Podcast #53 – Wanting the Red Carpet; Family Travel Technology

Recorded in Marriott Courtyard in San Francisco‘s SoMa district, I confess to some base emotions — my inner child has been throwing tantrums now that American and United Airlines have taken away some of the special treatment they used to give their mid-tier status fliers. I also had a bit of an awakening while on vacation with my family in South Africa — the number of electronic devices they carry has mushroomed and they suffer from bad Internet withdrawal. We have a few stories about how diapers make for some “smelly skies”, a listener finds great free bandwidth in Denver, and we feature some listener music. Here’s a direct link to the podcast file.

Here are the show notes from TravelCommons podcast #53:

  • Intro music — Warmth by Makkina
  • Recorded in Marriott Courtyard in San Francisco’s SoMa district
  • Bridge Music — Jazz Suite for Saxophone Quartet #1 by Vierung
  • Ed Vawter wrote in with about a young couple in the row behind him who stuffed their baby’s dirty diaper in the seat-back pocket on a flight from Chicago to Portland
  • My breakfast on a South Africa Airways flight to Cape Town was spoiled by a young couple changing their baby’s dirty diaper in the row in front of me
  • A listener staying at the Adam’s Mark Hotel in Denver found their Internet service scored a smokin’ 4800 kbps down and 4100 kbps up on the Speakeasy.net bandwidth test
  • Bridge Music — Solen by Marc Löhrwald
  • In past episodes, we’ve talked about how many airlines are devaluing their mid-tier status levels
  • United has literally put out a red carpet for first class, and the top tier fliers – 1K and Global Services – and left the plain old tile line for everyone else
  • Direct link to IT Conversations podcast on Creating Customer Loyalty
  • What started as a nice gesture from the manager of the JFK Courtyard backfired when they didn’t live up to the expectations they created
  • Bridge Music — Hola Cape Town by the Sivukile Marimba Band. Here’s a picture I took of the band right before my daughter bought their CD
  • Most frequent travelers have a pretty finely tuned travel routine and are, for the most part, solitary figures, sort of throwbacks to the hunter-gatherers of pre-history
  • Traveling with their family requires some significant attitude adjustment
  • During our vacation to South Africa, I was completely taken aback by the number of electronic devices my family carried that needed recharging
  • The other think that struck me was my family coming almost unglued when deprived of their Internet access
  • Closing music — iTunes link to iconPictures of You by Evangeline
  • 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
Leave a comment


  1. Mark, just got off a plane at sfo after listening to episode 53. Glad you are back podcasting. I always enjoy listening to travel podcasts when I’m traveling.

    Ed Vawter
    sent from my t-mobile Dash

  2. I know you have been on holiday, but its been too long. We need the regular feed – like a wino with an 8ace lager

  3. Mark, Thanks for the show, I have been listening for a long time now but I have never sent in a comment. I just want you to know we are out hear waiting for your travel stories. I am one of those family travelers you talk about but our kids know the drill and we can usually get through security without any delay.

    Thanks again and keep the shows coming, they fit right in to my morning drive to work

  4. Thanks to everyone for the kind comments. It’s nice to be missed… 🙂

  5. Got a good answer via e-mail to my question on why the Southwest flight attendant got to bypass the shoe carnival in Oakland airport —

    If crewmembers are in uniform they don’t have to take their shoes off. I am a pilot for CitationShares (a fractional jet ownership company) and most of the time the let me slip by as well because I have and ID that says “CREW” with some sort of TSA stamp on the back. Although we don’t wear traditional pilot uniforms like the NetJets guys with eppaulets (we wear a business suit) they still usually let us thru with the ID. We are also exempt from the ziplock bag routine and carry on size/limit.

    I tried in Wichita recently to go thru with a coffee and was denied because I was in jeans and not in my uniform. I really don’t get it. I had the ID around my neck but because I had blue jeans on and not my suit pants I was somehow more of a terrorist. I was still able to go thru with carry ons that exceeded the size/wt limit. ahhhhhhhhhh……….the TSA. And I thought pilots had big egos and were on power trips..jeez!

Trackbacks and Pingbacks: