David J. Danto
Business travel thoughts in my own, personal opinion
NOT Traveling Blog, 1st Week Of September
In 2014 I was voted by USA Today readers as one of the top ten business travel bloggers in the USA. Now mind you, I turned out to be number ten on the list of ten, but I did make it on (with my thanks to all those who voted.) Now that we’re all stuck at home and not traveling, I had to think about what to do with my blogs. I could stop writing them entirely – waiting till we all get through the current COVID19 pandemic / crisis. I could wax nostalgic and/or complain about past trips. Or, I could focus all of my efforts on my day job – growing the use of collaboration technologies – especially in light of how many people are now forced to use those tools for the first time. In reflecting upon those choices, what I decided to do is compile an ongoing list of observations during the crisis. Some of these may amuse, some may inform, some may sadden and others may help. My goal will be for you to have seen something in a different light than you did before you stopped to read the blog. I was going to apologize for how disjointed these thoughts may seem when put together, but then it dawned on me that feeling disjointed is our new normal – at least for a little while.
We’re now approaching the beginning of September and we still don’t have a handle on the COVID19 pandemic. When I started writing these not traveling blogs in March I told everyone that people who thought it would be over quickly were simply not paying attention. Are you paying attention yet? Are you wearing your masks and maintaining social distancing? I sure hope so, as the business conferences I usually attend in February have already been cancelled, and March is now on the bubble. Please do what’s right and don’t listen to the Covidiots. (One colleague of mine who thought we were making too big a deal out of all of this regrettably just lost both his parents. Please don’t let this get that close to you before you realize what we’re dealing with.)
I’ve been wanting to post the following thought on social media all week, but stopped myself each time as I was afraid it might offend too many people, however, the plain fact is that any parents who want to send their kids to school in the middle of this – so their kids won’t lose valuable education – are showing their own lack of education. Is the risk of a loss of a year of education worth the risk of the loss of your children? It seems to me that any educated person could manage to work out that equation.
As I write this, the US airlines are starting to leak stories about how they’ll be laying-off people in October unless we give them more tax money. Let me say again, PLEASE let them fail. The current greedy management and poor-service business models need to be flushed out of the industry. Nothing will ever improve if we prop-up these bad people. Every time they plead with puppy-dog-eyes, remember what they did to you. Remember every time you were charged to change your plans during an emergency. Remember every time your promised upgrade was sold to someone else. Remember every time you were squeezed into too small a seat. Remember every time you were lied to about your late flight (with obvious multiple hour delays being ‘released’ to you in 20 minute increments.) Remember every time you were a few miles short or a few minutes late and they refused to do the right thing. Remember how management screwed their employees while raking-in over-entitled bonuses. Remember when your obviously small-enough carry-on was rejected from boarding and they forced you to check it. Remember how they treated you when you asked for a refund for failed services. Remember it all, and let them fail.
I just realized yesterday how little I’ve looked-at or cared about my airline and hotel mileage / points programs this year. Elite status just didn’t do a lot for me this year, and I suspect it won’t really be valuable again for at least a couple of additional years. I hope no one forgets that I predicted this exact scenario when I spoke at the Freddy Awards a few years ago. That’s when I said to the gathered travel industry brass that they will likely “…move blindly forward, lying, overpromising and under delivering the most basic of services…until whatever the next incident is that causes the stock to drop and credit cards to get cut up. At that time they’ll once again need to dip into that bank of good will and find it completely empty, having dried up from lack of attention for years and years. And then, despite my presentation and hundreds of articles … from dozens of business travelers who take the time to write, the airline and hospitality industry management will tell the Wall Street investors that no one could have seen it coming.” Do you believe me yet? Once the current airline companies (or hopefully the ones that come along after the current crop fails) realize that how they treat their customers has a specific and tangible effect on their bottom line, the industry may finally right itself, but it won’t happen before that.
As always, please feel free to write to me with comments or items I should add to a future Not Traveling blog (or if you just need someone to write to.) Stay safe, be well, hug those you’re sheltering with (but no one else) and do your best to stay positive. We’re going to be in this for a long while.
This article was written by David Danto and contains solely his own, personal opinions.
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