A recent experience caused me to realize that EHS managers more and more frequently are becoming not just road warriors, but international road warriors, subjected to hours and even days spent traveling every week. I'm going to start this category off with my own road warrior story, but feel free to add your own comments and suggestions for ways to proactively utilize time spent in airports, train stations, taxis, etc., or, better yet, ways to get around recorded customer service messages to find a real person who can help.
I flew out to the National Safety Congress this year on a sunny Sunday morning, looking forward to landing just a couple of hours after I left – the benefit of east to west travel – and enjoying some relaxing hours by my hotel pool before the serious work started. I made the mistake of taking an airline I've heard nothing but complaints about and connecting in O'Hare, the nation's second busiest airport. Recipe for disaster right? RIGHT!
Plane was delayed on the ground for two hours due to "fog" in Chicago...guess those millions in navigation equipment are rendered useless by fog...missed my connection...was told next flight wasn't for 10 hours...used up all stored battery power in phone and computer...couldn't find any electrical outlets to recharge...got delayed again in 10 hours for a maintenance issue and as a result of sitting at the gate for over an hour to resolve it, missed the curfew at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, CA (planes can't take off or land during certain hours)...was forced to land at LAX and take a bus after midnight to a closed airport to retrieve my suitcase, which managed to travel to California without me...waited 45 minutes for a taxi and paid $45 for the ride...got to the hotel and checked in almost exactly 24 hours after I left my house the previous morning.
The next day, at the National Safety Congress, I saw some of the same folks walking around who had been on my flight(s). They were bleary-eyed and not so bushy tailed. I thought, this must happen to people all the time and the more often you fly, the more likely it is that it will happen to you.
So, does anyone have any tips for A) using time constructively while in transit or B) coercing airlines into being more accommodating? Inquiring minds want to know...