Back on the road, as I return to a bit of business travel.
Return to Business Travel
I traveled to Englewood, Colorado, this week and last, to teach. These trips were the first travel for me for work since February, 2020. That trip, just before Mardi Gras, was to Columbus, Ohio. Hitachi Vantara Global Learning operated a data center there, at a partner location. So, when I taught hardware install courses for them, off to Cbus I went. In the interim, Hitachi moved the training equipment to Englewood. While there were a number of reasons for this, none of them really mattered to me. Hitachi placed a number of travel restrictions on employees because of the pandemic. Now that vaccination numbers are up, companies returned to buying new hardware. That means technical staff need training.
With travel restrictions still in place, install/configuration training presents a challenge. The field service staff prefer actually touching the hardware. This is quite logical, of course. once they pull it out of the rack and put it back in, they develop a confidence level.
Rather than simply show them photos and Powerpoint, Global Learning sent me to the data center. I set up the phone, TikTok style, then racked out the equipment. Best we can do at this time.
I booked flights on Southwest for these trips. I started looking at Delta. Social media updates on how Delta and Atlanta PD handle mask miscreants offered me confidence. Then I looked at Southwest’s fares! Not only did they offer non-stops to Denver, they were less than half Delta’s prices. I don’t mind Southwest at all. Their “Business Select” fares place me in the “elite” tier of flyers, like First Class on other airlines. Additionally, Business Select fares are fully refundable. While that is less useful now that most of my training is virtual, it’s still good to have.
Southwest didn’t play either with respect to masks. There was one plague rat on the first outbound flight. They did the “slow-chew” technique. They did pull the mask up when FAs walked by. At least they were on the other side of the aisle from me. Otherwise, everyone respected their fellow flyers.
It’s a 40ish minute drive from Denver International Airport (DEN) down to Englewood. While Denver has great light rail, the car was necessary. I didn’t rent cars in Columbus, relying instead on rideshare to and from the hotel. In Englewood, most of the hotels are on one side of I-25 and the data center stands two miles away on the other side. No leisurely walks to Short North for dinner, alas. No third glass of wine as a result.
Glad to be home
Overall, the trips worked out OK. I discovered both a Ramen place and a great Indian restaurant, as well as good pizza. The Marriott (Denver South at Park Meadows) treated me wonderfully. While MSY was a hot mess last night, the new terminal is so much better than the old airport. Three-day classes also give me some of my New Orleans routine as well.