Flying might not be quite as glamorous as it was in the golden age of air travel, but it’s an awful lot easier to get things done these days: whether it’s in-flight Wi-Fi or the joys of airlines’ VIP lounges, you can be perfectly productive while you soar through the sky. These are our favourite tips for business flights.
Woman on plane picture from Shutterstock
Wherever possible, pack light so you don’t need to check in luggage and wait for it at your destination. You’ll be surprised how much you can cram into carry-on luggage: YouTube is packed with videos showing how to pack enough for a week, a month or even a two-month trip into a single piece of carry-on luggage.
Choose Your Weapons
If you’re lucky enough to travel in Business or First then you’ll have plenty of room for even the biggest laptop as well as somewhere to charge it. In Economy or Coach, not so much. That’s where tablets, ultrabooks and 2-in-1 devices show their mettle: they’re much more practical in more cramped seating, and their long battery life should get you from LHR to LAX on a single charge. They’re useful if you’ll be working on the move during your trip, too.
Make Sure You're Sitting Comfortably
If you’re choosing your own seats, the superb Seat Guru website enables you to see where you’ll have the most legroom, where the power points are and where you really, really don’t want to sit on any airline from EasyJet to Emirates.
Sync Your Stuff
Cloud-based services for email, calendars, documents and key business data are superb tools for business travellers, delivering the data you need to whichever device you need it on. Make sure you synchronise your devices before you travel, though, especially if you’re relying on e-tickets or electronic passes: you don’t want to find yourself in a no-coverage area when you need something important. Syncing documents is important too if you won’t use or can’t get an internet connection on the plane.
Check In Online (Then Lounge Around)
Airlines’ airport lounges can be great places for catching up on work and giving your devices a final charge, and it’s often a good idea to check in online and arrive a bit early so you can get through security and set up in the VIP lounge long before your flight begins to board. That’s particularly applicable if you’re travelling at peak times such as the red-eye rush or during summer holiday season: beating the security queues can save you an enormous amount of time that you could put to better use.
Shut Everything Up
We can’t sing the praises of noise cancelling headphones enough. They almost eradicate the sound of engine noise and other passengers, they make it a lot easier to catch a nap, and they’re a great deterrent for talkative passengers in the next seat.
Do You Need to be Connected?
Woman on plane with laptop picture from Shutterstock
Many airlines offer in-flight Wi-Fi or GSM data connections - you’ll find an exhaustive list here - but even if you can get connected, that doesn’t mean you should. You might find that you achieve more by being off the grid for a while: brainstorming, perhaps, or breaking your to-do list down into smaller chunks, or catching up on business intelligence or industry news. It’s worth thinking about that in advance and planning accordingly, for example by downloading the documents or publications you want to read so they’re available offline.
Give Your Phone a Boost
It’s easy to hammer your phone’s battery when you travel, so if your laptop or 2-in-1 has battery life to spare you can give your phone a charge by using a spare USB port. If your device has USB 3.0 ports, use those: they deliver more power than USB 2.0 and USB 1.0 (4.5W for USB 3.0 compared to 2.5W for USB 1.0 and 2.0). That isn’t quite enough to charge a big tablet, but it’s more than enough for most smartphones. Turning off the phone during charging should make it charge more quickly too.
This article originally appeared on Lifehacker UK