Recorded in the Newark Liberty Airport Marriott in scenic Newark, NJ. We cover a lot of ground in this episode — why business travel and Disney resorts don’t mix, some choices that can make our personal air travel a bit greener, my experience with Southwest Airline’s new Business Select program, and the reason I’ve finally given up on Hertz. We also talk about the atrophying of wired connections — the modem is gone; is Ethernet next? — and the importance of Starbucks to the frequent traveler’s work day. And finally, is bad airline service bringing back the need for traditional travel agents? Here’s a direct link to the podcast file.
Here are the show notes from TravelCommons podcast #62:
- Intro music — Warmth by Makkina
- Recorded in room 959 of the Newark Liberty Airport Marriott
- A 2-day conference in Disney World reminds me that it’s a great place for a family vacation, but a lousy place for business. No early check-in, no quiet place for a conference call — I definitely didn’t have a “magical day”.
- Bridge Music — Indian Blossom by Ruben van Rompaey
- Revisiting Peter Rukavina’s question from T/C #61 on how to reduce the environmental impact of air travel
- Virgin Atlantic’s biofuel test flight from London to Amsterdam received a lot of press — as it was meant to do — but biofuels are more about sustainability than reducing the carbon footprint of a plane flight.
- Air France-KLM’s 2005-2006 Sustainable Development Report provides statistics on the reduction of hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions as a result of its fleet modernization program.
- Three things an individual can do to reduce their in-flight carbon footprint — choose the flight with the most efficient plane, take a direct flight, and fly into a less-congested secondary airport
- I liked my recent experience with Southwest Airline’s Business Select program. For last minute travel, it gets me a better seat than I can usually get on airlines with reserved seats.
- Had yet another beat-up high-mileage car from Hertz — this time in Orlando. When compared to the brand new Lincoln Mountaineer I received from Avis in Nashville, I’ve decided to ditch Hertz for Avis.
- Bridge Music — Afternoon in the Sun by John Williams
Evolution of Connectivity
- After mistaking the modem port on my ThinkPad for the Ethernet port, I couldn’t remember the last time I used my modem
- Apple’s new MacBook Air lacks an Ethernet port, depending completely on Wi-Fi. Is Ethernet going the way of the modem — at least on laptops?
- For me, the big travel news wasn’t the Delta-Northwest or United-Continental merger dances, but the announcement that Starbucks is switching from its Wi-Fi partnership from T-Mobile to AT&T.
- Starbucks has become a watering hole, some new millennium oasis for the web Bedouins — those of us working out of our “mobile offices”
- Bridge Music — Arsenal is by The West Exit
Return of the Travel Agents?
- In the Web 1.0 days, the travel agent was the classic example of an industry being “disintermediated” by the web
- However, when dealing with delayed or canceled flights, it usually takes talking to a person to get you home or to get you a refund.
- If you’re on a single-carrier ticket – especially a carrier where you have status – you’re usually OK going direct. However, multi-carrier tickets are best worked through a travel agent
- I used to use Orbitz or Travelocity for these tickets, but trying to get hold anyone there live to sort through a problem was near impossible