The Travel Gap for Women
"Really? Most women are
thrilled to have this car," said the car rental agent.
"As a woman in business, I need to be taken seriously," I said.
"I can't show up to meet with clients in
I ordered a standard-size car
for a week-long trip. The disputed car: a powder blue, Volkswagen Beetle.
The agent said, "I'm
sorry, it's the last standard-size we have. If you want something else, you'll
have to pay for the upgrade." I shelled out the money but I wasn't happy.
In business travel, women are
sometimes treated differently. I figured this out, after at different hotels, I
was repeatedly placed in the room up against the elevator shaft. Have you ever
had that room? All night, you can hear rrrrr… shhhh… rrrrr… anytime anyone is going
up or down.
Finally, I asked for a room
away from the elevator. They gave me the room up against the stairwell. In that
room, you could hear every single person tromp, tromp, tromping up and down the
stairs. (Doesn't anyone pick up their feet?)
As a woman, you may have to
assert yourself. If you don't want the powder blue Beetle or the room against
the elevator shaft, say something.
Returning the rental car, I
was asked about my experience. I told the manager about the powder blue Beetle
and said, "If I were a man, that car would not have been offered to me. I
would have had a free upgrade."
He apologized and gave me a
free upgrade on my next rental. That's important. If the initial person is not
helpful and no one else is available, you can still get compensation or a
concession from customer service or management later. Don't write companies
off. Give them a chance to make it right.
Culture and Manners Institute