you can get away with an entire hour.
    That talking-into-your-hand thing, where you try to muffle the sound of your secret conversation, doesn't really work. I could still hear every excruciatingly boring topic you discussed. I'm just guessing, but the CIA probably doesn't use the hand-talking technique to keep stuff hush-hush. Then again, it's the CIA.
  4. There's a new service option on most airlines that you might like to try: THEY WILL CHECK YOUR BAGS TO YOUR DESTINATION FOR FREE! This means that you don't have to haul your 330-pound rolling suitcase on board and then spend 10 minutes huffing, puffing, shoving, falling over and arguing with the flight attendant as you try to squeeze 100 square feet of duffel bag into 50 square feet of overhead cabin space. I've tried the bag-checking service, and it really works. But maybe you like dropping things on other passengers' heads.
  5. While you're up there rearranging things, please remember that I made sure my sport coat was pressed before I left this morning. So although I appreciate your kind efforts to wad it into a ball and then compress it with your obviously more important carry-on luggage, I think I'll take a pass and leave the jacket laid flat just the way it was.
  6. Yes, I do want the armrest in the DOWN position. I'm sorry your seat is uncomfortable, but it seems unsporting of you to insist that mine be uncomfortable, too.
  7. The nachos and beer before you got on the plane were a bad idea, and yes, we all knew who it was.
  8. The large building we left our cars in while we traveled may be called a parking garage, but they meant while you were gone, not while you were crawling at 1.5 mph from Level 5 down to the Exit with 14 cars behind you. You don't need to make a full stop and look both ways at every turn, either.
  9. Even though our bags are the same size and color, I've cleverly put a luggage tag on mine, which means we both have a fighting chance at getting home with the right underwear, as long as I can get to baggage claim before you do.

Thanks for listening, let me know which flights you'll be on next week,

John R. Brandt, formerly editor-in-chief of IndustryWeek, is CEO of the Manufacturing Performance Institute, a research and consulting firm based in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Also see Brandt On Leadership: John R. Brandt's new blog about bad bosses, fictional employees, corporate misbehavior and the importance of never being 5 minutes late to work when you can get away with an entire hour.


Amen! Especially to the overhead baggage. Allowing large roll ons was a bad idea that has just become worse. Thanks for saying what many of us feel.

D. Bish
Bend, OR

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