Years ago, I was watching an interview on TV with NBA basketball player Ervin “Magic” Johnson. It was during an economic downturn similar to the one we’re having now and they asked him, “Magic, what do you think the average annual salary for one of your season ticket holders is?” He didn’t bat an eye; he looked at the camera and said, “I don’t know, three, maybe four hundred thousand?” He could play basketball, to be sure, but he was way out of touch.
It’s amazing how quickly people get comfortable with their plush surroundings. It’s even more amazing how quickly they forget the more humble surroundings they came from. I’ve flown enough to have Platinum status and I get upgraded to first class almost every time I fly. Still, an upgrade occasionally slips by and I get a humble reminder of what it’s like to fly in coach. International flights offer an entirely different set of parameters to deal with, however, and when it comes to booking that particular ticket, it sure helps to have a flexible boss.
Our company has a couple of travel policies that come into play here. First of all, we’re not allowed to book first class for any flight that is less than nine hours. This rules out Europe, but not
Allow me to put this 13-hour flight into perspective. This is a flight that is so long, you can eat dinner, have a glass of wine, watch “Star Trek; Voyager,” have another glass of wine, watch “Star Trek 2; Wrath of Khan,” get up, stretch, walk around, have some more wine, watch “Star Trek 3; The Search for Spock,” and guess what, you’re still not halfway there! Fortunately, your business class seat has movies on demand (the folks in coach were treated to “
I think a fairer deal would be to split the difference in cost, 50/50. My boss is flexible and he can see through the clouds. He told me that in the future should I opt for the bonus, he’d throw in a few “flex days off” (under the table, of course) to add a bit to the compensation. Now you’re talking, a four day weekend sitting on a lake in my fishing boat goes a long way past $568. For that kind of incentive, I’ll bring my iPod, the proper medication, and some sweat pants on my next flight and force myself to sleep through the coach experience!
EXTRA: If you have questions for Ken regarding business travel, hotels, airplanes, etc, please call 1-877-49-EXPERT. Your questions will be recorded and Ken will answer the best ones in his Ask the Expert podcast show.