2020 was the year that the COVI-19 pandemic impacted the world's health, economy, and logistics. 2021 has not started too much better! However, with the roll-out of vaccines across the US, UK, and many other countries, international and domestic travel is progressing back to something close to pre-2020 normality.
This article will look at how to prepare for business travel in 2021 with tips specifically covid related and some more generic ideas to make your journey more comfortable.
Choose Your Flight Carefully
In regards to the pandemic, it is a good idea to book your flight in the off-hours or to book on a flight that isn't full. There are less popular flights, and most airlines have eliminated their change fee since the pandemic.
Some people love to fly the red-eye flight, while other people recommend that you avoid it. The overnight flight is often the most expensive, and you will rarely get a good night's sleep.
Download the Airline's App
Most major airlines have detailed apps and allow you to make use of a contactless experience - you don't have to exchange a physical boarding pass with the app; you can scan your phone and get going. The app will also inform you of any flight changes, and you can access the seating plan or chart as the system uploads different passengers.
Pay Extra Attention at the Boarding Gate
Pay attention to any new announcements and notifications. It used to be normal to board by your boarding group. To help with social distancing, airlines have started to board passengers from the back of the airplane. They call sections or rows of passengers at a time to stop people from passing each other back and forth. There is a similar process when people land.
Don't Waste Your Time in the Air
Once you are up and away, try and use this time in the air productively. Read a book, or prepare yourself by taking some work that you can do on your flight. If you have a flight that is several hours long, the time alone can be very productive.
Consider Using a Business Travel Service
Using a business travel service can save you lots of time. They get to know you and select the best accommodation suited to your needs and preferences. It is a premium service, but it can actually save you money if they can negotiate deals for bulk bookings with their company. It will also save time when it comes to organizing everything for your trip. They also give you tips on maximizing and using your flyer points, and they can put the travel information directly into their app so that you don't have to do anything other than remember your phone and luggage. If something does go wrong, you can call a personalized travel consultant to help get everything sorted.
Use an Answering Service
If you are a business owner or a director that can't afford to miss any important calls, then using a dedicated receptionist service like Moneypenny or Callnovo can be a cost-effective way to ensure that you don't miss any calls while you are traveling.
With a dedicated service, you get a receptionist who is handpicked for your business, in accordance with their training and experience in your industry. They get to know you and your company so that they can answer your calls in the same way a full-time, in-house receptionist would. If you have a website, you may also want to consider using a 24 hour managed live chat service to ensure that you answer any queries and capture leads around the clock.
Use the Same Airlines
If you are a regular traveler, use the same airlines. If you can use the same one or two airlines for the majority of your flights, you can enjoy premiere statuses with those airlines, in the majority of cases. With this, you can enjoy several perks, such as not having to pay for bags, free upgrades that make things easier and more comfortable. So it's not necessarily a good idea to pick the cheapest flights, it's often best to use the same airlines.
Using the same airlines can also help you maximize the reward points, and in some cases, you can get to know the staff, which can make check-in quicker or at least more pleasant.
Have a Specific Suitcase
Having a robust and well-made suitcase can be an excellent investment. Cheaper suitcases don't tend to last that long. Briggs & Riley bags, for example, are more expensive than the average suitcase but come with a lifetime guarantee. If anything goes wrong with the bag, send it in, and they fix it for you.
If you are a regular flyer, you can leave your travel essentials in the suitcase to not have to pack from scratch each time you fly. A travel kit with toiletries is a great idea too. If you hate hotel coffee, which is expensive and not great, consider taking a coffee-making kit, including a travel kettle.
You may also want to invest in a quality backpack for your hand luggage. Again, if you are a regular flyer, it can make sense to keep a number of items always in your bag and ready for your next flight. You may want to keep your noise-canceling headphones in the top compartment. A fanny pack or a wallet that you hang around your neck can be a good idea for carrying money, spare change, and travel documents.
Whenever you go to a public place during a pandemic, it is always a good idea to wear a mask, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. Try not to touch your face or mask, and stay at least 6 feet away from others - when possible. Some people also recommend wearing wrap-around glasses when you fly. You can learn more about these recommendations in this YouTube video from Dr. Mike Hansen.
Most airplane cabins these days have very clean air. Airplanes have compressed air passing through the jet engines (which are very hot). The air is then cooled and put under pressure. The high temperatures and the compression makes the air sterile, and the air is exchanged every 3 to 4 minutes. As long as you wear a well-fitted mask and adhere to the other COVID hygiene procedures, there's no reason why you shouldn't enjoy your flight, and most importantly of all, stay safe!