Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I Challenge You to Lose Your Perspective This Fast

I did indeed get audited on my travel expenses, but they were approved and I can just forget about Times Square hotel costs for a while. More thoughts from the trip:

The unfortunate side-effect of taking different airlines going east and west, is that United and American failed to synchronized their movie offerings, so both my flights showed "X-Men: The Last Stand." The side-effect of being crazy-busy with the roadshow was that I didn't watch the movie on the way out because I was working and on the way back, I was sleeping, so it didn't matter anyway.

X3 is now on the top of my Netflix queue, because Hugh Jackman is awesome and Ian McKellen is too, so who could miss a flick with both of them? Except silly me, of course, who already had a chance to see it twice.

Back to the travel story: I like to think that I am an experienced and clear-thinking traveler. I dress in clothes and shoes that are easy to manage through the security checkpoints. I have my ID in an easily accessible pocket. All contraband items have already been removed from my carry-on at home. However, after multiple delays on one of the intermediate flight legs, I wasn't so smooth.

I was traveling with a co-worker whom I'd never actually met in person until the day before at the airport. It was funny to see us triangulating to find each other. "I'm wearing a black blazer, standing by the Hertz sign. Is that you coming down the escalator holding the phone to your ear?"

We were so delayed that the food concessions and gift shop behind the security checkpoint had all closed. Having dumped my water bottle prior to security, I was getting really thirsty after multiple hours with my laptop huddled around the two active power sockets in the terminal. After water, wireless internet access must be the world's most valuable resource to a stranded traveler.

It's important to drink lots of liquids.

I ventured back through security, found the remaining open shop, bought a snack, a bottle of water each for my co-worker and me, and came back to get my boarding pass checked. You can see where this is headed, can't you? Took off my shoes, put my shopping bag through the x-ray.

"Ma'am. You can't bring water through this checkpoint."

Well, duh. I went back, drank my water, gave my co-worker's water back to the shop (he insisted he didn't need it), and went back through security for the third time that evening. I knew all the TSA officials by name at this point. I was exhausted and frustrated. We finally trudged through the rain onto a little prop plane and spluttered our way to New York to the accompaniment of a chatty sorority flight attendant. The cab got us to our hotel by 11:30pm.

I accepted a handicapped-accessible room on a "low floor" (by the way in New York, the 23rd is considered a low floor), instead of taking a regular room twelve stories further up. On one of my last trips, the Marriott was refurbishing the elevators, leaving half the bank unusable, so I walked 29 flights up and down. I changed my travel profile to request "low floors" after that.

(Funny side note – shortly after that problem-elevator trip, SwingDaddy and I took a weekend getaway to San Francisco, where I requested a low floor, and the desk agent was so apologetic when none was available. I paused for a moment. "How many floors are in this hotel?" There were only eight. "Uh, no problem, any floor is just fine, thanks.")

Climbing stairs? No problem!

Anyway, I was settling into my hotel room, and found that there were no hooks on which to hang my towel to dry in the oddly proportioned bathroom. Do disabled people not need to dry their towels too? This was so inconsiderate! The nerve of the hotel planners!

So in the space of a few hours I had gone from being incredibly grateful to receive my 4 ounces of drinking water and relieved to not be stranded behind the security line of a small New England airport to being disgruntled at the inadequate space to hang my towels in a midtown Manhattan hotel. I challenge to you lose your perspective that fast.


penelopeto said...

I always find business travel a bit of a rush, but the most stressful as well. Probably because it is almost always last minute for me, which often nets out to a really great hotel since all the crappy ones are booked. Last time I went to NY, I got to stay at the Le Parker Meridian (nice!) while my chump cohorts stayed at the hilton. ha ha! I mean, 'yeah, my room's ok; wanna meet for breakkie?'

Waya said...

My hubbie just came home from a red-eyed flight from California. He often tells me that it's not as glamorous as I think. But at least he's eating delish food from a restaurant of his choice though, I told him. And I'm on double duty with the three kids and eating leftovers for the whole week.

But then he says he'd settle for home-cooked meals over four star hotel food. Ahhh.

sunshine scribe said...

Ahh its all about perspective isn't it. I used to travel a few times a week for business and remember being worked into a tizzy over things like towel hooks after a long exhausting day of keeping my cool while travelling.

fourthbreakfast said...

What kinds of features were there in the handicapped accessible room?

Kristen said...

Travel is exactly what would cause me to lose perspective that quickly. It's so tiring and frustrating, especially when flying is involved!

Lady M said...

The handicapped accessible room had a wide door to the bathroom, and it was a pocket door instead of a swinging door. There was a removable platform across the tub, so that you could have sat on it to bathe. There was a support railing next the toilet. One annoying thing - in order to have enough space for a wheelchair to manoeuver around the toilet, the counter space around the sink was miniscule. The towel rack was fairly low, but there was no place to hang towels to dry! I hung mine over the shower curtain rail, but someone who required a wheelchair might not be able to reach it. I didn't notice a call button, but I've seen those in other hotel rooms.

Mamacita Tina said...

I haven't flown in over a year, not really in a rush to either when I hear stories like yours. Ugh.

Our family stayed at a handicapped accessible room when our air conditioner went out at our house. It was nice since the room was more open for the kids to run around in.