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West Palm Journal: January 21

West Palm Journal: January 21

West Palm Journal: January 21

We’re up at 5:15 this morning for the limo at 6 which will take us to the airport for the 7:20 USAir flight to Philly, thence to West Palm. The dogs have an early breakfast and excursion, then bid a desultory goodbye and go back to sleep.

At the airport by 6:10, we go to the counter for a baggage check, since I have our boarding passes already printed. The polite but resigned clerk tells me that we are 17 pounds over the limit (which I had guessed manhandling the luggage) and offers up the option of jettisoning some things or paying a $50 penalty (which I do).

Since we’re leaving on a Monday morning, and I had a board meeting Saturday morning, I forgot to Fedex our big suitcase, and I’m annoyed with myself as we wait in another line for the luggage to go through what looks for all the world like a catafalque. Once again, the methodical employees (I guess I should relish “methodical” since they’re checking for bombs) decide we are not terrorists.

We join a third line to traverse traditional security, which barely takes five minutes, and once again we are both cleared as innocent travelers. I marvel at the accuracy of the system.

A mechanical problem out of Philly delays us by 45 minutes to West Palm. Watching two pilots and an engineer read a manual in the cockpit does nothing for my confidence level. What’s even worse, the flight offers a snack basket passed around in first class, but no meal on a three-hour flight (though you can buy box lunches back in economy). This solidified my long-held position that, with the sole exceptions domestically of Southwest Air and Continental, the airline industry is a gravitational field for the stupidest executives on earth.

The flight attendants are embarrassed, a woman across the aisle is indignant, and I’m bemused. Who makes these absurd decisions? Why are they hired, paid, and tolerated? Why is airline management so abysmally dumb? I wouldn’t trust them walking the beagle. They probably come back with the leash but not the dog, having claimed success because they painted the leash. (They are forever spending millions painting planes but not improving service.)

Last night, both the Patriots and Giants earned a place in the Superbowl. I’m a life-long Giants fan, and a 20-year Patriots fan. Talk about existentialism. I’m rooting for the Pats to complete a perfect season (and shut the intolerable old Dolphins up, who managed to go undefeated by playing almost no one with a winning record) but how can I be upset with the underdog Giants winning it all when no one gave them a chance to be anywhere near the final game?

The delay may well have cost us beach time this afternoon, and I’m not sure The Breakers will manage to have our room ready in any case, and it doesn’t. We have a late lunch overlooking the ocean.

Dinner at Renata’s in town, Italian and trendy, but just okay. Very rushed, very loud, food adequate. A single Kir Royale with the meal and I’m not anxious to linger.

The Breakers is packed and we meet someone at lunch from Rhode Island. The service is sagging under the strain here, and the hotel doesn’t seem as well run, though the property remains exquisite. For only $440 a day guests can rent a beach bungalow with bathroom and flat screen TV (and personal concierge)!

© Alan Weiss 2008. All rights reserved.

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Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

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