I’ve just got back from a trip to Dublin, and before I left I considered that I haven’t travelled many domestic business miles this year. A quick check on the bmi Diamond Club web site confirmed my worst fears… I’ve been downgraded from Silver membership to Blue Plus. Okay, to put this into perspective, it’s not actually my worst fear… I can think of several things that are far worse. Anyway, I digress… this means that I will still be able to get a complimentary cup of tea and sandwich on a bmi flight, but I’ll no longer be entitled to use the business class lounge (unless my ticket qualifies).

So, now I’m going to have to make sure I travel the miles again to re-qualify for Silver membership. This means gathering 16,000 membership status miles. By coincidence (and as if to rub it in) my shiny new Blue Plus membership card arrived today, ready to take over from the Silver card at the end of this month. The enclosed letter explained about the 16,000 miles to re-qualify… or I could just pay £150 now. Do I want to pay £150 for the occasional pleasure of sitting in an uncrowded area and having a free cup of tea and biscuits? Errr… no.

On the subject of travel, a couple of observations…

  1. Hotels charge too much for breakfast… €19 this morning for a cuppa, some scrambled egg, bacon, mushrooms and toast. When paying that much I feel obliged to eat as much as possible to get my money’s worth, but I can’t.
  2. Airlines have gone soft on people again over “hand luggage”. Can something really be described as “hand luggage” if it requires wheels to move it? And this rule about one item… one is less than two. Half to be precise. One is not two. Surely that’s not hard to understand. And surely it’s not hard to enforce.

This article has 9 comments

  1. Florida Steve Reply

    Dear Mr. Adams,

    In response to your most recent post, I venture the proposition that you are, in fact, spoilt.

    1. The fact that you stay in a hotel which would charge 19 Euro for a greasy spoon breakfast, means that you are staying in altogether too nice a place for the IBM budget and next time should go down market a little. I have stayed around the Mulhuddart area of Dublin many times and don’t ever recall paying for breakfast.

    2. I know what you mean about Airlines and carry ons. The Americans are way worse. It is like you are asking for their first born child when they arrive at check in. When Zoe and I went to Vegas earlier in the year, there was a guy who go on with a case so large, he had to turn it sideways to get it down the aisle. As we were going to Vegas, we thought he could have been a traveling ventriloquist. Either that or he didn’t want to pay for a seat for a couple of small children. Needless to say it didn’t go in the overhead or under a seat so it ended up sitting by the galley ( against FAA regulations ). What was funny was that at the luggage pickup, there were only about 15 cases that came off a plane with over 100 people on it. So we got out of the airport just behind the bloke with the big case. Stupid.

  2. Mark Haller Reply

    Isn’t it amazing that we are rewarded and seek pleasure, in racking up as many air miles as we can, and burning as much fossil fuel as we possibly can, in order to seek the huge reward of …. sitting in an uncrowded area with a newspaper and a crappy sandwich and a glass of something.

    I bet if you tried to justify your expense of 16,000 miles against the impact of that on the environment versus the coffee and paper and space you get in the airport, and if there was a tipping point … whereby everybody saw this … then the model could transform dramatically.

    Perhaps if the whole airport was really beautiful and less crowded and served free teas, coffees, etc, to everyone, then you wouldn’t seek “the card” :-)

    It’s not in the airline’s interest to have you travel less is it?

    I’m rambling, but it’s really interesting to see how you (and myself and my fiance who travel a lot) see this as a dissapointment/setback on your place and position on the planet !

    Imagine if we were rewarded by the employer to make sure we had superb high speed data connections, great webcams, and were helped, financially, and in every other way, to make our home environment amazing to work in and were rewarded for proposing a business trip face to face would actually be better done virtually ?

    Imagine a service level agreement with an outsourced IT and facilities company to setup a home office for you, on behalf of your employee, and you saw that as the ultimate benefit, and not a piece of silver plastic :-)

    By the way, I don’t think 19EUR is being spoilt – everyone plays their own personal perspective on cost. It would’ve been better for Florida Steve to say “in my own eyes, that would be classed as spoilt”

    :-)

    have a great, sat at home, non-flying, sunny happy Friday!

    Marky

  3. Darren Reply

    Mark, some interesting points, and I’ll respond to some. Whenever I go to Ireland (or Scotland, or almost any time I take a flight) I always visit a few customers, not just one. I guess this is mostly to justify the expense, but the side-effect is that I would do one trip to Ireland every 2 or 3 months rather than 1 every month or possibly more frequently. That, I suppose, does lower the carbon footprint. Or does it? The flight is gonna go regardless of whether or not I’m on it.

    Also, we do carry out some briefings and meetings by web conference, but you can’t replace every appointment with that medium. For return-on-investment calculations of real-time collaboration we reckon on 5 – 10%.

    So, bearing in mind that I will take flights anyway at some point, why shouldn’t I want the perks that make the drudgery of air travel a bit more tolerable?

    As for breakfast… the simple fact is that some hotels mainly cater for the business traveller. They assume that most guests will be expensing everything and don’t have a personal stake in the money they cough up. Actually I did, as the €19 will come out of my ‘per diem’ allowance. But I didn’t know when or if I would manage to eat any breakfast, so I took the hit. Having then been presented with a chance for a much cheaper breakfast about an hour later I realised it was a bum decision. You live and learn, and then you die and forget it all.

  4. Mark Haller Reply

    Hey Darren

    You’ve got me laughing :-)

    Totally agree with you with everything. It’s not in your interest, for your revenue, nor the client, nor anything else to NOT travel is it?

    There has to be such a quantum shift in thinking and a huge transformation here for airlines, governments, taxes, clients, and us, before we see a shift.

    I wonder if we’ll ever to get the stage where we see it better to do meetings over the internet rather than face to face? It’s gonna take some big thinking, and major steps, from an investment, technology and every other perspective, to get even close to that :-)

    Thanks for the reply! I worked for IBM in Thailand for a couple of years and despite living in a nice house in Bangkok, I would dine out twice a week at one of the local, big hotel companies (like Sheraton, etc) and loved it. It was my piece of luxury :-) Silver service, white linen tablecloths, crisp newspapers .. and I would take someone from one of my teams with me and we’d drink it in :-) Now, they know how to provide good service!

    :-)

    Marky

  5. Mark Devereux Reply

    The last time I stayed in Corduff which is quiet near to Tyrrellstown a lovely girl gave me bed and breakfast and it didnt cost anything:-)

    Lucky you dont fly with R****air

  6. Darren Reply

    It’s not just a one hour flight… it’s a 45 minute drive to the airport, park, get on the bus, get to the terminal, check in, go thru security, wait to board, sit on the tarmac because of a technical fault or because someone’s bag has been loaded but they’ve disappeared… then the one hour flight.

    By the time I’ve got through security, I’m ready for a cuppa and biccies. If they’re free and I can consume them in a comfortable lounge, that’s a big bonus.

  7. Lalo Cabrera Reply

    Is it true that one of the features for Lotus Notes is a key logger? If so, where can I get more information on this feature? If you have additional info, I can be reached at llaveria_98@yahoo.com

    Thanks,

    Lalo.

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