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February 2013

Archives for February 2013

Return Your Seat to it’s Upright Position…and what the heck is a cross check and all call?

Flying commercial aircraft is a sensory overload.  From the battle between cars, taxis and shuttles at the curb, to the plodding steps through security and finally the feeding frenzy of the boarding process, air travelers are constantly hit with instructions and rules.   parts of the experience are easy to figure out, but there are a few things I have always wondered about, so today, I am going to share what I have learned about the some of the things we all experience on airplanes.
#1 – First of all, what the heck is a “Cross check” and an “All Call?”
Flight attendants announce the completion of their cross checks and all calls at the beginning and end of every flight.  I was raised in Michigan where we are serious hockey fans, and I sure hope the flight attendants are not announcing they have completed that kind of cross check.  My research has revealed that once the jetway has pulled away from the plane, flight attendants at the front of the plane check that the doors on each side are properly locked, and that the emergency evacuation slides are armed to deploy if that door opens.  Then, as an extra precaution, the two flight attendants switch sides and check the door their partner has just finished inspecting. Once they agree that both doors are properly prepared, they use the public intercom to announce the completion of the safety step to the flight attendant in the rear of the plane, and to the pilots.

#2 – The recirculated air inside the plane is full of germs
Makes perfect sense to passengers right?  I have often developed a cold shortly after flying and blamed it on the stale air in the cabin.  However, it turns out most commercial planes are equipped with either sophisticated air cleansing systems, or mechanisms that draw in fresh air from the outside to keep the cabin air pleasant.  Some planes even use both systems.  I found reports of studies that have shown only a 1 or 2% difference in the occurrence of colds in passengers who flew on planes with air cleansing systems, and passengers on older planes with no such system.  However, those studies also found that people who fly are far more likely to develop colds than those who do not fly.  That leaves the experts to speculate that the real culprit of your cold is the transfer of germs from the surfaces you touch which rarely get cleaned (ie: the plastic bin at security, the escalator handrail, the handles and rails in the people movers, armrests on your seat, the tray table, the door of the overhead bin, and your own luggage for crying out loud!  When was the last time you washed a suitcase handle!!)

#3 – All electronics must be fully turned off and safely stowed when the plane is below 10,000 feet.
The myth on this one, which the airlines and the FAA would like everyone to believe, is that your personal electronics give off just enough signal that they could interfere with the electronics which help the pilots fly and navigate the plane.  Numerous studies have failed to prove this point with any kind of conclusive evidence.  The real risk is subtly alluded to in the reference to “safely stow” those devices.  As with many rules on an airplane, the reasoning begins with, “If this plane was going to crash land…”  In an emergency, the plane can move erratically and by keeping devices in bags and overheads, they hope to limit the number of passengers who get pelted with flying iPhone’s and Kindles which have become projectiles after being dropped.

#4 – Place airmasks on yourself before assisting others.  
As a parent who has flown with my young son numerous times, I always go through an internal debate when I hear this one.  I know my natural instinct would be to immediately help my child.  But here is the part they don’t tell you.  For a plane flying at an altitude above 30,000 feet, if there is a rapid loss of cabin air pressure, tests have shown that passengers may have less than 5 seconds to get that mask on before they start losing consciousness.  Most commercial planes cruise at an altitude much higher than the very top of Mt. Everest and the climbers who reach the top of that mountain usually need the assistance of oxygen tanks well before they get to the top.

Finally, we want to acknowledge that flying commercial is not all doom and gloom.  Delta Airlines has recognized the absurdity of some of the rules they are bound to follow and they are now showing a safety video on some flights which I have found very funny and informative.  Watch this video and see if you can spot Abe Lincoln.

Unfortunately, there is nothing VenueQuest can do to make the commercial air travel experience more enjoyable for you or your co-workers.  However, we can help to ensure that once they reach their destination, they will have an excellent experience at their meeting destination.  Our meeting site selection services ensure that you have the best hotel selected for all the goals and objectives of your meeting, including, a productive environment, compliance with your budget, proximity to services and amenities which are important to your attendees and good quality food.

If you will be seeking a venue for a meeting, conference, or team event, please let us know and we can show you a better way to find the hotel and meeting space you need.  Get started right here, or contact us at dan@venuequest.com.

America the Beautiful

First of all, a thank you to several of you who took a moment to reply to my last post about cooking popcorn on the stove.  That story definitely resonated with people in a number of ways and it was fun to read your stories and share your memories of cooking popcorn on stoves, in kettles and in air poppers.

Everyone knows the song America the Beautiful…well okay, at least the majority of people in America know the song.  But do you know the history of the song.  The year was 1893 and Ms. Katharine Lee Bates, a 33 year old English teacher from Massachusetts set out on a long train trip to teach a summer class in Colorado.  During the trip, her train left the storied New England coastline and made visits to Chicago where she viewed exciting “new” skyscrapers, then traveled across the Great Plains and finally during her stay in Colorado, she hiked to the very top of Pikes Peak.  It was there on top of that mountain, looking west into the incredible range of the Rocky Mountains, and east across a vast expanse of the flat plains, that some of the words started coming to her.

She began writing the poem that would become America the Beautiful as soon as she got back to her hotel room, and it was published two years later on July 4.  In the decades that followed, the poem was adapted to music and gained the adoration of Americans from sea to shining sea.

Interestingly, despite the popularity of the song, Ms. Bates never sought royalties from the repeated publication or performance of the song.

The lyrics are ringing in my ears because as this message reaches your inbox, I will be departing on my own journey into the Rocky Mountains.  I am taking a little winter trip with my son to have some fun skiing and also to look at a handful of hotels and resorts in the Rockies.  Colorado is an obvious and extremely popular destination for winter meetings and conferences, but did you know there are incredible group meeting deals to be found in the mountains during summer.  When you are in your office in Florida, Texas, DC or wherever and you are trying to think of where to hold your meeting in July that won’t be extremely hot and uncomfortable, think about the high country in Colorado.   VenueQuest can help you sort out which resorts are the best fit for your team and show you how to have memorable team building activities that you can’t find in most other places.