The novelty of business travel tends to wear off very quickly; while I can’t hold a candle to some true Road Warriors, I’ve traveled enough to know that “too much” travel comes at a price. But…if you spend too much time on the tarmac, there are plenty of random sights, sounds, and smells that can amuse you ~ just so you know you’re not the only one in the world who thinks these things, here are a few of my more humorous observations of the business traveler.
- Bathrooms ~ Let’s get this out on the table right now….I would rather have fish-hooks pull up my eyelids than I would use an airport terminal bathroom. The gag reflex is overwhelming when I get within 5 yards of the entrance, the floors are way too slippery (and it ain’t wax), flushing has apparently reached an “optional” status, and the smell….sweet Moses, the smell!(*gag*). If the thought of a public toilet wasn’t repulsive enough, somehow the thought of a Globally Public toilet sends me right to the hand sanitizer.
- “Priority Access” ~ Such the oxymoron. As a “Priority” member, I’m allowed to board after First Class, Executive Platinum, Executive Gold, Military Personnel, domestic livestock, senior citizens, Freemasons, and families with small children. Somehow, I’m just not feeling the love. And, while we’re on the subject, take a few steps back Group 2 and quit “creep-boarding.”
- Security Checks ~ Business travelers are unbelievably synchronized in security procedures – by the time we reach the “bins,” road warriors are shoeless, belt-less, empty-pocketed minimalists at the ready with an assortment of 3.4 oz liquids. This preparation is why we all fume when the family traveling to Orlando is stuck in front of us…it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve traveled, the minute you make the trip with your family, it’s as if the security requirements were invented the night before.
- Rental Cars ~ God forbid your reservation was somehow lost (insert classic Seinfeldian dialogue at this point); the lines are too long, the representatives are shamelessly up-selling you the entire time you sign your life away, and you are invariably stuck with a car that has 5 station pre-sets for Tejano music. I’m also convinced of a conspiracy that prevents gas stations from being anywhere near a rental car return; I swear I’ve earned stock in Avis from the $9 per gallon gasoline they lay on me when I’m in a rush.
How long could this list go on? My guess is each of us have a few peccadillos based on our traveling experience, whether it be the obvious (the dude next to you who took a garbage bath) or the subtle…this might make a nice monthly installment. For the most part, business travel in doses can be pretty enjoyable, (except in Human Resources, when you are the visiting Reaper) assuming your expectations are level-set. You will probably have a delay. You will almost certainly not have an open seat next to you. The drink cart may very well dislocate your elbow should you breach the aisle perimeter. These are the risks we take….but don’t get me started on the bathrooms.
John “Whit” Whitaker is Founder of the HR Hardball™;
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