View Full Version : The B in Buisness Travel Stands for....

2005-08-10, 11:05 PM
Well I wont go there, yet. For the good part of the last three years Iíve done some pretty decent business travel and wanted to take a minute and share some stories and dispel some myths about frequent travel for business.

Now Iím a plane geek and proud of it and so are you if your part of this site. But before you put on your propeller hat and say ďoh man Iíd love to travel for my jobĒ settle down. You know its interesting when I talk to my friends about traveling for work they think its glamorous and dashing. Well Iíll agree 100% that itís dashing; Iíve dashed from one gate to another plenty of times to make a connection thatís leaving in five minutes. If you ever had to do the DFW dash youíll know what I mean. I love getting into C39 and then have to perform a marathon to A15 to make my flight with a laptop bag while wearing a suit. Iím going to set a new record so root me on.

ďAmerican flight 341 will be delayed until 5:30 due to ATC in ChicagoĒ ďFlight 341 will now be delayed to 6, no 6:30, hold on 7, oh wait its cancelledĒ. You know I really donít remember the last time I left on time when Iíve traveled for business. You learn quickly after your second cancellation that you should keep all the airlines phone numbers stored in your phone because chances are calling them directly is faster then waiting on line to rebook and having to listen to Cletus and Tammy Fay bitch that they have to get home because Tony Stewart is polling for the next NASCAR race. Yes Iíve heard that before.

Oh that brings me to the flying public. OMG do people own mirrors??? For crying out loud people look at the mirror before you display yourself to the world. Just this past Tuesday I had Shamu the whale letting it all hang out in front of me. Iíll say one thing; her tattoos were great reading material as I stood waiting for the checkpoints to open at 4:45AM, wonderful site to start my day.

So by now your probably saying I bitch a lot and if I donít like traveling on business then I should find another job. Well I really do like traveling for work and sometimes little things happen that really make the trip not all that bad. Just such a thing happened the other day. I was flying to Chicago, first flight out on AA and I was exhausted. Our flight was cancelled the night before so I had to be up at 2:30 to make it there on time. Well I slept the entire flight and about 20 minutes before landing I woke up and the FA who was sitting near me got up and said ďyou slept the entire way, I feel bad you missed the service, here I put these to the side for youĒ. She handed me an OJ and a bag of muffins and said ďits good to eat something in the morningĒ First off I was blown away and really didnít know what to say but thank you. Now while that doesnít happen on every flight itís those rare occasions that make the journey and your job worthwhile and sometimes make traveling on business a real ďBĒenefit to your job.

2005-08-11, 01:02 AM
Tommy, a great article. This should be published.

2005-08-11, 01:46 AM

OK since you started this thread with a story I'll throw in a couple similar stories for fun. Both involve frequent travel from EWR to YYZ back in the 80s.

For several years I traveled to YYZ frequently. It varied of course, but for several months in early 1982 I was up there every week and sometimes a couple times each week. I took a flight out of YYZ on Friday night to return home and Sunday afternoon headed back to the airport to go back up. When I got to the door the FA collecting the tickets was on my flight Friday night. I looked at her and said: "Hi, remember me?" She took a good look at me and said: "Yes, Jack Daniels".

On another AA flight first class to YYZ early on a Sunday afternoon. The flight was only like an hour and I wasn't really thirsty. The FA came and asked if I'd like something to drink and I declined. She came back a few minutes later and asked again. I declined again. So about five minutes later she comes back and asks me if I was drinking what would I be drinking? I answered Jack Daniels. Soon after she left I got up to go to the potty and when I returned I found a bark bag sitting in my seat. Interesting cause I know it wasn't there when I left. I picked it up and it was pretty heavy and, thankfully, not filled with a liquid :) I sat down and peeked inside. I found like six bottles of JD in the bag. She was determined that I was going to drink whether I wanted to or not. Actually at the time there was a pretty big war going on between AA and AC on the YYZ route and they were both treating people royally.

Funny that both of those incidents involved JD :oops:


2005-08-19, 03:10 AM
nice stories, thanks for sharing.

Tommy, you should send that to Airways or something and have them publish it.

2005-08-23, 08:01 AM
Since you brought up stories from the 80s, it may be intersting to hear your view on how much airliners today are different from those that were operated 20-25 years ago.
Is it true that the seats are smaller or is it just that we got fatter?


2005-08-23, 01:04 PM

Interesting question. Let me see what I can do with it.

No, I don't think the seats are smaller. Keep in mind that most of my flying has been on what everyone would consider to be modern jets, like the 727, MD-80, 737, 747, etc. What has varied over the years isn't the size of the seats as much as the space between the rows of seats. On and off over the years I've seen that change quite a bit. When the airlines are having good times it seems to decrease and when times are bad it increases. I can remember the piano bar on the AA DC-10s. Haven't see anything like that since, although the A380 is promising such amenities.

I do remember a few years ago sitting next to a dead-heading CO pilot on a flight and he was complaining about the seats. Seems they cut the height of the seats to allow for larger overhead storage bins and that caused more discomfort in the seats. I can agree with him because CO has some of the most uncomfortable seats around. Actually, to me, none of them are really comfortable unless it's in First or Business class.

Perhaps the most dramatic change over the years has been the decrease in service to the passengers. Meals have been cut out, blankets eliminated, can't remember the last time I got a deck of airline playing cards on a flight, and so on. Service has really gone downhill in the past decade. Hell, I remember taking a flight from EWR to BHM with a connection in BNA. I was served dinner on both flights. Today you are lucky to get peanuts.


2005-08-23, 01:53 PM

Think way back------you sure it was a DC-10??? I know the piano was on the 747s.

Peanuts?! Thats been long gone for some time, too many people allergic to them :lol:


2005-08-23, 03:21 PM
Thinking and you are right (as usual). It was a 74 and not the DC-10. You should be working instead of reading the boards :)

LOL, last time I flew AA first class I got some nice warmed nuts. So, they were still out there then.


2005-08-24, 12:15 AM

The decline in air service, I think, is originated in two things:
1) Air transportation is considered today a more casual form of transportation then it has been in yhe past, so people do not expect to be served like in a 5 star hotel (ay least in economy class).
2) The financial condition of most of the carriers around the world, along with the rising expenses dealing with oil, security, airport taxes etc., brought the carriers to cut wherever they can. Of course, there is much to argue about the efficiency of the carriers, but non the less this is the outcome.
I admit I don't know how much those are true for B and F classes passengers.


2005-08-24, 01:50 PM

I'll admit there is a whole class of passengers who want to fly for peanuts, the money kind and not the eating kind, and expect little or no amenities on the flights. Bottom line is that you get on at point A and safely off at point B. But these people are the ocassional flyers, the ones that take a few flights, generally for vacation or family reasons, during the year. They aren't typical of the business traveler.

For over thirty years my typical routine was to pack up and leave home on a Sunday night and return home late on a Friday night. Minimum of two flights a week, but there were weeks when I was on flights every day. Some weeks were absolutely grueling. For example, early flight Monday morning to Toronto, meetings all day, flight that evening to LA, meetings the entire next day and then the redeye back to JFK landing about 6 in the morning so I could make a 9 a.m. meeting at my home office and then that night back to LA for a meeting on Thurs. and then a redeye back Thursday night. You don't fly that much and expect nothing in the way of service. Let's face it, airline food has never been at the top of my list, but when you've been in meeting the entire day, rush to the airport so you can make a flight that will get you home at midnight, and you haven't eaten anything you need something ... even if it is airline food. Keep in mind also that for most of those years the airports didn't have the food courts and food availability that you are seeing now. In most you were lucky to get a hot dog.

Second, while all the things you mention have certainly taken a toll on the airlines, you have forgotten, in my opinion, the one thing that has had the most impact. That is the introduction of the low cost airline. The majors with organized labor just can't compete with thier high expenses against the low cost airlines who are not unionized. And in situations where they are forced to compete they have to do everything they can to lower their costs.

It's a real delima today as to what is going on in the industry. I feel sorry for those that are having to take pay cuts and see their pensions whittled away to nothing. They worked for years to get to the level where they are and to have it all disappear just seems wrong. Granted I'm sure there might be a lot of excess caused by some of the union contracts that could be cut out. But, take for example, Northwest's current situation. The mechanics are on strike. The airline is seeking to cut their pay considerably and to also cut the number of mechanics in half. I sit here wondering how they will be able to maintain their aircraft with half the workers. Maybe there are some that aren't really needed, but half?

I've never been a union man even though my father was a strong union supporter. My first job as a teen was at the local supermarket. I was fired after two days because the workers went on strike and I wouldn't cross the picket line. They hired me back when it was settled and I benefitted from the new contract, but that kind of turned me off towards unions. I preferred to be in control of my own environment as much as I could and not rely on someone else, or some union organization, to do my bargaining for me.

It would be nice if this whole situation could be worked out so that everyone could survive and prosper, but it sure doesn't look as though that is going to happen. We'll surey lose at least one more major carrier before all this is concluded.


2005-08-25, 12:00 AM

Maybe it's not the right thread to discuss this issue, but you brought it up and I'm glad. The structure of the airline industry in the U.S. quite puzzles me. For someone from the outside, who thinks that America has the least unionized labor in the world, it is surprising to see that this private industry is heavily unionized. I am interested in this issue from the historical point of view: how did it evolve and why did it stay that way.

No question that a unionized organization finds it hard to compete, although the quality of the management plays a big role. Personally, I have always objected to unionized labor, because in the bottom line a union is a political organization, thus having all the negative sides of political organizations - preferring the well connected over the best performing. Fortunately, I have always been employed by a personal contract.


2005-09-02, 06:06 PM
Good reading, sometimes its those little things that make the flight. The courtesies extended to you, the hello, thanks, welcome, etc and not the seats, pitch, etc.

Having flown AA many times, WN and NW to a lesser degree, I haven't really seen a huge disparity between the lines so much as the individual employee.

And don't even get started about the cattle brought onboard. I saw an FA getting railed by an asian pasenger 2 weeks ago on an AA flight, all 'cause she was out of ginger ale. She handled herself well but this guy was unrelenting.

You know, people are all too quick to complain when things go right, but, just wondering, do you guys write to the airlines to tell them when things are good?

After every flight, I usually write a quick 3-4 sentences to customer service to let them know if their product was good, bad, so-so, etc. I take a minute to give them feedback, whether positive or negative.

Art, I'd love to hear more stories about the better years of flight.

Also, for anyone interested, I have a great book at home called "Airline: 'Design, Identity and Culture" It gives great insight on what was truly once a rich airline culture that is being phased out.

Alex T
2005-09-04, 12:36 AM
Tommy, a great article. This should be published.

Well said, Tommy, I don't compliment you much but (no im j/k.hahah :-P)

This is an excellent article, and I agree it should definetly be published, write or send an email to Airways. It is an ejjoyable read, and a small reminder of what it takes to be a business traveler. Great piece of article!!


2005-09-04, 02:18 AM
I never had anyone save me food. I did however have a lady save me 3 bottles or wine that she gave me befor I got off the plane because I tipped her.