According to Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, it’s not just annoying when business travelers can’t make it to their destinations on time it can be financially ruinous. Even with new video-conferencing technologies, many companies prefer to send their employees to meet clients face-to-face. That humanizing touch can be a deal-maker, but there is a risk involved: It requires employees to grit their teeth through countless airport disasters, often arriving four or five hours late at their destination hotels, and slogging through the following, critical workday on just a few hours’ sleep.
While no one knows exactly how much financial damage this summer’s flight fiascos have inflicted on the nation’s businesses, the emotional strain has already begun to show: Employees once slated for frequent travel have begged off their assignments and transferred to desk jobs. And although recent Congressional hearings into air traffic gridlock were useful inasmuch as they highlighted the growing problem, no one expects solutions any time soon. In the meantime, many businesses and individual travelers say they’re abandoning their frequent flyer numbers whenever possible and turning to more dependable modes of transport, like cars, trains and even buses. Sure, they may be slower than planes, but just think of the upside: No turbulence, no impenetrable bags of too-salty peanuts, and best of all, no rude flight attendants.