A journy of 1000 miles starts with a single step - Here is a discrption of that first step
Pre-flight: Spent 15 minutes trying to find a cab on the corner of 34th and 3rd, stood in line to check-in with about 50 skiers with enough equipment to fill two planes. Bought a smoothy and pretzel to start off the morning and sat at the gate for 45 min until business class started boarding. I waited until my seating group was called (last) could not find a place for my roll-on suitcase and had to gate check it.
Flight: I flew in the back row of a crowded plane, without getting miles.
Car: I spent 45 minutes trying to rent a car and got a crappy sedan that took 35 minutes to warm up (it was January in the mid west!!).
Getting there: I had the foresight to print out Mapquest directions from the airport to the random highway intersection where my client had a campus, but veered left when I should have slightly veered left and spent about three hours trying to find my way among snow, SUVs, and hardy midwestern cornfields.
Client: Had only one colleague’s number and his phone was off….another 45 minutes waiting in the lobby until somebody signed me in.
Team room: Did not bring an Ethernet cable with me…..guess I will have to beg for internet access the whole week.
Hotel: Booked a different hotel from the rest of my team, 30 minutes away instead of 5 minutes. By the time I checked in the hotel only had a smoking, full size bed room right next to the laundry room.
Flight home: Left 30 minutes later than I should have since my manager decided to have a meeting right when I was about to leave…..drove like crazy for an hour to get to the airport only to find out that there was a 3 hour delay. The airport was a zoo!! (Please note that the next series of events that would leave me in that air port for the next 4 hours are key driver of this web site) After I checked in on a machine, I ran into a co worker, lets call him Larry. Larry gave me my first travel tip and told me to try and go to the earlier flight’s gate to get on standby list. Bear in mind that Larry was giving me this advice as he was walking up to the first class check-in (using his gold status) to get himself on th at very standby list . I thought this was great but I would be soon disillusioned. After standing in the 45 min security line, and 10 min into the 30 min line at the gate, Larry walked by on the way to board the plane (after whisking though the first class security line). The flight took off before I even reached the gate to try and get on the standby list. I spent four amazing hours at Gate K14 in ORD waiting for my flight. I am sure some of you have been in this situation , but a group of tired and grump y new Yorkers waiting for a 4 hour delayed flight home on Thursdays night is SCARY. Lets just say that the crew did not know whether to call a S.W.A.T. team or hostage negotiators. A small group rushed the international business lounge back door and “liberated beer and nachos” that just rallied the crowd. Larry landed, had dinner with his girlfriend and was fast asleep when I walked into my place at 03:00am.
For those of you who did not know, Larry gave me the worst tip possible when dealing with a delayed flight!!! By the time you go through security, and get to the gate so has everybody else and chances of you r getting on the earlier flight are slim . Instead, f irst try to call and have travel move you to the earlier flight ; next: check other airlines and possible airports, get on a standby list at the check-in machine, check-in agent, or A dmirals C lub…..
AND let’s not forget my GOLDEN RULE OF TRAVEL – if you have status SHARE IT!!!! It will not hurt you but will help your co worker.
This was a really bad experience and I vowed to never go through this again!!! Let me describe last week.
The 500 mile mark - a description of my travel last week
Pre - flight : Car service to LGA AT 5:15 AM, I am checked in, through security drinking my complimentary coffee, eating my complementary bagel and cream cheese and reading the Journal at the A dmirals C lub at 5:40. At 06:10 I went to my gate, immediately boarded, took my favorite seat in first class in Super 80 4E (yeah baby… free upgrades rule).
Flight: Service in first class is always nice but today the eggs they served for breakfast were not great . T he biscuits were very good , though. :-)
Car: As I got off the bus, the Jaguar I got upgraded was waiting - trunk open and air conditioner running. I plugged in the client address into the navigation systems and I was on my way .
Team room: Since I have a EVDO ? explain?? card now, I have broadband where - ever I go
Hotel: I was upgraded to a executive suite, the room is fine and since I now know the chef of the hotel, I have a little special desert sent up to my room
I now invite you to read the tips on this site, and if you find them helpful, add your own