Work Travel Sucks

I chose that pic because no one looks like this when they travel, especially for work.

I’ve been traveling a lot for work lately (hence the lack of posts). While it’s not horrible, I think it paints a picture of a glamorous, jet-setting life. Well it isn’t, it pretty much sucks as hard as anything has ever sucked.

It combines the awfulness of airports, with the stress of working, and the charm of a metal tube full of germs. I just spent the last 12 of 14 days on the road, and here’s what I found out.

Talkative Staff

One of the greatest things for me when flying is getting that screen on the back of the seat in front of you. I find it very difficult to sleep on planes, so when I see one of those, I know it will make a flight easier. Plus, I rarely see movies in the theater these days, so gives me a chance to catch up.

However, one thing that seems to be a theme across all airlines are the constant interruptions. I get they need to cut in as a safety precaution, but it’s the constant updating, or the pilot that just talks to talk: “Uh this is your captain speaking from the flight deck…uhhhh…we’ll be traveling at 35,000 feet today enroute to Portland…uhhhh currently the weather is a wet 45 degrees with wind out of the northwest…uhhhh…we’re fourth in line to take-off…uhhh…”

I DON’T CARE ABOUT ANY OF THAT! Good lord, just say “Hey we aren’t 45 minutes late for once!” and back away from the gate. The other good one is when the attendant can’t remember everything they have to say, so they keep clicking in and out. Start-stop. Start-stop. Start-stop. Come on man, I’m watching Brooklyn 99 here!

Airports

I don’t even know if I need to explain this one? They’re the worst places on earth. It’s as if people completely forgot how to act when in public, once they enter and airport. “Let’s just take one step off the escalator and stand there looking around. Surely no one will be behind us;” or “Oh here’s a back of outlets that are open? My bag takes one spot, and my other bag gets it’s own seat!”

When people line up insanely early. Can’t rant on this too much because this used to be me, until I realized “Oh wait, I have an assigned seat.” Unless you’re on Southwest, no reason to get in line that early, which leads me to my final gripe.

Your carry-on is too effing big and you know it. You completely ignored the little example they have by the desk out front, and you’re going to bring a bag that can fit two dead bodies and try to cram it into an overhead bin. Well congrats, you saved $25 and lost your dignity.

Lack of Work

You never get any work done. I went into Denver Monday night, left Wednesday morning, after meetings all day Tuesday. Then I arrived in Atlanta at 1 pm Wednesday and the meetings started at 2 pm. Tons of time to work!

You get a monicrum of work done, and it just piles up. Airplane wifi sucks, and if you’re traveling with coworkers, don’t try to work at the airport (sorry Mary #jabberjaw). I felt accomplished after getting three emails out with 2.5 hours to kill before boarding. Then I landed and saw 14 responses that also required responses.

The Right Gear

Having the right bag, clothes, and jacket make all the difference. From the local weather, to the airport, to the airplane, temperature can change about 20 degrees, let alone any rain/snow.

It was low 50s in Atlanta and that meant the airport was about 75 degrees. As someone not residing in the south it may as well have been a sauna. Then the jetway is technically outside, and the plane is back up to about 70.

I’ve also come to appreciate checking a bag if I have a long enough trip. Sure it adds time, but I often find people who complain about the time, aren’t that great at organizing their days anyway. So waiting for your bag is a waste of time, but that 45 minutes you spent on the phone in the middle of a trade show to send one email was well-spent?

It’s going to suck no matter what you do, but you can at least set yourself up for an easier experience. Also, just know the airport will suck because it always does, upgrade when you can/it makes sense, and never assume things will go your way. You’ll be more pleasantly surprised than constantly let down.

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