Leisure travel is irrelevant during the election season, but the woes of business travelers seem to resonate. With the midterm contests two months away, all eyes are on the White House … and President Obama‘s success rate with road, rail and runway repair.
This is the one time business travelers make the presidential agenda, according to Portfolio.com: “Presidents (or people campaigning for any office) only talk about business-travel infrastructure during election season. Our issues almost never seem to rate presidential attention at any other time in the cycle.”
Well, let’s take a look at what Obama’s done for the white collar travel crowd. Here are five business traveler issues that could attract some attention in November:1. Secretary of Transportation appointed: With passengers’ rights considered and a solution implemented (and one that seems to be working), Ray LaHood seems to have been a savvy secretary. And, airlines have been slapped with some hefty fines, proving that they need to take responsibility for their actions.
2. Not so much at the TSA, though: While Portfolio.com gives Obama high marks on behalf of business travelers for LaHood, it’s a little tougher on his choice for top dog of the TSA. The president waited a year to tap someone for the job, suffered through Senate procedural tricks and eventually had to go with his third nominee.
3. Security is solid: The system is relatively safe, Portfolio.com opines, but expect some rancor over the body scans that are set to be implemented, as “the TSA is about to ratchet up the security kabuki at airport checkpoints.”
4. Travel consumer rights on the rise: It took 47 passengers getting stuck overnight on a Minnesota runway, but passengers finally got some rights. The airline industry warned of (self-servingly) of unintended consequences … which have yet to materialize. The Obama administration has airline fee structures on the agenda now.
5. Merger-mania managed: Despite the fact that the “balancing act is tricky,” the administration has done a decent job of facilitating healthy competition without impeding too much of the urge to merge.
[photo by jurvetson via Flickr]