BARNETT ON BUSINESS TRAVEL FOR 2012

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 20: PAINTING A BUSINESS-TRAVEL PICTURE
If you think a successful artist lives the high life and travels in style, meet successful artist Armand Cabrera, whose work hangs in embassies and five-star hideaways. His life is anything but glamorous and his life on the road is about budget hotels, self-imposed meal per diems and a cost-benefit analysis of every trip he takes.

November 29: A TALE OF THANKSGIVING TRAVEL
Chris Barnett has always heard that flying on the day before Thanksgiving was too expensive and too chaotic for business travelers. So he opted to fly on Thanksgiving Day. It's a heart-warming tale of toast and popcorn...no, wait, that's Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving. For better and for worse, Chris Barnett's Thanksgiving Day travels were not the stuff of holiday TV specials.

November 15: A GLOBAL BUNKHOUSE WITH A NEW NAME
A former Hyatt and Millennium hotel has been transformed into One UN New York and it offers amazing skyline views from its club lounge, snappy new rooms and the same staff that has cosseted global business travelers for more than 30 years.

October 25: PERCEPTION AND REALITY ON DELTA'S TRANSCON RUNS
Delta Air Lines has been flying transcon flights for two decades. Yet California flyers don't seem to realize the airline won't require them to fly through Atlanta from coast-to-coast. San Francisco-based Chris Barnett looks at Delta's perception problem and tests the reality on a pair of transcon flights.

October 11: EVERYBODY COMES TO SAMMY'S
When the CEO of the Dallas Fed had lunch with Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA Dallas Mavericks, the power players didn't huddle over the elegant cuisine and posh settings of one of the city's 90-plus private clubs. The met at a quirky BBQ joint called Sammy's that's cheap, cheerful and a magnet for visiting business travelers.

September 20: IN SEARCH OF TRAVEL'S HUMAN TOUCH
What does a management consultant who spends her life on the road teaching big companies about employee-management-customer relations think about life on the road? She feels it needs the human touch and employees who are permitted by management to be human beings talking to other human beings.

September 6: A CLASSIC (IF MISNAMED) PUB BY THE PRESIDIO
Why do business travelers gravitate to a San Francisco watering hole that is named after a mythical Liverpool trollop? Why did Joe DiMaggio hang there? And how does the place keep its edge after 40 years in the uber-competitive San Francisco dining and drinking market?

August 9: A TALE OF TWO CALIFORNIA RAILS
I took a ride on Amtrak's Coast Starlight between San Francisco and San Luis Obispo because I did not want to pay rapacious prices for RJ flights on the route. I saved some money, learned some stuff and came away confused both about the current state of Amtrak and California's plan to spend billions on a high-speed rail scheme.

July 12: THE BUNDLED BUSINESS TRAVELER
Ever since Al Gore created the Internet, I've been leery of online travel sites that bundle airline tickets, hotel rooms and rental cars into a single package. But time marches on and I try buying from Expedia for a short business trip. The good, the bad, the ugly and the confusing about bundling business travel.

June 21: A DOSE OF THE TWILIGHT ZONE IN DALLAS
Dallas, the TV show, is back, but Dallas, the city, sometimes seems more like an episode of The Twilight Zone. Flying into Love Field is like a relic of the 1950s and checking into a hotel without a car leaves you isolated and alone, like one of those Rod Serling last-man-on-earth episodes. Life as we know it (sort of) in Dallas, the city, these days.

June 7: A SMALL SAN FRANCISCO HOTEL MAKES A BIG BET ON CHANGE
Twenty-five years after it opened as a small enclave for a tiny slice of the global elite, the Mandarin Oriental hotel in San Francisco's financial district is making a big bet: A new owner, tens of millions in renovations and a new lobby restaurant are aimed at changing the property's guest mix.

April 19: IN HANOI, AN HISTORIC VENUE WITH MODERN LUXURY
Disappointed by a lackluster, overpriced Hilton in Hanoi, Chris Barnett checks out on a whim and walks a block away to the Metropole, a French Colonial landmark and the center of life in Hanoi. He find history, comfort, convenience and flawless service.

April 5: IN HANOI, A HILTON WITHOUT WARMTH
Unless you have a friend who's posted in Hanoi or know someone who knows the Vietnamese capital, first-time business travelers might think it's wiser to book an American-branded hotel than a 111-year-old hospitality legend with a six-page list of VIP guests. But the Hilton disappoints, with sterile rooms and uneven service.

March 1: A SWANK HOTEL BAR WITH MULTIPLE PERSONALITIES
A bar with a walkway to a motel raises the eyebrows of frequent drinkers and frequent flyers. But Swank, connected to the 49-room Laurel Inn a few minutes from downtown San Francisco, isn't the dreary dive you'd logically expect. It's comforting in the morning, hip all day and seductive at night.

February 2: ONE MAN'S LIFE ON THE ROAD
You'll never catch Richard Torrenzano making a year-end mileage run. The communications executive is on a plane one week a month, but he doesn't play frequent flyer games or chase platinum status for prestige or perks. He knows a mile is worth maybe two cents tops. His billable time and his sanity are worth a lot more.

January 19: AFTER A ROOF CAVES IN, GOOD SERVICE ON DELTA
Imagine the cabin roof of your aircraft caving in on your flight. Then imagine the service on your four-flight roundtrip being good enough to offset that bit of architectural failure. Chris Barnett tells the tale and comes away impressed with Delta Air Lines for the first time in quite a while.

Copyright 1992-2012 by Chris Barnett. All rights reserved.