If honesty is good for the soul, after this post I should be no more than a couple of certified miracles away from sainthood. I am going to make an admission about the travel industry which, while it is stating the bleeding obvious to travel industry insiders, goes largely unnoticed to the uninitiated.
Travel agents, practically without exception, are all shameless moochers. Think about it. Have you ever seen an anorexic travel agent? If you think the term moocher is harsh, I actually toyed with the terms parasites, sponges and bloodsuckers before dialing it back a bit. Without a doubt, one of the great benefits of being in this industry is the endless stream of supplier events.
Take last night as an example since my memory fades rapidly beyond yesterday’s breakfast. I was invited by Stacey Montgomery to attend a Korean Air event at a unique, edgy private venue called 7 Senses. I mention her name because somewhere in the midst of the free-flowing adult beverages, I promised her I would subtly work into this post what an all around fantastic person she is. Based on the quality of the event, I can fulfill that pledge with a clear conscience.
The purpose of this particular soirée was to celebrate the increase in flights from DFW to Seoul from five a week to daily. I gladly rejoice with them in this important announcement but my point is, my fellow attendees and I would have been there had they been celebrating Korean Independence Movement Day.
When you have labored in the travel vineyards as long as I have, you develop an intuition about who is going to sponsor a great event. My radar did not disappoint last evening. Given my legendary sweet tooth, it is not surprising that my favorite food station was the one pictured below. The assortment included Bananas Foster shots, Triple Chocolate Mousse shots, Apple Caramel shots, Cheesecake shots, Tiramisu shots and Strawberry Shortcake shots. Let’s just say if these were shots of alcohol instead of desserts, this picture would include me lying under the table!
Perhaps the evening’s biggest surprise was being handed a very nice parting gift as I left and being told that there was even more food out in the parking lot! Say what?? As I stepped out into the dusk to retrieve my valeted car, what before my wonderous eyes should appear (not Santa and his reindeer but almost as amazing), a bus with “Gourmet Korean Tacos” blazoned across the back.
Lest the overly literal misinterpret this little tounge-in-cheek exposition, travel agents are among the most professional workers I know. They labor long hours orchestrating other people’s joyful experiences often with modest compensation. Nice events such as the one last night are both productive investments of their time and richly deserved diversions from their daily stress. I am merely having a little fun at our own expense.
So thank you Stacey Montgomery and Korean Air for a wonderful evening and good luck with your new flights. It is reassuring knowing that in this turbulent industry where I ply my trade, I may well someday end up homeless but as long as I own a sportscoat, I will never starve!