As we wrap up summer, we thought it was only appropriate to gather around the virtual campfire and share some stories! We want to extend a very big thank you to everyone that took time to share your business travel story. It was a treat for us to read all of these stories, and reminds us that there is never a dull moment when it comes to business travel. Through flight delays, meeting strangers and being separated from family, we had so many compelling stories making it difficult to narrow to just five. See below for five stories that were selected as the winners of the contest, although you’re all winners to us!
Category 1: Your first business trip (lessons learned)
always check the weather
By: Norris Hamilton, Coty
I was so excited. I started with the company in November. Little did I know that in my industry, everyone takes vacation in December. I wanted to get started with growing the business, but didn’t have much direction since everyone was gone, including my boss. I booked a trip to see a client in Chicago. When we landed, there was two plus feet of snow on the ground. The temperature was in the single digits. I was dressed correctly, but the client could not understand why anyone would come to Chicago in December during what turned out to be the coldest part of the year that winter. The lesson I learned among many, ‘Check the weather report before booking your flight’.
Category 2: Your most successful business trip
flight delay to first class
By: Jonathan Greenhalgh, Corelogic
Back in August 2016, I was scheduled to fly from Rochester to San Diego on Delta which would turn out to be the same exact day Delta cancelled thousands of flights due to a global computer system crash. I could not believe my luck, and I was certain that I would not be able to fly out as scheduled as my flight was repeatedly delayed, eventually delayed enough that I would miss my connecting flight through Atlanta.
However, Egencia saved the day for me as they were miraculously able to get me on a different flight which connected through JFK and I experienced no delay. The best part was that because almost every other flight was cancelled or delayed, I was one of the few people on the flight to San Diego, and I received a complimentary upgrade to first class from the airline as a result (it was the first time I flew in first class)! Thanks to Egencia I flew in comfort and luxury, and I felt rested, pampered, and stress-free when I arrived to San Diego for my meetings that week.
So helpful tip when you experience a stressful flight situation: always keep an eye on the flight updates from Egencia, and reach out to them if you want to avoid being delayed or stuck due to flight cancellations/delays. Egencia helped me avoid a potential travel nightmare and turned the situation into a dream!
Category 3: Your longest or most challenging business trip
no smoking please
By: Danielle James, MongoDB
Strawberry scented smoke, too much tequila and Jack Daniels, and an arrest. These words might initially bring to mind an out-of-hand house party or perhaps a festival, yet they relate to my most recent business trip.
While traveling from New York to the West Coast, I was somewhat comfortably nestled in my window seat. It was an early AM flight. After napping the first half hour, I awoke to the sound of my fellow aisle passengers (let’s call them Seat B and Seat C) chatting loudly. I had use the restroom. Thus the usual “Excuse me” and knee bumping road to the lavatories commenced.
When I returned, I noticed discarded bottles of alcohol lining Seat B and Seat C’s tray. I was offered some. I admitted that in a lifetime of traveling, I’ve never consumed alcohol on a flight, and we continued to converse.
A few minutes into our chat, Seat C picked up a black box that lay on his lap, sucked on it, leaned forward, and exhaled deeply. Strawberry scented smoke filled our row. My mind jumped back to the time I bartended at a hooka bar in Manhattan (a story for another time). Seat C, it turned out, had recently quit smoking. Between admirable belly breathing inhales and smoke filled exhales, he loudly badmouthed the cancer sticks he was no longer addicted to. Seat B and I glanced at each other, perplexed. Was it not illegal to smoke in planes? Even if it was a vape? Yet Seat C smoked with such confidence that we weren’t sure.
Our flight edged on and the flight crew noticed that Seat C was smoking on the plane. They addressed him, asked him to stop. He said he’d comply, then didn’t. More tequila was consumed, more smoke released. I had work to do, and was determined to complete it before I landed. In between tinkering with in-flight wifi and digging into spreadsheets, I conversed with Seat B and a clearly inebriated Seat C. Whenever I’d lock eyes with one of the passengers across the aisle, I’d catch a serious dose of side-eye. You see, since my aisle mates and I were chatting, other passengers assumed we were traveling together. Thus we were grouped together with Seat C, the loud, smoke-slinging passenger disrupting their flight. In the eyes of others, we had become a small crew, to be glared at in unison.
Eventually, the flight crew caught Seat C mid-inhale. They had warned him before. Now, the captain was to be notified. Seat C begged for forgiveness and spent the rest of the flight asking Seat B and me if we thought he’d be fine.
It turned out he wasn’t. Once we landed, two federal officers escorted Seat C off the plane.
Category 4: A tried and true TIP for business travelers
don’t talk to strangers
By Angela K
Our US HQ was in NY (different company) and I worked at their steel business unit in Nashville. I had to fly to Dallas to visit a customer about a delinquent account and would be accompanied by a new director from the NY office. He was new to the US from global HQ in Japan and this would be his first US business trip.
We both flew in to DFW and our flights landed around the same time. Since he was new to the US and this was my customer we were visiting, I had made reservations for us at a local hotel and I had also rented a car so that I could drive us around and visit other customers in the area, as well.
But first, we had to find each other at DFW – of all places. I called his mobile and he answered and told me the vicinity of where he was. I was in the same area – wonderful! He informed me that he was dressed in a navy suit, white shirt, red patterned tie, black wingtips (i.e. standard business attire). I responded that I was petite, had long blonde hair, was wearing a navy pinstriped jacket & skirt, white button-up blouse, a pearl necklace and navy pumps, carrying a navy leather tote and a black roller bag with a pink ribbon on the handle. It’s the middle of the day so it was hard to see through the throngs of busy people, many of them on their phones.
I caught a man’s eye looking the way he had described and waved cautiously and smiled a little. He waved back and smiled. I was still on the phone and he said, “I think I see you!” I said, “You do – I see you, too. I’m waving and walking toward you now.” He said he didn’t see me waving but I figured the crowd was in the way so I continued. I got to the person and said, “Hi, I’m Angela. Nice to meet you in person finally. You had a good flight, I hope?” He smiled a little, shook my hand and said, “Hello – yes. Ok.” Since he was new to the country, I thought maybe he was uncomfortable with his use of the English language so I slowed my speech and used shorter sentences. I continued, “I have my car outside. Would you like to get some dinner? Or would you like to go straight to the hotel first and eat dinner later?” He looked surprised and said, “Repeat please?” It was noisy so I repeated myself. He looked puzzled but before I could rephrase it, I was tapped on my shoulder by my counterpart. He said, “Angela?” My turn to look puzzled. He said, “I am Mr. Miyagi.” My jaw dropped. I said, “This isn’t you??” He laughed and said, “No, I don’t think so.” I apologized to the other gentleman. Then he and Mr. Miyagi spoke in Japanese and laughed a lot.
Tip: Request a photo of your contact if you have never met him/her in person. Send the other person a photo of you. Maybe have him/her wait for you at their gate so that you can go to him/her – Just set a distinctive meeting point or know what the other person will look like. Do NOT walk up to strangers and offer to treat them to dinner.
Category 5: How the Egencia mobile app made your trip easier
mobile app for the win
By Kerry Zielinski, syncreon
I just got hired to syncreon and was on a business trip to visit various automotive related businesses we service in Germany. The Egencia app helped me tremendously with various plane and car portions of the trip – and highlighted the hotels in 2 different countries and 3 different cities over 4 days. It was simple to use and my wife got access so she could see where I was without a paper trail and wasted time to write out or print out an itinerary for her. Thanks to the app – I felt safer and like I had a travel expert any time I would need one.