Bah, there is no such thing as knowing too much information about travel.
As an invited in-person speaker, I need to “business continuity” my travel plans.
I’ve already mentioned a tool I like to use in a previous blog post: the YouTube channel, Ryan Hall, Y’all. Ryan is a meteorologist who gives updates as necessary for weather events. He basically predicted Idalia almost a full week before landfall, which the media wasn’t broadcasting until the Sunday before (it made landfall on a Wednesday morning). At the time I talked about how great that was for your brick and mortar operations as well as supply chain. But people like me travel for business, too.
The skier in me is ecstatic about the predicted levels of snowfall. The person who has to travel to Chicago in December and San Francisco in late February, however, isn’t thrilled. This is the level of detail I go into…
First, I have to think about the talks themselves and travel time. If I can make it with room the morning off, do I fly the morning of instead of the day before? That day buffer both 1) costs me a day of work and 2) costs the organization flying me in an extra hotel night.
Second, Do I leave right after or stay the next day? Same issue: staying the next day interrupts another work day. I can also be super risky and book a flight that leaves 1hr after I finish talking…weighing my options with taking my chances with (un)predicted traffic, my having both Clear and TSA Pre-Check to zip through security, no checked baggage, and familiarity with the terminal.
If I’m flying in/out of Salt Lake City, if I am NOT taking Delta, I know I need to arrive at least 1 hour before boarding because Delta is in the main terminal…it can take up to 30 minutes AFTER security to get to the other gates in the other non-Delta terminal. If I were flying Delta, I could risk showing up at boarding time (I usually arrive at smaller airports I know very well no more than 10 minutes before boarding) and be fine only because I have Clear in addition to TSA Pre-check (the TSA Pre-check line can be very, very long at SLC).
If I have a connecting flight in Charlotte, I know well enough which terminal the Asheville flights land in and which ones the NYC flights leave from…and they aren’t close. I know to step lively or full out run (which I have done thanks to some delay on the tarmac no one could explain) when there is 30-20 minutes left until take off, because they close the doors to the flight 15 minutes before scheduled take off time. I know which flight is the last scheduled out of the airport in the event I miss it, I won’t be stuck, so will still make it to my destination. I also am familiar with weather patterns of certain airports having had my connections cancelled due to summer thunderstorms, so I avoid connecting through them if I can during that time.
Does this all seem extra to you? It should and it shouldn’t. I am a pro at traveling because I’ve done it so often. I never thought I would be one of those people who knew airports by the airport code name and know some of them like the back of my hand, know which ones connect where most often, which airline uses the airport as a hub, etc. But I am. And I use that skill to make my travel as successful as possible. It’s that level of detail I also am a pro at advising on business continuity.
If you haven’t traveled as much as me, you won’t know what I know. If you don’t travel much, you might not really care and will be risking it because often, it’s fine (unless air traffic control starts shutting down runways due to lack of staffing in the NYC area…which happened this summer and caused many flights to get canceled).
But when it doesn’t work out, you miss your flight or it’s delayed/canceled and all other flights are booked for the next two days, you’re stuck. Or you wind up taking a 2am greyhound to your destination because you are lucky you are grabbing the last ticket for that bus (yes, I am speaking from personal experience).
You sort out the worrying months in advance so you don’t have to stress on the day. Things can still go wrong but you know you did your best to avoid it and mitigate as much as possible. And have a way to show up virtually last minute. 😊