I’m coming down from yesterday’s math-dorphin high, having found the optimal point for the set of variables. How did I do?
- Be there to conduct my business. Uh-huh.
- Minimize the cost to the company – This was trickier than I had hoped. The airfares for Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday departures were $880, $911, $1,400 and $2496, respectively. (For humor value, business and first-class airfares were $7,030 and $11,000, respectively. As if.)I freaked briefly when Orbitz and Expedia and Kayak all told me there were no hotel rooms available for the first few days of my stay. What they meant was no rooms in the hotels with which they’re affiliated. Having stayed at the Radisson SAS’ in Sweden and Denmark, I thought there’d be one somewhere in the area. Type type type… Sure enough – it has rooms available, it’s downtown, and it’s on-budget. I went with the $911 fare. (Okay, $910.86, but we know how precision and accuracy are completely different things, especially when applied to the air travel system schedules.) Taxes and fees are $100 of that.What was shocking was how much the per diem is going to be. According to the salesperson who works the international circuit, Norway is slightly more expensive than Tokyo. *Tokyo?*
- Minimize my time in airports and on airplanes – The good news is I have only one stopover each way, and it’s in Amsterdam, birthplace of the economic bubble. If I have room left in my bags from all the lutefisk purchasing, I can stock up on chocolate and cheese. (But seriously, lutefisk is more popular in Minnesota than Norway.) The bad news is I still have the 6:15 a.m. return departure.
- Spend some non-business time actually seeing the place I’m visiting. Thanks to the cockamamie airline pricing, I’ll have all of Saturday and most of Sunday to see town. I may bring my bike for the trampe.
- Focus frequent flier miles — Accomplished, though this was always a minor goal.
- Sit in an adult-sized seat, preferably on an aisle – On the way there, the good seats are reserved for the Elite flyers. I have a middle seat in the second row. You bet your burrito I’m going to try to move to a better one. On the way back, I have an aisle seat in the nosebleed section. John‘s link to seatguru.com helped me from making too much of a mistake.
- Do not leave obscenely early in the morning — Alas, on the way back I leave at 6:15 a.m. Even with the four hour layover in Amsterdam, I’m supposed to arrive in Seattle mid-afternoon, in time for the gentle hands of US Customs, who relish playing “find the bong” among the returnees from Amsterdam.
T-minus three weeks.