Sunday, March 23, 2008

Air Sick Lesson 2 / Stay Away From Your Companies Travel Dept

The corporate travel department is comprised of individuals who’s longest trip consisted of picking their kids up from soccer practice and who’s single performance goal is based on making your trip cost the absolute minimum to ensure your company will make 20 billion this year instead of 19.999 billion. Trusting the corporate travel department to arrange your business trip is like trusting Bernie Ebbers to balance your checking account.

There are two classes of travel, regardless of what you have seen on TV, crappy and insanely crappy. The price differential between crappy and insanely crappy is a couple of dollars the corporate travel department will seize upon for a two fold objective, saving money and driving you to an early grave, both of which increase the company’s bottom line.

The conspiracy begins with your first call to travel, where the person on the other end, who is still a little miffed about being past over for the Springer show for being “a little too strange”, begins to plan your high speed bobsled to hell. Priority number one, hurry up and grab that middle seat in row 120 sandwiched between the lavatory and galley (both of which are interchangeable in case you haven’t tried airline food). This is the row where the mechanics had to place each seat in this row into a hydraulic press to condense it from its usual width in order to fit in the tail cone of the aircraft. The window and isle seat of this row are specifically reserved for people who have never met a buffet they didn’t like and whose weight assists the plane in tipping up so that it can take off, but that middle seat in the worst row and worst section is specifically reserved for corporate travel departments across the country. No one else in their right mind would ever pay for this seat so the airlines give corporate travel departments a fifty cent incentive, along with a free package of peanuts, to book their clients into it.

Next comes your rental car, which if booked by corporate travel, will be a beautiful 1987 Plymouth Armageddon in teal green. It will be easily recognized as it will be the only car on the lot with manual windows and an 8 track tape player. The good news is you won’t have to be bothered with the hassles of gas stations because it works on the Flintstones principal of acceleration (for your own amusement you can make the dooga dooga dooga dooga noise as you leave the parking lot).

After a leisurely lunch, the corporate travel agent will return and being polishing off your travel plans and corresponding sanity by booking your hotel. There is a tool that corporate travel relies on for this task, By pulling up a map of the city you will be traveling to and searching out areas with demographics that most closely resemble the Gaza strip in the off season, they agent will locate and book your hotel room. Key features and amenities include a bed, which for an extra quarter vibrates on demand (although you can’t expense that because it’s personal entertainment), electricity and plumbing although not necessarily indoor, that also costs an extra quarter you insert in the door before entering.

There is no rational reason to ever allow anyone to make your travel plans other then yourself. It is tantamount to attempting to remove a brain tumor at home with a mirror and your salad shooter. The airlines, hotel and car rental companies absolutely do not care about taking care of you, why in the world would you add a corporate travel representative to this equation who along with not caring about you, also gets bonus points for your level of discomfort.

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