Many jobs require frequent travel, and the publishing business is no exception. We’re often flying out of town for trade shows, press conferences, and other industry-related events. After going to CEDIA EXPO, and a few other conferences, over the last couple of months, I've observed a few irksome things about travel.
When traveling by plane, you’re sure to become annoyed at one thing or another: long lines at customs; being forced to take off your shoes; random baggage checks; not being able to take a bottle of water in your carry-on, and so on. But our experience went beyond these standard (but unfortunately necessary) annoyances.
Here’s the story: on the return flight from CEDIA, we noticed that the itinerary named two different airlines ("XX flight" in big letters "by YY"). As Murphy’s Law would have it, our driver insisted that he drop us off at airline XX, only to find out that we really should have been taken to airline YY’s check-in station. Needless to say, it wasn’t uncommon to hear a few expletives as we lugged our baggage across the airport. Why were two, active airlines named on the itinerary? And the incorrect one in larger, more prominent lettering, at that? Politics or not, there’s no need to confuse the traveler.
Once ready to check-in, my colleague was told he had to pay an additional fee because his suitcase was overweight. That was no big deal. But then the attendant added non-chalantly that if he split his things into two suitcases, he could avoid the extra cost. Huh? Apparently two bags that take up more room on a plane are better than one that’s slightly overweight. Needless to say, the expletives kept coming.
Of course the other part of business travel is the hotel stay which, for the most part in my experiences, has been wonderful. Many people these days stay in touch while traveling solely via handheld devices like a Blackberry, but someone like me who works predominantly online needs to stay connected on a full-blown notebook PC back in the room. I still can't believe that WiFi access isn't yet a standard free feature in hotels. I’ve stayed in some pretty fancy hotels, and could not believe that even they still make you pay $10 per day to log onto the ‘net. Haven’t we reached a point where Internet access is just as ubiquitous as a TV or clock radio?