David J. Danto
Business travel thoughts in my own, personal opinion
The End Of The Rainbow – January 2023
We’ve all been told that there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But what if – and hear me out here – there isn’t? What if, after years of loyalty to airlines and years of traveling for business and pleasure, it all just stops? The closer I get to the end of the story the more I believe that there is no pot of gold, no ‘thanks for all your cash and support’, not even a gold watch expressing thanks.
These were the thoughts that went through my head when I began to contemplate my European business trip coming up in a couple of weeks. I went back to my first time traveling internationally. I was excited. I was encouraged by my employer’s faith in me representing them. I was looking forward to international business-class seats / service, expedited customs service, excellent treatment in a top-notch hotel, the respect of my international colleagues, etc. The trip was hard work, but the logistics around it were meant to be easy – just letting me focus on work.
Now I dread the airport experience, I dread the in-flight experience, I’m not looking forward to the hotel, and the entire trip will be from the airport to the taxi to the hotel to the conference center back to the hotel back to the airport. Paid business class isn’t a reality for me anymore, and my upgrade request – with miles and hundreds of bucks in cash – will not likely clear. Even if it did, the experience would be close to what plain coach used to get all those years ago, not really anything that can honestly be called first class.
It made me wonder when traveling became something I dreaded instead of something I looked forward to. I suppose the answer to that is that it happened gradually over the last twenty or so years. The gatekeepers (Sky-Gods as Joe once called them) slowly lined their pockets and at the same time gradually took away all that was pleasurable about the experience. The government looked the other way as competition in the US air travel industry died, and passengers were left with little or no choices of carrier. If your airport isn’t in Las Vegas or Orlando or maybe San Francisco then you have to fly your one incumbent carrier. If you don’t like them your options are drive, walk, connect or STFU.
Nowadays we have Zoom and Microsoft Teams and lots of other video collaboration tools. We had plenty of video tools in the past too, but now that we’ve lived through a global pandemic (at least those reading this have) people actually know what these tools are and know how to use them. Maybe I don’t really need to be at that next conference. Maybe I can stay in bed and stream video from the event instead. Maybe there will never be a pot of gold that I reach (when I travel enough and hit that next elite level) which sees the airlines and hotels and other hospitality companies actually be nice to me. Maybe it was all just a myth after all.
What about you? Do you still look forward to the “excitement” of business travel or do you now dread it like I do? Drop me a note and let me know and I’ll put your comments into a subsequent blog.
This article was written by David Danto and contains solely his own, personal opinions.
All image and links provided above as reference under prevailing fair use statutes.
Copyright 2023 David Danto
As always, feel free to write and comment, question or disagree. Hearing from the traveling community is always a highlight for me. Thanks!