Copenhagen Meeting – The reality of business travel

May 27, 2014

In my old role I used to do a lot of travelling for work, my job title was International Marketing Executive after all. Lots of people used to say to me it must be great flying to lots of countries on a regular basis and for the most part it was. The reality is though that for the majority of the time you just see airports, taxis, hotels and meeting rooms.

There were occasions when I would get to spend the night in a great city with a couple of hours to spare which I would take full advantage of. Some highlights that spring to mind are walking through Red Square in Moscow, attending a Mozart concert in Warsaw, eating a gelato walking down the street in Milan, steering a canal boat along the canal in Amsterdam and even slipping on the ice and landing on my arse trying to take a picture of myself next to the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen.

In this blog post I thought I would document my latest trip abroad with work for a business meeting with some of my Nordic colleagues in Copenhagen to show how unglamorous business travel can be.

I wake up at 4am have a wash and leave for the airport at 4.30. I get to Manchester airport around 5.20 park my car then go directly through security as I checked in online the previous day.

I grab a burrito and guava drink for breakfast and the go to my gate for the first leg if my flight from Manchester to Brussels. The flight is due to depart at 6.35 and even though we board on time it does not take off until 7.00 this means I will probably miss my connecting flight in Brussels as I will only have a few minutes there to catch the 9.30 to Copenhagen. The in-flight meal is a small dry cheese sandwich. Before we land I am told by cabin crew that I have been rebooked onto the next available Copenhagen flight and to talk to the ground crew who will give me more information.

When we land we board a bus that takes us to the main terminal building. There I am greeted by someone from Brussels Airlines who says I have been booked on an SAS flight that departs at 10.30, which is ok as I was very worried that the onward flight would not be for hours and I would miss my meeting making the whole trip pointless.

I wait around for a while and then fly to Copenhagen. At the airport I get a taxi to our meeting which is taking place at the First Hotel Copenhagen and it only takes about 15 minutes to get there.

We start the meeting at 12.30 and then break for lunch at 13.00 as they have been working since 7.00. I use this time to catch up with one of my colleagues who I have not seen in a few years. Lunch is traditionally Danish with Lots of fish, vegetables and salad.

After lunch we start our meeting properly and that lasts about two hours as we have a lot to cover. When it finishes I then start to type up my notes in the lobby before getting a taxi back to the airport.

At the airport I go through security, look around the shops, admire a travel trunk that once belonged to Hans Christiansen Andersen and grab something to eat at an oriental noodle bar called Yam Yam. I am very disappointed with the food as once you make your selection; I went for soy chicken with noodles they then cook it in a microwave.

My flight left on time at 18.15 and soon after takeoff I had a spectacular view of the Øresund Bridge that connects Denmark and Sweden. On this flight I have a small falafel sandwich which had a unique taste to it before landing in Brussels at 19.50 but due to a few delays with the walkway we could not leave the plane until 20.05. I then needed to almost jog to another terminal to get to the Manchester flight. I got there for 20.30 for a planned 20.45 departure, I was one of the last to board and my feet were aching as my shoes were not made for walking any sort of distance at speed, coupled with the miles and miles of walking I did around London the previous weekend.

The flight was uneventful; the bloke next to me was quite large so encroached on my space a bit especially his elbows. We landed in Manchester, I went through customs, paid for the car park and drove home getting there around 22.00

As you can see, this type of business travel when it is done in one day is not very glamorous and quite tiring.

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