John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Travel Day

Posted on April 4, 2013

Today was a travel day.

And from the looks of the weather, it didn't look like it was going to be an easy one.

The weatherman predicted heavy showers.  The area around Tampa Bay was under a Tornado Watch.  And the rain was just beginning to fall.

But we couldn't stay a day longer in the Sunshine state.  We all had commitments back home.  And vacation was over.  There was no looking back.

So we packed up the rented American car and started the hour long trip back to Tampa Airport.

The weatherman was right.  It rained hard.  My wife was nervous.  When you have precious cargo (the six month old and the six year old in the back seat) you have a right to be nervous.

And she was nervous not only about my driving, but also by the fact that we were going to have to fly in lousy weather.

The going was tough, but the American car (a heavy SUV) handled well in the rain.  There was plenty of rain, but the American-built roads seem to handle that pretty well too.

The wife was especially nervous when we went over the high suspension bridge that connected St. Petersburg with Bradenton, but the bridge held up pretty well and the car handled beautifully.

We got to the airport and returned our rental car.  There were no problems checking out.  Nobody tried to get any additional payoffs when we dropped off the car.  That happens in Mexico all the time when we travel there.  It's annoying.  But we had no problems with Hertz and got into the airport to check in our luggage.

The folks at jetBlue were friendly, and we got some good seats with a low-cost upgrade.  We were running a bit late, but the security line wasn't that long, despite the sequester.

The plane was on-time, so we couldn't stop at Quizno's for a sub (my six-year old's request), but we were able to load into the plane almost immediately upon arriving at the gate.

The flight attendant warned us that the ride would be bumpy and advised us to go to the bathroom now or forever hold your pee (well, at least for a half-hour, sorry, I couldn't resist).

She was right it was bumpy, but almost immediately upon takeoff, my son and I could watch live television.  Amazing if you think about it.  When we weren't watching live TV, I was reading a book on my iPad and my son was playing games on the family iTough (both American companies). Halfway through the flight, the wife handed me the baby, but I didn't do a particularly good job of getting her to stop crying, and pretty soon, I was able to read my book on the iPad again.

We landed on time, and were able to get all of our luggage pretty quickly.  We jumped into our car and got home in time for my son's soccer practice (which apparently was canceled at some point when we were in the air).

This is America.  American cars, American roads, American airports, American jets, American airline companies, American technology companies, American workers.

This is what separates America from the rest of the world.  We move better, quicker, farther, faster, more efficiently, more comfortably, than any other people in history.

It doesn't always work this efficiently, but it almost always works better than just about any other country.

America travels well.  That is one of our best competitive advantages.  We should make sure that we keep that advantage.