Business Travel: 8 Tips to Stay Refreshed for Long Economy Flights

Economy Flight"I'm on the road again." I traveled to Barbados this week for a client assignment. (Yes you should soon see some Bajan blog entries.) The travel I've done in the last few months has reminded me of just how much business travel has changed since September 2008. Many event and meeting planners still have tight budgets. Fewer and fewer companies are using business class for employees, consultants and event planners. Corporate travel managers face the challenge of staying within budget and yet ensuring that employees arrive at their destinations without being exhausted.

This really isn't a problem for short flights but, even for long journeys, there is a lot of pressure to keep the lid on travel expenses. As a result of traveling economy, it's a challenge to arrive at the destination refreshed and energized. Here are a couple of quick tips and some of the best-kept secrets for business travelers. You'll want to keep them in mind when traveling economy for conferences, business meetings and corporate events.

Staying Refreshed While Traveling Economy

  1. Whenever possible, opt for an evening flight that will ideally get you to your destination in time for a full night's rest.
  2. Always pick an aisle seat.
    That way you can get up, walk and stretch.
  3. Check-in on-line 24 hours before your flight.
    You'll be able to join the short check-in line and carve out more time to rest. Sometimes you'll be able to grab one of the best seats (I lucked out for yesterday's flight by using this strategy. More about that in a moment.)
  4. Arrive at the airport 4 instead of 3 hours ahead of the flight.
    Why? You increase your chances of getting the best economy seats.
  5. When you get to the airport, try to trade in your aisle seat for one of the best seats in the house with much more leg room than a standard economy seat.
    • emergency rows (these are only given out at the airport on some airlines)
    • the window seat behind the emergency row on airplanes that have only 2 seats for that row (You'll have ample leg room and no trouble getting out to walk and stretch.)
    • bulkhead seats (Bring your ear plugs. Your heart will go out to the babies who will share this row with with you as they sometimes experience discomfort during the flight)
  6. Take advantage of the affordable paid access airport lounges that have been springing up around the world.
    If you request a business class fare but the client can only provide economy, some clients will gladly pick up the tab for a lounge. More about this tomorrow.
  7. If you have a long layover before your connecting flight, some clients will pick up the tab for a transit hotel. Sometimes these are more affordable than airport hotels (located near the airport).
  8. Stay near the airport on your last night in a foreign destination to avoid the stress of having to worry about traffic.

Photo Credits: caribb

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