Musings on Travel

I travel for work a lot. I have opinions on every airport in the US (O’hare sucks – for example) and I know without checking roughly how many points I have on 3 airlines, two hotel chains and 4 car rental places. Having established my sad credentials, here are some thoughts.

  • Maid Service – This is stupid. I’m usually only going to be here at most  a week. I can survive on just the 4-6 bath towels already in the bathroom, the shampoo and soap will last through more then 5 showers, and coming home to a made bed every day with all of my toiletries arranged is mildly creepy at best. I pretty much immediately put up the do not disturb sign and leave it up for duration of my stay.
  • Rental Cars – I like a small keychain. I carry my house key, car key, and that’s about it on mine. So when I rent a car it is very annoying to be given a keychain with two car keys, two keyfobs, and a plastic thing which is SUPPOSED to have the car information on it (like license plate) for when I inevitably need to tell the hotel front desk what car I am parking. This is unnecessary, even if the thought was that by giving multiple keys and keyfobs that could give me an option to keep one set at the hotel incase I lock the keys in the car or lose them or something. This idea is kinda ruined by the fact that the keychain is permanently crimped together and nothing can be removed from it.
  • Airplanes – Flight attendants should have personalities. It makes the whole otherwise agonizingly painful process of flying entertaining. However, having been on nearly every airline serving the continental US I can state with some authority that Southwest is the only airline that permits personalities and *gasp* humor from their attendants. The others seem to think a monotone customer interaction with just a hint of “I hate my life” vibe is what we are looking for after dealing with the insane and pointless security theater that is the TSA. So to the flight attendants who vary their otherwise easily memorize-able preflight announcements with some humor and personality, thank you. Especially whoever did the one on my SFO -> PIT trip where they said “Please put on your oxygen mask before assisting your child. If you have multiple children start with the one that has the most potential and work down from there”. That had me smiling for a good chunk of the flight.
  • Power – Having wandered around airports at all hours of the day and night, like a demented zombie searching for an unguarded power outlet to charge one of my phones, laptop, mp3 player, or other inflight necessities, I appreciate the recent trend of providing charging stations in the waiting area. With one exception though, those new vending machines they have that expect you to pay in order to plug in your device and charge it, who are you fooling? I’m just going to unplug the vending machine and plug in my phone charger.
  • Speaking of TSA and laptops, nobody tell the TSA that laptop batteries have roughly the potential energy of a hand grenade and it does not take much work to over-volt it, breach the cells and cause a larger explosion than my “slightly over the size limit” aftershave bottle could, not matter what it was filled with. On second thought, I’m pretty sure most of them think laptops are powered by wisecracking hamsters running on wheels inside it so no worries there.
  • Skype video chat – It is the only thing that makes life on the road when you have small children bearable for all involved.

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