Travel Tidbits

I have returned from a phenomenal conference.  ATA knows how to put on a first-class event.  I was able to hear several great speakers (CNN’s Paul Begala, for one — he gave some cogent and compelling insight into the US Presidential race).  I saw old friends and made new ones.  I recorded three podcasts — the first one is already online.  Plus, I took over 400 pictures for Connections Magazine.  I am still processing everything — as well as trying to catch up — and will have more to share tomorrow, but first, I have a few sundry items to get off my mind:

Both airports (Grand Rapids and Washington-Reagan National) had constructions projects underway.  Am I imagining things or are airports more likely to be undergoing construction than not?

I struck out again with airplane food.  I think they’re trying to kill me.  The trail mix I ingested on the way there had 18% of my recommended daily allowance of fat — per serving.  The 4 oz bag contained 4 servings!  On the return flight I fared only slightly better with the Pringles (but they did taste good!)

The hotel was great; friendly and professional staff (who used my name whenever possible — and mostly pronounced it correctly, which is not common when I get away from SW Michigan) and smartly decorated and furnished rooms.  But how come the more you pay for a hotel, the more likely they tack on extra charges?  For a $70 for a room, there is free Internet and local calls (sometimes even long distance), the workout room is included and often a continental breakfast.  The room includes a coffee maker (not that I use it), a mini-frig, and sometimes a microwave.  However, when I pay 3 to 4 times as much, they charge for Internet and local calls (I heard of one hotel charging for room-to-room calls), there is no coffee maker, mini-frig, or microwave.  Breakfast is on your own — and expensive — while one visit to their exercise room is often more than the introductory rate for a month at the gym.  I don’t get it.

On the issue of the linens, they crossed the line.  A note card informed me that to “conserve water” they would not be changing the bedding — unless I called the front desk.

Lastly, I am perplexed.  What name do you use when the maid is a guy?  “Male maid” rolls off the tongue, but it’s certainly not politically correct.

What do you think? Please leave a comment!