June 22, 2006

Fly Hungry

I’m writing this in the air after an almost ninety minute delay, in a plane on the tarmac of LaGuardia Airport. But even though the subject implies it, this isn’t about bringing food onto a flight. It isn’t even about the amazing way the flight crew handled the delays. It’s about a return to the way the beginning felt.

So then, let me start from the beginning:

I haven’t been able to write much in this space, due to an exciting project. The pace of work has picked up the last two weeks as we launched in multiple cities. There’s been a bit of traveling and now I’m heading home. Most of my work this year has been in my home city, no travel required, other than having more commuting by car. As a result I didn’t re-qualify for Elite, Platinum or Executive Platinum status with my favorite airlines as I normally would.

The perks of these levels are great, dedicated check in, lounge access, and most importantly pre-boarding. To me pre-boarding meant being able to get on the plane first with all my stuff and thereby ensuring I’d have convenient places for that stuff – laptop, roller suitcase, tradeshow booth, projector….whatever. All that was gone and initially I felt deprived. Plus this project requires that I fly on the lowest fares available, regardless of airline. Therefore, I find myself in a coach seat of an airline I haven’t flown with in at least 15 years.

Back when I worked for the big companies, I could fly anytime; spend any amount of money and on whatever carrier I desired to. It was totally my decision. I was cocooned, pampered….and soft. By soft I don’t mean comfortable. I mean disconnected from reality, from the way it was in the beginning when I was hungrier and could savor the win much, much more.

So now, I feel great. I’m not soft. I am hungry and doing the stuff that matters most.

What’s the bottom line on this for you? Try flying without all the perks sometime, especially if you’re flying to a competitive scenario or presentation. I guarantee that your competitors are operating that way and as a result are hungrier and more motivated to win the business.

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