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Business Traveler (USA) - - WELCOME - Dan Booth Edi­to­rial Di­rec­tor

For all the com­plain­ing we hear about air­port se­cu­rity th­ese days, the fact is this sum­mer’s travel sea­son went by with rel­a­tively few hic­cups re­lated to screening lines and wait times. No­body goes out of their way to stand in a line be­cause they love it; we queue up – at the bank, at the li­cense of­fice, at air­port se­cu­rity – be­cause we have to in or­der to achieve an end. But de­spite all the beef­ing, there is sense of re­lax­ation that comes once that last land­side hur­dle is cleared and you find your­self on the ‘se­cure’ air­side, all snug and safe. In fact ac­cord­ing to a re­cent global sur­vey, only about a third of busi­ness trav­el­ers (34 per­cent) say they’re ner­vous in an air­port, as op­posed to half who are most wor­ried about be­ing in sub­ways and train sta­tions.

Hav­ing spent the bet­ter part of this sum­mer just past trav­el­ing by all sorts of dif­fer­ent con­veyances, I can re­late. Trav­el­ers are left to fend more or less for them­selves on crowded train sta­tion plat­forms. And driv­ing in big city rush hour traf­fic is enough to make any­body’s blood pres­sure cuff ex­plode.

By con­trast once we’re in the air­port we are guided (some cyn­ics would say ‘herded’) and guarded (those same cyn­ics would call it ‘po­liced’) as we docilely find our way to our as­signed gate. In a way all this un­so­licited so­lic­i­tous­ness seems to be coun­ter­in­tu­itive to the sense of an­tic­i­pa­tion that should be ours when we launch out on our voy­ages of dis­cov­ery.

In the past few months my trav­els have had their share of trans­porta­tion ad­ven­tures. The au­tos of Clas­sic Remise Düs­sel­dorf in­spired a bit of yearn­ing (and a story, see Auto Magic, page 26) about the days when cars were sleek and pow­er­ful ex­pres­sions in sheet metal and chrome and lots of glitz. More re­cently we jour­neyed to Colorado to ex­pe­ri­ence the Du­rango & Sil­ver­ton Nar­row Gauge Rail­road. A trip up that moun­tain is an ex­pe­ri­ence of real steam and real his­tory.

Now I’ve re­turned to the here and now. Hav­ing made it through se­cu­rity, I’m sit­ting in yet an­other air­port, snug and safe along with sev­eral hun­dreds of my clos­est friends. My air­craft has just pulled up to the gate, and soon we’ll all be board­ing some snug and safe air­plane. Then we’ll hur­tle at nearly the speed of sound to some other snug and safe air­port thou­sands of miles away. Noth­ing ex­tra­or­di­nary; just an­other ho-hum day in the busi­ness of busi­ness travel.

But no mat­ter how mun­dane it seems, travel is for­ever an ad­ven­ture to me. The road calls and I for one am ready to an­swer.

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