BARNETT ON BUSINESS TRAVEL FOR 2013

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 magazines. 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. He's been writing the Barnett on Business Travel column exclusively for JoeSentMe since 2010.

December 5: IN MILWAUKEE, AN AIRPORT NAMED AFTER THE WRONG GUY
William "Billy" Mitchell, the World War I combat aviator who is generally considered the father of the United States Air Force, gets all the glory in his hometown of Milwaukee. The city's airport bears his name. But maybe the place should be named after Alfred Lawson, who created one of the earliest commercial airlines in Beer Town.

November 21: SOUTHWEST AIRLINES KEEPS THE SHTICK
I can't remember the last time I had a totally enjoyable, flawless, fun domestic coach flight that I didn't want to end. But last month I had a three-leg roundtrip between San Francisco and Milwaukee that was like a mini-vacation. And it was on Southwest Airlines.

October 17: BACK TO THE FUTURE--WITH TEQUILA
On a nondescript neighborhood corner ten minutes from downtown San Francisco is a cantina that looks like it belongs on a dusty backstreet in Cabo San Lucas circa 1975. The beer is cold and cheap, the tequila is plentiful, the grub is good, the crowd is happy--and business travelers are welcome, too.

September 19: A FOXY NEW WRINKLE IN CAR-RENTAL FEES
While everyone watches the airlines create new fees, a car-rental company has invented a wowser of a nasty new surcharge: A daily fee for upgrading your car ON TOP of the higher daily rate the larger car commands. And you'll pay a per-day charge if you return your car early or late, too.

August 22: A BOSTON BAR WITH A SPLIT PERSONALITY
As a business traveler, I expect bartenders in upmarket saloons and restaurants to be welcoming, convivial and skilled at their craft of cocktailing and camaraderie. That wasn't the case when I hit a popular Boston watering hole. But when I returned and went upstairs to the joint's "library," it was a totally different and wonderful experience.

July 25: BREWING UP LODGING CHANGES IN MILWAUKEE
Milwaukee has never been particularly kind to frequent flyers, but its lodging stock is another story. There's a home-grown luxury palace downtown and a full range of branded hotels where we can earn our frequent guest points. Now there's a fascinating new extended-stay hotel carved out of the former Pabst Blue Ribbon brewery.

July 10: MANAGING A CRISIS 2,200 MILES AWAY
For all of the sympathy we feel for fellow travelers in an airline tragedy, the truth is that our thoughts pretty quickly turn to our own schedules when we're in transit and trying to get to the airport where the incident occurred. No matter what, I needed to get home to San Francisco last weekend in the midst of the Asiana Airlines crash.

June 20: A 'BLISSFUL' FLIGHT ON ALASKA AIRLINES
"Blissful" isn't a word business travelers would use to describe a coach flight on a U.S. airline today, but my roundtrip last week between San Francisco and Palm Springs on Alaska Airlines certainly qualified. It's really amazing what an airline can do on a short flight if it's committed to treating customers fairly.

May 23: AT 13, JETBLUE IS STILL PRETTY COOL TO FLY
It's hard to believe that JetBlue Airways is 13 years old. It seems like only yesterday when it started coddling budget-conscious vacation travelers with luxuries and conveniences the legacy carriers never dreamed of giving away, especially in coach. But JetBlue is pivoting toward business travelers now and a recent test flight proves that it's still a pretty cool way to fly.

May 2: DIGITAL PHOTO OF A BUSINESS TRAVELER
To shoot a public-TV documentary about war photographers, college professor Ken Kobre self-funded the whole operation. "It was like one long business trip broken into different legs except that it was more like a soldier of fortune traveling solo," he recalls. Now he's making iPhone apps that make your self-shot videos look better.

March 28: NEW-WAVE HAWAIIAN STYLE IN SAN FRANCISCO
What's an ex-plumber from San Francisco's fog-shrouded Sunset district doing running a hot, new Hawaiian-themed joint in The Fillmore? And at a time when many publords are pushing up prices and skimping on portions, why does James Cheng's Pa'ina Lounge & Restaurant have one of the most generous happy hours in town?

February 14: ALLEGIANT AIR, FOR BETTER AND WORSE
Remember the days when you could commandeer an entire row of coach seats and stretch your legs straight out? You might relive them by booking your next flight on Allegiant Air--if you are going where it's going, don't want in-flight coffee and don't want to pay with your Amex card. Oh, their fares are not the bargain they seem, either. It's all par for the course at the most peculiar airline in the nation.

January 31: THE DAYS OF WINE AND ROAD WARRIORS
If Suzanne Groth has a choice between booking a $150-a-night room at the Sheraton LAX or a $500 room at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, she checks into the five-star hotel. But that is not because she wants to be pampered and maybe see a movie star. It's because she only stays in hotels that serve her firm's top-notch California wines.

January 17: ALL SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA ROADS LEAD TO CHAOS
Late-night comics always get a laugh when they suggest Southern California is a giant parking lot with palm trees. But business travelers with appointments stretching from San Diego to Los Angeles know that there is very little to laugh about. And, when it rains, getting around is holy hell. Here is the Chris Barnett SoCal survival guide, including a suggestion to switch airports.

Copyright 1992-2013 by Chris Barnett. All rights reserved.