As I write this blog post, I’m sitting in Reagan National Airport, waiting for my flight – wearing the same clothes I had on yesterday. It’s 5am on Thursday, August 2. I was in Boston and eastern Massachusetts Tuesday and Wednesday on business. It was a great trip with visits to clients at four hospitals in two action-packed days. Then I headed for home…
It’s an old story and it has happened to me more times than I can to remember. My first flight was late leaving Boston which made me dangerously close to missing my connection in DC. I ran to my gate in Washington (Dulles) only to find the door to the ramp closed, but the plane still sitting at the gate. In fact, I arrived at 9:59 and the flight wasn’t scheduled to leave until 10:09. The United Airlines employee at the gate went down the ramp to see if they would let me board, but no luck. So I sat there for 10 minutes watching them load luggage (including mine) onto the flight, all the time knowing that my life just got more complicated.
It became evident that I was going to spend the night in Washington. Short of renting a car and driving, I wasn’t getting home anytime soon. I ended up getting booked on a US Air flight from Reagan National (not Dulles) scheduled to depart at 6:25am Thursday. Once all the arrangements had been made, I caught a cab to a hotel near Reagan, and checked in at midnight. After charging my iPhone, calling my wife, and responding to email, I finally crashed at 1am, which made my 4am wake up call all the more distasteful.
So now I’m sitting at Reagan National, and my 6:25am flight to Raleigh Durham has been delayed. It is a bummer because I’m supposed to leave at 8:30am from my office in Chapel Hill for yet another trip. This one is a day trip and I need to be home tonight in time to attend my daughter’s poetry reading at Duke University’s Young Writers’ Camp Final Celebration. There’s no negotiating on that point.
Rationally I know that these hassles go with the territory. Business travel during the summer is always a challenge because of erratic weather. Nothing about last night’s experience is surprising. In short, I feel about business travel the way I used to feel about running. Running was always painful, but I enjoyed trying to block out the pain and win the battle between the mind and the body. Travel is a lot like that: It is about overcoming obstacles, blocking out the pain and reaching your final destination.
Have a good Thursday!