Barnett on Business Travel for 2016
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 22: NO PLANES. NO TRAINS. ONLY AUTOMOBILES.
Flying around the world is effortless compared to getting stuck trying to get an airport cab or return a rental to the airport. Oh, well, tales of woe and wonder are par for the course for, um, road warriors.

November 10: DON'T WORRY (ABOUT HIGH DRINKS PRICES), BE HAPPY (HOUR)
It's not exactly a leading economic indicator, but the average price of a cocktail in a welcoming bar is skyrocketing. Entertaining a customer or wooing a potential client with a drink and a nibble can be a hundred bucks easily.

October 13: ARE THE SKIES FRIENDLY AT UNITED AGAIN?
Are the skies getting friendlier at United Airlines? Business travelers and United workers seem to think so. I fly several segments and find out.

September 15: SUDDENLY, BARGAINS AT SAN FRANCISCO HOTELS
Just when business travelers may be convinced San Francisco hotel rooms are the world's priciest, rates are softening. Some real bargains are now available if there isn't a citywide convention in town.

August 25: A TALE OF TWO HILTONS IN SAN FRANCISCO
Can back-to-back Hiltons in a raffish San Francisco neighborhood fill nearly 3,000 rooms and 164,000 square feet of meeting space daily? That's the $530 million bet Hilton Worldwide placed 18 months ago when it bought a 1,000-room property across from its 2,000-room San Francisco flagship. The initial response has been good and there are deals to be had, too.

July 28: NO HOTEL IS AN ISLAND--UNLESS THE OWNER SAYS IT IS
It takes nerve and very deep pockets for a hotel owner to fire international hospitality brands like Four Seasons and Hyatt, lose their reservation feeds, jeopardize loyal customers and bring operations and management of guestrooms, restaurants, ballrooms and bars in-house. But a privately owned real estate firm in California is doing just that with surprising results.

July 14: SAVING JAZZ IN SAN FRANCISCO USING SOME ETHIOPIAN SPICE
The Fillmore in San Francisco was once lined with jazz clubs. Now there are just two. One of them offers music seven days a week with no cover or minimum and also turns out spicy, savory Ethiopian cuisine. Needless to say, it's a jazzy tale.

June 9: WHY I'M DONE HATING REGIONAL JETS. I THINK.
I've thrown in the towel. No more long, shrill rants against regional jets. Why? I flew 1,770 miles from San Francisco to Madison, Wisconsin, last week on two RJs and I was able to work, sort-of stretch out and arrived without feeling like I spent five hours in a straitjacket.

May 26: BUNKING DOWN (LITERALLY) IN VIENNA
Can a hotel on Vienna's famed Ringstrasse court business travelers even though some rooms feature bunk beds and most other guest accommodations don't have desks, tables or chairs? The scion of a noted Austrian hotel family and chief of a small, eponymous chain of boutique-style hotels certainly thinks so.

April 28: SHORT HAULS LONG ON SERVICE
I despise flying regional jets. I hate the cramped quarters and the lousy legroom. Then I took a one-way flight on Air Dolomiti, a Lufthansa-owned carrier that flies between Northern Italy and Munich. I'd forgotten how good and how productive short hauls could be.

March 17: NOTHING EVER CHANGES AT ALASKA AIRLINES. THANKFULLY.
You know how the legacy airlines treat you? As it always has done, Alaska Airlines does the exact opposite. As it has done for years, the Seattle-based carrier usually charges less, offers much better service and more legroom in coach--and hasn't devalued its frequent flyer program.

February 11: HAVANA IS A MOVEABLE FEAST TRAPPED IN TIME
After more than 50 years of embargo, U.S. businesspeople and entrepreneurs are coming to the Cuba party late. And things aren't necessarily improving as relations thaw. But there's music and dancing everywhere in Havana. The sun is shining. The people are friendly and things are cheap. Isn't it time you took the plunge?

January 14: LOST IN TRANSLATION IN HAVANA
I flew to Havana on a whim via Mexico and found it an easy, painless experience. Then I literally got lost in translation when I couldn't find the apartment I rented after returning from dinner. Yet even that experience became a moment of joy, friendliness and real cultural comity.

These columns originally appeared at JoeSentMe.com.

Copyright 1990-2016 by Chris Barnett. All rights reserved.