The Cynic’s Guide to Business Travel

by Mary Ellen Eagan

I spent five hours last week in seat 33D on a 737-800.  For those of you unfamiliar with that airplane’s configuration, it’s in the very last row, right next to the lav (which happened to be particularly fragrant – did you know that airplane lavs are not really designed to handle 100% load factors?  One of those factoids you learn from hanging around environmental folks at ATA.)  My great plans for getting through the 4,000 messages in my outlook were literally squashed when the woman in 32D  decided to recline her seat into my laptop (which may, in fact, have been the highlight of the flight, since it forced me to open The Wordy Shipmates).  And I had it good – when I got home, I received an email from Bob at CLE, from his new smartphone (thanks Ric): “It’s a zoo here.  Flt from cle to phl is delayed for weather; will miss my connection tonight, kids are home alone cuz dana’s away; reid has an interview in maine at 8:30am.  Having fun yet?  At least the mtg here went well.”  Bob did manage to get home that evening too, (well, early in the morning) and we both considered ourselves lucky.

Which made me particularly receptive to Penelope Trunk’s November 11th blog post entitled, ‘How to make business travel manageable’.  Read it, you’ll be glad.  I have to say that I agree with all of her advice, and wish I’d followed it more closely this week when I rushed off to Las Vegas for the ACC Annual Conference.  OTOH, two lovely dinners with two charming men (even if they did both go for the oysters), goes a long way toward justifying way too much wine and a chocolate lava cake. What’s another few hours on the treadmill?

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