Recently stumbled upon this Gary Stoller article in USA Today. Wish I would’ve read this before I started traveling!
Stoller starts with this:
San Diego-based frequent flier Saul Klein started traveling 22 years ago and estimates he has spent more than 17,500 hours — at least two years — waiting around.
That’s a staggering figure! The 22 years of traveling (that’s my whole life) and the fact that he’s spent more than the equivalent of 2 years waiting in airports.
Biggest time wasters?
- Security Lines
- Checking in for flights/hotels
- Boarding or de-boarding planes
- Luggage claim
- Car or shuttle
The remedy is of course to become a preferred member to get priority boarding and better service (which I’d like to interject and say that service should be the same for ALL customers). Oh, and you get to use their fun business lounges.
For us poor(er) folk, Stoller also suggests some economy (pun intended) solutions:
- Traveling to and from airports…use the time wisely. Keep a list of people you need to call handy and give them a ring while you’re in a taxi. Or use the ride to brainstorm about a client you’ll be meeting or to plan a future meeting. If you’re driving, queue up a podcast you’ve been meaning to listen to.
- Learn something new.Keep a folder of articles you want to read in your carry-on. Watch a video tutorial for a new software program. Get inspired and learn new ideas at the TED (Technology Entertainment and Design) website, www.ted.com, or by viewing other educational or informational podcasts like it. If you read or listen to something that might interest a client or a colleague, refer them to it.
- Sit in an aisle seat. You can exit a plane quicker, get to the lavatory more quickly and access items in the overhead bin more easily.
I bet you’re wondering what I did while I waited to check in, stood in security, waited to board the plane, sat on the plane, and waited for my luggage. I had two “go-to” things…
If I was with someone: Complain (about anything and everything…the size of the queue, things I was stressing about, the haircut of the person in front of me…)
If I was alone: Angry Birds (the great American boredom buster/time waster)
If I wasn’t complaining or playing Angry Birds: I’d read and listen to music. Try not to draw attention to myself. Play it cool like “yeah, I travel ALL the time. What’re you looking at?”
Honestly though, no sarcasm here, I learned some pretty amazing lessons in patience while I was abroad…since we only had public transit or planes to get us anywhere, we waited a lot. For trains, buses, planes, etc. I think we spent more time getting to and from the airports and waiting in the airport than we actually did in some places (cough Paris cough). I learned really quickly that it might be burdensome to carry around a book or a notebook with you in your rucksack when you’re walking around all day visiting somewhere (cough Edinburgh cough) but it’s so worth it. The train ride to Edinburgh was about 3.5/4-ish hours ONE WAY. And one can only sleep so much…so I brought my go-to items…ear plugs, headphones/a charged up phone, a book (usually Rick Steves), a steno pad (for notes on the trip, doodles, random thoughts), and Uni work. A variety of options!
I doubt any time soon I’ll be getting access to the business lounge or receive priority boarding…so while I sit in economy enjoying the peanuts I had to pay for, I’ll continue to enjoy my 30p gossip paper I purchased at WHS. God help the person sitting next to me…