Rishi Sankar: Ah Trini Travelogue

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What I really hate on a Monday morning consulting commute…

Posted by Rishiray on April 7, 2010


As a consultant who enjoys the traveling lifestyle, I find many ways to optimize the traveling experience and find the most efficient ways to save time in lines, check in counters and security checks. Unfortunately, there aren’t expert traveler lines in every airport (Chicago’s O’Hare airport actually has an “Expert traveler line” and it is phenomenal … it should just be renamed the Consultant line), which means that one has to line up with the people who’ve never seen a plane before or people who travel once a year for that hard earned vacation they scrimped and saved for.

I have ZERO problems with people enjoying their vacations, but I do have a problem with people causing me to waste time with their lack of knowledge on security customs, check in procedures and generally travel naivete. For those who would chastise me for being “elitist” .. consider the following examples :

  • If you’re driving on the highway and someone cuts in front of you, then slows down forcing you to change lanes multiple times, you would be annoyed … right?
  • If someone “rubbernecks” at an accident scene on the highway causing a slowdown of traffic behind them, you would be annoyed … right?
  • If someone is at Starbuck$, $econd Cup, Coffee Time, Wendy or your car wash and they stood at the front of the line, pondering their order, next move or generally scratching their genitals, you would be annoyed … right?

This is the same thing for consultants when we see these people who make us waste time in lines. The line up at Pearson on a Monday morning is ridiculous for the following reasons

  • It just takes one person in the check in counter who has no idea what they’re doing to hold up the entire line up for 5 minutes. With airline service cutbacks, there might be two counter clerks who are checking in people … massive annoyance with the non traveler fumbling with documents, not knowing where they’re going or where they’re staying … seriously, this happens all the time.
  • American security procedures are THE worst. They treat everyone like a criminal and the security checks are just a damn illusion. If someone wants to do their worst on a plane, you can almost be damn sure, they will. The security procedures just create fear and the illusion of safety.
  • Every month, the security process changes creating even more confusion … the consultants are not immune to this, except that we’ve learned that you don’t argue with the low paid security staff who didn’t complete high school or belong to some Ismali mosque/Sikh temple … it’s not worth your effort. One person arguing causes massive lines and increased security detailing
  • There are people who dress in full suits to commute. I have no problem with being well dressed, but ensure that your shoes are “slip-ons”, you’re not wearing a belt or a belt with no metal, pockets have no metal and that you can remove your jacket quickly. The idiots who take forever to take off these articles cause me immense frustration, since they take forever to take off things and forever to put them back on.I’ve learned to change security lines if the people in front of me are:
    • Carrying young kids or a stroller – always will waste time, since kids can’t generally deal with airport lines since the lines are stupid and kids have little patience for stupidity
    • Wearing any type of Arabic/Religious attire – they almost always get the “enhanced” search.
    • Old – anyone who walks slowly or has a walker necessarily delays everything. It’s not their fault that they’re old, but it is your fault for staying behind them in a line.
    • Asian / South Asian (Indian) tourists – they always have issues with North American security processes (Note I don’t mean Asians or East Asian who live in North America – they know the process)
    • Really fat people – I don’t think I need to explain this one

The main goal on a Monday morning flight is to get to the client site on time with no delays and no lost baggage. Having a decent commuting experience would also be a great thing … if only we had the “Expert Traveler” line at Pearson … I wouldn’t have to resort to the Consulting Jedi tactics, that I currently use.

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