Some Notes on Flying Logistics

Posted by mitch on January 21, 2012

If you travel a lot and have done so for years, there’s probably not a lot for you in this post. If you’re just starting a change where you will be traveling more, or if you only travel from time to time, you might get a tip or two out of this. I’ve clocked about 350,000 miles of travel in the last few years. I’ve learned a few things along the way. I’m sure there’s still a lot I don’t know, so I’d love to hear what you have learned, too!

Here are a few thoughts:

Pick an airline and stick with it. Sign up for the frequent miles program and always use your number when you book. On the boring domestic carriers (United, American, US Airways, etc.) you will earn status as you fly. Generally the bottom level of status starts at 25,000 miles within a calendar year. If you do 4 cross-country trips from NY to LA in a year, you’re going to be darn close to hitting that status. If you do a lot of short hops, you can earn status for segments.

Why do you care about elite status? A few reasons:

  • Elite passengers get to use faster security lines; this saves a ton of time.
  • Elite passengers don’t pay for checked baggage.
  • Elite passengers board first, so there’s never an issue of checking a bag at the gate unless you’re late to board.
  • Elite passengers have a better seat selection available to them in coach, sometimes these are seats with more leg room.
  • Elite passengers get occasional first class upgrades when there’s room.

These are great perks and they do make for better quality of life when traveling. In addition to the above, elite status moves you up in the standby queue. This means if something goes wrong, whether you miss a flight or a flight is cancelled, you are ahead of other passengers in the queue. Elite passengers also get a different phone number to call for customer service.

So which airline should you pick? In my opinion, it depends on what city you live in. If you live in Philly, pick US Airways. Atlanta, Delta. Denver, United. Chicago, American or United. San Francisco, United. Dallas, American. You want to pick an airport that has a hub in your city. If you live in a different city, you should pick an airline that has a hub close to you or close to where you most frequently travel. Since I live in Boston, US Airways is the closest hub to me (Philly; I’m ignoring JFK and LGA because I try to avoid those airports as well as the DC airports).

You’ll note above that I have omitted Virgin America, JetBlue, and Southwest from the discussion. I like Virgin and JetBlue a lot, but both of them have a bad rewards program for frequent business travel. I absolutely adore Virgin but the flights are jam packed and expensive.

For some cities, you might pick two airlines to keep elite status on–Seattle has a big Alaskan Airlines presence, but if you go to Kansas City a lot, Alaskan may not be the best way to get there. If you live in Raleigh, I’d pick US Airways–Charlotte is close and from there, you can go anywhere, and JetBlue (direct flights to lots of cities).

On the day of travel, check the weather at your departure, connection, and destination cities. A snow storm or problems in any of those cities, either active or forecast, can lead to problems. If you catch what’s going on early enough, you can switch things around and possibly avoid problems. I once would have been stranded in Denver for a weekend if I hadn’t done this.

I also highly recommend using something like TripIt to manage and monitor your flights. TripIt will text me with gate changes and countdowns on layovers–when I land in a city, TripIt will text me what gate I am arriving at and how long I have to get to the next gate (and how long that is). I usually double check in the airport, but TripIt has always been right. At $50/yr, the pro version is a hugely useful tool. Just remember that TripIt will also text you 4 hours in advance of the trip, so if you have a 6 am flight, the 2 am text can be annoying. I put my phone in airplane mode the night before because of this.

Travel stress gets rough when things go wrong. There is nothing worse than being stranded or on stand-by for 24 hours. In the winter, avoid snowy cities for layovers. Do not change planes in Chicago, Detroit, or Minneapolis in the winter! This means if you’re booking on United, American, Northwestern (Delta), be careful and pay attention to where that city in the middle is. In the summer, you can get in trouble in Dallas with thunderstorms. There’s always something, somewhere that can go wrong (fog in San Francisco, anyone?), but avoiding layovers in snowy cities is critical during the winter!

Sometimes things go wrong because you miss your connection. Usually this is because your inbound flight is late. You can avoid this by avoiding extremely short connections–anything less than an hour is going to be tough. 90 minutes is a lot safer. But remember, with enough elite status, your airline is going to have you higher on a standby list than everyone else who wants on that next flight to Omaha. Also, when you are booking, try to avoid the last flight to anywhere. If you miss a connection or something goes wrong with your initial flight, there’s a chance to get on a later flight–If that wasn’t the last flight that day.

If something does go wrong, go stand in line with everyone else. But while you are in line, call the airline. Ideally you have attained at least the base level of elite status and can call that specific number–keep that number in your cell phone. The person on the other end of the phone isn’t dealing with 200 angry passengers in person and that person is going to be a lot calmer–especially if you are calmer. And you will be calmer, because you’re on the phone with the airline.

If things are going very wrong, it’s time to get creative and flexible. OK, all the flights to your destination airport are full, but what if you go to a nearby airport? Dayton isn’t that far from Columbus. What if you drive to some other airport and fly to your destination from there? If you’re stranded in Chicago, it’s a 3.5 hour drive to Indianapolis and a 6 hour drive to Louisville, Kentucky, either of which might have better weather or seats. National car rental is my favorite when it comes to one-way car rentals. Once I was at Myrtle Beach and facing a hurricane coming in. I drove to Charlotte 1-way and flew out from there. Another time I was in Philly but needed to be in Columbus in 12 hours. I drove the 480 miles, but I failed to think about flying to Dayton (80 miles away) until I was about 240 miles into the drive.

If you do bridge the gap with a 1-way rental, don’t forget to call the airline and tell them! If you’re driving from a connection airport and plan to pick-up the return itinerary at your final destination airport, you need to tell the airline or they are likely to decide you never made it to the destination and cancel your return itinerary!

Sometimes you just have to admit defeat and go hide in a hotel though. Try to pick one with a good bar.

Related post: Using travel rewards programs.

Some other notes from folks on Twitter:

  • @Texiwill: Always get a confirmed seat… Nothing like showing up at the gate without a confirmed seat. (This is a very good point; if your boarding pass doesn’t have a seat on it, you don’t have a seat on the flight! -M)
  • @PJNeal: Disagree with you re: JetBlue. Free flight benefits are amazing for frequent fliers. (I used to fly them 125-150 flights/yr) (I should have been more clear; it really depends on what your idea of benefits are. -M)
  • This post intentionally doesn’t cover things such as picking a seat (check out SeatGuru) or how to pack for convenient security theater passage… another post.

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Flying with the MacBook Air 11″

Posted by mitch on December 16, 2011
hardware, travel

I recently bought an 11″ MacBook Air for airplane use. In 2011, I did about 44 trips, which means I was on at least one plane about 88 days this year. Those 88 days yielded 140,000 miles of travel, which works out to 1600 miles on average per day of travel. At 500 mph, that’s 3 hrs in the air on 88 days on average, or 264 hours in the air during the whole year.

During that time I concluded that the 13″ MacBook Air is just too big on most coach tray tables, and even some first class tables as well. I don’t always want to work on a plane, but when I do, not having a good laptop solution was reducing my productivity and increasing the number of tasks I would have to do after or before landing.

I don’t view the 11″ as a replacement laptop, but rather a secondary laptop. While it probably is ridiculous to carry two laptops, they have gotten a lot lighter and so far, I feel it’s worth the weight increase–the 11″ is about a pound heavier than the iPad and about the same size. I might change my mind in 100,000 miles, though.

The 11″ MacBook Air fits surprisingly well on the newer A321 first class tray tables (the ones that are about 6″ deep). I think it might have been designed for this table, in fact–the fit is just that good. I also did a leg today in 9E in coach (exit row with no right seat on a A319 aircraft) and it’s a fine fit there as well. Row 8 didn’t recline, but I still had a good inch behind the screen and could 2″ to spare with a little less comfort.

I was worried about the 1280×800 resolution. When I moved from the 2008 MacBook Air 13″ to the 2010 model, I thought the 1440×900 vs the old 1280×800 made a huge difference. But looking at the two 11″ and 13″ side-by-side, I don’t think I care about the loss of pixels, especially given the upside of reduced size.

There is a hidden cost of using two laptops if you have a desktop as well–applications like Photoshop and Office are often licensed for use on two computers, not three. So I have to buy another copy of Office, but I plan to forgo the Adobe applications.

The upside of two laptops is very handy, though. It’s nice to have two screens on the road. I was at a coffee shop Thursday morning preparing some notes for a meeting. I had a slide deck open on one screen that I was reading and creating summary slides on the other. DropBox syncing makes moving files between laptops easy, and with my MiFi, a WiFi LAN is easy to enable (DropBox will sync over a local LAN if peers are found on the LAN). Of course, there’s other ways to setup a WiFi LAN with two machines without a MiFi.

I wrote this post and some other things while on a flight from SFO to PHX. During the 400 miles from SFO down to southern California before hanging a left to Phoenix, I wrote over 1,200 words and was comfortable doing it. Even though I was sitting in first class, I would not have been nearly as comfortable doing this with the 13″ model. On my later leg, I wrote some code I had been meaning to work on for months but hadn’t had the time. I don’t think I’ve written code on a plane in years. I ended up creating perhaps 15-20 pages of content while in the air today, even though 70% of that time was in coach. Pretty good! Battery life was pretty decent too; if I had worked straight though I might have run out of gas by the end of flying, and I started around 85% on my first flight. I’d say the 11″ can barely make it across the US at the lowest screen setting with one or two small low-CPU apps open.

Is the MacBook Air 11″ a good buy? I think so. With my 6% corporate discount and CA sales tax, the laptop ended up being $1226 (I bought the middle $1199 model). It’s a heck of a lot of computer for $1226. Going back to the earlier math, I only need a billable rate of $4/hr to break even on the $1226 purchase. Fortunately, my billable rate is a little higher, so I should be in the black pretty quickly.

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Using Travel Rewards Programs

Posted by mitch on September 17, 2010

Tonight a fellow asked me about who has the “best” rewards program for travel.  I don’t really know, but I do have a few tips and notes on my experiences.  To frame my experience, I’ve traveled about 100,000 miles per year for the last few years.  I am by no means an expert traveler, but I know more about this than I did 10 years ago.

So, in no particular order:

  1. I really like the Choice Hotels rewards program.  It’s easy to earn free nights, and this chain includes Quality Inn, Sleep Inn, Comfort Inn.  I am not sure what the difference between the labels is (they seem about the same to me), but there’s thousands of these hotels in the US, they generally are clean and well-run.  Many of them have a slightly better breakfast than a donut + coffee on a folding table, and many of them have a few pieces of exercise equipment.  From a rewards perspective, it’s very easy to become a “Gold” member, which starts acceleration of points.  I’ve been in this reward program for 12 years and had no problem with redeeming dozens of free nights.
  2. I also really like  There’s a lot of choice with and I’ve had great luck with their rewards system, which is very simple–stay 10 nights, get one free.  There is a small caveat here in that the free room is actually a discount room if you stay at a higher end (priced?) hotel.  But I’ve gotten plenty of rooms for free with  Just beware when you check-in that is owned by Expedia and the hotel might ask, “You booked on Expedia?”
  3. I love Enterprise for car rentals.  However, they don’t have a rewards program that is useful.  The main reason to join their program is that large airports have a separate “Enterprise Plus” waiting line.
  4. The mainstream US airlines have about the same rewards system in many ways.  You should pick an airline that is convenient for where you live (if you live in Charlotte, fly US Airways; Dallas, American, etc.) for the best direct flight scenario.  I personally hate United, but if you fly enough to get into their 1K program, you will be all set.  I generally only fly two airlines:  Virgin America for BOS<->SFO and US Airways for everything else.
  5. While I love Virgin America, their rewards program sucks.  I’ve gotten several free tickets with them, but you have to spend a lot of money to pull this off.  Their rewards program is, in my opinion, far worse than American, US Airways, or United.
  6. The key with a lot of travel is to pick with certain vendors and stick with them.  I can go into Quality Inn and tell them I spent 60 nights with them this year.  I can tell Enterprise I’ve had their cars 150 days in the last 365.  When things go wrong, this can carry a lot of weight.  Once you’re in elevated levels of frequent travel programs, you will often get a separate phone number for elite travelers for service–put this number in your cell phone and use it when things go wrong.  The manager at the SFO Enterprise knows me by sight/name.  I know many airline and hotel employees personally as well.
  7. I’ve never had good luck trying to use points from one vendor with another (e.g, using Choice Hotels points for a discount at Enterprise).  YMMV.
  8. Whenever I buy from a new vendor, I open a rewards account with that vendor.  I only have a few thousand points with some vendors, but eventually they will turn into a freebie.
  9. I use TripIt to keep up with all my points (along with everything else TripIt does!).
  10. I only carry one credit card that is tied to a points system.  It’s tempting to move cards around, but it’s not efficient for me to do so.
  11. I try to stay within vendors from 6 or so groups of points for airlines and hotels.  This lets me optimize price without paying a premium for a particular vendor just to get points.
  12. A friend of mine has had luck buying bundles with Orbitz for lower prices.

I’m sure others know more about this than I do.  I haven’t read up on travel program tips, these are just observations I’ve picked up on along the way.

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Why I’m Glad In-flight WiFi Costs Money

Posted by mitch on August 02, 2010

I fly a lot, about 120,000 miles a year right now. Many of those miles are on Virgin, which has Gogo In-flight Internet access and two 120 volt power outlets for every 3 seats in coach. This means I can do about 5 hours of work on a laptop on a cross country flight. When Gogo was free last holiday season (sponsored by Google for about 6 weeks), everyone was using the Internet on the flight and access slowed down significantly. There was heavy competition for power–the planes have a lot of juice, but not enough for 120 laptops. However, when it costs money, only those who really need or want to use the Internet are using it. Competition for power goes down, and the Internet speed is quite reasonable. For $10 or so, it’s worth it to me on longer flights.

If there’s anything that should be free, it’s checked bags. With the bags now costing money, people are bringing more bags into the cabin and running out of overhead space can cause delays. I was on a flight last Thursday where a woman had been forced to check her bag because the plane was out of room. Before we took off, she ran to the front (I was in 2F) and told the flight attendants her medicine was in the bag. We were delayed 20 minutes while the ground crew searched for her bag.

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What Helps Me Appear Organized

Posted by mitch on June 22, 2010
career, productivity, travel

I recently received an email asking what helps me stay organized. This is actually interesting phrasing, as it doesn’t presume that I am organized, nor does it presume that at one point I needed to “get organized.”

I mulled it over from this perspective and here are a few things I do to stay on top of things while minimizing stress. Most of these tips are about preventing the consequences of forgetting or losing something (stressing out), rather than remembering everything (being organized).

  • TripIt Pro — The last ~150,000 miles of travel I’ve done, I did with the help of TripIt Pro. If you are doing any amount of travel, you owe it to yourself to at least get the free account. I felt having the iPhone app was hugely worthy of the subscription price. TripIt lets me reserve hotel, car, and flights using my normal tools (Virgin, US Airways, Enterprise, Orbitz, Hertz web sites) and then forward the confirmation emails to TripIt. The itineraries are generated and appear in my calendar Outlook/Google/iPhone, in the TripIt app (with phone numbers, maps, directions, confirmation numbers). This is a huge time saver. TripIt does not handle complex itineraries involving numerous one-way tickets very well, but it does get all the data in there. It also integrates with LinkedIn, so you can advertise to your connections when you might be around to meet up for coffeee or dinner. Totally worth it. If that wasn’t enough, TripIt also integrates with all the frequent traveler programs. How many Starwood points do I have? Choice Hotel points? United miles? TripIt has the answer in one place.

  • Detailed calendar items — when scheduling a meeting, I dump in everything I need to know — the address, phone, email, name, etc. of who I am going to be meeting. This lets me rapidly punch in coordinates into a GPS or phone someone if I’m going to be late without having to dig back into my address book or emails.

  • Aggressive calendaring — I set all kinds of reminders for myself in advance on my calendar. I have a reminder that someone needs to trim the roses in the yard in September. I have a reminder about my parent’s cat on days I expect I might go visit (holidays). Oil changes, gutter cleanings — use the calendar system to track everything you need to do, not just the primary objectives in your life.

  • David Allen’s Getting Things Done — I don’t use every dimension of David’s system, but I use a lot of it. I bought a really nice label printer and label my files. I file everything I want to keep, even manuals for appliances. I keep proper inboxes and carve out time to dig through them. I use a mixture of Things, Evernote, and Basecamp to organize task items, notes, and collaboration with others. I manage development heavily with Bugzilla.

  • Redundancy — I have built a lot of redundancy into my life. I have 4 chargers for my MacBook Air, about 6 chargers for my iPhone, and two GPS units, one on each side of the country. Two sets of clothes — I do all of this to minimize my travel load when commuting between Silicon Valley and Boston. I can go to the airport with my driver’s license, credit card, and MacBook Air and nothing else, go to the other side of the country, and have everything I need. This means I don’t have to remember very much before a trip between these locations.

    As a less extreme example, I keep stacks of business cards in rubber bands in my car, office, home, jackets, laptop bags, so I generally don’t have to remember to bring cards. The point here is to put things in places where you will need them later so you don’t have to remember to bring them with you.

  • Connectivity — Even if I forget a file somewhere, it’s often in Basecamp or Evernote. And if not, I have remote access configured for my non-laptop machines in case I need to grab something remotely. I carry an iPhone and also have a Verizon MiFi for when AT&T isn’t working or I need to use my laptop in a customer’s parking lot. I buy Boingo for airport/Starbucks/etc. access to WiFi. Boingo at $10/mo is a no-brainer. The MiFi runs a little more, but it only has to save my butt once a year to pay for itself.

  • Capture notes with cameras — I use either a regular camera or my iPhone to capture whiteboards. I’ll use my iPhone to document where I parked my car if I’m in a strange area. I dump notes and pictures of whiteboards into Evernote or PowerPoint depending on what I need (or both).

  • Organized phone system — I hand out a Google Voice number for those folks who I never want to hear from. Google Voice cheerfully takes the message, transcribes it, and emails it to me. For everyone else, they get an office number. The office number rings my desk in Silicon Valley and Boston. After 30 seconds, it rolls over to ring concurrently my 2 other lines and my cell phone. This means all my voicemails go into a single inbox, rather than having 3 or 4 boxes to check. This also means I don’t miss a voicemail because I was away from my desk, nor do I need to provide folks a variety of phone numbers to reach me. One number does it all (and can be ignored easily too).

  • Outsource personal tasks — There’s probably a lot of things you have to do that you don’t want to do. Cleaning house, grocery shopping, cooking, taxes, organizing, yard work, washing the car. Outsource those things that are not relaxing or that you are not getting done.

Stress can get in the way of making concrete progress on projects, so I use the above to minimize “oh shit” moments. When it comes to gettings things done:

  • Decide what today’s 1-2 goals are — I do this first thing. This is part of the Getting Things Done approach (Today / Next buckets).

  • Sleep well — Cutting short on sleep is a disaster for productivity. Don’t do it. I have a pair of Zeo units that I use to measure my sleep. It has been tremendously helpful in making me be sure I get enough sleep. Eating well and exercising well go hand in hand here. Don’t ignore the hardware of your body.

  • Delegate — No one can do everything. I delegate to other team members as it makes sense, or hire contractors to add bandwidth.

  • Watch for distractions — Facebook, watching TV, chatting, blogging, tweeting — These can all be huge time sinks, especially if you’re procrastinating. Limit these activities. Remind yourself of your end goal (I want to get an ‘A’, I want to get paid, I want to finish this project, whatever) and get back to work.

  • Recognize that some tasks require big blocks of time — This isn’t true for everyone’s work, but if you need big blocks of time to focus in on a creative or complex project, recognize that need and plan for it.

  • Be early — There’s rarely a good excuse for being late. Plan for traffic and logistics — sometimes it can tough to find the right building, the right street, or a place to park. Arrive early and you will have some time to review who you are meeting and what the agenda is. This is 70% of the battle. Internally, I am bad at over-booking my calendar at times, but I’m never late to meet a customer or other business meeting.

My system isn’t perfect, but it’s working well for me. I’m always interested in trying things to improve it. I don’t claim to have the best system, this is just what I’ve gravitated towards. Because my job is really fun and largely what I’d do even if I wasn’t getting paid, burnout is a real problem for which I must be on watch. The above tools have let me get more done than I would have thought possible before I stumbled into these solutions and while keeping stress down.

You may note the above lists are about tools more than skills. Fundamentally, I have a lot of drive and desire to make progress every day — this is why I do start-ups. The above tools just enable me to increase my effectiveness.

Car Rental Nightmare

Posted by mitch on May 24, 2010

On May 21st at around 7:45 am, I locked the keys to my rented Hyundai Sonata 2011 in the trunk of the car. I have never done this before, but I was in a hurry, stressed about some things I needed to take care of that day, and somehow dropped the keys into the trunk before slamming the lid. I am always paranoid about locking my keys on the other side of a barrier from me, and I did indeed check for keys before I closed the lid—unfortunately, I did not check the keys closely enough that they were the right keys.

So I called Enterprise. I am a very loyal Enterprise customer—I almost always rent from Enterprise—mostly due to their stellar customer service. I drive rental cars about 20-25 weeks per year. Even when I get average service at certain Enterprise locations, it’s generally much better than what I get at other rental companies.

Enterprise informed me that AAA would cost me $65 since it was my fault. No problem.

AAA showed up in about 50 minutes and did a quick demo of how easy it is to break into a car. I was relieved that I would be able to get on my way, finally. It was now a little before 9 am. With the car alarm blaring, AAA opened the driver’s side of the vehicle and pressed the trunk release button.

Nothing happened.

It turns out the Sonata is a very smart car. When the alarm is activated, the release button in the passenger compartment for the trunk is disabled.

So if you lock your keys in the trunk, you had better have a second set of keys or a locksmith.

I called a locksmith. “We do not have a way to pick the electronic locks on the Sonata.”

I called Enterprise back and went through several rounds with several people for the next TWO HOURS. Yes, the keys are in the trunk. No, the trunk release doesn’t work. It’s electronic. No, I can’t lower the backseats—the release for the seats is in the trunk.

At this point, Enterprise gave me two options:

  1. They could tow the car somewhere. The customer rep was dubious I would ever get the stuff in the trunk back. I had some expensive clothes in the trunk and wasn’t a fan of this option.
  2. Enterprise would overnight the 2nd set of keys from their key storage in another state to the airport location and I could pick it up on Saturday, the 22nd. This sounded better, though I wouldn’t be able to pick up the keys until the 23rd due to my schedule.

In the meantime, a co-worker gave me a ride to another Enterprise location where I rented another car. Initially, the agent told me he had a Hyundai Accent to rent me and I said OK. Then after going through the papers, he said we’d have wait while someone drove the car over. It turned out the only car he had was a Jeep. He then wanted to double the rate on the Jeep over the Accent.

At this point, I had been doing nothing for the last 4 hours other than deal with Enterprise and was starting to lose my patience.

I rented the Jeep at a reduced price.

Because most of my clothes were in the trunk, I had to go buy new clothes and shoes.

On Sunday, I drove to the airport location, 90 mile roundtrip, to pick up the keys. The agent told me he didn’t have them, but he had seen an email about it.

I wasn’t too surprised—FedEx doesn’t deliver to all commercial locations on Saturdays. I asked him to call me on Monday when the keys came in.

On Monday morning—72 hours after this all started—I called Enterprise to ask what was going on and ended up leaving voicemail for the woman who had called on Friday (Crystal), since no one at the location was answering the phone.

Around 3pm, I got a voicemail informing me that the keys had come in. I did another 90 mile roundtrip to pick up the keys.

They were the right keys! I could open the doors without the alarm sounding! I could get my stuff out of the trunk!

I called my co-worker to see if he could pick me up at the local Enterprise location so I could get rid of the Jeep. As I was driving away from the Sonata, I realized that I never tried starting the Sonata. I did a U-turn.

The ignition is locked, apparently as an extra layer of security. I have all the keys for the car in my possession and none of them will start the car. I do not have the owner’s manual.

A few observations:

  1. Hyundai has significantly over-engineered the security of the trunk. If I am a thief, I don’t care about the cosmetic condition of the car and will use a crowbar or explosives to open the trunk if I am hell-bent on it.
  2. If I have the legitimate keys, the ignition should work—I understand it has been disabled by the alarm, but if I had the legitimate keys for starting the car, I would have also used them to unlock the car.
  3. Enterprise reps know too little about the cars to support them. There was no reason to send out AAA. Sending the keys to get my stuff was good, but not effective for driving the car itself. It’s been 4 days now and I can’t drive the car.
  4. Yes, it is my fault for locking the keys in the trunk, but that should be no more than a 2 hour aggravation. I’ve exceeded that threshold by 50x at this point.
  5. The Enterprise folks have tried very hard to make this right, but they have not been effective as of yet. I really like Enterprise, and want to get this resolved, but at this point it is physically dreading to consider that I have to spend more time on this. I rent cars as a tool to enable me to do my job. I have a lot of hours and wasted money on this car at this point.
  6. This trip was going to involved a lot of driving, which I knew up front, so I spent a little extra to get the Sonata–comfortable, excellent XM and Bluetooth capabilities, good gas mileage—I have none of those features in the vehicle I am currently in, and yet I am paying for two cars.
  7. The absurdity of this story is somewhat magnified by the car rental situation, but I can see the scenario reproduced by a traveler far from home (where the 2nd set of keys would be kept) with the same result, as far as the car itself goes. This is a fundamental problem with this car.
  8. With all the RFID and keyless entry stuff, why can’t the car detect the keys are in the trunk and take appropriate action?
  9. With all the other software in this car, why not reset the ignition lock after 24 hours of peace from the alarm? Why go into a locked state forever?
  10. Until all of this happened, I was going to replace my Accord with a Genesis or Sonata. Now I think I need to look at other options.

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