Muffie Benson-Perella (muffie AT dealbreaker.com) is an Associate in the Investment Banking Division of a "Bulge Bracket" bank. She holds a B.A. in French and Art from Vassar College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. Her regular column "Heard in the Suite" is a probing (and, ahem, fictional) weekly look into the secret lives and behind the velvet curtains of the investment banking world.
International travel has become totally uncivilized. We are working on a very important cross-border deal and so I had to go to London to make sure things ran smoothly. Let me tell you, things have gotten really bad. I took along a camera to give you a sense of how bad it has gotten.
I really don't know who they had design the Admiral's Club in JFK but the entire place looks basically like this. Gray and bland. What an awful place.
I finally found a quiet spot and started with some red wine. Let me tell you, they didn't even have a decent French red. The television had Golf on and when I went to turn that nonsense off to see if I could find The OC or something, some guy started whining. They will let anyone in these places now it seems.
I was just starting to relax when I saw this walk by. Infants? In the Admiral's Club? They don't even have a child free section or anything. Curious, I followed. Know what I found?
A whole damn family. Stuffing their face with cheese and crackers. Seriously. Why in the world they permit families in a place were serious business travelers were preparing to do important work overseas is beyond me. What am I paying a membership for if they let anyone in? Perhaps they need to increase the membership fee substantially.
While the bank will reimburse employees for business class tickets on trips over four hours, I couldn't bear the thought of spending all that time in a business class seat. Totally uncivilized. So I bought a first class ticket instead. (I can't make the camera work very well indoors yet. When I have time I'm going to make my analyst give me a little tutorial). Even these have gotten to be very small, but at least I didn't have to spend the entire flight in business. Not only that but I really wasn't looking forward to spending the entire time with the other people on the deal team. Bradley, one of the Vice Presidents, just never shuts up.
Next time: Heathrow.