A long work travel day with subpar, expensive food

I’m in Denver this week for my company’s annual kickoff/offsite. Though the scheduled events are Wednesday through Friday, we all needed to arrive by Tuesday evening in order to be here in time for all the Wednesday morning sessions. Though the flight time, if direct, between New York City and Denver is only about 4 hours and 40 minutes, the actual time I spent in transit today, if you just confined it to my first flight’s takeoff time to the final flight’s landing time, was about nine hours. Because I am loyal to American Airlines (for better or worse) while in the U.S., I realized there were no direct NYC > Denver flights at this time of year (they seem to be seasonal for the warmer months! But what about the people who ski…?!). And my connecting options were mostly in Chicago or Charlotte. The ones going through Chicago were out of the travel limit for this event, so I ended up going through Charlotte. The layover time in Charlotte was originally supposed to be quite tight, only about 45 minutes, so I didn’t think I’d have much time there. Unfortunately, my flight got delayed three times, so I ended up spending more time than I’d originally anticipated there. The plus side was that I could leave the concourse to go to another one that had… Midwood Smokehouse, my favorite BBQ spot in Charlotte that now had a location in the airport!

My dreams of delicious brisket or burnt ends were quickly extinguished when I almost sat down and the server said, “I just wanted to let you know that we’ve already sold out of brisket and burnt ends.” My face immediately fell. Well, at that point, there was no reason to eat here if the two best things were gone. I could have chosen the ribs, but I really didn’t want to eat anything that messy because I needed to multitask and get some work done on my computer. So I ended up leaving and going to another spot next door. It was supposed to be a “Santa Monica, California” style eatery. I ended up having a cobb salad and an unsweetened iced tea. After tax and tip, my lunch cost $39. Eeeek.

Well, I guess it’s no wonder my food allowance while on work travel is $125. You think that’s a lot of money until you have to transit through and get stuck at airports, where even the most basic food costs over $25-30.

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