It’s Okay to Skip the First Class Lounge (and Other Realities of Business Travel)

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If you have found yourself here at the Jetsetter’s Homestead, chances are fairly good that you landed here either because you read a lot of travel blogs already or because you are researching upcoming travel (and thus will soon be buried in the world of travel blogs).  It seems like everyone has a travel blog these days – hundreds devoted to how to travel for FREE* (* by creative use of credit cards), thousands focused on how to have the most unique (read: Instagramable in a hipster Earlybird-filtered kind of way) gap year/study abroad/4-hour work week while meeting locals who have never before encountered a Westerner.  And then there are the dozen of us focusing on business travel life.  I’m making up that last number… but as a consultant, you learn to draw market estimations so I’m sure there are at least 11 more of me out there.

Read enough of them in the points/miles genre and you’ll soon come to the conclusion that if your travels don’t regularly involve a lie-flat seat, a first class lounge, and hotel suites on executive floors that you are clearly doing something wrong.

And you are doing something wrong.

You are trying to repeat someone else’s travel experience rather than owning your own.

The reality is that most points and miles bloggers write about luxury airline suites and executive club lounge perks because it drives click views.  And because fewer people want to read about the Fairfield Inn in Sandusky.  Or the shame of eating fast food in rental car in a parking garage.

And yet those of us who have to go to Sandusky… or Peoria… or towns that are 1/10th of that size that no one has ever heard of certainly don’t get there flying a Middle Eastern operated jumbo jet with an onboard shower.  And the biggest travel decision we make is whether to eat our dinner at Applebees, Buffalo Wild Wings, or Texas Roadhouse.

As a blogger, I feel it’s my duty to talk honestly about the reality of travel – and while that may mean some luxury cruising with sunrise champagne sail-ins or hiking volcanos on my vacations, it may also mean getting trash thrown at me in an airport.

I’m not going to let someone else insist that my flight on Cathay Pacific is less than perfect because I skipped the bathtub in the Cabanas or didn’t try the dan dan noodles in the departure lounge.  Or that I’m doing my business travel wrong because I flew Delta (when it’s not preferred despised by the other bloggers) or I’m staying at Marriotts (when everyone else prefers Kimptons because of their amazing program perks).

I’d rather have the extra hour in the lounge to work so that its one less hour of work I need to do when I get home.  Or fly Delta so I can have wifi on my regional jets.  Or stay at Marriotts because I’m tired of waiting on the Kimptons to open in second cities in middle America.

And when you finally DO get the chance to head out on vacation – or even if you are on yet another trip to Peoria – while its great to know about all the benefits and options that might be available, sometimes you just don’t WANT to get to the airport four hours early so you can take a bath in the first class lounge.

And that’s okay.  It’s okay to skip the first class lounge.

I won’t judge you.

But I might drink your share of champagne in your absence – if I’m not preoccupied with my spreadsheets.  Because I know that next week I’ll be back to driving a tan Toyota Camry with out-of-state license plates, checking into another chain hotel with plastic wrapped glassware, and sitting on an airport floor trying to charge my laptop during a weather delay.  And while none of you may find that aspirational, many of you will find it relatable.

About Jennifer Moody

Jennifer is a management consultant and avid volunteer. Her career and volunteer duty travels have helped her log top-tier airline and hotel status annually for the last nineteen years. In addition, she embraces the opportunity to maximize her vacation time by planning extracurricular trips that have taken her to over 60 countries and 48.5 US states. Once an "every week" road warrior, she now only travels around 100 days a year. She resides in her native Fort Worth, Texas where she enjoys cooking, gardening, sewing, needlepoint, wine, and playing with her Border Collie/Great Pyreness mix puppy Harley Quinn.

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  1. Finally, someone who understands that business travel is a far cry from those who feel entitled by getting their luxury vacations for free by gaming the system.

    You have a fan.

  2. Finally a blog post that is REAL! I too travel a lot for business and I get to fly business and stay at all of the great hotels but as I tell my friends, there is NOTHING glamourous about this lifestyle and that any novelty of flying in first class wears off quickly! I don’t care what is in the amenity kit or what kind of champagne they serve. I care about the seat and the last time the movies were updated. I don’t care about hotel lounges or hotel breakfasts – they are all of the same. I care if my bed is comfortable and if I feel safe in my hotel.

    I just came off of a 13 hr overnight flight, where I managed to get 9 hours of glorious sleep and had some amazing service. That is important to.

    Keep these types of posts coming because you have followers!

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