Corporate Travel Rant (lame)

I’m trying to work out the whole extended travel thing. I have a monthly budget, but renting a car every week from my good friends at National Rent-a-Car leaves me eating Ramen in my corporate apartment in front of my 1980’s television, a bleak prospect indeed. I figured out that a mini-lease from Avis saves me some money, giving me more room in my budget for essentials like beer and sushi.

After waiting on Dulles’ absurdly slow baggage claim system (are they checking for any valuables they may have missed at O’Hare?), I hopped abourd a sleek Avis shuttle bus. 30 Avis “preffered” members hopped aboard with me. Hillarity ensued while they all shouted their names at the driver, who then looked up their names in the little bus computer. You can imagine with names ranging from “Holtz” to “Yakagori” that there were a few mistakes made by the operator, while the 3 of us who were not a part of this really entertaining game sat quietly and just wished the bus would roll us to the reservation counter.

When we got to the lot, there was more madness as the operator yelled names followed by slot numbers where people could pick up their cars. Some people weren’t called, and frantic key punching was then performed by the driver to look up these slackers who for some reason decided not to scream their names from the back of a 40 foot bus as it careened down the highway.

As I was finally let off in front of the Avis office, I realized that other people on the bus with me had apparently bailed out on the first stop and dragged their bags in, since they were already at the counter getting their reservations. I finally got to the counter thinking that maybe now the madness was ended. But no. The pained look on the clerk’s face when I told him I had a mini-lease informed me that I was in store for some mind-numbing beaurocratic silliness.

The first step was trying to find an economy-class car for me. The people working the lot were either staggeringly past normal retirment age (and therefore somewhat slow) or of questionable intelligence. A query over the radio for a low mileage economy car met with nothing but static for at least 15 minutes. The clerk figured out some other way to pick a car for me, and we proceeded. The next step entailed filling out 7 seperate rental agreements, 1 for each month I needed the car. There is apparently no other way to rent a car (at least not at that location) for more than a month. I waited while they all printed. I signed them all. I waited while he prepared other paperwork and tucked it away, unseen by me. I signed other things. I waited while sheets were seperated and folded and tucked away. Finally, I was given the standard rental car folder, jammed with little agreement sheets, and walked out to climb into my crappy Malibu and get on with my life.

What a ridiculous system. Going through post 9-11 security is more efficient and less stressful than getting a car from these people.

Heh. This really isn’t related much to your rant, but since I just travelled for business for the first time in eons, I’ll add my little tidbits.

Flight delays suck. Sitting in airports suck. I don’t know how you frequent travellers do it, because I almost went loony. And if I have to stand behind you doofuses who camp out on the moving sidewalk/escalators ONE MORE TIME!!! Jeez, I’ve got 2 terminals to haul ass through, people!!!

On the plus side, going through O’Hare security, I got more action than I’ve gotten in quite a while! :smiley:

  1. Laptops.
  2. Books.
  3. USA Today (The Opiate of the Travelling Masses) or the salmon-pink Financial Times.
  4. Cell phones.
  5. People watching.
  6. Walking laps around the airport (best done in Atlanta or Heathrow).
  7. Ability to disconnect from reality for hours at a time.
  8. Business expense accounts that let you drink yourself blind in the bar at $7.50 per glass of Australian merlot, or, if you are lucky…
  9. Club access.
  10. Long, long, experience.

Oh if only my business account allowed for a bar tab- the trouble I would get into- at an earlier time that is.

You go to Ruby Tuesday’s or some such place, start drinking. Bring them the credit card reciept that you sign, that has the total but not what you “ate.” Expense as much of the reciept as you can. Most restaurants will also split a bill between two different cards, if you need to keep it under a certain amount.

Dealing with corporate travel-induced alcohol dependency, that’s another story. :stuck_out_tongue:

Um, I don’t support fraud and stuff. Yeah.

Well, shit. Why didn’t I think of that? (the drinking, I mean)

Then the people watching would have been hysterical! Unless of course I went too far, then you’d find me weeping to my seatmate, “I love you, man!” On second thought… :wink:

I would like to rant regarding corporate travel-do you guys have to have your reimbursement in by a certain date? Well, my management had a hissy and returned my form today. They asked for a memo explaining why my reimbursement was late. Yes it is late, very late, but I work so fucking hard and barely have time to scratch my watch and wind my ass so what do they expect? I had a good mind to write them a very “nice” letter that said “go fuck yourselves, ass munchers” but I counted to 100 and I decided against it. I have learned my lesson. Next time our vendors come in for training, my manager will shell out his credit card (as he is supposed to) and pick up the tab.

P.s. Sorry about the hijack rant-but they are trying to enforce a policy that does not exist.

Yeah, we do. We get 90 days or something like that, but they tell us that up front. I think it really screws up their accounting if the expense reports are too late. But I know what you mean - I’ve just started a new project, desperately trying to figure out this new system, travel eats 8 hours out of every week, and I’m still going to need to do expenses before Amex starts calling and bitching about the bill.

What annoys me even more than the paperwork is that I have no idea how much money I have when I’m travelling. I submit expense reports, dump the whole amount to Amex, but there are already charges on their. It usually takes a month or two after I get off travel for the rolling amount to be closed out, at which point I have no idea whether I’m ahead or behind. Every little thing I forget to expense is basically money out of my pocket, and that can add up quick.