There's No Place Like the Airport for the Holidays
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- You might be home for Christmas, but you can plan on long lines, manhandling at security, delayed flights, lost bags and other holiday hassles on the way. So with peak traveling season upon us, Ad Age canvassed some of the industry's most frequent travelers -- "the road warriors" -- for advice in making your trip just a bit less hellish. Once you're with the relatives, however, you're on your own.
Avoid Atlanta Airport on Monday morning at all costs! Use the "T" Terminal security checkpoints rather than the main security checkpoint to get through the lines faster. The best restaurants in Atlanta are Ecco, Rathbun Steak, Holman & Finch. Best hotel (and value) in L.A.? The London.
Michael Ventura, founder and chief creative officer at
Subrosa, New York
The most important thing for me is access to good food during strange hours. At the hotel, I befriend the room-service receptionist and if I know it's going to be a late night, I have them hold food for me from the main menu because the late-night menu is usually pretty weak. One time I called room service and the woman said "Welcome back Mr. Ventura, we hope you have a more civilized eating schedule this trip." I thought my mom took a job at the W for a minute.
Mich Mathews senior VP-Central Marketing Group,
Cashmere all the way, no creases, great for naps, no need for skanky blankets. Always have earplugs, as there's always a dude that snores behind you. And always opt for bars at airport restaurants, never tables. You'll meet new friends and get immediate service.
Rob Buchner, chief marketing officer, Fallon, Minneapolis
Large hotels are always under renovation. Ask for a room on a floor which has been recently remodeled. On Monday mornings, preferred flier security lines are longer than civilian ones at 7 a.m. because of the high percentage of road warriors who are pushing off for a week of travel. (BTW, there is never a wait at the little-known security check at the Westin Hotel at the Detroit airport.)
John Amato, president, Show Media
One of the first rules of traveling for business is never check baggage. So whatever you are doing right now, go buy the Tumi "Alpha" wheeled carry-on garment bag. I found this little gem about three years ago and no other carry-on in the world can hold more actual luggage. It's the world's biggest carry-on, and it's amazing for long trips and short trips alike. I have done a month on the road with this bag.
Michael Clinton, president of marketing and publishing
director at Hearst Magazines
I left my iPad on a flight and I wondered ... how in the hell do you get back through security to try and retrieve it? Here is a secret: Go to the customer-service desk in baggage claim. There is a special pass that they will give you to go back to the gate without having a ticket, and if you are really nice to them they'll escort you to the front of the security line. And believe it or not, I got back to the gate and the cleaning people found my iPad ... a miracle!
Curt Detweiler, exec VP-executive creative director,
McCann Erickson North
No matter what your class of travel, food when traveling domestically in the USA is insulting, the alternatives are generally dismal. The lobster roll at the Yankee Pier, San Francisco airport, is the best. Get two. It's fresh, delicious, served promptly in a toasted, buttered bun and you can take it away if you want. The sour look on your neighbor's face when he or she watches you tuck into a pair of lobster rolls is priceless.
Lauren Crampsie, chief marketing officer, Ogilvy & Mather
Bentonville, Ark., is a dry county, but the Shogun restaurant has a private-club liquor license and the best sushi in the state. Some airport lounges have complimentary drinks. If you're in Detroit, I'd highly recommend the Delta Sky Club, where the bar is self-service so you can make a stiff one while your iPad is charging.
Brian McMahon, global CEO of Orion Trading, Interpublic
Group of Cos.' barter arm
Totto, a fast-growing Latin American company, makes some of the best bags on the market. Their Maleta series are the best rolly-bags I've ever used. Want an upgrade on air or hotel? It never hurts to be insanely kind and courteous to the gate person or hotel clerk; kindness goes a long way when it comes to people who are constantly dealing with complaining passengers and guests, and it may be just the thing that helps you to get an upgrade. Admirals Club at Chicago O' Hare International Airport is the absolute best airport lounge. The Eames lounge chairs located throughout the lounge are like chocolate-chip pancakes on a snowy day.
Pack a peanut-butter sandwich. You never know when you'll be stuck on the tarmac for five hours in a plane without food, or have to return to the terminal only to find everything closed and your destiny a night on the floor. At those times, a peanut-butter sandwich tastes better than you can imagine. And regarding overseas travel, I recommend packing a whole jar. With a local loaf of bread, a couple spoonfuls of peanut butter makes for a safe, convenient, satiating meal. And it goes well with beer or champagne.
Jeffrey J. Jones II, partner and president,
It's all about the apps. I use the PointInside app to see maps of airports. I live by Dropbox to access key documents from anywhere on any device. I make endless use of Evernote to help remember my favorite things and locations in every city. Otherwise, I bring too many chargers for all my devices and beg like hell for upgrades!
~ ~ ~
Contributing: Jennifer Rooney, Michael Bush, Nat Ives