If you’re used to being stuck on long train journeys commuting to and from work, you might believe you’re completely able to deal with the long haul flight you’ve got to take for a business trip. As much as we would love to say it’s exactly the same, we just can’t mislead you this way. Imagine taking your commute on the train, back to back, over and over again over the space of a day (or even two depending on where you are flying to), except you’ve got even less legroom. Then you’ve got to choose your seats, deal with being bored, deal with being stuck near people you’d really love to be in the luggage hold, and you have to choose well priced tickets as well.
Whilst standing up for an hour, squashed face to face with a sweaty man who obviously had garlic last night, might seem as bad as it gets when it comes to commutes, the long haul flight has the potential to be quite a bit worse. However, there are things you can do to make your business travel as pleasant as possible, here’s how:
Don’t Be Cheap
If your company are paying for your tickets, try to at least put your argument forward as to why they should stump up a bit more cash for a nicer flying experience for you – don’t be shy, it’s not them stuck in the air for 20 hours.
If you’re buying them yourself, you’re likely to need to convince yourself to stump up more for a better airline or better seats, especially when you see a lot of the single trip prices going well into four figures.
Think of it this way – you’re paying for an experience. This is a day of your life and it matters, especially if you’re stepping straight off the plane into a meeting. Ask yourself the following:
- Can you cope with cramped seating for longer than 10 hours?
- Are bad films shown on the plane going to be a problem?
- Does the food matter to you?
- Does the service matter to you?
Nobody can make this decision for you, but think carefully about it.
Be Careful With Connecting Flights
You may have to have a connecting flight, depending on your final destination. Or it may be the case you can get a better price for a multi-flight journey rather than a direct one. Remember connecting flights will take place in airports you will have probably never been to, so you will have to get off your first flight, go through customs, collect your luggage and then go through the entire checking in process again in completely unfamiliar territory. Depending on security or queues, this process could take you hours. Think logically about how much time you will have to make your connecting flight, and don’t just be reasonable with the timings, be generous. Allow for every single delay you can think of and don’t worry about sitting around in the airport waiting.
It is one thing running around sweating desperately trying to figure out foreign airport signs and work your way through what seems like a million people all trying to get in your way, and sitting having a leisurely coffee in the departure lounge waiting for boarding.
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Connecting flights can actually be really useful sometimes, and allow you time to get a shower (check with the airport as to shower facilities and how much they cost), freshen up and stretch your legs. Just be careful with timings and remember just because the computer says it’s possible, it doesn’t mean it is.
The Airline Matters
Not all airlines are equal, especially when it comes to long haul flights. Consider entertainment, food and comfort and use websites like www.skyscanner.net to compare prices.
Unashamedly Try To Get Upgraded
Don’t be afraid of trying to get an upgrade, ever. You won’t feel ashamed when you’re happily sitting with more leg room, a comfortable seat and incredible service. Ask at your company if there’s a way to upgrade, check if any of your credit cards have any upgrade perks, and look online for ideas on getting a free upgrade – there are plenty of things you won’t have thought of. Rule 1 – don’t be ashamed, the upgrade is right there for the taking!
Dress For Travel
Don’t think that just because you are on a business trip, you need to dress for business the entire time. Avoid the thick suits and stacked heels, and go for simple comfort. That’s not to say you should wear your stained hoodie and off coloured joggers of course , but go for clothes that are breathable and enable you to comfortably:
Remember you can always go and freshen up towards the end of the flight, or even use a shower facility at your destination airport and get changed if your client or customer is meeting you there.
Prepare For Long Haul And Enjoy The Payoffs
Remember, if you’re travelling on business, you need to be refreshed, rested and relaxed. So be ready to do your research, stump up a bit of extra cash and be flexible with various aspects of the trip – the preparation will be worth it, trust us.