February 13th, 2008
Every now and again I feel the need to explain the realities of business travel … and this time with an emphasis on business travel during the Canadian Winter!
A couple of years ago I wrote my first blog on the subject when I was about to head out for a conference in Vancouver. The focus of that entry was that it is not glamorous, it does have an impact on home life and there are plenty of associated hassles.
About a year ago I was out West for three days and thought I would give people a glimpse into the daily routine on the road … some of the hassles, incidents and challenges of doing business in different cities. Despite it all I asserted that I still like the business travel, its just not as attractive as it appears from afar!
A little later I decided to talk about some of the good stuff about business travel … because despite the issues its not all bad. I blogged about the great service from Porter who at that time were a new airline in Canada and about meeting interesting people, in that blog a dynamic young entrepreneur.
My last word on the subject was in the Fall when I had a two part entry about travelling to an industry association board meeting followed by some stsffing industry thoughts. Obviously the travel didn’t go as planned!
Back to today … it does appear that poor travel experiences tend to drive these rants about business travel, which is probably not surprising. Travel in the Canadian Winter can always be an adventure and today’s story was mild by comparison to many … however when it is a relatively common occurence business travel during the Winter can be very trying!
Today I was booked on a 7am flight to Toronto from Ottawa … its a one hour gate to gate trip that should have me in the office in Toronto by 8:30am. My first meeting was scheduled for 10:30am giving me time to catch up on voice and emails and get myself “sorted”. I generally get up at 6am for my morning workout, but I was up at 5am this morning and heading into a taxi at 5:30am … no workout today.
It snowed all night in Ottawa, just a light snow, but the roads had a decent coverage and were slick … so I had the usual FUN ride to the airport, white knuckles holding onto the seat! I had the usual security fun …. trying to juggle multiple items through security, but I do this a lot … no worries!
Boarded the plane about 20 minutes late because it was late getting to the gate, because of snow and after getting boarded and pushing back we found out there was a mechanical failure. Back to the gate, disembark and luckily the 8:30 flight to Toronto is at the next gate and they have room.
Off to the de-icing station … adds another 25 minutes to the journey. In Canada almost every cold day the plane has to be de-iced before takeoff, obviously better than flying with iced up controls but another hassle for the business traveller.
Arrive at Toronto Island airport around 10am and manage to get a cab within a rasonable time, arrive at the office at about 10:30am just in time to hit my meeting!
Juggling luggage and bundled up for the Winter cold makes it difficult to be very productive on a one hour flight, so really I lost a couple of hours from my day today. Not terrible in the scheme of things but also not atypical … business travel can add stress if you are not used to the issues or if you just let it get to you.
As I mentioned travelling in the Winter months here is always an adventure, we are set up to handle it, but it is still a huge impact. Welcome to the life of a road warrior … and just like before I still think its OK!
I certainly am not here to whine because this could have been a much worse experience and for that I am grateful. Every now and then I like to give you a glimpse into my life … it is not one I am looking to change, in fact I can’t think of many people who I would swap places with! Just occasionally (OK maybe more often than that) I curse the weather when I’m travelling!