Travel Tips — And My Kindle

I recently traveled to Los Angeles to give my presentation, “How to Do 90 Minutes of Work in 60,” in conjunction with the meeting of the National Association of Bar Executives and the American Bar Association Midyear Meeting. The presentation went well, but I learned some lessons on my way to LA. Among them: Bring a paper clip and a book.

Before I boarded the plane, I turned on my Kindle, Amazon’s really neat (but expensive)  book reader, audiobook reader, music player, etc. It gave me a black screen and was dead. I removed the battery and reinstalled — still the black screen. Then I realized the Kindle had a reset spot — all I needed was a paper clip. Just try asking for a paper clip at an airport. The workers look at you with astonishment. They don’t have them. My God, I got the impression that they thought I would try to stab the flight crew with a paper clip (now there’s a picture)!

So I boarded the flight, booted up my laptop and worked for about 90 minutes until the battery went to sleep (I didn’t have an airline power adapter — I bought one in LA for the return flight). At that point, all I had was a dead Kindle. No books, no magazines, no nothing. It was not the most fun three hours I had ever spent.

We arrived in LA and I called Kindle support. Amazon has dedicated support for the device. They were very nice and, once I procured a paper clip, verified that the screen (which was still black) was broken even though the device was still receiving a signal from Amazon. They ordered a replacement and assured me I would go to the head of the queue and receive the new one in about a week.

Of course, in the meantime I purchased a book and a puzzle magazine (plus the iGo airline power adapter — at the Rodeo Drive Radio Shack, no less) and had plenty to do on the flight home. The replacement Kindle did come about a week later, as promised.

What did I learn? Don’t rely exclusively on technology for airline entertainment. Also, Amazon’s Kindle support was excellent, even if they could not replace the Kindle overnight. And lastly, when you travel, bring a book AND a paper clip.

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