With all apologies to the Comedian George Wallace (now appearing at the Flamingo in Las Vegas) , who has made the title line of this blog famous, I could not help but think of him when I read the results of survey conducted for Hewlett Packard by American Airlines. The survey found that among frequent business travelers having a dead notebook battery and no place to charge it was their most frequent travel-related complaint. (See the entire story at Internet News.) How about pilot fatigue, stressed airframes and an inefficient and potentially unsafe air travel control system?
Twenty-four percent of those surveyed, responded that access to a power socket was the most important technological amenity aboard an airplane. I still consider a flush-toilet that operates at 40,000 feet to be a fairly important technology, but that may be because my travel is mostly long distance. I found it amusing that, forty-seven percent of those surveyed felt that having Wi-Fi connectivity was the most important amenity at airline terminals, outscoring food by thirty percent in the ratings.
The reason that I find this amusing is that I am normally surrounded by more technology and connectivity than most. For some unexplained reason I have six computers (four desk tops, two notebooks, a SONY PlayStation III, a SONY PSP, three printers, numerous PDAs, a couple of PNDs and numerous other processor-based boxes all in my office. I’d like to be able to tell you that I share an office, but there is no truthful phrase that I could write that would lead you to believe that I am not the sole occupant of the space.
When I travel, I am loaded with gear. I carry a Blackberry, PND, PDA, notebook, camera, digital voice recorder and other electronic stuff that I am convinced I will need to cover the assignment. However, I rarely take this stuff out at the airport or on the plane. In fact, the airport and plane are usually the only places where I get to to think really deep thoughts when I travel. I guess I am among the group that flies in the cheap seats and doesn’t really have the room to do any work other than that which naturally occurs in the space between my ears.
Usually, after I arrive at the airport, I stop at the Kiosk or the Admiral’s Club and snap up a Wall Street Journal and the local newspaper to see what’s new around the world. After all, if I was in a hotel the night before, I spent most of my evening online doing email, sending reports and preparing for the next day. So, when I get to an airport, I want real amenities – not WiFi and not electrical plugs (though they do come in handy for recharging). So let’s keeps those news kiosks and the shops with the incredibly expensive and unreasonably bland food – for some reason I have developed an addiction to them – or maybe it’s just that MasterCard has convinced me that these opportunities are “Priceless”.
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