Podcast #51 – Change Out Status; Upgrading Travel Technology

Recorded in the SFO Marriott at the start of a trans-continental travel week, we talk about the need to “re-balance” your frequent traveler elite status at the beginning of the year — should you re-up with your current airline or hotel, or move elsewhere? I’ve upgraded a good bit of my travel technology over the last couple of weeks. I talk about my new toys and the reason travelers invest so much time personalizing these bits of circuitry. One listener describes the inner workings of United Airline’s standby queue, while another listener tells some stories of traveling in the Far North. Here’s a direct link to the podcast file.

Here are the show notes from TravelCommons podcast #51:

  • Intro music — Warmth by Makkina
  • Recorded in the San Francisco Airport Marriott
  • Been traveling pretty much non-stop since January 3rd
  • Stayed in the San Francisco W Hotel a few weeks ago — not the same place it was during the Internet “Bubble” years
  • Bridge Music — Steam Train by John Williams
  • A listener describes the inner workings of United Airline’s standby queue
  • Another listener talks about his travel experiences on Innu Mikun airlines in Canada’s isolated northern regions
  • Bridge Music — Roots Fi Cool by Burning Babylon
  • A listener talks about a recent flight from Newark to Chicago that was 90% elite fliers
  • At the beginning of the year, the elite status counters are re-set to zero — you should think about where you want to “invest” your flight segments and hotel stays for the year
  • Bridge Music — It’s Time Know by the Kokoon
  • Passed my Motorola Razr down to my son and bought a Samsung A707 — I like it as a phone, but haven’t found much use for the 3G features
  • The hard drive on my 2-year-old U2 iPod died, so I upgraded to a new 5th-gen black iPod. I like it, but what’s with Apple’s quality problems
  • Frequent travelers’ phone, PC, and iPod are the furniture of their virtual office, and so they tend to spend more time personalizing them than they do their real office
  • Closing music — iTunes link to iconPictures of You by Evangeline
  • Bridge music from Magnatune
  • Feedback at comments[at]travelcommons.com, the comment board on podcastalley.com, or right here in the comments section below
  • Direct link to the show
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  1. As my ThinkPad R50 replacement is being shipped to me you are right my laptop is my office. I have the wallpaper that I want and change it when I get bored. My desktop icons are arranged the way I want them.
    In the morning on the road I have my morning boot up routine: check office e-mail, check private e-mail, check my RSS feeds, check for hits on my site, basically the same type of a routine that I would have if I went into my physical office every single day.
    I have never had “a desk job” and really don’t know if I would enjoy it, i think my butt would hurt from all the sitting.

  2. Hi Mark,

    Just listening to your meditations on making flights and it reminded me of my favorite airport, Amsterdam’s Schiphol.

    Not only do I really appreciate the chaise lounge sleeping area, and the ubiquitous “mind your step” voice on the people conveyer belts in Schiphol, but have also recently discovered an art museum right in the airport. What a wonderful novelty to gaze at a Rembrandt and soak up a little history while waiting for your next flight.

    Btw, thanks for the shout out!


  3. I have to agree with Drew. Schiphol is my home airport and I find it much easier to use than most other big transit hub airports. The one thing that bugs me is that none of the stores at Schiphol are allowed to sell chewing gum. But that’s a fairly minor quibble and not enough to make me want to use LHR or FRA if I can avoid doing so.

  4. I’ve only connected through Schiphol once, and I liked it very much. My mother-in-law and her sister typically connect thru Schiphol on their way from Chicago to Budapest, and have never had a bad experience. They once thought about routing through LHR, but after relating our experiences with the security lines last summer, they decided to stay with Schiphol.

  5. Apparently they will change the rules at Schiphol in May, so that carry-on is limited to no larger than an attache case. There’s also talk of introducing a compulsory shoe check on all flights. There’s an interesting article on it on Expatica at: http://www.expatica.com/actual/article.asp?subchannel_id=19&story_id=35756

  6. I’ve always found it a bit of a pain that you have to pass through security (but not passport control) while connecting through European airports. Not sure how they will work the carry-on restrictions, though. I can carry-on a rolling one-suiter in Chicago, but then I have to find a place to check it when I connect through Europe? That’s going to be all bad…

  7. Just a quick reply to Mark, my home airport was Schiphol and now I live in London I and have therefore the joy of using the BAA’s finest. However, I would choose Schiphol over any major hub any time. To refer to your question. Terminal 1 and 2 in Amsterdam service the International flights and terminal 3 the “Schengen” flights. Schengen is the convention of traveling without customs basically which is in place in the EU (excluding UK), of course the security checks remain.

    The interesting thing for you is that when you arrive in Schiphol Internationally you can go the “Schengen” by walking within the terminals (they are all connected, one building in fact) to terminal 3. The only thing you have to do is put you cabin luggage through the scanner and you’re free to go.

    I would always use Schiphol if you have a chance.