George Clooney at the Hilton

>> Sunday, December 13, 2009

Last week, I spent about 8 hours in the middle seat of a packed airplane en route from NYC to Dallas Forth Worth. It's normally about a four hour trip, but the storm hitting the northeast changed all that.

We were second for takeoff when the tail wind shifted – and suddenly we were 3300 pounds overweight. The pilot called for a dozen passengers to disembark – unsaid was the observation that each of those passengers would have to weigh in at 300 pounds to make weight. For once, I felt pleasingly thin: even if I did get off the plane, my contribution wouldn’t count. For much.

But no one was willing to give up their seat, despite the fact that without a severe cut in our combined poundage, we were going nowhere. After about 2 hours, the pilot decided to take fuel off the plane. As he’d helpfully pointed out earlier, 3300 pounds too much meant we had just enough fuel to get to DFW, but not enough to actually land. Too much information.

We took off eventually for an uneventful trip to – wait for it – Little Rock, Arkansas, where we refueled, arriving at DFW around 8 pm. Three-plus hours’ delay felt like a small price to pay for having enough fuel to land. But the marketing coup of the day came not from the airline (which had helpfully informed us that we were the first of four planes to land and take off from Little Rock, and wasn’t that good news?), but from the DFW-area Hilton where we checked in for our one-night stay.

One by one, as we were handed our room card-keys, each of us said, hey, check this out. The face of each card bore an image from “Up In The Air,” the new George Clooney film. And feeling like a road-weary traveler myself at that point, I found myself with an extra interest – actually, an affinity – with the movie. And a dawning appreciation that I was thinking far more about George Clooney at this point than my own small foray into the aggravating side of business travel.

So thank you, Up In The Air and Hilton marketing team. Thank you for taking my mind off the middle seat after a long business travel day. And kudos for a partnership that managed to be both subtle and surprising -- intersecting with me and my life when it was most relevant.

Not that I need any extra encouragement to see George Clooney.

Hope this finds you well.



Post a Comment