David J. Danto
Business travel thoughts in my own, personal opinion
NOT Traveling Blog, 2nd Week Of August
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.
The pandemic has given the phrase “the dog days of summer” a whole new meaning. In our house it means that everyone is typically on a short fuse, as the intensity of the issues drags-on with little good news. We’re extremely lucky that we’re all healthy, have good jobs, can get supplies and have a good home – so I can just imagine how people who don’t have those cushions are coping with the stressors. If you work in the travel, hospitality and/or entertainment industries, and are reading that things may not come back until 2022-2023, I feel your pain. If you work in an “essential” job and expose yourself to others much more than you’d like to then that too represents a different kind of pain. And I’m not even getting into people that can’t afford their rent or groceries. The sad part about anxiety however, is that realizing that others are worse-off than you never really provides a sense of comfort – it’s just adds to the continuing sense of dread.
I my last Not Traveling blog I listed firms that are not acting in good faith. We’ve got another winner for the list. Southwest Airlines just told us they’re now ‘too busy’ to bother cleaning armrests and seatbelts between flights. As a human being, I just can’t empathize with the kind of vulture that could run an airline and make such a decision. Would these people put their spouses and children into a seat that they know hasn’t been cleaned between flights, or a middle seat between two strangers with no distance? How evil do they have to be to want to put you and your family into a situation that they’d never accept for themselves or their families? You may have heard that the US Senate is again considering another cash bail-out of this industry. PLEASE call or write your senator and tell them NOT to support these evil firms. If they fail – and thusly have to live with the consequences of their long history of poor, customer unfriendly decisions – the companies that will eventually come-along and replace them will have a real lesson to learn from. Personally, I believe that every airline executive has a special, uncleaned, coach, middle-seat waiting for them in hell.
I also mentioned the continuing saga of the 737Max a couple of weeks ago. Well, of course, it continues. The FAA has “released a “preliminary summary” of its 18-month review of the Boeing 737 Max program, and with it, has detailed the remaining steps the company will likely need to take in order to allow the plane back into the air. Among the changes the agency is asking for is new software for the plane’s flight control computer and displays, a revised manual and enhanced training for flight crew, and new maintenance procedures.” Other reports I’ve heard today state that the FAA may ask for an additional computer/processor to be installed as a redundant/back-up system for the jinxed MCAS system. In any case, either because of a backlash from their prior rubber-stamping of Boeings work, or because they are really a necessity for safety, these are FAA suggestions that will take lots of time and money to implement.
And as long as I’m revisiting past sagas, remember the Bed, Bath & Beyond story I shared last week? Well, two days after they cancelled my order because – as they claimed – they couldn’t get the patio set they sold me from the manufacturer, I received an email from their promotional engine that it is “back in stock” (at a higher price of course.)
I’m kind of at a loss for words on this one. Either they are so incompetent and/or overwhelmed that they have no idea what’s going on at their own firm, or they’re so evil that they’d really cancel an order because they sold it for less than they wanted to make. Either way –again – it’s not a firm I’d count on for anything resembling honesty in the future. They actually did call me again after a third email to their CEO – and promised to make it right – and I’ll certainly let everyone know if the thing ever arrives – but again, whether it’s malice or just plain incompetence, it’s still something we should all consider as we select vendor in the future.
As I mentioned before, my wife and I wanted to take a two night trip down to the Jersey Shore in a couple of weeks. I’m not sure it’s going to happen now. New Jersey’s COVID19 transmission numbers are sadly ticking-up. You may have seen reports of people (who our Governor likes to call knuckleheads) renting a big house on Air BnB and having a party for about 700 people. The pandemic term for such an occurrence is a “super-spreader event” and it’s frankly inexcusable. That’s been one of the most frustrating things about this pandemic. A few stupid people (Covidiots) are always ruining it for the rest of us. I hope that in a couple of weeks we can be on the beach relaxing, but if we can’t, we can always watch the video of when we could during pre-pandemic last year:
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.
All image and links provided above as reference under prevailing fair use statutes.