December 17 2008 by Chris McGinnis
I've had it with all the doom and gloom. It's the holidays. This should be a happy time. So with that in mind, let's focus on the silver lining surrounding all those dark economic clouds...
First off, if you are reading this blog, it's likely you are still employed and still have a travel budget. That's great news considering the current flurry of pink slips seems heavier than the season's first snow flurries.
Have you noticed that nearly everyone in the travel space seems to be in a better mood these days? I think this is because the pressure is off--- the decline in traveler volume means that everyone can sit back, take a breath, and remember that its not all about the number of heads in beds or butts in seats, but it's about customer service.
I have noticed better service in restaurants, warmer welcomes at hotel front desks, friendlier screenings from the TSA and even friendlier flight attendants.
I'm seeing a lot more courtesy and civility from my fellow road warriors. For example, the competition at the hotel free breakfast buffet has come down a notch. More travelers seem willing to help others hoist and stow bags on planes and on hotel and rental car shuttles.
Road traffic seems to have declined. I'm feeling less stressed on the road and hearing less about road rage. Traffic fatalities are down nearly 10 percent over last year and should reach the lowest levels since the government began tracking them in 1966 says the DOT.
With cutbacks in capacity, air traffic has declined, too, ushering in a period of some of the best on time performance in recent memory. DOT statistics for October reveal overall on-time performance at 86 percent. Flight cancellations are down 50 percent compared to last year and even the number of lost or mishandled bags dropped by a third from Oct 2007.
Am I wrong? Am I seeing the world through rose-colored glasses? Am I blinded by the holiday lights? Please leave your comments below.