Friday, June 6, 2008

I'm airborn!

Or rather, I'm not...but I was last week and it's taken me a week just to catch up. I went to the Big D on a business trip for the entire week last week and it was a doozy.

One of the things I like about going to Dallas is having some face time with my team. Sometimes it's so much easier to just stand up and walk into someone's office to deal with an issue than to try and coordinate schedules, phone time, web meetings, etc. to figure something out.

We had really good meetings. I was able to interact with some high level VPs and at one point had one of them (who's always treated me as an "admin"...which in his estimation means I'm good for making copies and getting coffee) started interacting with me like I was a business analyst with actual knowledge to share. That was a banner moment for me.

One of the other things I like about going to Dallas is having hotel staff that recognizes me. That's nice :)

However, the summer travel season is upon us - and that, my dear blog readers, for the business traveler, is pure hell.

We can run, but we can't hide from the vacation travelers.

I've traveled a fair amount in my mere 35 years. I've done it as business traveler, I've done it as a vacation traveler, and I've done it as a true "traveler" - and those three things are not the same. Not one little bit.

The vacation traveler is traveling for fun and usually with their kids. They aren't in a hurry, nor should they be, they're on vacation! A vacation traveler is someone who is bringing the kids and the kitchen sink and will be at enter your summer travel destination of choice here for a few weeks at most. They've got everything they could need, and then some.

The business traveler is in a hurry. They've most likely already been at work for 8 hours by the time they're at the airport, they're expected in meetings 30 minutes after they land, and they're expected to actually get work done on the plane - in coach - where there's oh so much room to work. They do this week in, week out. They've got getting through security down to a science. They know exactly what's expected of them and when.

The traveler is one who is on a journey. They might be going to vacation destinations - but they're doing it as a life experience, not a vacation. They've got a back pack, a travel guide, a passport, and the understanding that things come and go - they'll get there by and by. They're in it for the journey, not the destination.

I was a traveler once. I traveled most of Asia and honestly - it's an experience I'll never be able to repeat. Unless I win the lottery, I'll never be able to travel where my nose takes me that day and come home when it suits me. I'll never be able to fit my life into a backpack. A rolling carry on, maybe, but not a back pack. It's something everyone should do, but not many have the adventurous nature for....

These days, I'm a business traveler. Even when I'm vacationing, I'm a business traveler. I know what to expect at the security gate. I know to wear easy slip on and off shoes. I know not to wear 14 layers because I have to take them all off. I know not to wear 71 gold necklaces, a studded belt, and 4 rings on each finger - chances are, I'll set off the metal detector. I wear simple business casual clothes, have my one small laptop case (that yes, fits under my seat and is easily accessed to pop that laptop out for security) and my one small roll on (that fits appropriately in the overhead bin - I don't have to shove, hit, kick, push to get it in said overhead) and I have all of my liquids in a quart size bag I can easily access for that same security line. I'm able to travel for an entire week with this being what I take. I know to keep my boarding pass handy, as well as my ID, and not to dawdle. I've got a plane to catch.

When those vacation travelers come out in droves, God bless 'em, I go a little insane. I really wish there was a line for vacation travelers and a line for business travelers - and not one that's based on my mileage plan, but one based on performance.

Seriously. I'm not there yet in the mileage plan that would get me into the short line. But I travel enough to know what I'm doing. And standing behind the mom that has her infant, her toddler, and all the carry on to support them, can be a little tiresome. It's not that I don't like that mom - she has adorable children that I usually flirt with when I'm on the plane. I'll be that mom, one day, God willing - though I hope my time as a business traveler will teach me that I can check the stroller and use a sling of some sort. Heck, I can check most things. I need just enough to get me and the child entertained through the flight. And, from watching these parents, they don't actually use a 1/4 of what they bring on the plane. It's usually one or two go two items and they're good.

But for now, I'm the business traveler caught in line behind you, while you try to shepperd your kids through, get upset that you have to take your shoes off, have more carry-ons than you're allowed and don't really care how efficiently you get through the line, because gosh darn it, isn't everyone on Aruba time?

Whew....all of that and I didn't even tell you about the flight itself.

Ahhhh, stories for another day.


Lisa E said...

Ya know, business trips are to Dallas, too! (wink, wink)

Dawn said...

Considering where I usually fly, I'm always stuck behind the family of 4 taking the kids to Disneyland for the first time. For the love of pete!! I feel your pain :)