Anyone traveling for business has way more to worry about than just getting there. On top of what to pack and how to deal with car rental, hotel choice, and day planning, picking an airline almost seems like it would be an afterthought. Maybe you grew up taking the family favorite, perhaps you’ve never been on a plane before, or you just always went with the cheapest option.
The good news is you’re not alone. Plenty of business people haven’t tested the waters with other airlines yet. The bad news is that you need to stop coasting and make an executive decision. Here are some pointed tips on what to look for in a business-friendly airline.
Preparing for a flight starts earlier than you think
Even if you only travel half a dozen times a year, loyalty programs will grab you some serious perks, no matter which airline you choose. With JetBlue, points are awarded just by paying for hotels or car rentals that fit in their program, especially if you’re using a JetBlue credit card. Southwest offers members the ability to use their miles for any available seat on any Southwest or AirTran flight.
You don’t have to pick just one. Using an airline credit card is an easy way to get more points. Certain airlines partner with hundreds of other companies to score you miles, too, like the American Airlines AAdvantage program. You can also find services whose loyalty program spans other airlines. Remember, most programs are linked to social media, so keep an eye out for updates.
Save some cash in the lap of luxury
Most airlines these days oversell their flights, expecting that some people will cancel before the plane fills. When this isn’t the case, they call for volunteers to receive a compensation voucher and take a later flight essentially for free. This is a great way to save money on air travel. This isn’t just gold for the thrifty flyer; it’s an excellent opportunity to visit the luxurious VIP lounge!
When they say VIP, they really mean frequent flyer. Don’t go imagining this is just a smoking room for big wigs and foreign dignitaries. Clubs are open to any member. One-time entry fees usually range between $30 to 50 (US Airways), while annual fees for the savvy traveler can be as low as $450 (for Delta). Once inside, you can de-stress with a cocktail, enjoy some snacks, or just sit and get a little work done before the flight.
Power those electronic devices…right back on!
Airline wi-fi is still growing and developing as a technology. A number of airlines already offer this, while others are still in the testing stage. Price models vary, from per megabyte or device to hourly or daily charges. You may need to attend a meeting within hours after touching down, so what better way to prepare than to access your files in-flight?
You can get online, and in contact with Contentverse web access, for as little as $8 a day (Southwest) or $40 per month (US Airways). Find all your files on the go. Read through a presentation, or grab an important document that’s been passing through workflow while you were away. Some airlines, like JetBlue and Hong Kong Airlines even offer this service for free to their travelers. So, if it’s affordable web access you’re looking for, your options are wide open.
Kick back, relax, and enjoy the trip
Once you’ve got your work done and your laptop stowed, it’s time to take full advantage of the in-flight entertainment. Want to make it dinner and a movie? Many airlines, like Delta, Continental, and American, will serve dishes and drinks based on the local cuisine of your destination. If you’re already missing the comforts of home cooking, carriers like Virgin America offer a huge menu with plenty of options, made to order.
A number of services provide access to on-demand content, like DirecTV on Continental. Access satellite channels, movies, and, on flights with Virgin America, the latest in console video games. Feeling sleepy? Most international services, including Thai Airways, Virgin Atlantic, and Lufthansa, offer some pretty incredible options for a snooze: like fully-reclining seats, noise cancelling barriers, and even PJ’s. You’ve prepared for all your meetings, so it’s time to lift the pressure and settle in to a great experience.
Or try them all!
At the end of the day (or flight), which airline you go with is probably going to be up to your budget more than anything. But choosing to fly in discomfort can put you in a bad mood before you land, ignoring the members program can make flying cheap actually more expensive, and forgetting to check on wi-fi access could very well cost you some much needed preparation. Not every airline will have all the perks you’re looking for. So try a couple, see which one fits your needs. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, keep in mind that every trip is your chance to get away and try something new.
About the Author:
|Daniel Cochran is a Creative Content Coordinator at Computhink. His background is in fiction writing and book sales, but he is thrilled to be a part of the marketing revolution. He is currently enthralled in the throes of blog writing, comic drawing, and brain storming, loving every minute of it. Daniel also enjoys riding his bicycle to and from the coffee shop, ordering coffee at the coffee shop, and enjoying coffee with other coffee hounds at the coffee shop. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.