Business travel news roundup

July 29, 2014 - Leave a Response

Here are a few of the stories that caught my eye in the last week or so…. news pic bag

I use the FlightAware app all the time. How to Find the Route Your Plane Is Taking. via @wsj

I would love to choose my own room. Hilton lets guests pick rooms, use smartphones as keys. via @usatoday

Will Business Travelers Be Forced To Embrace #Airbnb? via HungryForPoints

Haha.  Hitchhiking Robot Sets Out on Epic Journey Across Canada. via @NBCNews

New York City?!? Would you a plan a trip to one of America’s unhappiest cities?  via @foxnewstravel

Fun article. Sound Like a Seasoned Air Traveler (Even If You’re Not!)  via @milmilesecrets

Interesting. Five myths about flight attendants.  via @usatoday

These are good apps to consider. Best apps to prevent travel mishaps.  via @USATODAY

Readers, anything interesting come across your desk lately?

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TSA offering $15k to help solve security lines

July 29, 2014 - One Response

Apparently TSA has finally noticed that airport security lines are really long, and NBC News is reporting that they’re offering a 7-28-14-7cash reward to help solve the problem. If they choose your idea as the winner, you can get up to $5k in cash. Alas, they want suggestions a little more complicated than someone making sure people are ready to go when they get to the front of the line. From the contest website:

Current queue layouts at TSA Pre™ airports will need to adapt to support the increasing population of TSA Pre™ passengers.  TSA is looking for the Next Generation Checkpoint Queue Design Model to apply a scientific and simulation modeling approach to meet queue design and configuration needs of the dynamic security screening environment with TSA Pre™.

Scientific and simulation modeling? Maybe not my cup of tea. But if someone can solve the airport security problem, they will earn some money and have the undying gratitude of millions of travelers. As Andy’s Travel Blog said last night,

What better way to source hundreds of ideas than by dangling at $15000 carrot at the end of a stick?  Getting McKinsey & Company to examine the process would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, so I applaud them for trying to be cost-conscious about it.

Although does anyone else think it’s interesting that this is happening right after they doubled security fees for flights? Guess they figured they had to spend that money somehow….

Until the magical solution is found, the best thing to do is make sure you (and everyone you know) are as prepared for the security line as possible. Just like the tip from a recent Weekend Express, the best way to speed up the line is to have all of your stuff ready to go—ID, boarding pass, liquids bag, laptop, and slip-on shoes. (Check out my post on more tips for making airport security as stress-free as possible.)

Readers, what do you think? Is the TSA crazy or brilliant for trying to crowd-source a solution?

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Airport Pickup Etiquette (and the law).

July 28, 2014 - 12 Responses

I’m a pretty lucky person.  Because the Home Warrior is a stay at home dad he’s often able to drop me off and pick me up from the 7-28-14-3airport. (Although I don’t know if he feels so lucky!)  Drop offs at the airport always seem to go smoothly. Cars stop, unload, say goodbye, and away they go. Then there are the pickups.  The Home Warrior says one of the most stressful places to drive is in an airport pickup zone.  Pedestrians walk in front of cars without looking and cars cut people off to get to who they are picking up. Not to mention having to time the pickup just perfectly so you don’t have to circle or use a cell phone lot (if your airport is lucky enough to have one).   It’s a recipe for disaster.

Luckily people usually drive pretty slow so potential accidents are averted.  However, there’s one group of people that is not helping the situation.  Not only are they not helping, they’re most likely breaking the law.  I’m talking about the people that choose to park and wait in the pickup area when their person hasn’t come out yet.  I get it if the person you’re there to pick up says they are literally about to walk out the door, but those aren’t the people I’m talking about.  I’m talking about drivers that sit and wait upwards of 15 or 20 minutes.  And to top it off, it’s against the law to wait in the airport pickup area if you’re not mass transportation but I rarely see this law being enforced.  What harm does this cause, you might ask?  Well, besides the terrorism implications it causes unnecessary traffic jams and chaos for the people whose pickups are actually ready.

While every airport is different, nearly all the ones I ever go to have this clogged up chaotic pickup area problem with no one enforcing the “no parking and waiting” policy.  The Home Warrior thinks that pickups should happen in the airports’ long term parking areas.  His idea is to just go park in long term parking and either wait there, or walk to go help the person you are going to pick up with their luggage then take a shuttle back.  This essentially eliminates anything not a mass transportation vehicle in the pickup area.

Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about that.  After traveling all day I don’t want to walk through a huge parking lot to get to my ride (but a shuttle might change my mind).  The way the Home Warrior explained it, we don’t have pickup service after we go grocery shopping, why should we have one at the airport? Makes sense, I guess, but what makes more sense is people not taking advantage of the pickup area when the “no parking and waiting” rule is not being enforced.  Drive in a circle, or wait in a cell phone lot, but otherwise please get out of the way.  You’ll be doing me, the airport, and everyone else who’s actually ready to be picked up a huge favor.

Readers, what do you think? Do people park and wait at your airport?

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Posts from the past

July 27, 2014 - Leave a Response

What was going on this week in years past?Post from Past pic

2013

2012

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Road Warriorette Weekend Express

July 26, 2014 - Leave a Response

Hey readers! Got something on your mind this weekend that you want to ask a question on or discuss?  Here’s the perfect weekend expressopportunity!  Whether you want to share an interesting travel story, a packing tip, an etiquette tip, or anything else going on in the business travel world, comment here and we’ll have a discussion. (Pictured: Airplanes Games Plane Paper app, free.)

Travel tip of the week:  When packing your toiletries, put small amounts of liquids such as face wash, moisturizer, or eye cream into a spare contact lens case.  Click here to read more about my liquids bag.  

Week in review: 

Should I have changed seats in this situation? Join the conversation here. Read more of this article »

One dress, two ways—change your look with accessories

July 25, 2014 - Leave a Response

Packing for a business trip can be overwhelming. Making sure you have everything you need for several days of outfits and beauty can be daunting! Not mention having to fit everything in your carry-on. At least it’s easier in the summer than winter since clothes and shoes are much lighter.

One of the core rules of packing for a business trip is that all of your pieces must do double-duty. People often think that means dresses are out, because how can you change a dress to look like something other than, well, a dress? The truth is, adding accessories or a shirt can completely change your dress’s look. For winter, I actually like sleeveless dresses better because you can then layer over or under. For summer I prefer something with sleeves since you don’t need as many layers.

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Best luggage brands contest winner!

July 25, 2014 - Leave a Response

Earlier this week I asked you to share what your favorite carry-on luggage brand is and why. To encourage participation I offered a suitcase winner$50 Amazon gift card to one person chosen randomly from all of the comments. That winner is……Lucky number 48, DJ!

I like the Fit carry-on from Costco. It has a wet compartment at the bottom for shoes & towels. Soft top material all around, 2 inner compartment and very light.

Congratulations, DJ! Please email me at RoadWarriorette @ gmail.com by Monday, July 28 at noon central time to claim your prize.

If for some reason I don’t hear from DJ by Monday at noon I will choose another winner.

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Travel bag of the week: Tumi Q-Tote

July 24, 2014 - Leave a Response

Each week Road Warriorette features a travel bag that hits all of the high notes for ladies on the road: pockets, construction, and (of course!) style.Tumi Q tote

In the post earlier this week asking which luggage brands are traveler favorites, one brand mentioned over and over is Tumi. If you look at reviews for the Tumi Q-Totes (large and small) you hear the same praise repeated: solid construction, sturdy, holds plenty of stuff, and lovely shape. If you have a laptop on the smaller side (14” or less) the Tumi Small Q-Tote is an option, but if you need more room I suggest the large Q-Tote (which as a bonus has plenty of organizational pockets). A lovely business travel purse, available in a variety of colors, including red, emerald, blue, black, and gray. Priced from $135-$225.

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Update: AAdvantage account penalized for “seat blocking”

July 24, 2014 - 11 Responses

Back in March a good friend had 60k points yanked from his AAdvantage account for supposed “seat blocking.” In case7-24-14-1 you missed it, here is the summary. He is Platinum on American, flies 2-3 times per month, and had a big international vacation planned for March. He got on the upgrade list for both ways, and his return trip cleared immediately. In the months leading up to his trip, he checked AA.com repeatedly to see how many biz class seats were available. The day before departure his AA accounts were locked. After repeated, frantic phone calls he finally got an email stating that he was being penalized for “seat blocking,” and that they were taking 60k miles and kicking him off of the upgrade list for the outbound flight.

He tried for weeks to call and write to American to explain what happened—that while he was overeager, he was certainly not malicious. Eventually he decided the only way to resolve the situation was to file a formal complaint with the Department of Transportation (which can be found here). The gist of the complaint is that the AA.com system is flawed, as someone can inadvertently make a reservation without ever clicking “Hold” or “Reserve”. Therefore my friend’s actions were not intentional, and the 60k punishment too severe.  He is requesting that the DOT investigate these unfair practices, and that American must turn over all notes surrounding their investigation of him and train their corporate security staff about their website design flaws. Read more of this article »

Martha Stewart’s 10 travel tips

July 23, 2014 - 6 Responses

Yahoo Travel recently came out with an article listing Martha Stewart’s Ten Rules for Flawless Travel. Now I have to admit, 7-23-14-1I love Martha Stewart. I own several of her books (she has her very own Amazon page here), often watch her cooking shows, and generally just enjoy everything she does. So I was very interested in what her definition of “flawless travel” is.

A lot of her tips are great advice: avoid checking your bag if possible, keep an “essentials” list, bring a Kindle (which I post about all the time), and make sure your charger cords don’t get tangled. There were a few that, while a little goofy, I can totally get behind. For example, she recommends that people stay hydrated (great!), spritz their “favorite skin tonic” (okay, not too bad), and avoid alcohol (you may have a harder time with that one). She also recommends that if you don’t hire a guide for your trip, pop into the local café in the morning and get recommendations from locals (I love her optimism). Read more of this article »