Growing up I used to LOVE David Letterman’s Top Ten List. Every night I would stay up late (to my parents dismay) with baited breathe, waiting for pearls of wisdom from one of the greatest late night talk show hosts on television (take that CoCo and Leno!!!). When a really good one would come up, I remember trying so hard not to laugh and wake up my parents who would not hesitate to let me know that a 12 year old shouldn’t be up late watching TV. As a parent today I’d like think that I am cool, but quite frankly I’d say the same thing-so I guess my parents did right by me.
Today, I have abandoned my love of the Letterman Top Ten List as I have found a new appreciation for going to bed at 10:30. If you are laughing at this, I am assuming you don’t have a kid who gets up at 5 AM or don’t have the need to wake up early for a flight to make an early meeting (see previous post here for explanation). I do, however, still enjoy making lists. They are imperative in the world of business… “to do” lists, customer lists, product lists… I could go on and on.
In addition to those less fun, mandatory lists, I have a favorite list to share: my Top 10 Wishes for a Great Trip. When I leave my home or office for the airport, I have a definitive list of wishes that will make that trip a great one should things go right.
10. Everything Fits Inside a Carry-On Bag
I have a bag given to me by my wife for my last birthday. So help me God, I will cram that thing full to the brink of breaking all of the zippers on it for a 7 day trip so that I don’t have to check a bag. I don’t mind paying bag fees; for me, it is my impatience driving my fervor here. I don’t want to wait at baggage claim or risk that the bag handlers have lost my favorite purple shirt. Real men wear purple you know…
9. Slip On Shoes
They may be dress shoes or a casual pair, depending on where you’re going and when, but for me it is imperative (and common courtesy quite frankly) to wear shoes that you can quickly slip on and off at the security checkpoint. The last thing you want to do is to stand there holding up a line of impatient travelers (like this guy right here) while you tie the laces to your brand new Cole Haans. Yes they look sharp, but if you hold up the line, no one will be impressed.
8. Coffee, Stat
When I arrive for a morning flight, my first stop past the security line is Starbucks. I speed over there and order my tall black coffee. I then sit at the gate, drink my coffee and if it is very early, I email my boss so that he can see how early I am up and at ‘em today so he won’t be quite so mad when I cut out at 2 PM on Friday. If I am in a new airport, I may take some time to browse the shops for local interest items for the family.
7. Shoe Shine and Unwind
I don’t like ironing and I detest shining my own shoes. I do, however, think that a shoe shine is for a man is like a pedicure is for a woman. The guy who shines my shoes at my airport is Roy. He does a fantastic job and speaks to you like a barber working one of those shops with the striped poles outside. Don’t know what I am talking about? Google it! Also, I read somewhere once that you should always have your shoes looking polished. Trust me, in the business world people notice stuff like that.
6. Upgrade Wanted
Hey, I fly a lot! Consequently I have good status on Delta airlines. I am not platinum but I am high enough up there to get the bump to the front of the plane about 50% of the time. No, I don’t take advantage of this to get the free drinks. I like the room, snacks and feeling of special service though.
5. Welcome, Socially Awkward Passenger or Empty Seat, Next to Me
I make no secret about it: my time in the air is MY TIME. Sometimes I work, sometimes I sleep, sometimes I read or watch a movie. All good things. What I don’t like to do is engage in conversation with someone on the plane. OK, I have had good experiences conversing on planes before. But for the most part I like to keep to myself on the plane. No one can get a hold of me up there and I that’s what I like the most about flying.
4. Entertainment (AKA Something to Do)
As I said before, I flight time is for me to do what I want to do. Whether that be work or play. I usually try to lean more towards play during my flight. That being said, I like to read and listen to music the most so I usually with either bring a book or magazine then listen to my iPod… usually with the volume down low enough so the passenger next to me can’t hear that I am listening to show tunes… don’t judge.
3. No Connection or a Connection Through a Solid Airport
I do prefer to take direct flights when I can, but alas, given the current state of travel, the economy and ever fuller planes, this cannot happen 100% of the time (“what do you mean there isn’t a direct flight from St. Louis to Gettysburg, PA,??”). If I do have to connect, I prefer to do it through a great airport that has awesome restaurants and shopping (including a place where I can pick something up for my wife and kids-see above).
2. An Early Meeting Adjourn and Low Price Change Fee
Nothing makes my heart beat faster than to realize that my meeting ended early and now I get to go home to my family sooner than later. Cut to this moment: “What??? It will cost me $250 to change my flight? But there is no one on the plane! OK, I’ll just go have another slice from Sbarro and wait for my flight in 5 hours…” Most airlines do offer $50-$75 for a same day confirmed change which means I get to go home and see my wife and kids earlier than anticipated. Hurray!
1. FlyInStyle App is Locked and Loaded
I know… I know… but it really is a great tool to use. Think about it, one of the occurrences I mentioned previously happens: a cancelled/delayed flight, you get to the airport way too early or you aren’t able to catch that earlier flight due to cost or schedule. It’s so nice to have a tool at your disposal to help you navigate the preponderance of commerce, food and beverage that is right in your hand at the airport. Have your own airport tip that you think we should publish? Shoot us a note through the website with your tip and we may do just that! It’s all about you, the traveler, so we have to stick together on this.
Seriously, download the app. Thank me later.
The Flying Salesman