Barnett on Business Travel for 2015
WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT CHRIS
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 newspapers and magazines. Chris was a contributing editor of Frequent Flyer when JoeSentMe.com founder Joe Brancatelli was the magazine's executive editor. He was the first columnist Joe approached to join JoeSentMe. Chris' column, syndicated for decades in newspapers around the country, has appeared exclusively at JoeSentMe since 2012.


December 3: THE PLUSES (AND MINUSES) OF BEST WESTERN PLUS
I checked into three Best Western Plus hotels this year and had three quite different experiences. That's distressing because business travelers, especially, want predictability in a hotel chain. We pretty much know what to expect from a Marriott Courtyard, a Hilton Garden Inn, a Hampton Inn and the other brands. But what do we get from a Best Western Plus?

October 15: SELLING GOLD AND SILVER, SQUEEZING NICKELS ON THE ROAD
Anthem Blanchard sells and stores $35,000 bars of gold and $16,000 bars of silver. But the chief executive of the precious-metals firm sporting his name squeezes his nickels on every business trip. That means two- and three-star hotels, flights on Southwest and dinner at Subway.

September 10: UNITED SAYS IT'LL FIND MY LOST BAG. PROMISE.
When my bag went missing on a United flight recently, I tracked it down and went to the airport myself to pick it up. So why does United keep sending me notices that it'll keep looking for my bag? And why did I find a cesspool of silliness all along the luggage chain?

August 20: A TALE OF TWO GUYS NAMED CHRIS ... AND AIRBNB
Is Airbnb ready for business-travel prime time? Not if my tale of two guys named Chris is any indication. And not if Airbnb keeps ducking media requests to talk about renting to business travelers.

July 30: EVERYTHING HAS CHANGED EXCEPT THE NAME AT THE NIKKO
While chain hotels are cutting services such as room service and minibars, the Hotel Nikko is pouring on the perks: a nightclub, super-fast Internet, a more useful lobby, better room service, health club upgrades and much more. In fact, everything is different, including the customer base, except the name. How one hotel transformed itself to attract business travelers.

July 16: TOKYO FOR THE BUSINESS TRAVELER
My son, Erik, who is also a journalist, just returned from a 10-day business trip to Tokyo and slipped some notes to his dear old dad. In turn, I thought I'd share them with you in case you're headed to Tokyo soon.

June 18: MAMMA MIA! MIAMI IS ONE WACKY AIRPORT
On business flights to South Florida, I usually aim for easy-to-navigate Fort Lauderdale airport. But I flew into Miami International Airport several weeks ago. Mamma MIA! That is one wacky airport, particularly if you're on a tight travel schedule and unfamiliar with the sprawling complex.

May 14: MY WIDEBODY DOMESTIC FLIGHT ON UNITED WAS A DREAM
Shoehorned into Boeing 737-800s on three legs of a United Airlines roundtrip between San Francisco and Guatemala City, the fourth and final flight was a dream. More specifically, one of United's Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners. It was also a front-row seat on how United treats its domestic passengers and how it pampers foreign-bound flyers--not just premium, front-of-the-plane customers, but economy-class travelers, too.

April 9: STAN FREBERG AND THE GREATEST AIRLINE AD CAMPAIGN EVER
The literally legendary Stan Freberg died Tuesday at the age of 88. For all his other achievements, business travelers best remember Freberg for one of his great advertising coups, the amazing, shocking, hilarious and unforgettable Sweaty Palms campaign in 1967 for the otherwise totally forgotten Pacific Air Lines.

March 19: THE HOTEL KING OF NOB HILL WEARS JEANS
Before the Ritz-Carlton, the Mandarin Oriental or the Four Seasons came to town, the Stanford Court was San Francisco's premier hotel. It's not anymore and thereby hangs a tale of shifting expectations and the changing demographics in the overheated Bay Area hotel market.

February 26: HIGH TIMES (AND HIGH PRICES) AT SAN FRANCISCO HOTELS
They're building new hotels all over the world. But not in San Francisco, where nightly room rates are increasing at five times the national average. With no new supply, hoteliers are swapping flags with dizzying frequency and business travelers face a long period of high rates and tatty rooms.

January 29: ALL COACH, ALL THE TIME, ACROSS THE PACIFIC
Bernard Baskin is a lawyer, publisher and world traveler who lives in Singapore and books--no surprise--mostly Singapore Airlines. Last week he flew Singapore Air to San Francisco via Seoul and--here's the surprise--spent the entire 17 hours in economy class. Baskin always flies coach regardless of the distance or the carrier and he claims to be happy.

These columns originally appeared at JoeSentMe.com.

Copyright 1990-2015 by Chris Barnett. All rights reserved.