Hotel Fun

I travel a lot for work and spend way to much time in hotels so I thought I would offer this handy guide to some hotel terms and what they really mean.

Boutique Hotel – offers the convenience of being able to sit on the bed AND work at the desk at the same time.

Downtown Hotel – Average rooms at ridiculous prices combined with the convenience of being at least 30 floors from anywhere you want to be. Plus you get the privilege of paying for extras like WiFi and parking.

Corner King Suite – 2 rooms, 1 bed, really odd layout because it’s wedged in a corner where 2 other rooms meet. Also, WiFi won’t work in parts of this room because it’s in a far corner of the hotel.

Suite Hotel – There is not such thing as an upgrade.

Free WiFi – Doesn’t work as well as your cell phone

Paid WiFi – Doesn’t work as well as your cell phone at 10x the cost of your home WiFi

Corporate Rate – not available for any week you actually want to stay there

Disney Hotel – That incredibly long walk from the lobby to your room is really just training for the theme parks.

Starbucks Sign – The hotel serve Starbuck’s coffee. Sometimes this means they bought it a the grocery store, no latte for you. Sometimes it means an actual Starbucks. It’s always a surprise.

Handicap/Accessible Room –  Large bathroom door, no lip on shower, light switches and hangars placed low to accommodate people in wheelchairs. Note that this does not necessarily mean that a wheel chair, or a non-impaired human, will fit between the bed and the desk.

Recently renovated – You really, really didn’t want to stay here before the renovation.




Airplane Travel Tip-How to get more legroom

The rules are that you have to have your carry bag under the seat in front of you for takeoff and landing. The rules don’t say anything about mid flight.So if you need a little more leg room to stretch out during that flight, after takeoff, move your bag under your knees.

I travel with a pretty small computer bag but it still gets in the way when trying to sleep so after takeoff, I move the bag under my knees or under the slight overhang between the end of my seat and the bar below designed to contain the carryon of the person behind me. Even a large backpack can fit under your knees allowing you to stretch out for some shut eye on a long flight in a middle seat.

My wife does this on car trips in the passenger seat but I never really thought to do it on airplane flights until recently and it works like a charm.

You’ll have to stow everything again for landing but hopefully you’ll be more rested by then.

TSA Expedited Traveler Exprience

On my way home from #atl today I got picked for the new #tsa #expedited traveller program. I had signed up a while back but never heard anything.

In short, the experience was fantastic.

The T gate checkpoint in atl now has 3 lanes. One for non-medallion members, a regular medallion lane and an expedited lane. Pre-screeners segregate folks as they walk up. The medallion side has a second screener who scan boarding passes with a handheld device to separate expedited travelers. Mine passed. Prior to security, a TSA agent checks ID and re-scans the boarding pass one more time.

After that security is straightforward. X-ray and bag x-ray. No removing shoes plus laptop and liquids stayed in their bags. No naked body scan.

I was picked for a hand swab but others went straight through. Even with that it was crazy fast. I could seriously get used to this.

Plus no one scribbled their initials uselessly on my boarding pass.

Delta: Honesty, Integrity, Mutual Respect = Bait & Switch

I’m a Platinum level Delta flyer and I’m on a Delta jet every week. I’m not Diamond level because of the number of times I go into Atlanta and stay there. As a Platinum member Delta gives me a set number of “System wide Upgrades” allowing me to get a “free” first class upgrade without worrying about my place in the upgrade line.

Until I try to use them of course.

For example, this weekend I went to buy a ticket. I have a flexible travel schedule in this case and the travel is 2 months out. I found that I could buy a coach ticket for $477. Delta’s website helpfully offered that for $306 I could pay to upgrade to first class. Total $783.

I called and tried to use a system wide upgrade certificate. Since the coach fare has to be booked in certain fair codes, my coach ticket with the free upgrade would cost me $678 or roughly $100 less than just buying a first class ticket.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that I’m supplementing the cost of my “free” upgrade by paying 2/3 of the cost.

As someone who flies every week on Delta this feels like bait and switch. I tried to explain this to the Delta agent who struggled with the fact that they couldn’t see the internet offer of $306. She suggested I take the $306 offer. That of course, misses the point entirely.

This isn’t the first time this has happened. It seems to happen every time I try to use an upgrade certificate which is why all of mine went unused last year.

Delta’s new safety video is preceded by a message from Delta CEO Richard Anderson who extols their commitment to honesty, integrity and mutual respect. It’s not what you say, it’s what you do that demonstrates honesty, integrity and mutual respect and I don’t see that when trying to their “free” upgrades.

Hilton’s Top Chef Marketing Fail

For whatever reason I’ve gotten into Bravo’s Top Chef D.C. this season. Hilton is a huge sponsor. The competition has been held in the Hilton Washington D.C. and Hilton Singapore. The marketing includes hotel key cards when you check and in room promos. They just missed one thing…

In most cases, you can’t actually watch the show in Hilton hotel because they don’t have Bravo…FAIL!

The pay per view section in some hotels offers a few free episodes but you can’t watch the current episode in real time or near real time. I’ve been in a number of Hilton hotels when the show airs on Wednesday and I’ve always had to wait until I get home and watch the DVR version. (The family is monopolizing the DVR that has the Slingbox attached so I can’t stream it. It’s a long story.)

Talk about a lost opportunity.