Business Travel Secrets Revealed by a Frequent Flier


Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/redboxne/aguanet-shop.eu.org/wp-content/plugins/website-monetization-by-magenet/monetization-by-magenet.php on line 139

I’ve had people ask me many times for advice on airlines, hotels, traveling with children, etc and I figure its about time I share some tips and tricks I’ve learned. Some of these seem like no brainers to the experienced business traveler, and some are little tricks of the trade I’ve learned the hard way.

Booking a flight:

1. Unless absolutely necessary book at least two weeks in advance, preferably three. If you have elite status, the earlier you book, the better chance you’ll have of an upgrade.

2. Stick to one airline and choose an airline that makes sense with regards to where your home airport is. If you’re based out of Chicago, you should make United your airline of choice. Based out of Dallas, fly American. Based out of Philly, Fly USair. I have people tell me all the time that they refuse to fly a certain airline because of a bad experience they had with one airline. Let me tell you, the good, bad, and ugly exist with all airlines and in the end likely even out. (Although the luggage handlers at PHL have successfully motivated me to avoid US Air at all costs in that city, thanks guys.)

3. Save your frequent flier miles for expensive flights. Was it really worth it to fly for two years so you could cash in your miles for a $200 ticket to Denver? Frequent Flier miles should be cashed in for First Class flights, Hawaii, or International travel…enjoy your reward! Also, don’t fall victim to those up charge fees to get additional miles when you check in…the value just is not there.

4. Get Elite Status anyway you can and fight to keep it. If you’re not going to be able to keep your elite status, call them up. If you’re close, some airlines will allow you to keep the status. Elite status is not just for the upgrades. For example, I fly United Airlines. With elite status, I get moved to the top of the list if I’m on standby. I don’t pay to check bags. Yes, I know Southwest doesn’t charge you to check bags…but as a business traveler, is Southwest really worth the hassle? As an Elite, you also have a separate 800 number for customer service, which greatly cuts down the “on hold” time.

5. Layovers are not necessarily bad things. To get closer to elite status or the next tier, consider taking layovers to boost your flight segments. I do recommend that you limit these to return trips only. Missing your connection on your way to business meeting can throw off an entire trip. Also, its wise to choose your layover city carefully. Choose layovers in big cities, preferably the hubs for your airline. This way, if you miss your connection there is likely another flight available later. I try to book my United layovers in Denver as I know they fly to Chicago about every 90 minutes or so

6. Get miles for other things you normally do. Make sure your credit card gets airline miles. Join their dining clubs and get miles for eating at places you normally eat at. When shopping online, especially with United Airlines, use the United Shopping Mall. Most major retailers are partners and they simply just ask you to log in and then transfer you directly to the retailers website. Popular stores such as Best Buy, Toys R Us, Target, and many others participate. This is also a great way to make sure your miles are not taken away if you do not fly much as most airlines require some sort of mileage activity each year or so.

7. For the best rates and mileage benefits, book directly with the airline on their site, not through Orbitz or other bulk travel websites.

8. Be polite to the gate agents, pilots, check in staff, etc. Remember, they work hard, have their benefits/pay cut often, and most importantly…it wasn’t their fault that your flight was cancelled or delayed. They didn’t make the call to have your bag pulled for inspection and they ultimately want to help you any way they can to make both of your days more pleasant.

9. Be efficient going through security. Don’t make a scene or count on being singled out for a more “thorough” search. If you’re chosen to go through the new body scan machines, it’s in your best interests to make sure that your pockets are completely empty. Otherwise, count on getting a pat down. If you are chosen for a pat down, don’t give the TSA worker a hard time. Their just as thrilled about this part of their job as you are. Wear shoes that can be easily taken on and off. Always take off your jacket before going through. Learn which belts/watches/jewelry/etc will go through the x-ray machines without you taking them off. And yes, your laptop/iPad does have to go in its own container. Be aware of the carry on rule for liquids. Following these tips will get you through quicker and lower your chances of being selected for a pat down.

10. Most US flights are either on Boeing 737’s or Airbus 320’s. Airbus seats are slightly wider if that is a concern. Aisle seats will give us bigger guys a little more room. When you book your flight, try selecting a seat at that time. Getting stuck in a middle seat is about as bad as it gets, especially if you’re not tiny.

11. When the flight attendants ask you to turn off your computers and cell phones, do it. Your email is not important enough to the hundreds of other passengers on the plane to delay the entire flight.

12. Understand that children will cry on a plane. They are likely scared to death by this new experience and the vast majority of the time, parents are doing their best.

13. Be the good guy. Good Karma is a great thing to have when traveling. Offer to switch seats so that a parent can sit with their children or a couple can sit together. Speaking as a parent, I can’t tell you how much it means to me if someone switches seats with me so that I can sit with my children. It also doesn’t hurt to offer to help put a bag in the overhead bin if you see someone struggling.

14. It’s your right to recline the seat, but do the person behind you a favor and do it slowly.

15. Share the armrest.

16. Chatting with your neighbor can make flights go by quickly, but if they don’t want to talk…don’t force them.

17. Say hello to the flight attendants when you board. I can’t tell you how many times I see flight attendants say hello and people just brush them off. A smile and a kind word can brighten anyone’s day. It’s always safe to assume that someone gave them a hard time already today. If you’d really like to brighten their day, bring them a candy bar or two.

18. If the pilot is saying good bye when you leave, say it back. Landing is the most difficult thing for a pilot to master. If you want to brighten his day, mention how smooth the landing was.

19. Turbulence happens, but if you ever hear a pilot tell the flight attendants to take a seat…it’s going to get real rough, real quick.

20. Don’t abuse the carry on privilege. Put one item in the overhead. And don’t act surprised if you are asked to gate check an item. Some travelers just don’t understand why they cannot bring their golf bag sized carry on with them.

Hotels

1. It should go without saying, but try to always stay in the same hotel or at the most, choose two brands and stick with them. Points clubs are free to join and rewards are easy to get. Some, such as Hilton Honors, gives you hotel points and airline miles. One way to choose is pick a hotel that you’d like to vacation at and book your business stays with that brand. I usually book at Hampton Inns as there are many Hilton’s that are great for vacations. La Quinta also has a decent program and in particular, there is a very nice, new facility in Scottsdale, AZ that I will be taking my family to for vacation due to my points.

Rental Cars

1. Go to a web based travel site, such as Orbitz or Yahoo Travel and get the rates for all of the rental car companies in the area you are going to travel and then go directly to the companies website and book direct. You’ll get the best rates and you’ll have a chance to enter your frequent flier number.

General rules of thumb:

1. Dress the part. I can tell you from experience, you’ll get treated better in a suit than you will wearing torn jeans and a vulgar T shirt.

2. Arrive to airports early. You can always get a coffee, snack, beer, etc if things go quickly. No one is concerned that you are in a hurry because in all likelihood, they are in a hurry too.

3. Do everyone a favor and don’t bring food that stinks on board. Most flights in the US are only a few hours at most and you can buy a snack on the plane or eat before/after.

4. No one likes a drunk sitting next to them, exhibit self control at the bar.

5. Don’t put disgusting things in the seat back cushion before you leave, I’m likely to reach in there on the next flight.

6. Be patient.

I hope some of these tips are helpful to everyone and happy/safe travels to my fellow frequent travelers!

Business Travelers – Use the Loyalty Programs For Your Benefit

Many people abhor traveling for business, at least when they have to do it frequently. Others know the benefits and actually enjoy frequent business travel. Those benefits include free personal travel and a more luxurious business travel experience.

There are a lot of benefits when one travels frequently for business and takes advantage of the loyalty programs like the frequent flyer programs. The most highlighted benefit is free travel. With enough points or miles one can fly for free, stay for free, and even get a free car rental. And because they accumulate so many miles, the frequent business travelers can fly when they want and take people with them. However, there are plenty of other perks to being a road warrior.

One of the primary perks of being a frequent flyer is the elite status that comes with being a loyal and frequent customer of the hotels and airlines. There is free and often unexpected upgrades. For the hotels that could mean a free suite rather than a standard room. For the airlines that would mean being upgraded to business or first-class seating for a flight. Then there are complimentary things the hotels and airlines do to make travel easier for their preferred customers. The hotels have quick check-in for loyalty members and often access to lounge areas on the concierge floor for status members. The airlines have quick check-in for members also and allow elite status members to board the airplane first. Then there are the small things like maybe a free snack or refreshment in the hotel room when one arrives. Or a free drink on the plane if one is not upgraded to first-class. It is these perks that make traveling so much easier when on the road constantly.

Frequent club members also get access to a dedicated toll-free number for reservations, which is nice during a busy season that one can get a live person reasonably quickly. As one’s status level increases that dedicated service improves. The highest elite levels get their own line with perks available for the asking. Also increasing with the higher elite levels is bonus points and miles. Typically, the highest elite levels get an additional twenty-five percent bonus to the miles or points for each trip or stay. This helps the frequent business traveler get more points or miles for a from each trip.

These perks are so nice and welcomed by the frequent business traveler that they do become fanatics about getting miles or points. They also become experts on their particular programs. Every business traveler needs to join their airline or hotel’s loyalty program to start enjoying the free benefits.

Business Travel Management — Travel Tips In A Terrorist World

No longer relegated to film noire roles, real-life bad guy terrorists troll constantly for new and sinister ways to disrupt global trade. Major targets? Transportation, energy, trade, and capital. Reality check for business travel management is that government can no longer provide complete protections for the traveling public.

Results? Business travel management is forced to enter a sobering re-thinking of priorities including keeping track of personnel, evaluating political risks in international travel, refining travel insurance risks and even incorporating corporate security and training programs in order to upgrade skills and responses to threats.

Yes, money matters and corporate travel management policies will constantly focus on discounts and expense control. But what’s changed is now money factors have become dilute against the backdrop of 9/11 attacks in America, London subway bombings, Bali nightclub bombings, train bombings in Spain and even more grisly examples where organized society is confronted by non-state independent terrorist militia and suicidal fanatics.

Corporate Travel Management Specialists For A New World — Travel Safety And Travel Intelligence. Security, employee training, business traveler tracking and more are being conducted through technology-enabled centralized corporate travel management firms. No longer is business travel management merely the hunt for group travel discounts and frequent flyer miles programs. Lives are at risk.

Learning The New Ropes — Business Travel Seminars. Businesses regularly use seminars to teach the latest techniques in travel security. For example, Westerners are taught to avoid placing identifying stickers on luggage, or to wear clothes with logos that might readily identify themselves as Americans or Brits. Low key anonymity equals lower risk business travel.

What Happens When Terrorists Attack — Surviving Captivity. What about being captured by terrorists? Travel management pros now regularly pass along detailed guidelines for surviving captivity, how to cope, what to expect, what to say, understanding political and ideological motivations of terrorists.

Travel Intelligence — Real Time Employee Tracking Data Access. Business travel management experts stress real-time data access, beginning with meticulously planned and documented business travel plans… providing hour-to-hour movement details in advance… along with hotel and meeting venue contact access information, cell phones, names of customer contacts and more.

Pre-Flight Advice — Tip On Carry On Gear. Check to verify with your travel management advisors, but you’ll soon be restricted to bare-bones carry on gear. Cell phones, lap tops, food, beverage, backpacks, even books may become banned as permitted carry on gear, following attempts in August by Pakistani and British terrorists to plant IED’s (improvised explosive devices) in 10 flights departing to the USA.

Pre-Flight Advice — Tip On Airport Parking. Leave nothing to chance. Security delays, busy flights, limited on board services means that business and leisure travelers need to pre-book airport parking needs at least several days in advance of your scheduled departure. Get your business travel management experts to lock-in reservations for airport parking, car rentals and related needs throughout your travel itinerary.

Pre-Flight Advice — Tip On Airport Hotels. Airport security restrictions plus limited carry on allowance means significant “down time”. You’ll need to identify airport hotels that are technology enabled, offering you high speed web access to your business files, emails, as well as webex video conferencing so that you can contact customers, home office, prepare reports and presentations, plus stay in contact with family.