At a Chinese restaurant in downtown DC, she was trying to eat an appetizer when a man started shouting. She explained to him that China Airlines and Delta were offering offers of incentives to lure him away from his Frontier Airlines. “That’s a bunch of b.s.,” he said. “They’re trying to entice you to switch to them. It’s pretty disingenuous.”
“That’s rude,” Ms. Mallick said.
The man had the right idea. His complaint, coming during the shutdown, also qualified as an up-story. Ms. Mallick, the president of a federal travel agency and one of Washington’s most-traveled alumni, says the Omicron hotels aren’t up to par. Like many corporate travellers, she planned to take the House Select Committee on Benghazi to the Omni Shoreham, a grand, architectural stone building, with careful attention to detail.
Instead, she elected to go to the smaller, cheaper Kenilworth to see the memorial site that honors the two heroes who saved her life in the terrorist attack on the Benghazi mission. “I would prefer that we stayed somewhere that was like a Marriott,” she said.
Ms. Mallick isn’t the only one to encounter travel inconveniences because of the shutdown. Some travellers have changed flights or hotels, others have chosen more affordable hotels and other options, and others simply have to take a different route.
“I went to the Ft. Belvoir golf course and they were closed,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who postponed a trip last week to Palm Beach, Fla., to celebrate his first Christmas with his wife, Louise Linton.
“I also got to the National Mall when I was planning to go to the Smithsonian, but I went to the National Archives instead.”
The Antietam, which is part of the visitor’s centre, and the U.S. Air Force War Memorial in the same section of the mall have been closed since mid-December. The World War II Memorial has seen a new kind of controversy, a rivalry between liberal activists and business conservatives. Both have demanded protection for the war memorial.
“They were pretty excited,” Ms. Mallick said. “It’s the first time since 2011 that the Washington Post beat the Post’s home office by five seconds in total web traffic for the day.”
She plans to take her daughter to one of the outdoor museums instead. “My daughter thought it was probably cool that we had to cut the Washington monument in half,” she said.
“I didn’t like it. I thought it was bizarre that they had to do that.”