Business Travel is Obsolete

While traveling in general can be a mixed bag. You know, with the trials and tribulations that come with arranging transportation, sleeping in ANY bed not your own, etc.  Traveling when required for work is obsolete in all but the most specialized of cases.

I think the biggest difference is that it is not really an option to bring along my family and after spending a whole weekend with my 1 year old, I really feel this is a downfall of business travel. Who wants to have an experience that only you can experience? I did the “after college backpacking” thing…I’m over it, really. Besides, the sterile hotels we tend to stay in are a far cry from the shared youth hostels of my youth which provided enough material for at least a year’s worth of blog posts (not to be included here).

Another point is that there is always the “acceptable expenses” hanging over your head. I mean, who decides how much I’ll eat at breakfast vs lunch or dinner? Why is a glass of wine not acceptable as a beverage? Have you ever been to Europe?

Long hours- I think there just really isn’t a justification for travel anymore; Especially with my industry. I am more than equipped to provide my clients with remote research…In every instance other than what I am doing this week…which is  focus groups. It is really hard to run a focus group from a remote location. That being said, I can do nearly every other type of research without setting foot in the same city with the users. This makes traveling for work a vestige of a bygone era.

What about the horrible affect on the environment with the cars, trains, planes and paper created of our traveling? I thought the internet was supposed to help us decrease my carbon footprint. It doesn’t change my culpability just because “my boss asked me to go.” Lets try to leave something for the next generation, shall we?

Cisco has created the Telepresence Rooms. I’ve used them. Amazing. With these, truly, it is like being there. Really no need to travel. Until they invent the transporters of Star Trek, I vote that I stay in my home town until the family is in need of a tropical vacation.

Thoughts from fellow travelers?

American Airlines Debuts Mobile Boarding Pass

mobile barcode

Your cell phone may help you avoid the long lines at the airport this holiday season, as American Airlines is implementing a mobile boarding pass program at select airports. These services have been available for a few years already in Japan and, to a lesser extent, in Europe.

In partnership with the Transportation Security Administration, the airline will enable customers to receive a two-dimensional bar code on their cell phones that will act as a boarding pass. The program is in trial at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and will soon expand to domestic flights from Los Angeles International and John Wayne Orange County airports.

“Customers who choose this option can bypass printing a boarding pass at their home, office, or even at the airport to board their plane. They can go straight to security and then to the aircraft,” said Mark DuPont, the company’s VP of airport services planning, in a statement.

To use mobile boarding passes, customers have to have an active e-mail account and a phone that’s Internet-enabled. When the customers check in via the airline’s Web site through a desktop or mobile, they will have the option of getting a boarding pass sent to an Internet-enabled mobile device. Once the customers are at the airport, they can proceed directly to the security checkpoint where airport personnel can scan their phones.

American Airlines is just the latest airline to dabble in the mobile space, as Continental and Delta have been testing similar boarding pass programs in cooperation with the TSA.

Using cell phones and smartphones to check it was greatly boosted by the 2007 decision by the International Air Transport Association to introduce a global standard for boarding pass bar codes. The association represents about 93% of international air traffic, and all airlines must have bar coded boarding passes — paper or digital — fully implemented by 2010.

The ability to scan these two-dimensional barcodes off a phone is also the technology being used to keep financial and personal information on phones that allow users to make purchases and enter restricted areas at work places.

The obvious risk is that now consumers will need to protect their phones even more since personal and financial fraud can now be perpetrated with a stolen phone.

some information and images linked from Information Week.

Saving the Airlines

I was glad to read these exciting ideas on how to help our domestic airlines:

HOW TO SAVE THE AIRLINES

Dump the male flight attendants.
No one wanted them in the first place.

Replace all the female flight attendants with
good-looking strippers! What the hell —
They don’t even serve food anymore, so what’s the loss?

The strippers would at least triple the alcohol sales and get a “party atmosphere” going in the cabin. And, of course, every businessman in this country would start flying again, hoping to see naked women.

Because of the tips, female flight attendants wouldn’t need a salary, thus saving even more money ! I suspect tips would be so good that we could charge the women for working the plane and have them kick back 20% of the tips, including lap dances and “special services.”

Muslims would be afraid to get on the planes for fear of seeing naked women. Hijackings would come to a screeching halt, and the airline industry would see record revenues.

This is definitely a win-win situation if we handle it right — a golden opportunity to turn a liability into an asset.

Why didn’t Bush think of this?
Why do I still have to do everything myself?

Sincerely,
Bill Clinton

Fortunately, there are forward thinkers who have already started utilizing these ideas.