Thursday, December 22, 2005

One More Time

I just returned from Minnesota, and one of the better vacations that I've had in quite a while, despite the snow and freezing weather. I can finally call it a year. It's been one of those months that has allowed me to reconnect with a lot of people. In the last decade, I really haven't had the opportunity to take control of the travel like I have this month. I managed to connect with friends in Toronto, Portland, and Albuquerque. I even got to spend some time with a friend in Minneapolis. I now have regained my elite status on my airlines and hotels, so it's finally over for the year. Still, I think I might take a road trip to visit my friends in Northern California. After all, you can't keep a good road warrior down. Later.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Fighting Every Step Of The Way

Another year has quickly passed, and I think I have aged more in the past year than the rest of my collective years as a road warrior. I've often contemplated retirement, but that wouldn't be a good idea. You see, people like me don't do well in retirement. I keep saying that this will be the last year of this. My boss has decided to promote me into a desk job in the coming months, which will severely curtail my field activities. But since I can see through the erroneous vision statement in my new job description, I know I will still be out in the field almost as much.

I'm still going out to Minnesota on Sunday to capture the last 3,000 miles to keep top-tier status on one of my airlines. The road warrior in me is still fighting desk duty every step of the way, but my aging body is starting to accept the desk job. Maybe I'll start keeping my feet on the ground next year. Happy Birthday to me!


Saturday, December 10, 2005

Temporary Insanity

I keep telling myself that this is only temporary. You see, things usually pick up at the end of year and end of fiscal year due to requirements in my particular segment of the market. Translated, that means I've been on the road again like crazy, alongside the craziness of the holiday travelers. Standard road warriors and holiday travelers mix like oil and water. There are some things that the holiday traveler just doesn't appreciate about those of us that have to do this year round.

Anyhow, I just got back from Atlanta, a relatively uneventful (but long) trip. Before that, I had a quick trip to Portland and Houston. Unfortunately, I had a cancellation in Houston, so I had to make a u-turn in Dallas. There were many strange adventures along the way. I had sushi at the Portland airport, and it still shocks me that you can get sushi at an airport. There was a series of incidents with many of those holiday travelers in the last couple of week, ranging from stepped on toes to hecklers in the ticket line. It annoys me that some of these travelers have developed attitude problems, and just don't display common courtesy any more. So much for the holiday spirit. This road warrior has one more trip left this year. Let's see how it goes...


Monday, November 28, 2005

Giving Thanks

It's that time of year once again. The holiday travelers are among us once again. And, once again, I found myself traveling on Thanksgiving week. You would think that I would have learned not to do this over the course of the last decade, but I always seem to draw the short straw on this particular week of the year. I wound up in Detroit and Minneapolis on Monday and Tuesday, respectively. I decided to do a quick personal trip on Thursday, and found that the secret to surviving holiday travel. Do it on the holiday. The airports seemed to be a lot less crowded on Thanksgiving that I thought they would be. There were a few delays, but for the most part, based upon the boards, most flights were running on time on Thanksgiving. Once again, I'm fighting the crowds at the airport tomorrow for a quick speaking engagement in Toronto. Later.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Taking Inventory

It's that time of the year again. I'm taking inventory of all of those pesky frequent flyer and points accounts. All road warriors go through this around this time of year. You see, as a freqent traveler, we all need to actually go through our accounts to see where we stand in all of those frequent-use programs. I've discovered that I actually did cut back this year. I'm going to give up on one of the programs, and I'm about 15,000 miles short on two airline programs to keep my status going. That means that I need to fly at least 30,000 miles within the next couple of months. In the last few years, I would probably say that it would be no sweat. However, this time around, I am attempting to slow down, and it would be a bit of a stretch to come up with that amount of travel in a short two months.

So, the race is on. I'm traveling to Houston and Detroit this week, with all of the appropriate connecting flights. I have a San Francisco trip next week. After that, I've got a quick trip back to Detroit and Minneapolis. Then, I'm ending the month in Toronto for good measure. That should take care of the first airline, and maybe a little bit of the other one. Now, as for December, I've got a quick trip to Las Vegas and Norfolk, VA, so far. I might squeeze in a short weekend in the northeast to make up the difference, if any. After all, I'm so close that it would still be worth it to make up the difference for another year.

Whew. So much for semi-retirement from all of this. Maybe next year. . . Later.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Ripped From The Headlines

I had yet another one of those moments that just begs the question, "Why haven't I retired from this yet?" has happened. It was one of those moments reminiscent of the time I slipped on the ice three times in Cleveland on the same ice patch. This time, there was no ice, but I did manage to rip the back of my pants. Everything I did made the stupid hole in my pants even larger. I went to check on the rip in a bathroom at a customer site, when I accidentally ripped the entire seat out of my pants. This just wasn't one of my better days, to say the least. Anyhow, I was fortunate enough to have a spare pair of pants to change into. I think this day will probably be in the top ten, at least. I think it will probably be right after the "Falling Down" incidents. Later.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Consistency In The Universe

I took a quick trip to Atlanta and Philadelphia this week. I think time has started to catch up with me, as I can no longer adapt to the time zones as well as I could. For the first time in quite a while, the sleep factor (or lack thereof) actually caught up with me. I actually was way too tired to drive on the freeways of Philadelphia. The other problem was the fact that I seem to have gotten a bit dependent upon those GPS devices. This was one the the few times within the last year that I couldn't get one of those devices in my rental car. For those long-time readers of mine, you know what happened next. Yes, I got lost in New Jersey and Philadelphia quite hopelessly. At least there is some consistency within the universe. Later.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


I had a quick business trip into Portland, Oregon. Portland is one of those few airports with a sushi restaurant. So, naturally, I stopped by the Rose City Cafe for some sushi before I made my way home. It was one of those strange trips that required a stopover in Los Angeles on the way up and on the way back. It seems a bit odd, since I used to go direct from Orange County or Los Angeles. There is a non-stop from San Diego, but it seemed to cost a bit more to go that route. Airline fares are as strange as they have ever been. I guess we can take some comfort in the fact that some things never change. Later.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Eye Of The Storm

It was a week of thunder and lightning storms throughout the journey into Seattle and Kansas City. I went out to dinner with a few collegaues last evening, and when we left the restaurant, the rain was coming down in sheets. The next morning, there was no trace of the storm. It's amazing to me how fast the storms of the evenings got erased from existence with such great speed. Okay, enough about the weather report. I'm back to my old schedule, and there's no stopping me now. Tomorrow, the world... or at least Portland. Later.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Rings Of Hell Revisited

A historic event has occurred. I decided to end the boycott of Continental Airlines. Given the fact that they were the only carrier that could get me to Harlingen, TX, in less than three segments, I decided that it was also practical. The only problem was the fact that I never actually made it to Harlingen using Continental. You see, I never had an on-time flight on Continental this week, or in the last few years, as I recall. Anyhow, I wound up in McAllen after midnight, without transportation. So, I was forced to rent the last vehicle in McAllen -- a dirty pickup truck. In other circumstances, the sight of me climbing into the cab would have been extremely comical.

So what ended the boycott? Even though this was one of those really bad trips, and they really couldn't do anything to really help me much at all, they were still professional about it. That's all I ask of an airline -- or any other service organization for that matter. No floggings. No cavity searches. No other invasive procedures.


Monday, August 08, 2005

Partially Frozen Over

I spent some personal time in San Francisco this weekend. I had forgotten that San Francisco is one of those places that you can freeze to death in the middle of the summer. It was personal time, but I never said that it was one of those relaxing trips. I had to do one of those uneasy family reunions. Anyhow, I'll let you read all about it in one of my other blogs.

I flew into San Jose, which was not as easy as it had been, when I flew back and forth in the heyday of Reno Air, before they got bought by American. I actually did fly on an American Eagle commuter back and forth. I even had to connect in Los Angeles, once again. Not too much of an exciting experience to report. This time, it was the purpose of the trip that overshadowed everything else. Again, I'll let you read all about it elsewhere, for those of you who know where to look.

Boycott Continental. Yep, I'm still at it.


Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Phoenix Rising Once Again

It's August, and I'm in Phoenix. This really sounds familiar for some reason. If I didn't know any better, I'd think I've flashed back two years into the past, when my friend and former colleague Kathy and I visited Phoenix about four or five times in August. It's hot, sticky, and just as you'd expect a place like Phoenix to be. Hey, at least there's some consistency in my life once again. The craziness has started once again, and I guess that's a normal state of being. The ride into Phoenix tonight was a bit reminiscent of some old wooden roller coasters that I remember from a couple of years back. Anyhow, I'm just here for the evening, and then it's back to the daily grind. Peace out.

Boycott Continental! At least for now.


Thursday, July 21, 2005

Not Frozen Over Yet

I feel like a trailblazer once again. It's surprisingly warm in the evening in the little town of Blue Springs, Missouri, tonight. I'm in the middle of a quick trip to Kansas City to do a repeat of whatever magical sales presentation that I did earlier this year in Springfield. I've got a morning appointment that could have been done over the phone, but one of the upper echelons wanted a personal visit, so I'm on a quick overnight trip to wear my tie and shake a few hands. Hopefully, I'll be able to get out of here a little early. These days the travel seems to just get in the way of the day job. Now that's a real switch from the old days.

One thing's for sure, hell would have to freeze over, thaw out, and then freeze over again before I'd ever want to think about even wanting to work at my old company again. In the last job, it was one of the most dysfunctional experiences with some of the most destructive and sadistic management that I've ever seen. It was an eye-opening experience to finally be part of something special in this last year. Even with all of the extra corporate strategic work that I've taken on in the last several months, I don't think I'd ever want to trade it in for anything.

Boycott Continental. Yes, I still mean it.


Friday, July 15, 2005

The Adventure Continues

I had lost my site for a few weeks, but I have returned. I'm currently trapped in Atlanta for the night, and I owe it all to an annoying gate agent/witch at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta airport. It was a short seven hour ride in from Philadelphia, in which we were trapped on the airplane on the ground for an hour while my flight to San Diego took off. Normally, that wouldn't bother me too much, because I can always find a way home. I found the way, since the Los Angeles flight had some room. However, the gate agent had a vendetta against me for some reason. The agents on the phone instructed me to get to the Los Angeles flight, but the gate agent pretty much destroyed all hopes of my return home. Hey, the ranting continues on and on and on . . . It's good to be back.

Boycott Continental. (And I'm not too crazy about Delta after this incident, either)


Sunday, June 12, 2005


I entered the world of the leisure traveler once again. I'm doing this a lot more lately. Anyhow, it was a whirlwind trip to Honolulu. I've noticed that Los Angeles seemed to have a few cutbacks in personnel lately. Even with the cutbacks, the security line seemed to move nicely. The airport in Honolulu seemed to be a bit more problematic. The ticket lines and security lines were reminiscent of an oil painting.

After the trip to Honolulu, I actually spent some time in San Diego. I had a friend over for a few days, and we toured San Diego and enjoyed the fact that we didn't have to be tied to any type of schedule. For the first time in several years, I think I finally had a chance to relax and have some fun. I've been taking myself way too seriously for way too long.

Boycott Continental! I mean it, you know.


Thursday, June 02, 2005


It's been quite a while since I've taken the long trip off the beaten path into the past. I started with a slight detour to Neptune -- New Jersey. Anyhow, I had some business in Durham, North Carolina, one of my former residences. Unfortunately, I had a brief fifteen hours in town, and none of my friends seemed to be picking up their phones that afternoon. I had to rush back to finish up my remaining assignments at the office before I take a few vacation days next week. I'm off to Los Angeles and Honolulu for the weekend, and then it's back home for me.

Boycott Continental. I really mean it, you know.


Sunday, May 22, 2005

Back In Circulation

It's been quite a wild ride for the last few weeks. After several months of being office-bound, I returned to the field. When I return, I really go overboard. I've been to Salinas, Phoenix, Dallas, Detroit, Jackson, Tampa, Miami, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and Philadelphia in the last couple of weeks. While it was nice being back in circulation, I am reminded that perhaps there is some sort of happy medium between the really nutty schedule of the last few weeks, and the total absense of travel in the last couple of months. Anyhow, I'm really tired right now. I think I need some sleep.

Boycott Continental. You know you want to.


Sunday, April 24, 2005

Looking Upward

I'm beginning to forget what the airport looks like. It's been about a month since I've been up in the air. It's been close to a decade since that's happened. Anyhow, I just wanted to make sure that all of my readers (all two or three of you) knew that I was still alive. I've been office bound for the last couple of months, but all of that is about to change, as trade show season continues. I'm off to Detroit, Jackson, Tampa, and Pittsburgh in May. I never thought I'd be this happy to see the airport.

Boycott Continental! Yep, I still remembered!


Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Speeding Through San Diego

I've been traveling a lot less lately. I did have the opportunity to do a quick day trip to Dallas last week, though. It's still nice that the people at the San Diego airport have quickly gotten to know me over the past year. I always seem to just make it to the airport lately. I had a whole ten minutes to spare this time. Last time, I cut it a bit close with only three minutes to spare. It's a good thing I still have elite status with the airlines. Otherwise, I wouldn't be able to get through the security lines at warp speed.

Boycott Continental!


Monday, March 14, 2005

There's No Place Like Springfield (Again) . . .

This time, it's Springfield, MO. Yes, once again I returned to Springfield. To the left, there's an empty field. To the right, another empty field. Hmm. I'm sensing a pattern here. Anyhow, this is my only trip for the month, so I guess I'd better write about it. It was a quick trip up to Springfield, but the flights were busier than normal. In fact, even with my multi-million-miler status, I couldn't get out of those center seats on the way up and back. Despite that, I still say . . .

Boycott Continental! Yes, I really mean it.


Sunday, February 27, 2005

Double Connections

To avoid Continental, I had to travel on a double connection on American from San Diego to Los Angeles to Chicago to Indianapolis. Unfortunately, when you have a couple of extra variables in the mix, there are a few more things that can go wrong with the trip. My flight in Los Angeles was delayed by a few hours, which would cause a misconnect in Chicago, where there was some weather issue. Well, I decided to catch the earlier flight out of Los Angeles, and had my luggage moved to the earlier flight. Well, when you are in the middle of LAX with multiple flights that are delayed, the chances of having you and your luggage arriving at the same time are not very good. By some miracle of American Airlines, my luggage actually made it to Indianapolis that night, and so did I. The moral of the story -- Boycott Continental. It actually works out in the end.

Boycott Continental! Yes, I do mean it.


Friday, February 18, 2005

Going To The Show

I just returned from a trade show in Dallas. Before that, it was a week's worth of a national sales meeting. To say that I'm tired would be the understatement of the year. Anyhow, it wasn't the show or the meeting that really drained me. It was the effort that I had to use to get out of the center seat that I was stuck in for the long trip home. It took six phone calls, three ticket agents, and finally a long begging session with the gate agent to get me out of the center seat. Hey, I wound up in the bathroom aisle. But at least it was an aisle.

Boycott Continental. I mean it, now.


Thursday, February 03, 2005

A Time To Thaw

I'm hoping that this has been my last trip through the snow. I just returned from Duluth, MN, in the winter. Let me repeat that. I just returned from Duluth in the winter. Prior to Duluth, I spent the day in Minneapolis. Before that, it was a couple of days of Milwaukee. Just before that it was Ann Arbor, Michigan. I've definitely been breaking my "no snow" rule as of late. The flight delays seem to be getting longer and longer. I've been noticing that I've been spending a lot more time sitting on a plane that is stalled somewhere on the runway, waiting in that eternal line prior to take-off. I've actually had a lot more misconnects and delays in the last few months. Looking at airline statistics, I've noticed that the average wait time for take-off has definitely increased over the previous year.

It's time for me to thaw. I'm off to Fort Lauderdale for a couple of days. It will be a relief not to have to pack that heavy winter coat.

Boycott Continental. The grudge continues.


Sunday, January 30, 2005


If you've read this month's main column, you already know that I've been traveling through the winter wonderland of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota this month. My job is in marketing these days, and part of what I do requires a process called "spinning." Basically, this just means that I find a way to place a positive (or negative) way of presenting facts. Well, I had an experience last week that gave new meaning to the the spinning process. I was in Ypsilanti. That's in Michigan, near Ann Arbor, for those of you who are interested. I was in a rental car on my way back to the airport. It was snowing and a bit icy on the road. As I am one of those overly cautious drivers, I slowed down to 15 mph for the turn onto the freeway. However, being unaccustomed to the fact that brakes should not be used while on ice, I wound up spinning the car 360 degrees in slow motion. This was one of the most disturbing experiences that I have had in a while. Anyhow, I didn't crash into anything, but I wound up in a ditch buried deep in the snow with a small tree in front of me. When I backed up, I dug myself deeper in the snow. So, contrary to all of the rules of logic, I decided to drive forward into the tree. Strange as it may seem, that did the trick -- I spun around and popped right back onto the freeway onramp.

Well, that was my mini-adventure in the Detroit area. Next, I'm headed for Minneapolis. And yes, I'm still going to be behind the wheel -- at least until someone decides that I can have a driver. Maybe I can put a better spin on this story so my company will hire a driver for me... Hmmm.

Boycott Continental! I mean it, now.


Monday, January 03, 2005

Return To Portland

Once again, I'm off to Portland this evening. It's very nice to be back on the playing field again. After a few weeks on the ground, it's quite refreshing to be back in the air once again. It's going to be a quick trip to Portland to do truly act as a consultant. I'm not really sure why I'm going, but I was asked to be there just in case. I guess it would be a good thing to actually find out why I'm going, so I'll add that to my list of things to do tomorrow.

Boycott Continental! My name is Brent, and I fly American! Can I be on the commercial, too?