I am trying to add it all up.  In the past three years, I have flown about 500,000 Miles; my fairly new car’s odometer says 75k and at least 100 hours on the rails. Platinum Marriott and Hilton Gold, about 120 nights away from home a year. I’m sure I’ve flown over a million miles in the past 5 years. I am just trying to tell you that I travel a lot.   

Although much of my travel is spent alone, I am fortunate to have a great group of co-workers that I meet up with when I reach my destination. That makes things much easier, having people to commiserate with and also count many of them as friends.

People think that business travel is fun. I expect when you sit behind a desk every day, it sounds fun.  I crave for the days I can be at my desk. It is a grueling way to spend your days and nights.  Up in the Air was a great movie because it depicted it so accurately. Yes, I have spent hours comparing loyalty programs in hotel bars, but I actually don't carry around the cards. And yes, I like staying at the same hotel chains because I know what to expect.  

One of the things I like best is seeing this country - coast to coast. Mind you, much of that is viewed from 30,000 feet.  I still take pictures of landmarks I recognize and put them on Facebook. But usually when I am on an airplane, it's part of my business day. Meaning there is an expectation by my employer and me that I get some work done, which brings me to why I am writing this blog.  This kid next to me is adorable but when he keeps touching my screen and keyboard and asking me every 3 minutes if he can try it, he is pissing me off.  Let me rephrase.  His parents are pissing me off.  The woman behind me, who is talking very loudly on her cellphone before takeoff, sharing details of her recent surgery, was bad enough, but now she is assuming the whole plane wants to hear it too.

As my opening blog on this topic, here is a quick list of things to consider when you choose to hit the airways, trains and highways with people who are just trying to get through their day.

If we look like we don't want to talk, guess what? We don't!  Watch for our signs - nose in book, using computer intently, headphones or earbuds apparently operational, polite nods and then looking away staring intently out the window. This is why I prefer the window seat - I can deflect easier. 

Frequent traveler lines.  The airports were kind enough to give us our own lane. Stay out of it! Traveling for business on your annual company meeting doesn't qualify you 9 months later with your kids in tow.  I have, to be fair, seen some very organized families get through security quickly, but the lane is for business people who do this all the time.  I can get everything in the bins in the security line in about 30 seconds, and can pack everything back up in about a minute on the other end.  That’s my qualifier. 

Babies and children on planes. I know it can't be helped - you need to get somewhere and sometimes babies need to go on planes.  Please don't take the red eye. They don't call them that because of baby’s eyes after crying for 8 hours, or our eyes after listening to them.  Bring something for them to suck on or chew so that they can relieve the pressure in their ears - but sometimes they are just unhappy.  If it can't be helped and they are old enough to sit by themselves, buy them the ticket and bring their car seat so they are comfortable. But above all - be parents!  One of my co-workers had a whole carton of milk poured into his suit jacket pocket while he was napping - I myself have provided food and entertainment for kids with clueless parents, and sat horrified while a woman changed a diaper on the tray table next to me.  It may take a village to raise a child, but Boeing 757 isn’t part of the equation. 

Be nice to the people who are trying to help you.  This one isn't for business travel specifically but yelling at the airlines personnel not only doesn’t get you anywhere faster, it also makes them cranky for the next person in line. They are just trying to do their job, with a whole lot of people who are angry or edgy for probably the same reason you are, in line behind you.  Your ticket is to cover the fuel to get you from place to place. The only thing you are "owed" is to get there safely. I don't think kissing butts is in the equation unless you are a business traveler - doh!  Just be nice - it usually works out pretty well.

The Quiet Car. I sometimes travel Amtrak between Rhinecliff, NY and New York City. The Business Class car isn’t technically a quiet car, but most people use it that way. If you have little kids, you probably should avoid train cars that are labeled “quiet” and probably Business Class too. 

Crowding at the Gate:  One last pet peeve for this post - when you are waiting at the airport for your flight, they actually do want you to board when you are supposed to - by row number or by zone.  I have actually missed First Class boarding because I couldn't get through the crowd.  Some airports are worse than others, but everyone is going to get on the plane.  Just sit and relax. 

Business travelers are critical to most travel-oriented businesses success. There are good reasons why we have what looks like special treatment - it's just the small things that make it a little easier to get through the day.

AuthorJeannette Kocsis

Sometimes when I travel I am reminded how vulnerable we are. It might be that I watch too much Criminal Minds, or Bones for that matter, but if nothing else, it reminds me to be vigilant when traveling.

I was recently flying into a Midwest City and arrived quite late at night. There were no cabs at the airport but there was a car service available. My destination was about 30 miles away.  As I waited for the driver, I started to feel anxious. When the driver lumbered up to me, my anxiety was reaching paranoia.  This guy was huge, and he barely spoke.  I got into the car, and as I asked questions about my destination and how he would get there, he seemed barely able to put two words together.

It occurred to me while driving down this dark interstate that I was going on a different road than I had before. This was troublesome. That's when the whole vulnerability thing hit.  I asked him why we were on this road, and he told me it was a "different way to go".  I started texting friends. I checked in on Facebook.  I tweeted about the highway. And finally I decided to call my husband and wake him up, to let him know where I was - I needed some clues for the Bones doctor and the FBI to find me! 

When I saw the exit for my city and saw the Marriott sign rising up in the mist, I let my husband go back to sleep. As we rolled in, and the driver got out of the car and picked my suitcase up with one finger, he said "we made good time. i hope you have a wonderful stay", and handed me his card in case i needed a ride back to the airport.  Huh.  I was spared, after putting blind faith in our transportation systems once more.

But I will still be trying to figure out how to leave breadcrumbs, so someone will be able to find me. Even electronic ones :)

AuthorJeannette Kocsis

Don't you love it when you see something on tv or a movie, or read in a book, something that you know could never happen? I am not talking about writing fiction. But when you are writing a book and describing something, you should know what you are talking about.

I was reading the latest novel recently, where the villain is going through airport security and puts his collection of deadly stilettos in a canvas bag and puts them through the X-ray machine. He very carefully puts some kind of electrician tape over the metal staples holding together his knife wound, but the stilettos sail through. I, of course, got busted last week for a small tube of toothpaste that slipped out of my liquids bag. Oh, and he bought his ticket at the airport, which usually means getting the full loving treatment from security, but not in this book.

Watching a cop TV Show last night, and the detective shows his badge and walks around security with his gun. Uh huh. I just asked if I could skip the scanner because I was running late and got the full pat down.

Just once, can the villain get caught because he left his water bottle in his carry on? Or maybe got stuck behind an old lady in a walker with 3 bags and sense of entitlement (and promptly knocks her down)? Or fell down in a dead faint when the person in front of him takes off their shoes?

AuthorJeannette Kocsis


What a travel week!  My crazy travel this week was impacted by mechanical failures as well as weather, and after traveling every day this week, I was never happier to get home at the end of the week.

But the weather...

I had an overnight trip to Chicago this week, and was on one of the 240 flights that were cancelled out of O'Hare on Tuesday night.  Just estimating that each flight might have had 100 people - given small and large planes - 2,400 people grounded at the airport. I was fortunate to have a hotel room at the airport, but walking through on Wednesday AM to catch an early flight out, it looked like scenes from the Weather Channel, with people sleeping everywhere. 

Most afternoons in the summer seem to have a threat for thunderstorms. As I travel, I keep my weather apps close on my phone and iPad.  I have seen some pretty amazing things (from a distance) before - a tornado that was several hundred miles away on flat Kansas land, while I was flying into Kansas City one day. A winter squall that dropped a foot of snow on my car in April, with nothing more than a notebook to scrape the snow off the windshield.

At first it didn't seem like much was happening. Flights started to delay, and my trusty apps gave me no clue about what was coming.  When the flight cancelled, and the next one, I knew something was really wrong. My co-worker and I quickly got up and got in line for a flight the next morning and got hotel rooms. But still didn't really know why, and just assumed bad weather.

We weren't in much hurry at that point, so did some shopping, got something to drink. But walking through the hotel lobby, the storm hit with a fury.  Getting to our rooms seemed like a good idea; I was concerned the hotel would lose power and with it, the ability to get into the room. By now, my apps had caught on to the fact that we were having a very severe storm, and threat of tornados.

I tried not to stand by my window to watch, but I have always been fascinated by storms and the fury of nature. It's like trying not to watch a scary movie - I can't put my pillow over my head.  As I watched the incredible wind gusts (it was reported at 80 MPH afterward), I saw a wheelchair that was parked outside the airport doors go sailing through the air.  It  was all over in a few minutes, and the storm roared on to Detroit.

But it does make me think that with our changing environment and crazy storms, we may have to rethink our abilities to just jump on planes to make meetings.  We may have to start thinking about the investment into video conferencing, and change some of the ways we do business

Or perhaps just avoid Chicago. :)

AuthorJeannette Kocsis