Just Great! So much for business travel again... - Granite Grok

Just Great! So much for business travel again…

Once again, the West has been attacked – even if not successful with the plot being aborted by the work of the US, Pakistani, and British intelligence agencies (and who else more?).  Maybe, just maybe, folks are starting to take notice.

It really has to be something to get the nerds up in arms (thank you very much!)   From Slashdot (News for Nerds. Stuff That Matters):

Charter Flight Websites / Services?

X86Daddy asks: "TSA’s latest announcement banning all fluids (toothpaste even) from carry-on luggage is the icing on a very sour cake. Many passengers are growing tired of the invasive security screenings, the increasing prices, lost and stolen luggage, and the decreasing quality of service with commercial flights in the United States. However, given the geographical size of this country and the lack of rail options, flight remains the only practical method of travel for most destinations. Can anyone suggest alternative flight services? Are there websites that connect Cessna or other small scale air charter services with interested passengers? I’ve found CharterX and CharterHub but they seem more geared toward executives looking for jets. Does anyone have experience traveling this way? Is the price point a lot higher, making this a dumb idea (just resign myself to buying toiletries at every destination and prepare for the mandatory anal probes in ’07)?"

For a moment, forget about the "why" of the new restrictions – I am just looking at this from the aspect of a frequent flier who just made plans for another business trip to San Diego.

I don’t carry a water bottle around or ingest my caffeine via coffee (I want my caffeine green! ->  Mountain Dew!), so I just wait for the "complementary beverage service" since United serves Pepsi products. Being a nerd (why ELSE would I surf Slashdot?), I don’t care about bringing perfumes, hair gels, deoderant gels, toothpaste and what not…besides, taking all that stuff on board means less techie stuff in the bag (laptops, hubs, Ethernet cable, headphones, cell phone, DVDs, yadda, yadda – I never know what I will need at the other end, so I bring it all with me). 

One does have to set the correct priorities, right?  Oops, hold that thought!  CNN is reporting that:

The British Airports Authority said no hand luggage would be allowed onto planes leaving British airports until further notice

Besides banning liquids, British police are also banning passengers from carrying electronic key fobs, which have the potential to trigger bombs.

I’ve also heard reports that cell phones, laptops, and iPods (or other MP3 devices) were not allowed to be carried on. 

Now, these last restrictions have not yet happened on this side of the pong, but let me ask you – WHO in their right mind is going to let their laptop or other electronics go into the cargo area?

I realize that they work hard and in all kinds of weather.  Add to it, my knees wouldn’t hold up to the punishment these folks put themselves through all day long.  I’ve watched the folks who load and unload those areas for years – gentleness is not a word that comes to mind. However, the only way that my laptop(s) are going in there is if my company insists that I bring them.  They own them – they are not mine, and I will follow those directions to the letter (smirk – yes, I do full backups every week).

My personal one?  Not so much.

Back to business, and that’s the point – business.  If a business traveler can no longer bring a laptop safely on his/her trip, what is the overall effect on business travel going to be?  I’ve been on long trips many times – I don’t want to waste that time just staring at the in-flight movie (if there is one) and the obligatory airline magazine and Sky Mall in the seat pocket in front of me isn’t going to last that long (heck, sometimes they don’t last as long as the taxi time to the runway).  At least I won’t have to listen to some poor crew member say "Ma’am, you HAVE to turn off that cell phone" and "Sir, you were asked twice already to shut it down" (and I’d be hardpressed to use the words Ma’am and Sir at that point in time too!).

That’s why I just love technology – options!  From a stricly selfish reason, this whole situation just makes my wish for the VLJs to arrive that much faster onto the business travel scene.  The problems that are about to be foisted on the major airlines are just going to help this disruptive new mode of air travel absolutely take off – especially since the FAA just gave provisional certification clearance to Eclipse

The Federal Aviation Administration today granted certification to Eclipse Aviation’s Eclipse 500 small jet, a pivotal development for the Albuquerque company and the world of general aviation.

The certification, the FAA’s stamp that the plane is sound, transitions Eclipse from a company with just a concept to one with a product to deliver.

"We can sell the airplane. It’s pretty straightforward," Eclipse Chief Executive Vern Raburn, a former Microsoft executive, said in an interview last week in anticipation of the announcement. "Everything that we’ve done for the last seven years has been directed toward getting certification." 

Eclipse can’t begin mass production yet. The FAA granted it a provisional certification allowing all existing planes to be flown, but new jets can’t be delivered to customers until the FAA grants what’s called a type certification

 Safe?  They certainly will be – no other passengers, or only those that I know, will be on the plane with me.  I’ll be able to bring on board what I want – the time will be MINE!  The plane will be MINE! I can run my laptop until the batteries fail (and the better air taxis will feed my seat power – awesome!).  And no more lost luggage either.

And I certainly would not have to depend on the hotel for toiletries at all.