Business Travel

The Business Traveler’s Top 10 Wishes for a Great Trip

The Business Traveler’s Top 10 Wishes for a Great Trip

Growing up I used to LOVE David Letterman’s Top Ten List. Every night I would stay up late (to my parents dismay) with baited breathe, waiting for pearls of wisdom from one of the greatest late night talk show hosts on television (take that CoCo and Leno!!!). When a really good one would come up, I remember trying so hard not to laugh and wake up my parents who would not hesitate to let me know that a 12 year old shouldn’t be up late watching TV. As a parent today I’d like think that I am cool, but quite frankly I’d say the same thing-so I guess my parents did right by me.

Today, I have abandoned my love of the Letterman Top Ten List as I have found a new appreciation for going to bed at 10:30. If you are laughing at this, I am assuming you don’t have a kid who gets up at 5 AM or don’t have the need to wake up early for a flight to make an early meeting (see previous post here for explanation). I do, however,  still enjoy making lists. They are imperative in the world of business… “to do” lists, customer lists, product lists… I could go on and on.

In addition to those less fun, mandatory lists, I have a favorite list to share: my Top 10 Wishes for a Great Trip. When I leave my home or office for the airport, I have a definitive list of wishes that will make that trip a great one should things go right.

Here goes:

10. Everything Fits Inside a Carry-On Bag

I have a bag given to me by my wife for my last birthday. So help me God, I will cram that thing full to the brink of breaking all of the zippers on it for a 7 day trip so that I don’t have to check a bag. I don’t mind paying bag fees; for me, it is my impatience driving my fervor here. I don’t want to wait at baggage claim or risk that the bag handlers have lost my favorite purple shirt. Real men wear purple you know…

9. Slip On Shoes

They may be dress shoes or a casual pair, depending on where you’re going and when, but for me it is imperative (and common courtesy quite frankly) to wear shoes that you can quickly slip on and off at the security checkpoint. The last thing you want to do is to stand there holding up a line of impatient travelers (like this guy right here) while you tie the laces to your brand new Cole Haans. Yes they look sharp, but if you hold up the line, no one will be impressed.

8. Coffee, Stat

When I arrive for a morning flight, my first stop past the security line is Starbucks. I speed over there and order my tall black coffee. I then sit at the gate, drink my coffee and if it is very early, I email my boss so that he can see how early I am up and at ‘em today so he won’t be quite so mad when I cut out at 2 PM on Friday. If I am in a new airport, I may take some time to browse the shops for local interest items for the family.

7. Shoe Shine and Unwind

I don’t like ironing and I detest shining my own shoes. I do, however, think that a shoe shine is for a man is like a pedicure is for a woman. The guy who shines my shoes at my airport is Roy. He does a fantastic job and speaks to you like a barber working one of those shops with the striped poles outside. Don’t know what I am talking about? Google it! Also, I read somewhere once that you should always have your shoes looking polished. Trust me, in the business world people notice stuff like that.

6. Upgrade Wanted

Hey, I fly a lot! Consequently I have good status on Delta airlines. I am not platinum but I am high enough up there to get the bump to the front of the plane about 50% of the time. No, I don’t take advantage of this to get the free drinks. I like the room, snacks and feeling of special service though.

5. Welcome, Socially Awkward Passenger or Empty Seat, Next to Me

I make no secret about it: my time in the air is MY TIME. Sometimes I work, sometimes I sleep, sometimes I read or watch a movie.   All good things. What I don’t like to do is engage in conversation with someone on the plane. OK, I have had good experiences conversing on planes before. But for the most part I like to keep to myself on the plane. No one can get a hold of me up there and I that’s what I like the most about flying.

4. Entertainment (AKA Something to Do)

As I said before, I flight time is for me to do what I want to do. Whether that be work or play. I usually try to lean more towards play during my flight. That being said, I like to read and listen to music the most so I usually with either bring a book or magazine then listen to my iPod… usually with the volume down low enough so the passenger next to me can’t hear that I am listening to show tunes… don’t judge.

3. No Connection or a Connection Through a Solid Airport

I do prefer to take direct flights when I can, but alas, given the current state of travel, the economy and ever fuller planes, this cannot happen 100% of the time (“what do you mean there isn’t a direct flight from St. Louis to Gettysburg, PA,??”). If I do have to connect, I prefer to do it through a great airport that has awesome restaurants and shopping (including a place where I can pick something up for my wife and kids-see above).

2. An Early Meeting Adjourn and Low Price Change Fee

Nothing makes my heart beat faster than to realize that my meeting ended early and now I get to go home to my family sooner than later. Cut to this moment: “What??? It will cost me $250 to change my flight? But there is no one on the plane! OK, I’ll just go have another slice from Sbarro and wait for my flight in 5 hours…” Most airlines do offer $50-$75 for a same day confirmed change which means I get to go home and see my wife and kids earlier than anticipated. Hurray!

1. FlyInStyle App is Locked and Loaded

I know… I know… but it really is a great tool to use. Think about it, one of the occurrences I mentioned previously happens: a cancelled/delayed flight, you get to the airport way too early or you aren’t able to catch that earlier flight due to cost or schedule. It’s so nice to have a tool at your disposal to help you navigate the preponderance of commerce, food and beverage that is right in your hand at the airport.  Have your own airport tip that you think we should publish? Shoot us a note through the website with your tip and we may do just that! It’s all about you, the traveler, so we have to stick together on this.

 

Seriously, download the app. Thank me later.

 

The Flying Salesman

Red-Eye  vs. Crack-of-Dawn Business Travel – What to Do?

Red-Eye vs. Crack-of-Dawn Business Travel – What to Do?

BEEP BEEP BEEP!!! My alarm was going off at 3:30 AM-a business travel nightmare. But wait, I am home…why was my alarm going off at 3:30 AM? alarm clockHad my wife (who goes to bed prior to me and subsequently has rendered herself in charge of the alarm clock) not set it correctly? Had the clock somehow malfunctioned? Is God mad at me for some of my transgressions I may (or may not) have made in my younger days?

Unfortunately, no. I made this choice to get up at this unholy hour. Why you ask? Because I had a business meeting in the Baltimore area today and the alternative was to fly out the night before and miss seeing my wife and kids last evening. True, while I have a headache now, last night we played a marathon game of hide and seek (my daughter won, because she always wins) and I got to experience another one of my favorite parts of the day, sitting on the couch and watching TV with my wife. Sure, she watches HGTV and some show about women who are married to the same guy but it never matters to me as long as she is there and the house is quiet.

When to fly for business travel is a decision many husbands, wives, parents and the like struggle with all of the time. Do I get up at the crack of dawn and catch the early flight, or do I take the last flight out and be there and ready for my meeting tomorrow morning?

airport-84240_640The answer isn’t the same for everyone. Really it comes down to what you view as important in your life and how you deal with those important things. Is being prepared and bright eyed important to you? Do you not like to be rushed in the morning? Do you want to be able to fly home the next evening and not be totally drained? Then you should probably take the late flight the night prior to your meeting. However if time with your family is paramount, or perhaps you are more of a morning person, or maybe you even just want to enjoy that cup of Starbucks on the company dime in the morning — then the early bird flight is the one for you.

That isn’t to say that you are a bad parent because you take the late flight out. Maybe you take that flight because your kids are in bed and doing so allows you to be home in time to take your daughter to her Girl Scout meeting. And it’s not to say you don’t care enough about your customers to be bright eyed and bushy tailed in the morning. Perhaps you are a morning person and getting up at 3 isn’t an issue.

Regardless of your business travel preferences and the reasoning behind, it helps to have some tips to save time, energy and money along the way.

For the early flight:

  • Make sure you are 100% packed and prepared the night before
  • Check the inbound version of your flight the night before to ensure there have been no delays that will cause you headache tomorrow morning
  • Iron your clothes and place them out the night prior. Trust me, no one likes to be picking out their clothes at 3:30 in the morning.
  • Know your home airport and the location of the many Starbucks stores around the terminals. Might as well let your company buy you a cup of coffee for getting up this early!

For the late flight the night before:

  • Just like the Starbucks tip, know where and when you are going to eat before arriving at the airport. I cannot tell you how many times I have gone to bed famished at my hotel because I didn’t plan to eat during my travel day.
  • Do the same for your return flight home
  • Wear comfortable clothes on the plane. Business travel doesn’t have to mean business professional attire 24-7. Hey, you’re not seeing your customer tonight, may as well be comfy right?
  • Keep an eye on the flight time. Don’t get to the airport only to be cancelled and have to run and go back home.

 

My next meeting is in Minneapolis at 9:00 AM. I’ll be flying the night before. I am NOT a morning person…

Travel with Co-Workers: Tips to Stay Happy and Keep Your Job

Travel with Co-Workers: Tips to Stay Happy and Keep Your Job

Travel with co-workers can be tricky business.  “Hey man, what seat are you sitting in?” It seems a simple question but it carries with it an inherent meaning that is more important than aisle or window. You see, when I asked the question recently on a flight to Charlotte by way of Cincinnati, it was to a coworker I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend an uninterrupted 2 hours chatting up. While business travel can be stressful (hopefully less so as you continue to use our app and catch up with me at FlyInStyle), it becomes an enormous pain to travel with coworkers.

Why, you ask? Simple. If you are traveling alone, the sky-time is YOUR time. You can choose to read, catch up on work, sleep or even just stare at the seat in front of you and enjoy the quiet time because you have two kids at home and your life has become a series of noisy moments that… that may be a topic for another time. Regardless, when you are alone, you have the choice to use your time how you see fit. In fact, I cover some of these choices in an upcoming post so stay tuned for that.

But when you travel with a coworker, you are limited in your choices when it comes to ways to spend your time in flight. Below are the coworkers everyone has to travel with from time to time and ways that you can combat them and reclaim your YOU TIME!

The Boss

This could be by far the toughest travel companion from work. This is the person whom you try your hardest to impress by working in flight. The issue is: you may not feel like working. Or perhaps yours is the kind of boss who decides that your flight is a good time to ask you questions or conduct your review. No pressure, he just puts you on the spot while you’re crammed into a seat meant for a person half your size. But relax. You have options. First, if you think about it, ask what seat he is in prior to departing for the airport. Then go online and make damn sure you are not anywhere near him. Be smart, not greedy. Don’t switch to an empty row as this will just give him a chance to join you. If you do have to sit next to him, maybe let him know respectfully preflight that you really enjoy the quiet of the flight, or you can’t wait to catch up on reading or actually do your work. Plant those seeds prior to boarding and the thoughts may actually land with him. On the other hand, if your boss is the type with whom it is tough to get quality time, don’t miss your chance to have his full attention!

The Drunk

I’ve personally had the privilege of flying with this coworker several times. This is the guy who gets absolutely plastered either preflight at the airport bar, or on the plane itself by drinking them out of Jack Daniels. The key element in dealing with this person is to circumvent the situation prior to it happening. Once they are 3 sheets to the wind, it is too late. There are a plethora of ways to deal with this belligerent individual. It isn’t easy and you want to avoid having to mandate an intervention on your flight to Dallas. The best thing is to not join in the ,drinking (unless you really want to in which case you should tread lightly). Offer instead to stop at a coffee shop prior to your flight in lieu of the bar. If you are on the plane, maybe offer snacks to them instead of asking what their drink of choice is. Some of my favorites are of the healthy variety. You can usually find them at the airport news and convenience stores like Hudson News and WH Smith. Regardless, if this person insists on drinking and you are not joining them, be careful. You don’t want to end up on the news that evening when your colleague does something to get you guys grounded.

The Talker

This may be one of my least favorite of business travel companions. This person insists on talking to you during your flight and refuses to leave you to sleep, get work done etc. What is worse is that if this person is a coworker, they may want to talk about work on the plane when you may want to have some downtime.  Or even more detrimental than that, they will want to partake in office gossip (AARRRRGH!!!  I HATE office gossip).  Although this is more of an annoyance than anything, there are ways to combat this situation. My favorite is to place my handy earbuds in my ears and listen to something on my iPod. To be honest, sometimes I am not even listening to anything but it seems that having you ear pieces in is an international indicator that you are not willing to engage in conversation at that moment. If this doesn’t work, you can either sleep or pretend to be sleeping (yes, I have done this as well — I’m not too proud to admit it). If you do have to engage with this person, make sure you speak in a low tone so as not to bother others around you. You don’t want them to categorize you as The Talker by default if you keep them from doing what they want during their flight.

The Stinky Snacker

Before you get all irate, let me clarify. I myself am a foodie. The person I am referring to here is the person who brings the messiest, smelliest food on the plane that seems to spread through every vent on board, turning the entire aircraft into a Chinese food scented air freshener. If this is one of your colleagues, the easy thing to do here is to take preventative action. Try to talk him out of taking food on board the plane and if nothing else, recommend non-stinky food (cold cut sandwiches sans onions work best). Either way, don’t be this guy and don’t be associated with him. Every passenger on the aircraft will thank you.

No matter who you travel with, reclaim the time as yours. As for me, I like to take advantage of my time in the air to get work done and organize my email. It is the very rare time that I am (for the most part) unreachable by the rest of the world. I like to make sure that time is maximized. So I suppose you can even peg me under the title, “The Worker Bee” — sort of akin to The Boss but without the pay or perks.

These are just a few of the examples of colleague travelers that I have had to deal with in my tenure as a business traveler.

Do you have anything you would like to add? Sound off!

Meet the Flying Salesman

“Welcome to the team!”  A warm and inviting line thatAdam Little everyone enjoys and the exact phrase I heard when I decided to accept an invitation to join one of the most exciting global travel startups, FlyInStyle, as a writer. Sure I would keep my day job and I knew that this was going to be fun, but I had a problem.  I had to find a way to introduce myself to you, the readers.  I could start by telling you I have worked for several companies over the years (the most life transforming (and fun) being The Walt Disney Company) but that’s not who I am today.  I could tell you that I am avid fan of college basketball and Pearl Jam, but perhaps you don’t care about that.  No doubt you will hear about these details and much more about my life in future posts, but this is not the time nor place to get into all that.

So, let’s start with some basics…

In short, I am a business man who travels quite a bit. I know, I know… we are a dime a dozen, right? You see us at the airport in our pressed pants and button down shirts, clinging to the life support also known as our  smartphones. We can be obnoxious at times as we yell into our mobile devices because the PA system at the airport has to be louder than the airplanes themselves, which leaves us barely able to hear our own thoughts much less the voices on the line. You may also catch us having a post meeting brew at the airport bar, still with our iPhones or Blackberries in hand. We are a plugged-in community. That is for certain. But business is what makes the world go round. Am I right? And what is it that makes business go round? Travel. As a sales person, I can tell you first hand that face time with a customer is an irreplaceable asset that can pay off dividends down the road. Since customers are spread out as we evolve to be a more and more global community, travel has become synonymous with business. Meeting people and getting to know them isn’t just a business practice, it is an integral part of the human experience.

That being said, I can’t travel to meet each of you so I will do the next best thing. Allow me to introduce myself: My name is Adam Little and I am the newest addition to the team here at FlyInStyle. I am a sales person for a large industrial automation company which keeps me on the road quite a bit trying to capture that great asset I mentioned before and referred to as “face time”. I am a married father of the 2 best kids in the world (don’t try and convince me otherwise – it is futile) and I enjoy cooking, reading and traveling with my family. My life is hectic (hey, whose isn’t right?) but my wife is phenomenal and somehow we make it work.

As I said before, I travel extensively and have been doing so for about 15 years. I guess you can call me The Flying Salesman! That’s right, I have taken my job and turned myself into a super hero. My special power: helping my fellow business travelers one tip at a time. Well… that and I make really good homemade potato chips, but I am told that we already have a food writer here so let’s just stick with the business travel tips. (Well, you might see a few food opinions from me once in awhile; the foodie inside is part of who I am.)

During my time on the road (or in the air) I have accumulated quite a few tidbits of information that might prove helpful to the modern business traveler. And there is no better forum to share these nuggets of knowledge than right here at FlyInStyle. My hope is that you will check back often to see where I have been, what I have been up to or even just to find some new tips I may be sharing.

Regardless, let me just say first and foremost, truthfully and simply: THANKS FOR READING!

What? You’re really bummed that you read the whole blog post and there wasn’t one travel tip? Okay, I suppose I do owe you one. Here it goes…

Business Travel Tip #1: DOWNLOAD THE FLYINSTYLE APP TODAY to amplify your business travel experience.

You say you want more? Alright, but this is the last one! If you are reading this from ATL or DTW, you can use their FREE WIFI to download the FLYINSTYLE APP!

Ok, that’s it… I’m off to sell some more product and hit my sales numbers. Up, up and AWAY!!!

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