BARNETT ON BUSINESS TRAVEL FOR 2010

WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT CHRIS BARNETT
Frequent flyer Chris Barnett writes about business-travel tactics and strategies that save time and money and help minimize hassles. He is based in San Francisco and has written for a wide variety of major newspapers and national magazines. Barnett on Business Travel is currently syndicated by Creators Syndicate. Chris was a contributing editor of Frequent Flyer when JoeSentMe.com founder Joe Brancatelli was the magazine's executive editor and he was the first columnist Joe approached to join JoeSentMe.

December 1: MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING AT SECURITY
It was a dark and stormy early morning in San Francisco three days before Thanksgiving. And I was dreading my three-airport run through the new security regimens put into place by the TSA. But guess what? There were no lines, no hassles, no pat-downs and I passed through a full-body imager with no problems at all.

October 28: WHAT'S FARE ISN'T FAIR ON TRAVELOCITY
When I tried to book a fare on Travelocity, the price jumps twice and almost triples. Then, when I try again, the same low-ball fare is displayed. Travelocity says it has no explanation to what happened or why a come-on fare continues to be dangled in front of me. It's a lesson in modern-day travel buying.

September 30: ON THE ROAD AND AT THE BAR
Do you really want to go downstairs to the lobby and have yet another plastic glass of free bad wine and giveaway wings at the manager's happy hour? Instead, find a watering hole with some style, glad-to-see you friendliness, a well-made, generously poured drink and delicious munchies. Here are some worthy places in San Antonio, Quebec City and Cancun.

September 9: A DELUXE HOTEL BY ANY OTHER NAME
Squeezed by financial conditions and the high fees charged by major hotel brands, a lot of hotel owners are running their own flag up the pole. That can often mean chaos and uncertainty for guests. But when a gigantic real estate firm took the Four Seasons name off its property in Newport Beach, California, things actually got better.

August 12: IS IT TIME TO PACK IT IN?
Do you know when it's time to pack it in under your own power before some weasel factotum hands you the pink slip? When do you know that you've been on the road too long? I've got several ideas, but one way to tell is when you remember old bars at closed restaurants at old airports. Or maybe if you don't remember. How to know when to pack it in...

June 17: SMALL AIRPORTS, SMALL AIRPLANES, SMALL PERKS
They say the world is getting smaller. But so is the travel experience and that is bad and good. The bad: regional jets everywhere. The good: small airports like Burbank. The survivable: How to get a small perk (dinner chits) when your airline delays you indefinitely at airports small or large.

May 13: CAN WE TALK? OR CLICK? VIRGIN AMERICA SAYS YES.
It is the same story on every airline's Web site. You navigate a maze of questions, fill in the blanks, punch in the numbers, click on "purchase"--and you're rejected. It's exasperating. Maddening. Crazy-making. But credit Virgin America with yet another bright idea, Click To Talk, to save you from pulling your hair out trying to buy airline tickets online.

April 29: A SIX-HOUR FLIGHT DELAY WITH A 'HAPPY' ENDING
What happens when a 400-mile flight between the California desert and San Francisco is marred by a nightmarish, six-hour delay. No one is happy, of course, but at least one business traveler is surprised and delighted by the proactive, post-incident response from Alaska Airlines.

March 18: DRINKING AT AN ANVIL NEAR HOUSTON AIRPORT
Fifty years ago, fin-tailed Cadillac Eldorados and cherried-out Ford pickup trucks ruled Houston's roads, many using the Firestone store near Houston/Intercontinental Airport as a pit stop for a blown tire or a wheel balance. But that same boxy brick building is now a hot, local saloon called the Anvil and it offers potent cocktails authentically built from original recipes, rare liquors and fresh ingredients.

March 4: A THIRSTY GIRL IN ZEN MODE ON THE ROAD
Wine consultant and author Leslie Sbrocco claims her dad would "roll over in his grave" if he knew she held Platinum Executive status with American Airlines. Her father was a United Airlines captain for 25 years during its glory days. Sounds like a tale to tell over a glass of wine.

February 11: SUNNY WITH A CHANCE OF HOTEL DISCOUNTS IN PHOENIX
In days of yore, scoring a hotel room in Phoenix in February took some pull and entailed a very hefty hit on your plastic. Not this February, however. Hotels and resorts in Phoenix and Scottsdale and Arizona destinations as far away as Sedona and Tucson are wheeling and dealing as the market turns sour.

January 7: SALON & SALOON AT CROCE'S IN SAN DIEGO
A bar in San Diego makes specialty drinks named after Jim Croce, the singer-songwriter whose talent was snuffed out at just 30 years of age in a 1973 plane crash. It's no surprise, really. The restaurant and bar is owned by his widow and she's turned it into a museum about the talented troubadour.

Copyright 2001-2010 by Chris Barnett. All rights reserved.