“Sensible” (and Clever) Alternative to Business Travel

In today’s Financial Times article Come fly with me–a sensible alternative to business travel (subscription required), Business Life columnist Lucy Kellaway humorously ponders why execs travel for business–ever. After all, she notes, business travel can be tiring, disorienting, boring and jet lag-inducing, forcing execs to stay in “beastly” business hotels with “ugly curtains and windows that do not open.”

Leaving one’s home office on a business trip can even be dangerous, she posits, because “people left behind have a way of plotting behind your back.”

Kellaway sums up the advantages of business travel as:  status (being able to brag about flying off to Tokyo and Bangalore…), airline perks (champagne, pretty stewardesses, air miles), and escape from home (undisturbed sleep) and office (distance from dysfunctional office mates.)

Her solution?  Kellaway imagines a “virtual airline” that one could board in one’s home city, getting a comfy business class seat and, of course, a pretty stewardess and champagne.  There is no flight, but just a cell phone-free space away from co-workers. In other words, the virtual airline offers uninterrupted time to do “a decent day’s work.”

Best of all, Kellaway imagines her virtual airline’s becoming a status symbol.  She envisions execs bragging about this non-travel with quips like, “I’m on the virtual to Tokyo tonight.”

If only.

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