David J. Danto
Business travel thoughts in my own, personal opinion
NOT Traveling Blog, 3rd Week Of February 2021
David Danto’s ongoing list of disjointed and occasionally random observations and thoughts as we wait-out the pandemic – mostly NOT traveling like we used to.
For years and years the US airlines showed us that we back-of-the-plane travelers mean nothing to them. We’d get lip-service of course, but all the things they actually did to the coach and leisure travel experience spoke loudly and clearly that we were only being tolerated, as the back of the plane had to be flown along with the lucrative front. That’s why it was interesting to read this week that airlines are ditching their formerly lucrative business routes during the pandemic and flying primarily to leisure destinations. Suddenly, the family of five flying to Disneyworld has become more important to them than the overseas business-class passenger. Surely the gods of irony are chuckling to themselves as airlines are forced to compete based upon the (generally poor) quality of their domestic coach experiences. I’d make some sort of point that this should teach the greedy folks that run the airlines a lesson, but I’m smart enough to know their hubris means they’ve never learned anything from their mistakes in the past and they’ll most probably learn nothing from this one as well.
United Airlines is out with a new announcement this week. Are they improving their coach service to differentiate themselves in this new era of leisure travel over business travel? Are they restoring the decimated “lifetime” benefits for its million milers? Are they putting-back middle seat blocking to keep their customers safe during the pandemic (like their competitor Delta continues to do?) No, this is clueless United we’re talking about. With business travel down and possibly never returning to previous levels United is committing to purchase and operate up to 200 electric air taxis (helicopters) to shuttle high-paying customers from city centers to airports. (The article doesn’t specify high-paying customers, but come-on – the family of five flying to Disneyworld I mentioned above won’t be the passengers for this service.) Like I said, the “sky-gods” never learn a thing.
A number of June business conferences I’ve attended every year have finally announced postponements and cancellations for 2021. As I’ve been saying all along, it’s clear the world is currently in no shape for a resumption of these densely packed conferences and the travel and lodging required for them – and June is simply too early to be trying to hold them. Maybe September…..maybe, but June was never a possibility with the way things were going. In addition, having them in the autumn is completely contingent upon the vaccines that are now being rolled-out being effective against all the new COVID variants emerging. I don’t want to think about how screwed we are if they turn-out not to be.
There is a new social media app called It is only available on Apple devices (iPhones, iPads, etc. As they say, “Celebrities are on it. People have to score an invite to join. China has blocked it. Investors think it’s worth a billion dollars. And now it has gone viral, picking up 2 million installs in the first week of February, according to analytics firm Sensor Tower. [It is]… an audio-only social networking app that has recently hit several milestones that typically suggest an insular Silicon Valley obsession might actually go mainstream.”) I’ve attended a few industry chats arranged by analysts and influencers in my space and do think it is interesting. I am amazed however that with all the advancements in technology since the telephone was invented, this hottest application is essentially the same party-line telephony that existed when telephone service was first commercially provided by switchboards in 1878. If one lives long enough everything old is new again.
This weekend my wife and I will be taking an overnight car trip to an undisclosed destination on the Jersey Shore. We’re celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of our first date. Thirty years ago we had dinner at Rusty’s On 5th – a restaurant in the Rockefeller Center complex owned by the late baseball player Rusty Staub. He and I had a mutual friend, so I asked my friend to ask Rusty to stop by our table and say hi to impress my date. I later found out she had no idea who he was at the time. My wife also told me later on that she ordered the least expensive thing on the menu so that I would not think that she was greedy. I of course never noticed the prices of things ordered – then or now. Thirty years and a whole bunch of life experiences later she is still my best friend. I wish we could be celebrating by doing something more glamorous then overlooking the brown waters of the Atlantic Ocean in New Jersey, but we’ll have to hold-off on that one ‘till the world rights itself again….maybe our thirty-fifth or fortieth. RIP Rusty, and thanks for all the clutch pinch-hits – especially this one thirty years ago.
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 while longer.
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.
The Explanation for my Not Traveling blogs: 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.