Topaz News

Here are some random thoughts from my past week in San Diego at the GBTA Convention. I flew into San Diego on Saturday, and spent the week talking with some great people and observing some interesting things. Happy reading!

1. I board my flight in Boston, and after hearing the news about the stolen airplane in Seattle, it made me wonder.....I had never really thought of this before, but is there a key for airplanes? Do they just leave the keys in the ignition? Is there some special code?

2. At the airport, why do people feel compelled to use the speaker on their mobile phone? I had to walk away from some wing nut who went on and on about how she left her iPad at home. And I admit I was in the United Club. Speaker phone? Whatever, I do not need to hear about your stupidity, and keep it private peeps.

3. A bit of California humor...a fellow travel industry veteran approached me and asked if I knew that pot was legal in California. He then proceeded to share how he took a taxi into an industrial part of San Diego where he acquired some "gummy bears". Unfortunately his taxi left him and no Uber would come to that sketchy part of town. Suffice to say he seemed a little fuzzy each time I saw him for the rest of the week. I did not partake. You wanted to ask, I know.

4. On a positive note, the 30 minute educational sessions are great. Thankfully everyone gets to the point and it forced everyone do it quickly. They had timer police on hand and they cut everyone off. I think what they should do next year is mandate a 20 minutes session with 10 minutes of questions. That would make it even tighter.

5. Dave Hilfman had his GBTA swan song - sailing off into the sunset of a life without an airline. He is a true gentleman, and I learned so much from him over the years. I debated with many about his next move - which may not be for a while - but we all hope to see him again. If he ever wants to open an airline sales consulting practice, well, I am sure we can find a spot for him. However, he will have to sing Viva Las Vegas during the interview. Actually, that will be all he has to do during the interview.

6. I wonder if anyone at GTBA would consider setting up tables for rent. It should only have four seats - private tables near the trade show floor, one size only for sale regardless of the size of your company. For smaller companies it would be an alternative to the booths. Of course, would it impact the trade show booth sales, thus possibly making it an issue for the association? Depending on the price, I might pay for that.

7. I have been coming to this event for 25 years - on and off - but I have decided that next year, no more parties for me. At least no big ones. My time will be spent having quiet dinners with a few people each night and then going to bed. Time to pass the party torch. Dancing will only be done at weddings and at dance clubs with my kind of music.

8. Best drink of the week? TripBam had a small event Sunday evening and the Manhattan (stirred not shaken) was created with care and love. They used a Russell Rye, and even included a Luxardo cherry. That last item is the sign they knew what they were doing.

9. On my way home, I witnessed two things you should never do whilst traveling. First, never place your noise cancelling headphones above your ears on your head. It reminds me too much of Princess Lea. Second, please do not walk the airports with your "U" shaped pillow on your neck. You just look stupid.

10. Finally a shout out to my new found friends and partners of the Nina and Pinta Group - Jo Lloyd, Katharine Williams, Mark Williams, Abby Pharr, and Chris Crowley - plus Tom Stone and Monique Swart (in spirit). Thank you for your support, friendship, guidance and laughs. May we last well into our senior years and grow old together (well, not Katharine and Abby, they will take the torch).

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